Whether it's worth engaging with the output of Robert Fisk is a question to which the answer is probably no. But this column of his is interesting for the way in which it embodies some standard moves in today's 'anti-imperialist' game. The theme of it is that 'no one in the Middle East takes America seriously anymore'. In pursuit of that, Fisk refers to 'our leaders... thinking that they could yet again bamboozle their electorates with their lies and trumperies and tomfooleries', and goes on: 'This doesn't mean that the Syrian regime did not use gas "on its own people" - a phrase we used to use about Saddam when we wanted a war in Iraq'. But then watch how, beyond the irony of those scare-quotes round 'its own people', he flattens out the seriousness of the crimes of the Assad regime:
Obama, who is becoming more and more preacher-like, wants to be the Punisher-in-Chief of the Western World, the Avenger-in-Chief. There is something oddly Roman about him. And the Romans were good at two things. They believed in law and they believed in crucifixion. The US constitution - American "values" and the cruise missile have a faintly similar focus. The lesser races must be civilized and they must be punished...
You see, it's not about fundamental human values breached by the gassing of children, among others, and the need to do something about this. No, it's (heavy with scorn) the lesser races needing to be civilized.
And then, as a final note, Fisk gives us that... why, Assad may well now last longer than Obama. As if this fact might in some way tell against Obama, a democratically elected leader, or in favour of Assad. It's contemptible stuff, but illustrative of how a sector of would-be progressive opinion has lost its head and lost its way. (Thanks: RB.)