Monday, August 22, 2016

Russians Bomb Syrians


Moscow, Russia -- In recent days there has been a massive outcry and anger at the latest Russian -Syrian bombardment of Aleppo in Syria, which has led to the needless death of civilians . The prominent photo of a rescued shell-shocked young boy covered with gray ash from rubble provoked much anger and annoyance. However, indignant protests have hardly altered or stopped the bombing. The French are currently bombing Syrian again !

              WAVE OF PROTEST

              Humanitarian organisations and human rights groups claim that the Russian bombing campaign has not only been ineffective but hindered their efforts by creating more untold suffering of civilians , rather than less.

              The Russian military have been fighting in Syria since 30 September 2015 until  present,  in an attempt to bolster the fragile government of Assad as well remind the World they are still a power to be reckoned with on the
World stage. The war also  serves to strengthen patriotic sentiment as a means  to divert attention from Russia's rising social problems. It is largely about preserving the power and  prestige of the Russian state than  effectively fighting 'terrrorism'. And alot of odd people express support for this war. I heard that an Orthodox priest was cheerfully informing  his congregation that the Syrian campaign : " has made Russia a great power again. Now the west taking account of us."  Actually this rhetoric is more extreme than President Putin. President Putin is on record as having declared that: "Russia is not a superpower ... America is the only Superpower."

               Constant  Russian media reports on television applaud the bombing campaign, claiming terrorists of the Government of Islam have either been killed, or forced to flee.  There is a photo which  shows a pilot painting on one of his bombs : "For Paris".

               But how effective is this bombing campaign ? Can anyone really justify its largely unsystematic and indiscriminate nature? Perhaps  the harshest criticism comes from the Syrian Network of Human Rights. They claim that
Russian forces have killed more civilians than ISIS . They accuse Russian forces of killing no less than 2704 civilians, including 746 children and 514 women, since 30 September  2015. Amongst the victims were 28 medics, including 8 women.

               The Russian Ministry of Defence denied those accusations  stating:

               "Russian forces do not make strikes against targets  inside  inhabited areas". The humanitarian group, Physicians for Human rights , a New York based advocacy group  thunders back:

               'Nothing could be further from the truth. Since launching its military campaign  in support of the Syrian forces, Russian aircraft have hit numerous civilian targets, including well  over a dozen identifiable hospitals killing and injuring scores of people... We know that Syrian and Russian
forces are responsible for more than 90% of the 373 strikes on hospitals and medical facilities'. When those groups appeal to the Americans to do something to relieve the suffering civilians trapped in Aleppo, the standard response is : "we are working on it ". Actually, they, along with their European partners, have also been indisciminately bombing Syria.

               For Americans to condemn Russia for indiscriminate bombing is like the kettle calling the pot black !

               UNLEARNT LESSONS

               It is odd that governments learn nothing from history books. Since the Spanish Civil war, aerial bombing has been largely ineffective. It was not the Germans who invented mass air raids on cities but the British. 

               Neither the Blitz of London nor the subsequent mass bombing of German cities helped the Allied efforts to defeat the Germans. In fact, it hindered it. Britain was saved by fighter planes such as Hurricanes and Spitfires, not bombers. The English historian A.J. P. Taylor stated :
              'The Germans were answered and defeated not by British bombing, but by Fighter command, which had been despised and comparatively neglected before the war. When the British in turn went over to the bombing of Germany, this did more harm to themselves than to the Germans - that is,
it used up more British men and materials than it destroyed German. No one could grasp this before the event, as many in deed failed to grasp it afterwards. ' (See The Origins of the Second world war, Penguin, A.J.P. Taylor)

               Unfortunately, few people still grasp this simple lesson now.

               So why do governments still resort to counter- productive strategies ?

               Maybe part of the reason lies in an uncritical affirmation of new technology.

               Very few people actually ask themselves whether a new machine or invention is needed or really progressive. People overestimate the accuracy  of new improved sights in bombers. The mass media is always churning out articles about how wonderful new Japanese robots are or how wonderful the internet is. Expounding 'the miracles' of military technology is no exception.

               The Russian bombing campaign has been as unproductive as any former bombing strategy stretching back to Iraq, Vietnam or the allied bombing of Germany! A further reason is that politicians  overestimate  their abilities to solve complex problems. They resort to crude 'quick fix solutions'.

               Mass bombing has created more resentment, anger and rage against Russians.

               Instead of killing terrorists , bombing helps fill their ranks. It is no accident that the  mass bombing campaign in Syria coincides with a rise in terror acts throughout Europe. What we see is a deranged and demented revenge   psychology arising. Mass indiscriminate bombing not only kills innocent civilians but can create psychological wrecks.

               The rubble, left by the bombers, also serves as ideal terrain for terrorists.

              Military expenditure not only wastes lives but badly required resources.

               What is spent on bombing, could be more rationally spent on education.

               The lavish spending on the military is indicated by the fact that Russia retains the largest number of tanks in the world. (18177)  In 2015, while the budget on education was cut by 31%, military investment increased by 33% !  A  politician, Yulia Galrmina, stated: " I created a petition,     Children not Tanks, where we call for the future deputies to demand increasing investment in education, science , culture and health."

               It is a pity the petition was not  titled :  'Stop bombing children'.

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