American Leftists Journey to Syria in Support of Assad: The Strange Case of Ramsey Clark
If you want to understand how so many Communists and fellow travelers could defend Stalin’s bloodthirsty tyranny in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, look no further than the behavior of a section of the self-proclaimed anti-war Left today. Global Research, a division of International Answer, reported yesterday that former Attorney General Ramsey Clark (1967-69) is now in Syria, where he is leading a delegation in support of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Joining him on the trip is former six-term member of Congress from Atlanta, Georgia, the virulently pro-Arab and anti-Israel Cynthia McKinney. (Her father blamed the loss of her ongressional seat on the Jews, who, he claimed, “bought everybody.")
Also along for the trip were Dedon Kamathi of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party and the left-wing Pacifica Radio, and Johnny Achi of Arab Americans for Syria.
They are sponsored by the revolutionary socialist group International Answer, which ran anti-war rallies during the Bush-era Iraq War. Organizer Sara Flounders, who wrote the report and is accompanying the group, reported: “If anything, support [in Syria] for the government is much stronger now.”
Flounders and the group also praised the legion of gullible Western volunteers, who have flooded to Syria to willingly serve as human shields for Assad. They positioned themselves in areas they thought likely to be targeted by bombs. Calling the action “Over Our Dead Bodies,” they formed an encampment in 50 tents in the Mout Qassioun area of Damascus. “Democracy,” proclaimed organizer Ogarit Dandash, “will not come with American weapons.”
Not that they want democracy. Unless, perhaps, it's the “people’s democracies” imposed on Eastern Europe by Stalin at the end of the second World War.
BuzzFeed reported that McKinney praised the Assad regime on her Facebook page for its socially progressive policies:
I am in Syria now with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, where residents enjoy free education and free healthcare. ... Visited a Damascus hospital, the Grand Mufti, a school that has been turned into residences for Internally Displaced Persons. Ended the Day with Ogarit Dandash who founded “Over Our Dead Bodies,” a group of young people who climbed atop Mount Qasioun and dared U.S. bombs to target them. They are still there in defiant resistance to any war against Syria. Mount Qasioun should be the site of a peace party, not bombing strikes.
Just like with Cuba, free health care and free education for the loyal portion of the Alawite minority trump the over 100,000 civilians killed by Assad in the past few years. What are their deaths compared to the joy of establishing socialism? Stalin, after all, killed millions in his valiant attempt to create the communist future. Now, with Assad, Clark and McKinney feel they once again have a chance to start off where Stalin failed.
To be fair, I should point out that Clark’s views are even too much for some on the Left. Writing in Salon, Ian Williams pointed out a few years ago that “Clark has become the tool of left-wing cultists who defend Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Rwandan torturers as anti-imperialist heroes.”
In his interesting profile, Williams also puts his finger on why so many of his leftist comrades are reluctant to criticize Clark:
Many liberals and leftists cut Clark a considerable degree of slack. For a start he is almost the only person the American left has had in high public office since World War II, even if it was a retrospective success, since his long march leftward only began afterward. His views as the former attorney general are listened to with a respect that would be accorded to few others with such eccentric opinions. As a revered spokesman of the left, he is a perfect symbol for its near-impotence in American politics today.
To put it another way, they may think Clark is cuckoo, but since he was one of their own who actually held high office, they do not want to publicly attack him. You never know, after all, when something they support will be attacked and they might need Clark to jump in and come to their defense.
As for McKinney, she supported Muamaar Gaddafi during the Obama administration’s actions to topple his regime, and appeared on Libyan state TV in defense of the ruler.