A Brief Thought: Duterte, Death Squads & Selective Outrage

Editor’s note: as those of you who follow me on Twitter may well be aware, I’ve been struggling with a mild case of nevertheless annoying writer’s block the past few days and as a result, today’s Brief Thought is coming to you much later than I had originally intended – I’m not saying that I assumed the United States would have started World War Three by now, but it *is* quite revealing that the Trump administration literally lost track of an entire bloody aircraft carrier group in the middle of saber-rattling against North Korea; perhaps preventing the outbreak of serious conflict (for at least a few days) by sheer, blessed incompetence when logic and reason had so clearly failed.

In this hopefully not too brief lull, I thought I might take a moment to turn back towards the impeding (ongoing) invasion of Syria to point out an obvious flaw in the supposed logic behind US intervention to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by taking another look at a similar situation involving a US ally much closer to home – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte‘s murderous “war on drugs.”



Note: Please be reminded that if you’re having trouble reading this info graphic, you can right click on the picture and select “view this image” to pop out a larger version. Additionally, don’t forget to check out my comments after the sources section of this article.



Special Report: Police describe kill rewards, staged crime scenes in Duterte’s drug war

The Killing Time: Inside Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s War on Drugs

U.S. Relations With the Philippines – December 2016 Fact Sheet

America, Not Duterte, Failed the Philippines

Observations from Outside the Death Star: August

Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte: Obama Swear Threat Wasn’t Meant to Be Personal

Philippines president backtracks on claim he threw someone out of a helicopter

Philippine President Duterte Threatens ‘Martial Law’ if His Drugs War is Hindered

U.N. Experts Condemn Duterte’s ‘Incitement to Violence’ in the Philippines

Open Letter to the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime


First and foremost let me emphatically state that I am not calling on the United States to invade the Philippines to depose President Rodrigo Duterte; although the government-backed death squad/police killings in the tiny island nation are indeed tragic and horrifying – the epic failures of American intervention in both Iraq and Libya have objectively demonstrated that the US lacks the money, mandate or moral authority to institute regime change anywhere and for any reason.

I would however like to draw attention to the selective outrage at Bashar al-Assad’s “crimes against his own people” being employed by the United States, its international allies and mainstream media as part of an effort to drum up support for what will be a fairly profitable (for the right people) war in Syria by reminding readers that Duterte has had thousands of largely harmless drug users shot in the streets like stray goddamn animals and yet there hasn’t been one single call for the US to send in the Marines to depose him. The President of the Philippines has been slaughtering “his own people” since last summer but if you primarily watch mainstream western media, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard more about Duterte’s newfound friendship with China and battles with communist rebels than the crimes against humanity he’s enabled over the course of that time.

This myopic hypocrisy is hardly limited to the mainstream American media and indeed numerous US allies as well as media outlets in a variety of western nations have all called for immediate US intervention to “do something about Assad” – while blindly ignoring war crimes and atrocities committed in other situations that provide less valuable opportunities to make war for profit.

If the west’s desire to topple Bashar al-Assad is motivated entirely by humanitarian concern, why is it that when the US military repeatedly kills dozens, even hundreds of civilians by bombing mosques in Iraq and Syria the international community doesn’t pressure China to fire a bunch of missiles at an American airbase to punish “the Trump Regime?” Where were the mainstream media calls to “do something” when 125 Shi’ite Muslim “Assad loyalists” (including 80 children) were burned to death by a suicide bomb attack in the very same country they’re praising Trump for firing cruise missiles at now? How can any western politician seriously talk about the need to stop war crimes by the Syrian government when America (and most of her allies) actively support a genocidal Saudi Arabian war in Yemen that threatens to plunge the nation into famine; is starving millions of Yemenis to death somehow a morally superior position to (a still as of yet disputed) sarin gas attack? Why do 86 murders attributed to Assad justify an unavoidably bloody invasion of Syria – while 300 American murders, 9,000 murders ordered by Rodrigo Duterte and millions of murders by our Saudi allies merit little if any media attention and absolutely no official government response whatsoever?

Boy, it sure is awfully convenient that America’s selective moral outrage over the murder of innocents always seems to line up perfectly with the US empire’s pursuit of profit and geopolitical power; isn’t it?


  • Nina Illingworth


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