The following is my open response to Stephen Zunes' Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.zunes/posts/1615165698512094The "reputable human rights groups" often spread wild misinformation about both the Syrian government and/or the US to the point of not deserving to be termed credible. They regurgitate many unsubstantiated accusations as if they are proven facts simply because one side or the other leveled them. Do you ever call them out for that? I do, as I'm doing right here. If you were to do that, you'd take away your own argument. Reputable doesn't equal credible.
James Clapper has a great reputation with some. The neocons who lied the US into the bombing, invasion, and occupation of Baathist Iraq are still lauded by many. Even George W. Bush has been cited by many Hillary Clinton supporters because of his anti-Trump statements.
You wrote "... the roots of the conflict lie with the corrupt repressive Baathist government." History did not start with the Baathists. The Baathists were a reaction. Many people believe that were there not an iron hand at the top, society would disintegrate into exactly what has happened. Assad made that very point when he quite correctly said during the "peaceful" protests that al Qaeda is waiting in the wings to take over and will be vastly worse than the then current system (which was democratizing, which Assad wants to continue). The counterargument is that things could become better and more peaceful. However, under what system (Assad's legitimate question), US neoliberal economics forced upon them via sanctions, etc.? That's been the pattern where the US hasn't simply left a totally failed state, such as with Libya.
Look at the stated ends of the YPG. Their egalitarian-leaning liberty is seen as chains by US libertarians/laissez-faire capitalists, so-called individualists.
As for your "bloggers" point, you're missing the point or avoiding it. They represent a counter to the claims leveled by typically mainstream US corporate media. It's not as if interviewing the "sources" of the info spewed by that media (often unnamed US government officials) would alter the counterclaims. Given the MSM v. the "bloggers," we get both sides of the story. That's the point. The MSM would have it otherwise: silence the "bloggers."
It sounds as if you're claiming that the MSM plus people who disbelieve the "bloggers" are the only people who should have a voice or be listened to. If so, I couldn't disagree more.
Lastly, your statement that they "aren't allowed to interview any other Syrians without government minders present" is rather sweeping. I've seen plenty of reporting done by people who aren't led, or accompanied, by the government. For security reasons, others don't want to risk floating about alone.
True intellectualism is based upon logic. I suggest you up your game, Steven.