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Amith asks what accounts for the change in tone in Franklin Lamb’s piece
today
<http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/14/political-defamation-campaign-targets-rescue-workers-in-syria/>
(10-15-16) and I would add his earlier piece
<http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/07/when-aleppo-falls-will-international-humanitarian-law-still-be-relevant/>
of 10-7-16, also on Counterpunch.



That earlier piece was actually a rather strange endeavor that makes sense
to me now that today’s piece informs it.



What was noticeable in Lamb’s 10/7 piece is the lack of Baathist Amen
Corner politics, rather than anything specific politically. The piece is an
extended argument for the existence of enormous war crimes in Syria, and
Lamb bothers to build his case with a painstaking account of how such law
came to exist, came to be applied to civilians, how it is examined and
under whose authority. Lamb explains the definition of such war crimes and
argues for the existence of thousands upon thousands in Syria. He says he
was brought to this by personal observations in Aleppo.



Lamb names no names, chooses no sides in this article, says that
accountability will be the job of the investigators. Nevertheless, the mere
enumeration of the kinds of war crimes Lamb calls to be investigated
includes many things only the regime could do.



Today’s piece goes well beyond that. It is an extended and passionate
defense of the White Helmets clearly written by one who has been there,
watched them work, knows their moral character and cannot abide the lies.
The grotesque, unbelievable --  yet believed by millions – lies, for
instance, that the White Helmets carry the bodies in, bury them, then dig
them up for the cameras.



Well, as said before, respect to the guy. This is a very important change
of view because Lamb is a long-time on-the-ground observer and reporter and
has weight. That’s what made his stuff before so depressing. Moreover, he
has picked, in my opinion, the absolute best issue around which to explain
the complexity of Syria: The White Helmets.



It is the best issue for the following reasons:



1.     It is current and its currency will not go away. It may change, but
it won’ t go away.

2.     It is important because the story is simple. The White Helmets are
honorable people doing, as they say, an unbelievably depressing job in a
horrible situation with the constant threat of their own death. Or, they
are murderous propaganda operatives and wannabe video stars cynically
manipulating a gullible crybaby western audience. What’s nice about this
Manichean choice is that there are *facts*. Lots of them. And that people
*care*. And that the Baathist Amen Corner is *deeply, deeply* committed to
an otherworldly view that is obviously bullshit, has no possible credence
and was never intended to convince anyone of anything, but just to be one
of those litany of lies piled on top of another pile of lies in the normal
Stalinist manner of piling it on until the pile of poop is so mountainous
that even its erosion washes away the truth. Just wave a little Patrick
Cockburn or Seymour Hersh perfume and it will smell good even to Noam
Chomsky. Btu this time they have picked a very bad issue.

3.     It is therefore possible to build big, broad (all within reason,
local limitations, etc) events *materially* supporting Aleppo that also
*educate* about Syria and bring it home to the Amen Corner.

4.     Once the Baathist Amen Corner is publicly nailed on *this* issue we
will create a better hearing for the case that the global left needs to be
re-forged from scratch.



Comment appreciated.
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