There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.
Thu, 30 May 2019 10:00
Part Two: Bashar al Assad: The Eye Doctor Who Murdered a Nation
Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. If you could completely remove one phrase from your vocabulary, which phrase would you choose? I don't know. Correct answer. No, I meant I don't know which phrase, and the best way to banish I don't know from your life is by cramming your brain full of stuff you should know. Join your host, Josh and Chuck on the Super Popular podcast packed with fascinating discussions on science, history, pop culture and more episodes that ask, was the lost city of Atlantis Real? I don't know. Is birth order important? I don't know. How does pizza work? Well, I do know. Bit about that. See? You can know even more, because stuff you should know has over 1500 immensely interesting episodes for your brain to feast on. So what do you say? I don't want to miss the stuff you should know. Podcast you're learning already. Listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode we're speaking. With Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioral discoveries on chimpanzees, it wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. What's bombing my neighborhoods filled with women? And this is not an intro I should I should continue. I don't know. I know. How do you? How do you open Part 2 of the episode on Bashar al-Assad, the greatest mass murderer of the 21st century? Not that way. That was clearly wrong. Wildly, wildly wrong. Never should have been attempted. Sophie is shaking her head at me and I like putting on a pumpkin. Oh, damn. No, I thought you were going to be ashamed, too, but you just doubled down. I appreciate that. You know, it's a true friend who sees you digging your own grave and grabs a shovel and it's like, yeah, let's ******* make this whole bigger. That's a mark of friendship. Now, Anna, you know we had a lot of fun. No, we didn't. You're the Co host of the ethnically ambiguous podcast. And we're talking about Bashar al-Assad, so my favorite, probably micropenis holder. Oh my God. If you added six inches to *** **** you'd still need tweezers to find it. It's probably nonexistent, which is why he's so angry. Yeah, I mean, you know, that's why he wanted to get his eyes. You know? He wanted to fix everyone's eyes so they could see his penis because he's being like, no one seemed to see it. So maybe I'll become an optometrist. Maybe someone ******* see my penis. You don't have to murder everybody. I I was going to go on this thing about how we shouldn't, like, demonize micro penises, but then you made a really ******* good joke, and I we should have demonized micro penises, because if you have one, it doesn't matter. Nothing matters. The fact that you can still you can still come, and that's all that matters, you can still have children is all that matters. And if you can't come that, that's fine too. I don't know. We're we're getting way off the subject of Bashar al-Assad here. Well, I feel like I'll only demonize it if you are someone like Bashar al-Assad, who who takes it out on other people by murdering. Yeah, yeah, children like I would millions. I would never make fun of anyone for having a squeaky voice. But if you're like a little fascist media personality who argues about how all Muslims are monsters and you have a voice that sounds like you've been inhaling helium for the last 30 years and your name is Ben Shapiro, I might make fun of that. Like, hey, I'm popular, OK? I'm popular. So, Anna. Do you know the name Mohammed Brazis? No. Well, he was a 25 year old man in the year 2010. He worked as a street vendor in Tunisia. His father had died when he was young and Mohammed wound up supporting his family through a very rough economy, even managing to pay for one of his sisters to attend university. He seems to have been a real stand up guy, dropped out of school, you know, put his own dreams on hold in order to take care of like several brothers and sisters and like a couple of elderly relatives. Now for some reason local police officers took a dislike to Mohammed. They regularly confiscated his wares, likely because he could not afford to bribe them not to do so. One day in mid-december 2010, this happened again, and Mohammed tried to seek redress through the organs of his local government. But Tunisia was a state ruled by an autocratic dictator and an ossified bureaucracy that existed primarily to let people with family connections make money by ******* over poor folks like Mohammed Bouaziz. His quest ended at the governor, who refused to talk to him even after Mohammed said. If you don't see me, I'll burn myself. Mohammed immediately left to do just that. He acquired a can of gasoline from a nearby station and lit himself on fire in front of the governor's office. He died on January 4th, 2011, after days of unspeakable agony. But in death, the governor and the dictatorial president of Tunisia could not ignore Mohammed Bouaziz. His death is generally seen as having ignited the Arab Spring which overthrew the President of Tunisia. As well as the dictators of Egypt and Libya, for a time Bashar al-Assad thought he would be safe from the fires of revolution sweeping through the Arab world. David Lesch is the writer who spent a lot of time with Bashar. We heard about him in the last episode. He wrote a book called The Fall of the House of Assad. It cites several articles that the regime published during this time, both in its own magazine forward and in a Wall Street Journal interview with Assad quote. Both articles in the February issue reflected the Presidents and the regime sense of immunity from the virus of protests. Spreading elsewhere in the Arab world. The editor in chief of the magazine, Doctor Samir Mobayed, is a professor of international relations in the country and one of its foremost commentators. He has access to high places in Syria and therefore his essays often reflect regime sentiments. For this issue, he wrote a piece entitled Lesson from Egypt W is not best. In it, Mobayed repeatedly hammers home the point that the dictators in the Arab world who had either fallen by then President Ben Ali in Tunisia or were on their way out President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. And President Abdullah Saleh in Yemen were being run out of office by widespread popular protest, primarily because over the years they had been the lackeys of the West, particularly of the United States. So Assad and his cronies at first thought they would be safe from the Arab Spring because, of course, Assad hadn't been an American lackey. Mobayed's article ends, ironically, by accurately describing the forces then sweeping the Arab world, which they just didn't think we're going to come for them. Quote what is so beautiful about the Tunisian and Egyptian stories is that this time? Wasn't flamboyant and inexperienced young officers toppling the young king Norma? Was it turbulent clerics toppling an autocratic and aging royal like Iran 1979. It was also not US tanks rumbling into Tunisia, as was the case with Baghdad in 2003. It was the people of Tunisia, the young and the old, the intellectual and the unemployed. It was the glorious people of Egypt who said enough is enough. What moubayed and other Assadist did not see is that the exact same forces that had made Tunisia right for revolution, endemic, crushing corruption. Robbed young people of paths towards the decent life and left them hopeless, underemployed and enraged. That was present in Syria as well. While Assad had opened up the economy somewhat, every reform was calculated in one way or another to benefit his core supporters or gain him new supporters, because every dictatorship in every country is just a gigantic gangster enterprise when you get right down to it. Wait, so they he thought that his people hadn't noticed what he was up to. Basically, he thought his people loved him and that they would not revolt. Because he hadn't been a lackey of the US. He thought the Arab Spring was people being angry at dictators in their region, doing what the US wanted. And he was like, well, I'm I don't like the US, so people will back me. Like, obviously they're going to keep loving Bashar God, these dudes. That's what's crazy is like they have no sense of what's going on around them, like, at all. No, that's what happens when you have the mukhabarat like arresting and torturing everybody who is like, maybe things could be less corrupt. I guess you don't know I'm being paid people to tell you anything negative. You pay people to tell you we have arrested X number of dissidents and they are in a dark hole instead of being like, just FYI, like, so we took a survey and it looks like people like think you're shady. Yeah, people don't like that. We throw so many people in the dark holes that actually the dark hole approval rating is like 8%. You know, no one saying this. Yeah, no, almost no one we like. The dark holes that's the 8% is the is the mukhabarat vote, they vote for dark holes, but everyone else really against the dark holes that we throw dissidents into. Yeah, it looks like we're not. We're not getting the numbers we were hoping for dark holes. We're thinking of rebranding the dark hole that we throw dissidents into. What about what about this? Rainbow circle. I love it. Yeah, I love it. That's the I forget which one of us now is the brand name of the device. Yeah. In February 2011, Mauia Ciasna, a 14 year old kid, was hanging out with his friends in the Syrian town of Dara. Tunisia's dictator had just been forced out of power and these kids were ornery, so they scared up some red paint and dabbed your turn doctor on the walls of their school. Now Dara is a fairly small rural town near the border with Jordan. At that point, Syria was in the grip of an intense drought, which had reduced crop yields and crippled the already stumbling economy. Youth unemployment was particularly bad, and Mauia and his friends had little hope of growing up in a world with many options for them if things continued on the way they were going. So they painted a threat against their dictator on the wall of their school, and soon after that all hell broke loose. Assad's men quickly arrested the 10th graders and sent them back to Damascus to be brutally tortured. A bunch of Nazi trained torture experts. This was a pretty normal move from the mukhabarat, but unknown to Bashar, that in those secret policemen the winds of the world had just changed. The people of Dara were quite suddenly unwilling to accept this kind of ********. On March of 2011 they took to the streets. Hundreds of people, many of them relatives of the arrested boys, protested the regime. The crowd grew to thousands. Bashar's police opened fire, killing four and dispersing the crowd. But the next day 20,000 fury Assyrians took to the streets. In the days that followed, things grew more violent and mukhabarat offices were vandalized. More protesters were murdered in larger numbers, funerals of the dead became protests. And so the regime banned funerals. Yeah, when you're banning funerals, you might be monstrous. Totalitarian dictator. I mean, it's crazy. These kids had no idea what they were about to literally like, domino effect into, but, like, how could they have possibly known? So, I mean, you're banning. Funerals, it's like, then stop ******* killing everybody. Maybe, like, take it as like, *** ****. Hint, if people are this upset, maybe you should be real easy to reduce the funerals. Yeah, stop killing people. I guess common sense isn't a thing within regimes, so I don't know what I'm even saying. Yeah, I mean, it's a type of common sense within the logic of murdering people within regime logic. We're like, well within says that we, you know, have to murder everyone. Who stands up to us? Yeah. If you're a regime, it makes sense, yeah. None of this worked to stop the growing unrest. A single act of childish graffiti and Dara wound up being the spark that started the Syrian civil war. Which is so far the deadliest civil war of the 21st century. According to David Lesch quote, it is almost certain that Bashar al-Assad was absolutely shocked when the uprisings in the Arab world started to seep into his country in March 2011. I believe he truly thought he was safe and secure and popular in the country and was beyond condemnation. But this was not the case in the Middle East of 2011 where the stream of information via the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and mobile phones could not be controlled as it once had been. On March 24th, 2011, Bashar al-Assad addressed his nation over the continuing unrest. He promised vague reforms, which of course he could not actually deliver upon. Any reforms to reduce corruption would be taking money out of the pockets of his supporters, which of course he could not afford to do at the moment. Any actual political openness would be seized upon his weakness and lead to his fall from power. So he promised nothing and ended his speech with quote I shall remain the faithful brother and comrade who will walk with his people and lead them to build the cereal. We love the Syria. We are proud of the Syria which is invincible to its enemies. You know, I do wonder if he, like, he just was in over his head and started. I mean, not that I'm in any way defending Bashar al-Assad, but I wonder if he was in over his head and then just started to panic, like, just being like, yeah, yeah, kill, kill, kill mall. Yeah. And then now he's like, ****. Well, now that I've, like, in my panic have started acting like a full psycho, I guess I just have to, like, keep it going. Yeah. You know, there's a version of this where that is what goes on, where he's kind of like a Czar Nicholas figure. And, like, the initial bloodletting is more accidental because of how the regime set up. That's how the security forces respond. You, the leader, are left grappling with it. But then things hit a certain point and it's like, well, they're going to kill me. Or I can kill all of them. Yeah, there is kind of like a vibe, like a really dumb vibe where he's like, I guess I'm a dictator now. Like, it's like, you ******* idiot like you. Had been before. Like you operated Nazi torture dungeons, then let the CIA use them like Bashar wasn't. Yeah, it's. He's there's definitely an aspect of this that is a guy like, obviously he didn't want this. Nobody know. None of these people want there to be a civil war because there's a chance that, like, you get thrown out of power. I don't know. You know, we'll we'll talk about that more by the end. We'll see what conclusion you come to about how how his journey on this. For most of the world, Friday, April 1st was April Fool's Day in Syria in 2011. It was the Friday of martyrs. This was the name given to a day of furious protests across the country, conducted in the name of the dozens who'd been shot dead by security forces and the hundreds who were currently being tortured. This time, Bashar al-Assad ordered snipers up on the roofs of cities around the country. They fired randomly into crowds of activists and shot anyone who broke curfew next, according to Leche's book quote. In the May and June 2011, the regime continued to engage in a schizophrenic response to the protests. While continuing to make some concessions and announce reform measures. The military and security forces intensified their crackdown on cities across Syria that were hit by demonstrations. To the outside observer, this approach may seem contradictory and indicative of fissures within the ruling elite on how to respond to the crisis. On the other hand, from the perspective of Bashar and his inner circle, it could be seen as two sides of the same coin in a way that came to be expected of the Assad regime. Old and new IT was something of an axiom of power politics that one offers concessions only from a position of strength, never from a position of weakness. Therefore, while there was also a practical side to the Assad approach in terms of repressing the unrest, it also clearly indicated that the regime wanted to portray itself as only making concessions and offering reform measures from a position of strength. So he just, OK, sorry. I got what? Yeah. No, I mean, he he he wants to he's willing to give people concessions, but only if he stays in control. And the only way to stay in control is to kill people. Right. But he didn't really like, what were these concessions like? Did did anything come of that? Yeah, no, not really. Like, it was the same as the concessions he offered at the start of his reign, where it's like, I'll open things up, but like, you already did that and then close them down again because it was bad for you. Like, why would you trust Bashar al-Assad at this point? Yeah. One of the people who died so Bashar could offer reform from a position of strength was Hamza Al Khatib. He was 13 years old when he went missing on the 29th of April. His battered and abused corpse was returned to his family a month later. His family shared pictures of their boys torn up body on social media and rage at his murder spread virally. Assad's government, of course, denied torturing the child they had. A Doctor Who worked for the government examined the body. He concluded that all of the scars and holes and injuries were not consistent with torture. Bashar al-Assad made a big show of visiting the family to share his sadness at this tragic and inexplicable death that he and his security apparatus had no role in. They're like, yeah, yeah, looks like, no, no torture here. So sorry about your boy. What a mystery. Yeah, you know, based on, uh, you know my work as an optometrist. I can see there is no torture. Hmm. Yeah, his eyes look great. Oh, good, good. Now ***** ** **** yeah, real ***** ** ****. This photo op with the grieving family of a murdered boy did not shockingly reduce opposition to the Assad regime. A Facebook page was created in his name, garnering 67,000 supporters, 1 commenter wrote. There is no place left here for a regime after what they did to Hamza. On July 29th 2011, seven Syrian Arab Army officers defected from the military, forming the core of the Free Syrian Army. By November the FSA was strong enough to launch armed attacks on the regime itself. In this way and stops and starts, the protests and St activism and violent state repression gradually escalated to full-fledged warfare. In January of 2012 Nusra Front, an Islamist rebel group, declared their opposition to the regime. Whole cities wound up in open rebellion. Of the state. In February 2012, Bashar had his army assault Homs, the third largest city in Syria. 400 people, virtually all of them civilians, were killed on the first day. You see, Assad's army crumbled fairly quickly in the face of the rebellion. It had never been a particularly potent force, and many of its men had deserted for the other side once the fighting started. At one point he had less than 5000 soldiers in the whole country, so Assad relied heavily on random artillery strikes and equally random bombings by his Air Force, which was the one thing he had that. The rebels did not. The Syrian Air Force was from the beginning Assad's greatest weapon against his own people. In August 2012, the regime was filmed dropping its very first barrel bomb on the city of Homs. Now, Anna, you know what a barrel bomb is. I'm gonna guess most people have heard the term. Yeah, it's probably the iconic weapon of the Syrian civil war, and it's essentially a huge metal barrel packed full of high explosives and shrapnel, nails, metal bits, whatever. It all functions the same with a few dozen pounds of RDX behind it. A barrel bomb is the kind of weapon you deploy when you don't care who you kill. And, yeah, it's. There's a video on YouTube that I would recommend listeners watch. If you just type in Assad barrels, you will find it. It's horrific. One of the the the worst things I've ever seen, like the the wake of these bombings is. Almost indescribable. It's it's worse than what I've seen in the wake of US air strikes, which is pretty horrific in and of itself. But an explosive like this, it's just like a particularly awful way to wage war. Like even worse than a Hellfire missile. It's like, I don't understand. Like, he's like, oh, you know. That's what's crazy. Like he's he says, OK, I'm going to, I'm going to give concessions, I'm going to work with you guys so you don't keep protesting me. And then he just goes and, like, kills a town. What's what's the issue with the regime? What's everybody's problem? I'm gonna drop just barrels of death on you guys. Why is everyone has nobody like me? Yeah, it's like, dude, like, ******* read the room. Yeah, read the room, Bashar. What are we doing here anymore? I don't even I this is it's so crazy. Like, it's so hard to wrap your mind around someone. Who? In a way, like when you first think about it, like he didn't want to become the leader. He had so much potential to just be a good human being in an office. Running a country, like, coming from his point of view of being like, I don't really, you know, want to run a country, like, I just want to be this regular doctor, like, blah, blah, blah. It's like I could just be an easygoing guy who's like one of the people. I mean, honestly, it goes back to bad parenting, but this is insane. It's like, so insane that he was like, all right, let's just turn this around and kill everybody. Yep. Guess I'm murdering. Yeah, and he got right to murdering. I'd like to quote from a Doctors Without Borders article about the use of barrel bombs primarily in the city of Aleppo during the fighting there quote. Barrel bombings in eastern Aleppo are so unpredictable and widespread that they have sown fear throughout the city. It is extremely difficult for someone to take measures to protect their families and improve their safety, which contributes to higher levels of psychological stress. You never know when a bomb can happen. This is the problem. You could be at home having dinner, you could be sleeping, you could be walking to the shop at any time. It might happen, especially coming to Turkey. For those who have to go to Turkey for work or to unite family members, it is a very scary route as you don't know who you might meet and what might happen. You don't know if you will return home safe or see your family again. That's a quote from Tariq, a health worker in Al Salama, Aleppo. So Bashar al-Assad punished Aleppo and other cities for their disobedience by leveling the vast majority of the buildings there with endless reigns of barrel bombs. During the four year battle for Aleppo, residents would celebrate whenever the weather was cloudy because it meant that they would at least get a few hours break before the next bombs fell, one staff member told Doctors Without Borders quote one day when we were working at the hospital in eastern Aleppo, it was the day of a high number of barrel. Bombings. It was like the city was in chaos and lots of people were being brought to us, dead and alive. I remember when two bodies were brought in, an old man and his small grandson. They both had the same name. They must have been together when the bomb hit. The family was searching for them in all the hospitals of Aleppo, but couldn't find them. Their neighbors had also been bombed, so there was no one to ask about the whereabouts of these two. Finally they came in. The bodies were identified. It was all just one instance, but still we all felt so sad. God. Yeah. Yep, no one. That's so sad. There's like, just no, you just don't know. You don't know what's going to happen at any point at any time. You just live in ******* fear that the man who runs your country just may, like casual, decide to bomb. Your town or your home? Yeah, you're just like, Oh well, you know, one of those days all thank God for the cloud so we don't get barrel bombed. Ohh good cloud solves the president can't murder us today unless the clouds go away. Yeah. Chris Kozak, Assyria research analyst for the Institute of the Study of War, explains that the regime's strategy with barrel bombs is to quote, inflict mass punishment against opposition supported populations, or populations that were perceived to be supportive of the opposition in order to prevent the formation of a viable alternative to the regime. And it really seems to have worked like the Free Syrian Army at the start was a really secular force run by a lot of really brave men, and it sort of degraded into kind of a lot of bandits. And extremists at this point, just because everybody at the start of the civil war who was like providing a viable alternative to Bashar's government and like was a hope of civil society, like he killed them all. Like, that was a big part of his strategy is like, oh, they want to run Syria without me? Well, I'll just murder everybody who can run Syria without me, right? Yeah. Everyone's gone. Yeah, everybody's everybody's gone. And all the survivors are too shell shocked and terrified to do anything but hide. That's his strategy. Do we know how many people are left in his army? No, I mean, at this point he's conscripted a lot more and it's it's it's up to a higher level. But there was one point where they were essentially militias and gangs that were allied with the regime were way larger than the actual Syrian Arab Army. Wow. You know, usually if you're talking like 2013, fourteen. Yeah. He's got like help from Iran and other places. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, help from Iran. Help from Hezbollah's help from help from Russia. Bashar's favorite target for his barrel bombs outside of the crowded apartment buildings is hospitals. On one day he struck a Lepos M10 hospital with two barrel bombs, 2 cluster bombs and one rocket. Now, striking hospitals is a war crime, but Assad figures what's the harm in committing war crimes when you know nobody is ever going to punish you? They're not really crimes then, are they? He also loves bombing elementary schools. In one 2014 attack he killed 25 small children with a single bomb when interviewed by the BBC. Bashar al-Assad denies his regime has ever deployed barrel bombs, saying it's a childish story that keeps repeating in the West. If someone who is against his people and against regional powers in the great powers in the West, how did they survive? If you kill the Syrian people, do they support you or do they turn against you? As long as you have the public support, it means you are defending the people. If you kill the people, they turn against you. It's common sense. You you can watch people drop barrels out of Syrian Air Force planes on the buildings, but you know, there's no like he's bombing hospitals because they're like treating people who. Aren't for him like that's his logic because they're in rebel controlled chunks of the city and kill them all. Yeah, a big part of it is just completely destroying any kind of resistance to the regime. That's the kind of war he's waging. Like I was not against when the US went and bombed what they thought were his chemical weapons factories. Everyone was so offended by it being like, we're going to war. I was like, no, we're ******* doing something. **** this guy. It's one of those things. I mean, we didn't actually like I'm against it because it was completely useless and accomplished nothing. I'm not against attacking. The Syrian regime and trying to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles. But if you talk about the Trump administration's cruise missile attack, like, it just didn't ******* do anything. But it was. I like that it was something to be like, we ******* see you, bro. Yeah. Yeah. It's at least it's it's not nothing. So I'll give it that like it's better than nothing. But I I will say it didn't. Accomplish anything other than maybe scaring him a little bit, but I don't even know how much it scared him because the next day he he ******* released that photo of himself walking through with a briefcase. Which is like ************ why you even carrying a briefcase? Yeah, what are you keeping that briefcase, Bashar? Like you ******* ******* ******* you. You. You, baby. You got nothing going on you. You know who's not an *******? Walking with a briefcase through the ruins of his destroyed airfield? And who the advertisers who support this show? Yes, that's the behind the ******** guarantee none of our advertisers are Bashar al-Assad. And watch the ******* next ad that gets randomly slotted. It's going to be like megaphone being like, yeah, Damascus airport now open for business again. See the wonderful beaches. I would love to see Damascus if there was a way to do it without dying, you know, putting, putting. Put it. Well, no. I mean, it's pretty safe for travelers. It's just you'd be putting money into the regime, and I don't want to. Do that, but Damascus is a city I've always wanted to say anyway. Yeah, it's incredible. My my Arabic teacher was Assyrian and he was from Aleppo and this was back in 2006. I just remember how much he would talk about how beautiful his city was, proud he was of his country, about how we created the alphabet. Like that's a real thing, that the Syrians. Everything. Yeah. ******* made math. Yeah. Horrible tragedy. What's happened, not a horrible tragedy, are our products and services. Was that a good break, Sophie? Did we do it right? No? Well, it's done. Products. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying. Or for a family. And it meant family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. You can use your own phone with any mint mobile plan and keep your same phone number along with all your existing contacts. Just switch to Mint mobile and get premium wireless service starting at 15 bucks a month. Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month, and no one expected plot twists at mintmobile.com/behind. That's mintmobile.com/behind. Seriously, you'll make your wallet. Very happy at Mint Mobilcom behind. Hey, it's Rick Schwartz, one of your hosts for San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. If we don't help them find ways of making a living without destroying the environment, we can't save chimps, forests or anything else. And that becomes very clear when you look at poverty around the world. If you're living in poverty, you can't afford to ask as we can. Did this product harm the environment? Was it cruel to animals like, was it factory farmed? Is it cheap because of unfair wages paid to people and so alleviating poverty? Is tremendously important. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on Tik T.O.K. You maybe even heard the rumors from your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we here at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research with you for the first time ever in a book format, you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read books.com or wherever you find your favorite books. We're back. We're back after what I have to assume is the best ad break anyone has ever done. It's going to be like, do you like regimes? You're going to love Bashar al-Assad, and you're like, wait, what? Just literally an ad for Bashar al-Assad place on her side. He's like, hey guys, I get a lot of heat. But what you don't know is that actually quite self deprecating in a real fun guy and people love my giggle. He's actually, he's hosting a new podcast about Phil Collins. That'd be so wild. He's like, guys, I love Phil Collins, and my first guests are Brad and Angelina. Check it out on the Assad cast. Cast. I hate to say it, but it's it's a solid. It's a solid name. So should we make that podcast? No. Under no circumstances should we make that podcast. OK, yeah, yeah, let's let's not make that podcast. So, yeah, you can watch dozens of videos of Assad's regime dropping barrel bombs if you want to see that yourself. For some reason, at least 181,557 civilians have been killed in battle by the Syrian regime, which is 95.7% of the total combat death toll in the Syrian civil war. These are just confirmed dead with total expected fatalities. Over half a million, the real number is much likely higher. The regime has killed at least 18,456 children 93.6% of the children who are known to have died in the Syrian civil war. Now that number leaves out 128,000 people who have been missing, in many cases for years, inside the secret prisons run by the Bashar al-Assad government, according to the New York Times quote. Government memos smuggled out of the country showed that officials who reported directly to Mr al-Assad ordered the crackdowns on civilians and knew of atrocities. They ordered a harsh treatment of specific detainees and complained of increasing detainee deaths as corpses piled up and decomposed. 1 Government memo urged personnel to complete paperwork and protect officials from future prosecution. Detainees are regularly beaten, hung by their wrists, beaten while crammed inside tires, shocked with electricity and sexually assaulted. More Baroque forms of torture include forcing detainees. Act like animals beat or kill one another and dousing them with fuel and burning them. It's possible that more than 100,000 people have died. That way, God. Yeah. Which is for reference. In Libya, since 2011, if you include all of the deaths in the fighting to overthrow Gaddafi and all of the deaths in the violence since Gaddafi's overthrow, 2011, 2019, 50,000 people have died from the violence. In Libya. Bashar al-Assad has tortured twice that many people to death, not counting the barrel bombs, not counting the chemical weapons, not counting gunfire, not counting mortars, not counting rockets, not counting Russian airplanes, just torturing people to death. Twice as many people as have died in Libya. Since 2011, fighting. God bless all them people cause fighting. For what you believe in, in the Middle East is. Suicides, yeah. It's always for the most part not going to go the way you would like has not in a while. Now, after all of this horrifying brutality, all these senseless deaths, I know what you're wondering, Anna. How is this war been for Bashar and his lovely wife Asma? Well. You're your face. You do not like skin cancer. Yeah, it's one of those things where it's like cancer. Get your boys. Like this. These are the people to to happen to, but they'll probably both live to 103. But I know you're curious as to to what their daily life has been. The the good news is that thousands of their emails were leaked to the Guardian, so we actually have a pretty good idea of what they got up to in between all the barrel bombs and such. First off, how did their emails get leaked? I don't know. It just is something that happens. They confirmed it. The Guardian confirmed it with a number of different people, including recipients of the emails, that they were legitimate and stuff. You know, it's one of those things. How did ******* you know, shitloads of people's emails get leaked out these days. It's just the how what happens? Got the hackers out there. Them hackers. Now, First off, you're going to guess what the Assad's favorite TV show has been during the Civil War. No, no. Like, well, like friends on Netflix. America's Got Talent. Oh my God, yeah, they are such trash. They are basic *******. I feel comfortable saying that. Also, big fans of the Harry Potter movies, there was some worry at one point that they wouldn't be able to get their hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 because of the war. But they did get a copy. So I'm actually not surprised by that, because I bet Bashar sees a lot of himself and like Voldemort. He's probably like, you know, this guy makes a lot of good points. This guy's making a lot of, he's saying all the right things. He said he was real surprised in the last book. Deatheaters yeah. Yeah. Good luck, Bashar. Yeah, here's the Guardian quote. In one e-mail, al-Assad laughs at democratic reforms. When his wife tells him she'll come home early one day, he quips. This is the best reform in any country can have that you told me where you will be. We are going to adopt it instead of the rubbish laws of parties, elections, media and that. Funny how love you ****. You don't like his dictator, his humor like women, am I right? It's like, get the **** out of here. You're killing people. Sad jerked without deal. Al Ali, one of his media consultants, while Arab League monitors were in Syria seeking to bring an end to the carnage. al-Assad ridiculed the mission, sending Al Ali A YouTube parody of the violence that uses children's toys. Check out this video, he wrote. She responded with ha ha ha ha ha OMG!!! Hmm this *****. It was Assad ******* looking up YouTube videos while his forces are murdering, bombing hospitals. Yeah. The only vague suggestion one gets that Bashar might have something that approaches a conscience comes from an e-mail he sent on February 5th, 2012, on the day after his artillery had killed 400 civilians in the city of Homs. Poping flesh and bone and concrete into a powdered slurry of broken lives, Assad sent his wife an iTunes download of a country song by Blake Shelton. He wrote out some of the lyrics. In the e-mail I've been a walking heartache. I've made a mess of me. The person that I've been lately ain't who I want to be. Are you? I am ******* serious. If that is not a reason to ******* blow his brains out, I know. Like what are you even talking about? You. There is nothing relatable about you, fool. Nothing Blake Shelton like. Listen to Chris Kristofferson. But Kris Kristofferson's music would like destroy itself before it let it itself into a dictator. Honestly, I'm actually not surprised because he probably, like, agrees with like, Blake Shelton's like Skittles are for gay people tweets or something like that. Yeah, that was like, yeah, Blake Shelton. He makes it. Yeah, exactly. ******* Blake Shelton. You should be ashamed too, Blake Shelton. You're part of the problem. You're part of the problem. I would be so bummed out if it turned out a dictator was a fan of any of my work. Like, that would that would be such a ******* bummer. Oh my God, yeah, I'd be bummed out if I was JK Rowling to know that they were watching movies based off my books, even though, like, you know, you didn't do anything wrong there. But, like, still bummer. Can you imagine, like, the producers of America's Got Talent? Like, Oh no, they're they've been playing to the Assad demographic for years. That's a critical part of America's Got Talent. Do you think he's ever tried to make, like, a serious Got Talent? I bet that's coming once the war ends and everyone's like, performing at gunpoint or it's just good trying out his hobbies. Yeah, him doing like a tight five. Guess who wins? Bashar. Every single time, every year. It's you again, Bashar. His wife is the judge. He's the talent. And it's him versus the memory of his dead brother. Yeah, he just like, looks like he can't win because he's dead. Oh, looks. Who's better at computers now, Basil? Yeah, they're like, oh boy. What a sad, sad, sad experience in July of 2011, when 10s of thousands of Syrians were taking to the streets to protest the hopelessness of life under the rule of the Assads and the brutality of the state security apparatus, Asma al-Assad. Ordered through her cousin's bespoke jewelry from a small jeweler in Paris, she ordered 4 necklaces, quote one turquoise with yellow gold diamonds and a small pop on the side, one full black Onyx and amethyst and white gold diamonds. She stated that she hoped it would be ready in September, but she said that she understood if it took longer. Telling her cousin, I am absolutely clueless when it comes to find jewelry. She ended the letter by saying kisses to you both and don't worry, we're well. See someone needs to like. Take it upon themselves to fill that jewelry with like poison gas that comes out when they put them on or when should be nice. I assume they have the jewelry by now, but if you can poison the Assad's jewelry, clearly she's going to buy more. I would say do it. Yeah. Yeah, she's going to buy. If you're a French jeweler, just poison all your jewelry that probably we shouldn't be, shouldn't be urging that. I assume other people buy French jewelry, only jewelry that's going to the Assad regime. Only jewelry that's going to the Assad regime. Another e-mail sent in December of 2011 as the protest campaign broke out into a full-fledged civil war. Ozma messaged her husband quote if we are strong together, we will overcome this together. I love you. Shortly thereafter she ordered a $3000 vase from Harrods. Hmm, cool. Yeah. I don't like how reading all the stops while this is all going around, she shops at ton. And reading all this, I'm reminded of a quote I came across in a CNN article from former Bush administration Officer Flint Leverett. He said of Bashar al-Assad. Quote, I think who a man marries says a good deal about him. I think he was actually correct. Like the fact that he's married to Marie Antoinette here. Really, really fit looking at photos of them together right now. And they kind of look like they're siblings. They do a little bit right. Yeah, they have like the same face. Yeah, yeah, the same little ratty face. Now you'll notice that we've made it through 19 or 20 pages of Bashar al-Assad history without talking about chemical weapons. There's a couple of good reasons for this. One of them is that for the last couple of years, a pernicious series of myths and lies has cropped up, helped along by incompetent, senile or outright ethically compromised journalists claiming that the chemical weapons attacks by Bashar al-Assad on his own people were false flags. These rumors have spread on the far right. Because actual fascists love Bashar al-Assad, since he is a fascist and he's doing what they'd like to do to all of their political opponents. The same rumors have spread on the far left because it allows leftists to have an easy justification for why they don't think any action should be taken to stop Bashar from carrying out the greatest mass killing of the 21st century. There is no truth to this nonsense. However, I wanted to make it super clear that even if Bashar had never ordered a single chemical weapons strike, he is still the single greatest monster of the 21st century. Even if he had never launched any, Sarah never dropped any chlorine like that **** is ******* icing on the ***** ** **** dictator cake. Sophie is a is putting two fingers in front of the camera, which means that this is clearly a great time for an ad break. Nothing gets advertised as excited like talking about chemical weapons attacks. Now she's flipping me off and I don't understand why. Anna, you look very uncomfortable. You know I will not get involved in your guys. You don't want to. You don't want to get involved with Mommy and Daddy. Fighting? No, no comment on what just happened. No comment on what just happened. Well, what's about to happen is products. And services. I'm happier about the services and the products. Are we on break? I mean, no, we I haven't said products yet. And the voice that I say, are you, Are you ready for us to be on break? Anna? Are you bored? No, but I was going to tell you something during our break. Oh, OK. Well, products. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family. And it meant. Family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. You can use your own phone with any mint mobile plan and keep your same phone number along with all your existing contacts. Just switch to Mint mobile and get premium wireless service starting at 15 bucks a month. Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month and no one expected plot twists at mintmobile.com/behind. That's mintmobile.com/behind. Seriously, you'll make your wallet very happy at Mint Mobile. Com slash behind. Hey, it's Rick Schwartz, one of your hosts for San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. Anything, particularly young children out into nature so that they can experience it and take time off from this virtual world of being always on your cell phones and so on. And get the feel of nature so that you come to be fascinated, then you come to want to understand it, and then you come to love it, and at that point you want to protect it. And then we'll come to the sort of healthy world that I envision as a good future for us. And the rest of life on this planet. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on Tik T.O.K. You maybe even heard the rumors from your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we hear at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research. With you for the first time ever in a book format, you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read books.com or wherever you find your favorite books. We're back. And the thing that Anna was going to tell me is that Asma al-Assad does have cancer. Now she has breast cancer. So sometimes cancer gets it, right? Yeah. That's it's fascinating. It's kind of funny that we said that. And then all of a sudden she got cancer. I hope it spreads to her husband. I'm sure it's aggressive karma because apparently I was just looking that she was offered asylum to get out of there and she said no. And then she. Oh yeah, came out against the, like, air strikes being, like, so irresponsible for you guys to strike our chemical weapon factories. It's like, what? Dude lady? What? *****? **** ***. Yeah, with your *******. I have an idea. Suck * **** dude. Yeah, no, it's one of those things where I did look into it to make sure she had so many opportunities to get the **** out. And in fact, there's even suggestions that at one point when the war was going more against the regime, they actually tried to flee the country, but she still stood by her, man. So to speak, like she she was there was at no point where she was like. Bashar, maybe we shouldn't be mass murdering people. Maybe we could just take our ill gotten money and go live in France or something. They could have worked that deal out. Also, I just saw a thing part of the emails that leaked that she was saying that she's the real dictator. Yeah, she's joked about that a number of times. What the **** dude, you are such a *****. She's a monster. Trust beautiful people in power. No, no, no. It's always bad. It's always bad. Yeah, they're just too damn sexy. Which is why I did not support Barack Obama's election. No, but. But it did worry me how good looking he was. Thankfully, now that we have an ugly man as president, everything's on the up and up. The same problem with George W Bush. Too much raw sexual power, you know. I always just. I know, I know. We all did. We all did. Everyone at the press pool was just tweaking their ******* during his briefings. It was it was. It was a problem. Now, the deadliest of Bashar's chemical weapons attacks occurred in 2013, when he launched a barrage of rockets containing sarin nerve gas on Gouda, a rebel controlled suburb of Damascus. 1400 people were killed, the UN confirmed. Overwhelming. Indisputable evidence of sarin used at the massacre, Gary Quinlan, the Australian UN ambassador and president of the UN Security Council, is said in the report on the attack. Quote confirms in our view, that there is no remaining doubt it was the regime that used chemical weapons. A more recent 2017 chemical weapon attack on Khan Sheikoun killed 86 people. Doctors Without Borders independently confirmed the use of chemical weapons in this attack. This attack prompted the Trump administration to fire cruise missiles at a mostly empty air base. Like? There's a lot like you can go in a rabbit hole and read a bunch of people putting out like, oh, look at this detail of this picture means that these attacks were fake, or that there wasn't a chemical weapon, or that it was the rebels that did it. It's the same. If you have spent a lot of time looking at 911 conspiracies, it's the same ********. The difference is that some respectable journalists like Seymour Hersh have gotten caught up in it because in his case, he's ******* old and doesn't know anything about chemical weapons, and is one of those people who is reflexively. Gonna be like, whatever America says isn't the truth, even though it's like, ******* I've. I've seen the US commit war crimes that are reported on them like **** everything, but **** pretending these chemical attacks aren't real. There's been like 330 documented chemical weapons attacks, like 98% of them have been the Syrian regime. There have been a couple by like ISIS and and whatnot who have like made like chlorine gas bombs and ****. But it is very well documented. You can what you can do, like go to the Bellingcat articles documenting some of the more recent. Attacks where they've dropped gas canisters through roofs and like, go through every picture of it and look at the documentation and trace back the research for yourself if you really ******* want to. But doctors Without Borders and the ******* UN observers who have tested like the ******* soil in people's bodies and done thousands of hours of research into this are all on the same page. And it's that the Assad regime has repeatedly deployed chemical weapons against its people. I get angry about this. It's very ****** **. Shows how we keep they really are. Yeah, yeah. It it's it's. And this is, I think, one of the reasons there's a conspiracy around this is because a lot of people can't understand why Bashar al-Assad would deploy chemical weapons on his own people and risk foreign intervention. There's this idea that, like, oh, it's just so risky. Why would he do it? And I think the answer is that he took the measure of the United States during the Bush years, and for eight years he balanced helping the US with hindering it. And he watched our occupation of Iraq turn into a quagmire. And he came to a very clear and very accurate. Conclusion that the United States no longer had the guts to intervene seriously in a situation where intervention might cost American lives. And he gambled on that gut feeling, and he won. It's as simple as that. It's like Hitler gambling on ******* annexing the Sudetenland like it was a gamble. It could have ****** **. He had, by some accounts, more to lose than to win, but everybody else was a ******* coward, so he won. That's how it works with dictators like. I know it's it's, I mean that's why I'm like, you know, I have no problem with us. I mean, I don't even know. Let's send it at this point. At this point there's yeah, honey Potters and like at this point I mean the the Syrian regime in the Russian Air Force is pounding a province called Idlib, which has like 3 million people in it, the vast, vast majority of whom are civilians. I support trying to enforce some sort of no fly zone to stop those people from being massacred because the same ******* bombings saturation. Bombing is happening there, but like, there's no good in 2011, 2012, a good thing could have been worked out that that there's no possibility now there's too many ******* people are dead. Like everything's ****** now. We didn't do a world, yeah, so the other reason he deployed chemical weapons is a little bit cannier. At the very start of the uprising against his rule, Assad had claimed that the forces behind the rebels were not Syrians, but foreigners trying to undermine his country less who's probably the Westerner. Knows Bashar's mind best says that once Assad was able to convince himself of this, any kind of violence was justified, especially since his forces didn't have the manpower to fight St to St to take back the country quote. So they need to use the asymmetric methods like chemical weapons to brutalize them. There's a good quartz article tracking out Assad's decision making on this. It quotes a couple of Syrian dissidents who suggest that Assad was, quote, invoking something akin to medieval western monarchs, belief in the divine right of kings. Like his father, he always believed that he had the right to do whatever he wants to his own people, to kill them, torture them, disappear them. They are my own people, and that's the sovereignty I have explained. Siata, Assadi says, sees himself as the father punishing his errant sons. The father is allowed to do whatever when the sons make mistakes. He doesn't understand that there is a social contract. Between the Syrians and elected officials, yeah, so. Yeah, there is a social contract. Don't kill innocent people. Don't massacred women and children and old people with poison from the sky or fire from the sky. Dude, anyone could have told you that. Well, I mean, a lot of countries do that. It's not as obvious a lesson, not that I'm defending them, but like, we could stand to use that lesson too. Yeah, whatever the truth of Assad's thinking, time has proven him right on the bet that the US and the international community would never be willing to take a stand against him in 2018. Ben Rhodes, President Obama's deputy national security adviser and host of POD Save America, right? He's one of the hosts of that. I have no idea. Wrote an article for the Atlantic titled Inside The White House during the Syrian Red Line crisis. He traces out how the Obama White House went from shock and rage and an impulse to do something at the Syrian chemical weapons attacks, to gradually conferring with other world leaders and backing down. There were a number of reasons for this fear of being drawn into a disaster like Iraq, fear of having the Republicans use intervention against them as they had in Libya, concerns about Assad's chemical weapons winding up in the hands of terrorists, and the picture bin paints by the end of the decision. Making process the ideologues in the administration had been beaten down by real politique they'd all been inspired by writings Obama had put out prior in his presidency, arguing that the US could have saved lives by intervening in Rwanda during that genocide. But after weeks of debate over whether or not to enforce the red line in Syria, Ben and the president had this conversation. Quote maybe we never would have done Rwanda, Obama said. The comment was jarring. Obama had written about how we should have intervened in Rwanda, and people like me had been deeply influenced by that inaction. But he also frequently pointed out that the people urging intervention in Syria had been silent when millions of people were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There's no way there would have been any appetite for that in Congress. You could have done things short of war, I said. Like what? Like jamming the radio signals they were using to incite people? He waved his hand at me dismissively. That's wishful thinking. You can't stop people from killing each other like that. He let the thought hang in the air. I'm just saying maybe there's never a time when the American people are going to support this kind of thing. And Libya, everything went right. We saved thousands of lives. We didn't have a single casualty, and we took out a dictator who killed hundreds of Americans. And at home it was a negative. I saw what he had been doing, testing Congress, testing public opinion to see what the real maneuvering room was for his office when it came to intervention in Syria. It was the same thing he'd done in situation room meetings on Syria and in his mind. Testing whether anything we did could make things better there, or whether it would turn out to be like Afghanistan and Iraq, if not worse. It wasn't just politics he was wrestling with. It was something more fundamental about America, our willingness to take on another war, a war whose primary justification would be humanitarian, a war likely to end badly. People always say never again, he said. But they never want to do anything. You know. There's a real darkness to all that, obviously, because politics is all dark. But. The idea that we were so. Damaged by what happened with the Iraq. War in the Bush administration and Dick Cheney. That now, like any sort of step of like, we're going to another country. It doesn't matter if we're helping or what we're doing sending troops, no matter what. There's such a negative reaction to it that that we can't do anything to help these people because the American public loses their minds. Like we can't see beyond what Dick Cheney and Bush did. And so now all these people are basically just going to die, and we can't. We're just like, literally, like, tiptoeing. Around being like, ooh, should we? Yeah, can we? And like it's it's actually very insane how literally. I mean, it all goes back to ******* ***** ** **** ***. The Bush Dynasty and Dick Cheney and the ******* devils they were have ruined anyones chance of wanting to go into Syria and being like, wait, let's go stop this. And it it's a lot of that playing on a bit of racism too, even among people on the left to where it's this idea of like, well, but look at Iraq and it's like there are two different countries and two. Completely different groups of people, they're not the same country, they're not the same place. And it's it's also not the same. Like, why did Iraq go so badly? Well, you can kind of trace it back to the fact that the day after we conquered it, we fired the entire army and put half a million men out of work with their guns, and they made an insurgency like a lot of it. You can tie back to that like it's it's #1 the fact that, like, nobody in America has a very nuanced understanding of these places or these struggles. And it, like, one of the things I tried to do in this episode is really trace out how the Civil War. Evolved out of protest into fighting. Because one of the things I hear a lot when I argue with people who are on the left is like, well, you know, the US was funding the rebels the whole time. And it's like, no, dude. Like we eventually started giving them some aid and it was too little too late and it was mostly ****** and small arms. And it was like, like, yeah, we funded some other rebel groups like, but the people started the Civil War by wanting to not have a dictator. Murdered them and they were active in the streets for months, fighting and building connections between one another and building a revolution like. And it's ******* racist to say that the Civil War only happened because the US came in and gave them money. No people are able to rise up against their dictators without us. They did it in Libya. We just helped them not get massacred by Gaddafi's planes. They've done it everywhere. That's it. They do it. For people to get upset and be like no more of this **** has nothing to do with us. It's the thing where, like you people like, you know, the white helmets are just like American plants because they've received international funding and it's like any given person who has done that job is braber than anyone who has made that complaint will ever be like you. ******* cowards. Like accusing them of faking attacks when they're running out every day and pulling. I've seen people do that job, pulling corpses from rubble. It's the worst ******* thing I can imagine. And **** you for accusing them of being anything. That heroes like it's so. I get really heated when I talk about this. I mean, like, what type of person goes and does that? You know? It's like it's not someone who's here. It is. It's incredibly frustrating to be like, yeah, you don't know what these people do every day. You can't know what they see every day, especially since most of you and I guess the only dead body you've seen is maybe at a funeral. You can't imagine what these people are going through. Like, you just can't. I am so angry at everyone all the time because of Syria. It's. Yeah. So shout out to my Syrian homies. Sorry. The the real ******* at the end of this episode is, is everybody. And I guess that's one of the things that that is really telling to me is like, you look at Barack Obama is a man who I have intense disagreements with but I believe has always wanted to do the right thing. But he's also a really, really smart guy and a fundamentally a scholar, and he thinks through everything too much and Bashar al-Assad. Did not. He gambled. He's willing to gamble. Dictators usually are, because it's the only way they can prosper. And Barack Obama was not willing to gamble, and as a result, half a million Syrians died. That's what it comes down to. And you can say Obama was right or wrong. That's your opinion. But this is the white reason. This is the same basic logic that led Hitler get as far as he did. Dictators being willing to do the reckless thing and gamble and brave, conscious or not, brave but conscientious, decent, smart men not being willing to gamble and letting them get away with murder. Yep. Which is Neville ******* Chamberlain, yeah. And who? How do you even like? Reconcile any of that. It's like, wow, he really didn't step up because he was ******* thinking it out. Like thinking of all the ways it could go wrong and what would happen. And it's like. You can't do any like there's nothing, you know, there's nothing. No, it's. It's it's incredibly tough and like, it's one of those things where I do. Like I would say his failure to respond adequately in Syria is the single worst thing that Obama did. But. If I'm tracing it back, which American I blame most for Syria, it's still going to be George W Bush and Dick Cheney. Like, you know, they're A-Team. They're. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I don't, you know, I don't. I am one of those people that will push back a little bit and giving too much credit to Cheney and not enough to Bush because I think he was a more active partner than he. A lot of people give him credit for, but **** both of them. I mean, he was a fool, but he he got to where he was somehow. Yeah, and I ironically, having a little bit more of that shoot from the hip gut attitude that Bush had might have been helpful in Syria if, like, their positions had been reversed, but if we'd never invaded Iraq. If only we'd picked the right country to invade and not ****** it up. I don't know. Like, that's even dumb to say. Like all of it's done, everything's ****** **. I hope you all enjoyed this episode of my upbeat and Fun podcast. You know, it's another reason why I say currently because we're in such high tensions with Iran. Guess who's in bed with Iran? Syria. A psychopath. So don't go after Iran unless you want, you know some ally heat. From like, Syria and Russia. It's not great. We're not a great place. Let's not **** with the evils, you know? This is part of the thing where it's like, it makes it so hard with like, picking a president is like. You want to say, pick not a crazy person? But then we get the sanest man who's ever been president, and I think that's probably is Barack Obama, and he's sometimes too careful and people pay the price for it, and now we've got to ****. I mean, it's certainly having a lunatic in charge is not the right thing, because who knows what the **** Trump's going to do? But maybe presidents are a bad idea. Yeah, sure. You have like a Parliament like, so classically European. Yeah, that'll work. I don't know, maybe so European. They don't have dinner till like 11:00 PM, like, so European. That'll fix our problems. Or we just make a dog president. That'd be funny. No war. Woof, woof. Couldn't be worse, buddy, buddy, you're so great. You're a boy, so you go president. So you go President. The dog still has not appointed a Supreme Court judge. Or if the dog just makes everyone on the Supreme Court be dogs. And then you just trained Supreme Court dogs dis? Yeah, he peed on the lawyer. I think that means the case is thrown out. Classic move by spot. Chief Justice Spa yeah, spots court. Really groundbreaking legal precedent. Not in his literally, you know what I mean? Literally groundbreaking because he dug a lot of holes in the yard of the of the court. Well. Did you enjoy this very fun episode of behind the ********? Anna, look honestly like you know me. I love me episodes about Siri. Oh boy, I know it's, you know a lot of this starting from like how it started, you know, we talked about on our show, a lot of the background. I did not know which. You know, it's very interesting. Of course, the brangelina hanging out with them is probably the most shocking thing I've ever learned in my life. Yeah, and you know what? For a second I felt bad saying, I hope Asma al-Assad gets cancer. But then it's like now that she has it, it's like, oh, wait, no, that's just how Karma works. Like, if you're a horrible person, we might not be able to get to you. But here's praying that some sort of natural disease or cause comes for you because you don't seem to care about human life. So why should we care about your human life? You know, like you're not you. Compared to the millions of innocents that like babies, children, mothers, fathers, grandparents who've died, who the **** are you? You don't deserve ****. Yeah, that cancer diagnosis is the most uplifting thing about this episode. Yeah. Good for you, honey. Good luck. Good luck with that. Good for you, kid, Sir. Stupid *****. Ohh, you know I'm the real dictator. It's like, honey, that's not funny. Millions of people are dead. Like **** you. That's not the joke to make when your husband is literally a dictator. Yeah, like, but. I don't like these people. Trash *** *****. Anyway, you want to plug some pluggable rules? Yeah. Drop down into P Zone podcast dictator here. Anna. You know I have a podcast ethnically ambiguous with Shereen Eunice, check it out. If you like news on the Middle East we have an episode called we are Syria when we're we talked it was right after the air strikes happened that we kind of break down our feelings and what happened. If you want to go check that out. And then you know of course all the other episodes you know currently we are talking about the Iran US. Tensions situation. If you want to listen to that, yeah, you can follow me on Twitter at Anna Hosner, Ana HSS, NIH. You know, I'm constantly, constantly talking politics and other good stuff. And, you know the bachelor, because that's where my interests lie. Middle Eastern politics and the bachelor. And something interesting I noticed recently, Robert does not follow me on Twitter, so I will burn this drag to the ground. All right. All right. I'll. I will correct that. Bad at social meeds and I mostly just shitpost and argue podcast dictator. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I am a podcast viceroy. I always wanted to be a viceroy. You could be general podcast general. No, I want to be a viceroy. That seems like more fun. Less responsibility and more the Parliament will consider it. We'll let you know what we decided on. Thank you. Well, uh podcast Viceroy Robert Evans signing off. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at ******** pot. You can find this podcast on the web at behindthebastards.com. I have another podcast called it could happen here about everything that happened to Syria, if it happened in America. Which actually part of why I made the show was just a backdoor way of trying to make people empathize with the horrible things happening in Syria. And also you can find T-shirts on teepublic. Some of them are ours, others are not. You could buy whichever ones you would like. Sophie, do I have to say anything else? Do you love about 40? I do love about 40% of you, and I love 100% of the poison room that's sitting behind Anna right now. Oh my gosh, I love poison. I we all we're all big poison stands. Alright, listeners, chill out. Enjoy some poison of your own. And or don't, because that might be me inciting you to to to do horrible things. Don't do horrible things, do good things, or at least neutral things. But sometimes being neutral is you know what? The episode's gone. It's over. Go do something else. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Speaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's SPREAKER. Dot com. If you could completely remove one phrase from your vocabulary, which phrase would you choose? I don't know. Correct answer. 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