When Private Ryan is shamed by quiet heroes in the Syrian Arab Army

Mohammed Gabbash Al Hamid and his wife Fatima next to the photo of their martyrd sons in the SAA, Ahmed and Hussain.

Editor’s note: VT supports the American military even when its mission is wrong. We support troops, men and women who serve, not the mission and not the fatass politicians and their puppetmasters. More than any other publication, we stay on task. Now for a tough pill to swallow.

The article below is by Vanessa Bealey, someone we respect. She is right. Americans need to wake up and thank those who fight terrorism and do it without billion dollar planes and 6000-calorie a day buffets.

America needs to thank Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army, the militias of Iraq and the Iraqi Army and the Iranian volunteers who are fighting terrorism while we are playing games.

We are doing nothing. We lie, cheat, steal and toady to the Israelis and Saudis; we arm ISIS; we give WMDs to al Qaeda and we attack those who fight terrorists.

It doesn’t take a CPA or rocket scientist to figure it out. We are either a nation of fools or criminals or what? Find me a term you are comfortable with. Meet some real heroes:

Stories of wartime heroism abound in Hollywood movie history, the gung-ho, swashbuckling images that saturate our cinema screens promote US military personnel to cult figures, ‘saving the world’.

It is the victory of fantasy over realism that distances the American public from the horrors of war.

Wars that are never on US soil but waged in distant lands, but always in the “interests of national security”. Consent is manufactured for these wars by fabricating fear and insecurity, the amplification of terrorism threats as the ever-present danger menacing the American people, held at bay by military intervention at an imagined ‘source’.

“US airstrikes on Syria were in the “vital national security and foreign policy interests” of the United States” President Trump  told Congress, after the tripartite alliance of US, France and UK had unlawfully attacked Syria. An attack carried out under the pretext of a trumped-up charge of chemical attacks by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the last moments of Douma’s liberation from Saudi-financed and UK-promoted extremists, Jaysh al-Islam.

Cinema is escapism and Hollywood excels in distracting a public already bamboozled by a corporate media’s expert distortion of fact to generate the narratives that instil fear and dehumanize the latest foe in the foreign policy crosshairs.

In Saving Private Ryan, the horror of battle is surround-sound deafeningly conveyed. Unremitting reality confronts our sensibility, the scream of bullets tearing into flesh, the clamour of the dying; nothing is left to the imagination. It is full frontal war.

In the movie, a detail of American soldiers is dispatched to France to bring Private Ryan home to his mother after General Marshall learns that his three brothers were killed in action. We are led to believe that the assuaging of Mama Ryan’s grief is of paramount national importance. It is an all-American feel-good-factor movie with the familiar “true grit”, the hard-bitten courage of ‘real men’ fighting to save the world and their own souls. As the movie’s tagline informs us: “In the last great invasion of the last great war, the greatest challenge for eight men… was saving one.”

As US Defence Secretary, James Mattis, said recently, when trying to explain away the wholesale devastation in Raqqa following a sustained bombing campaign by the US-led coalition – “we are the good guys and the innocent people on the battlefield know the difference” – I doubt the “innocent people” who were deliberately targeted by the coalition “precision”bombs would agree. The proclaimed war on terror, in this case Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), invariably results in the massacre of innocent people whose mangled remains are dismissed as “collateral damage” in another US campaign that protects “national security”.

A campaign fought illegally in the skies above or on the ground of a sovereign nation that has never presented a threat to US security. Syria has effectively been defending US and European “national security” for seven long and tortuous years. The hordes of extremists under a variety of monikers are armed, financed and equipped by our governments and their allies in the Gulf States, to enable regime change in Syria, but you would never know it from the rhetoric they use to drown out their responsibility.

Syria is stemming the terrorist tide within its territory and the SAA is fighting and dying to contain the threat. Alongside its allies, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah – Syria is sacrificing everything to prevent the spread of a cataclysmic contagion that has been created and imposed upon them by the nations whose claims of moral superiority ring hollow when confronted by the bloodshed they leave in their wake.

The SAA is dehumanized and criminalised by media in the West, it is reduced to ‘Assad’s army”, a ‘Shia militia – portrayed as a ‘murderous squad of sectarian thugs’. Nothing could be further from the truth, in my experience. I have met with many families of martyred soldiers who have given their lives to defend their homeland, their people, their honour and their way of life. They fight because “a fallen building can be rebuilt, but a fallen homeland is lost forever.”

There are thousands of ‘Mama Ryans’ in Syria, brave, fearless women who have suffered indescribable loss but who remain steadfast, proud of their children’s role in protecting their future. Om Al Fouz from Taldara, close to Salamiyah, has lost five sons in the genuine “war on terror”.   

“When I lost the first one, I felt as if I had broken my back, I lost the second one only fifteen days later – I thought my heart had broken. Then the third, the fourth, the fifth, each time I grew stronger”. 

Om Al Fouz also told me: “I have 25 grandsons, I am ready to give all my children for this battle. We are all ready to be martyred, this is our country, our dignity, our honour, our morals. We will never leave this country to anyone else”.

I met Hala in January 2018 in Salamiyah. Hala is a beautiful young girl whose husband was killed fighting with the SAA to defend her hometown and her country. Like so many families in Salamiyah, Hala expressed great pride her husband’s martyrdom but the sadness in her eyes told me she has lost her love and the father of her child.

Her husband, Fadi Afif al-Qasir, was killed defending Western Salamiyah from Nusra Front. He was 31 years old. Hala proudly showed me their wedding photographs, a stunning young couple just beginning their married life with so many hopes and dreams.

Hala told me: “When they called him to serve the homeland, he left immediately so he could defend his land, to defend his land, to defend his values……so that Syria’s voice could reach all of the countries, so that peace for Syria could prevail, so that peace would not only happen for us, so peace would be for all countries. What is entering here that we are fighting against, it is going to go outside of Syria, and if it went outside of Syria it is going to destroy all the people. So, my husband, Fadi Afif al-Qasir he offered his soul, he offered his heart, he offered his blood, to redeem the homeland”.

I also met Hannah Al Ayek and her family early in 2018 in Salamiyah. Her son, Saed Nizar, was not even 22-years-old when he was killed. Saed had been a helicopter engineer with the Syrian Arab Air Force. He was killed on 22 January 2013.  He was on board a helicopter ferrying supplies into the base when it was brought down by a Free Syrian Army TOW missile, according to his family.

 Hannah said to me: “Your coming here and talking to me about my son gives us strength. We beg you to take our voices as far as you can. My son and all our Martyrs have sacrificed themselves for the world, not just for Syria. Maybe they don’t all have the same face, but they do have the same soul.”

Every family I met with and interviewed made similar statements. Ahmed Jabr lost his 23-year-old son, Mohammed, on the 4 March 2013, fighting with the SAA against IS in Qaryatayn. 

Ahmed told me: “We have a great army and we represent the army. The army represents us and they have sacrificed so much but thank God we have the victory on our side. They brought every foreign terrorist in the universe to our country. It is the Western countries bringing us this terrorism. Thank God we stand by our Army as one hand. Our Army defends the whole Arab world and the World from this terrorism because it will spread from Syria to the World.” 

The SAA is made up of conscripts. In many cases ordinary young men and women have taken up arms to defend their people, as in Salamiyah surrounded on four sides by IS, Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and a variety of extremist splinter groups. These soldiers are often inexperienced in military strategy and combat. They are facing a professional force of battle-hardened mercenaries, well equipped with more sophisticated weapons and machinery thanks to their sponsors in the West and Gulf States.

We in the West owe an infinite debt of gratitude to these young men and women who have resisted the terrorist spawn of our own imperialist nations. There will be no ‘Private Ryan’ films depicting their courage and bloodshed. There will be no commemorative statues erected in Washington or London in honour of their sacrifices. There will be no recognition of their unity, no acknowledgement of their dignity in Western media.

It falls upon us, the people, to salute these heroes, these defenders of humanity who have given their lives to prevent us living their torment. This is not some romantic vision of a world of complex nuances and multi-faceted truths, it is the realistic admission that without the SAA, we would be awash with extremism from the Euphrates to the Thames. Far from the din and cacophony of Hollywood generated conflict, these soldiers are the quiet heroes who have undeniably earned “the right to go home”.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Vanessa Beeley
Vanessa Beeley is an independent investigative journalist and photographer. She is associate editor at 21st Century Wire.
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  1. The unknowing, committed protectors are not viewed as instigators, but as victims themselves. The innate , instinctive nature to protect the people, has been usurped in a maliciously heinous, methodical way.
    Mindful but persistent education must be impressed upon them. The spell they are under, is the one that removes critical thought, and replaces it with blind obedience.
    The target of our Ire and scorn must always be those who know and yet advance to foreign opportunism, with disregard to life, be it ours or the people of the land we invade. The defenders of a home, will always have the righteous position. That is why they convince our protectors, that somehow, they are protecting our home by invading a country on the other side of the world. It is the opposite in truth. We are creating enemies, by pursuing “war based on belief” and lopsided corporate greed. The heroes, will always be those who protect their families and homes from invading forces. But it must be true, that , that is the case. In Syria, it is the case.

  2. To hell with hollywood history; there is a massive disconnect with what our soldiers in the field witness and what is reported by MSM. Look at the number of suicides of our returning soldiers to comfirm that there is a fundamental wrongness to our actions in the field. All true Patriots need to fight against needless conflict. We need to support our troops.

    • @ Senaca, did I say censure? When I protested the War in Vietnam as a youth, I simply joined others in action. What you describe, the flag burning and athletes kneeling has nothing to do with my comments regarding needless conflict involving United States troops and the fight against same. I believe our involvement in the Middle East deserves the same protest. Your thoughts on flag burning and kneeling during the Anthem are your own, not mine. I could care less on your thoughts regarding either.

  3. Think on this ,Emma , if you will , people who experience the propaganda of war usually see, hear , only . People who experience War also get taste, touch, and smell . If ‘ folks ‘ had no choice to sit thru the experience in their media with all 5 senses activated i think war support would plummet . In fact all ‘news ‘ should be in a ‘ Sensorama ‘ format , giving All the full picture in complete detail , of course the touch aspect alone would be enough for most sleep walkers .

  4. What if Secret Service Members observed Bush lying and cheating behind the scenes? Why should they be bound to keep these observations secret? Don’t they have a higher duty to us lowly taxpayers than to a liar coward cheater con artist named George Bush who sold out his own country?

  5. I thought it was always a serious offense for any member of our military to lie to another member regardless of whether it was from the top down or the bottom up. Obviously something has radically changed or this never was the case. Today the brass routinely lie to us lowly taxpayers don’t they? Or they just clam up and refuse to speak like gutless cowards on 9/11 protecting criminals Bush and Cheney. What a disgrace America has become and perhaps always was.

  6. Hala’s thoughts and, “expressed pride” in the ultimate sacrifice her son made while defending their country are polar opposites to the thoughts and feelings I held after 13 months in Vietnam. I felt no sense of pride or accomplishment. On the contrary, I felt guilty, and betrayed. I/we were lied to. History has proven this. I had no right to feel proud, only dirty.
    Today we as Americans are allowing the neoconservatives to once again get away with their perpetual lies. Lies such as, we are threatened, we are fighting to protect our freedoms, we are saving lives, or my favorite, for democracy.
    If we were truly to fight for our freedoms we would rise up against the Patriot Act, the TSA, local militarized police, corporate media, and more. The real enemy is right herein front of us, the fight right here at home. Wake up America before it’s too late.

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