Coping with the post-truth world

The first U.S. strike on Syria, a year ago, came as a real shocker. Like millions of others, I’d seen the pictures of a gas attack on the internet. However I never expected such a response from the U.S.

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, had initially called for an investigation. Then a couple of days later, he stated that our closest ally had certain knowledge of the Syrian government’s guilt.

As a seventy-four year old who grew up in small B.C. towns in the 1950’s, I doubted this certainty. (Our steady diet of Westerns, in the movie theater and later on TV, instilled a firm belief that the once-common lynch mob justice is not the way to go. These were morality plays, and I’m glad for the indoctrination. We’ll always need trained lawmen to seek out the truth, wherever it leads them.)

Today’s war-torn Syria has several different factions fighting there, any one of which could have the motive and the expertise to stage something like this.

The situation was disturbing, so I went on-line and looked up “investigation into the Syrian atrocity.” That’s when I discovered The American Conservative. The writers at that site have spent their lives in public service, both at home and abroad. They’ve earned PhDs, and written books. Some have advised presidents. I appreciate their expertise very much, and find them quite enlightening.

Here in Canada the news media has fallen into even fewer hands, and it’s a downward spiral; steadily losing readership, they cut quality to stay afloat. Our national broadcaster, the CBC, still has world-class journalists; however the newer management shows little interest in world-wide news. Rather there’s a focus on imperial concerns.

Today, a year or so after the first strike on Syria, two similar cases have arisen.  First, a former Russian spy now living in England was targeted with a deadly nerve poison. Stating that the Russian government was probably the perpetrator,  England immediately expelled their diplomats. Several allied countries did likewise, including Canada.

Soon afterwards, Syrian citizens suffered a second chemical weapons attack. Jumping to conclusions once again, Britain and France joined with the U.S. in retaliation, striking several sites.

Britain and France played a significant role here after World War One, when they divided the Ottoman lands between them, and their participation lends support for the American assertion of Imperial authority in the area.

However many of the problems the Middle East faces today were created by Britain and France, and they won’t be solved by even more simplistic measures.

These are dangerous times.

 

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