FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

From Russia with Gas

by ANTHONY GANCARSKI

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the recent Russian “liberation” of a Moscow theater besieged by Chechen separatist rebels was not that there was a significant body count at the end; that’s to be expected from the Moscow government, whether past or present. Rather, most interesting about the whole affair is the remarkable media consensus that Putin was justified in flooding the occupied building with poison gas.

In the US, it is expected that most who make a living as media personalities will espouse the Washington Consensus, which is that since Russia and Putin are US allies in the Terror War, it follows that the Russian government is justified in using all available means to quash domestic dissent. It is a position that privileges government over the governed, and it is a position with dire ramifications for the notion that we are not enslaved by our governments.

It doesn’t surprise me so much to hear a random Neo-Conservative making the case for state terror as a consensus-builder as it does to read a Leading Article in the INDEPENDENT supporting that very argument. In “Mr. Putin Was Right to End the Siege, but Let Him Be Honest About the Mistakes”, the INDEPENDENT misses an opportunity to speak out against governments using airborne toxins in police actions, opting instead to lend credibility to those same despicable acts.

The piece starts off, curiously enough, anticipating criticism. “It is unreasonable to be too critical, with the advantage of hindsight, of the decision taken by Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, to end the siege at the Moscow theatre. With the hostage-takers plainly sincere in their willingness to die, it was obvious that the prospect of the siege ending peacefully was minimal.” Doubletalk, of course, rooted in an unwillingness to choose the wrong side on this issue. To extend the argument of the “Leading Article” to its logical end, it follows that state use of poison gas is perfectly acceptable if negotiation has a “minimal” chance of success. The article leaves it to us to define what minimal means in either Putin’s mind or the mind of his apologist at the London paper.

Having established this threshold of permissibility for a leader gassing his own people, the article goes on to rehash the usual tired bromides. The Russians should be willing to discuss ending their assault on Chechnya, should be willing to discuss granting the Chechens independence from Moscow rule, but cannot countenance the actions of Chechen “terrorists”. Let’s leave it aside that this act of so-called terrorism has done more to raise world awareness of the Chechen plight than anything since the US began serious attempts to buy Russian support for the impending occupation of Iraq. The INDEPENDENT holds that “It was, therefore, not so much a question of whether to send in the special forces, but when and how. . .the question of whether using the mystery gas to knock out hostage-takers and hostages alike was the right tactic or not is therefore secondary.” A secondary question indeed, as “national leaders around the world. . . will recognise that it may be their sombre responsibility one day to deal with a similar situation . . .the next time a group of desperadoes somewhere in the world takes civilians prisoner.”

Anthony Gancarski is a regular contributor to CounterPunch. His work has recently been featured in Utne Reader’s “Web Watch”. He can be emailed at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com.

 

More articles by:

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
Pauline Murphy
Friedrich Engels: a Tourist In Ireland
David Swanson
The Unifying Force of War Abolition
Louisa Willcox
Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Tom Udall Back Tribes in Grizzly Fight
John Stanton
Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States
Robert Fisk
Did Trump Denounce Qatar Over Failed Business Deals?
Medea Benjamin
America Will Regret Helping Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen
Brian Addison
Los Angeles County Data Shows Startling Surge in Youth, Latino Homelessness
Native News Online
Betraying Indian Country: How Grizzly Delisting Exposes Trump and Zinke’s Assault on Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Stephen Martin
A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market
Debadityo Sinha
Think Like a River
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail