You are on page 1of 2

[This message to Donna McKay of Physicians for Human Rights has not previously been published.

Sachdev, PHR's Online Communications Coordinator, responded by thanking me for contacting Physicians for
Human Rights and sending us feedback; we greatly appreciate hearing from our supporters. I do not support
PHR; nor was my message intended as an April Fool's joke.]

[Index: US aggression, Syria]

[Date: April 2015]

Physicians for Human Rights and Propaganda:

A Response to PHR ActionUrgent Need for Justice

Michael Keefer

Donna McKay,
Executive Director, Physicians for Human Rights

1 April 2015

Dear Donna McKay,

There is indeed an urgent need for justice in Syria. But for action to have any hope
of contributing to that goal, it must be informed by an understanding of what has
happened there.
As in the case, more recently, of the Maidan movement in Ukraine, a peaceful and
pro-democratic civil-society movement was supplanted by violent insurrectionaries who
were armed, paid for and trained by the US and its allies. These people turned what began
as a pro-democracy movement into a civil war, and the so-called Free Syrian Army rather
quickly revealed itself as little more than a front for jihadi extremists: al Nusra, al Qaeda,
and ultimately, it seems, ISIL.
I don't doubt for a moment that Syrian government forces have committed
appalling war crimes and crimes against humanitybut the notion that the US
government has any moral standing in the matter is truly Orwellian. In destroying Syria

through proxy forces, the US is implementing a project enunciated more than a decade
ago by that notorious war criminal Donald Rumsfeldand war crimes and crimes against
humanity committed in Syria by US proxy forces (including some blamed by US
propaganda on the Syrian government) have been well documented.
If the United States wishes there to be accountability for war crimes and crimes
against humanity, it should begin with the crimes for which it is itself responsible.
If PHR wishes to retain standing as a human rights organization, rather than a
mouthpiece for propaganda, it needs to inform itself more thoroughly about the situations
in which it wishes to intervene.
Michael Keefer
Professor Emeritus
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario