published Friday, August 30th, 2013

Just call it a mom's dead: We are war weary

In the 1960s and 1970s, it was Vietnam. Many of us were there, or if not, we worried over our drafted brothers, uncles, even fathers.

In the 1990s, it was the Persian Gulf War threatening to snatch up young men and women in their prime who had decided to serve their country in reserve or national guard units. Then a decade later, it was the invasion of Afghanistan, and in 2003, the invasion of Iraq. Each time, we parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents cried again.

Now comes Syria?

We can put men on the moon, build cities like New York and Dubai, cure polio and knock back cancer; but we can't avoid war?

The favored option seems to be "surgical" missile strikes? Really? What will it be after two or three tit-for-tat reprisals?

An open letter from the Syrian Parliament to the British Parliament Thursday invokes the 1914 assassination that set off World War I and the invasion of Iraq in 2003, then the letter states: "Local tragedies become regional wars that explode into global conflict because of breakdowns in communication."

This is not to say we should close our eyes to the cruelty of mass murder with chemical weapons, and it certainly isn't to say we are or should be cowardly or isolationist. But it is to say that the parents in all of us are weary of seeing our children thrown at fights around the globe when we have so much still to fix in our own culture. Too, it is to say we're weary of sending them to fight wars to protect our commercial interests -- oil, energy, trade, profit. With all of our experience, we should be smarter now about how to keep Evil Dictator A from toppling Friendly Prince B while courting Russia or China or Oil or Profit.

Sure, sure: There are plenty of arm-chair generals, and in writing this we just make a handful more. But amid the noise surely there are more than a few brilliant minds, and perhaps one or two or 10 may even have more in their plans than tomorrow's political favor, vote and reward.

President Obama has said there must be "accountability" for those who used chemical weapons, according to Secretary of State John Kerry. While Obama has not decided how that will be accomplished, Pentagon options range from establishing a no-fly zone to training and advising opposition to the preferred surgical cruise missile strike at "strictly" military Syrian targets. The trouble with any attack plan is guaranteeing the American people that strikes won't hit innocent civilians or worse still, enemy-planted chemical weapons that might wreak further tragedy and moral problems.

While American boots on the ground might provide better eyes, they cost more -- and they are far too precious to those of us back home to risk.

The Christian Science Monitor, with a long-standing tradition of reporting in the Middle East, this week carried the commentary of correspondent Ayaan Hirsi Ali who offered five reasons that the Arab Spring of pro-democracy uprisings has not failed. Instead, each of its fits and starts has "irrevocably" changed the Arab world.

The reasoning? Urbanization and emigration has left the institution of tribalism less strong and cohesive. At the same time, radical Islam's waning appeal means it is "no longer evident that sharia is the answer" to all the problems of the modern age. Thirdly, the effects of globalization have change attitudes toward the West, so Arabs in particular and Muslims in general are now physically and virtually connected to Europe and the U.S. as never before. At the same time, women and other oppressed groups are asserting their rights, and that trend cannot be reversed. Lastly, there simply is less U.S. and European support.

"In the past, any despot in the region worth his salt understood how to present himself as strategically vital to Western interests. For better or for worse, that game is now almost over." Ali writes. "Rulers who cannot credibly claim to have popular legitimacy can no longer count on being propped up by Washington, London or Paris."

That leaves careful and determined diplomacy, and watchful eyes toward Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Russia.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Chess on a world scale is not as simple as taking an isolationist stand. But let us all hope and pray it's not as drastic as war.

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mitziyates1 said...

But That's Tomorrow.

I sit and face the fire Cool warm drink in hand Listening to the moody strains Of that poet-singer Campbell man, "I need you more than want you, And I want you for all time."

As he sings I look at you, I think, oh, God, is ever that a line To tell you of the way I yearn For your lasting potent presence. Oh, when, if ever, will I learn To take and hold you by my side And not like a fool let you go Whenever a new face I've eyed?

I squeeze you hard to let you know, And with your soft lips you respond. It's only when I realize That tomorrow will find me gone With thirteen thousand other sons To grow from boy into a god Of brass and boots and well-greased guns. A god of mercy? one of love? No. God no! I'm a god of hate And killing and warring and death And pain and tears - a god of fate.

But that's tomorrow; I have one Night left to think, and pray, and sleep If I can sleep before I'm gone. So help me, hold me, love me now. Lay my head on your sighing breast, Bend close, gently kiss, smile at me, So when I've forgotten the rest, You'll be there in eternity. Oliver University Echo November 15, 1968 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

August 30, 2013 at 12:47 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

There is no room at this time in any "just war" argument to justify aggression against Syria. We have suffered no harm from Syria and they have exercised no aggression against another country. There is no just war support in any form, and any form of aggression by us against Syria violates the just war criteria, making us the aggressor

Is there a moral argument? Shall we sent your sons and daughters, not mine? Whose lives shall we exchange for a debatable moral action?

Can we pose a valid moral argument to stop state violence against another party? Should we send a "surgical strike," whatever that ludicrous term means, to stop such immoral action and limit the harm to our own soldiers (and the public if the action inspires terrorism)? Stopping state violence, my friends, can be done only by stopping those who rule in the Syrian government.

Shall we end the current Syrian government and turn it over to the chaos of the opponents who are a mishmash of religious extremists allied with Iran or worse?

What can of worms are we opening? Shall we impose our own acting government until we can find a "suitable" replacement as we did in Iran? Shall we do it without our own government exercising its constitutional prerogative and obligation to approve war?

If not, and our leaders proceed with unauthorized aggression against another state, do we pursue impeachment against our leaders who embark on an illegal (unconstitutional) warfare?

As you see we only spin deeper into the whirlpool of despair, the morass of human frailty and limitations, when we dare to toy with the idea we control our own destiny.

From the day the first politician spoke out in favor of some military action or warned of consequences on the Syrian government committing an "immoral" act, there is no good end to this mess, for we fight the reality of human nature.

August 30, 2013 at 8:21 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

I'm sick and tired of America claiming the moral high ground and accusing yet another country of committing atrocities, especially when we are the world's #1 atrocity committer! What about those hundred thousand+ innocent Iraqis who've lost their lives as we occupy (and still occupy) their country? What about those 2 million+ Iraqis whom we have made homeless and whose infrastructure we have completely decimated without any mention of helping to rebuild it? What about Abu Ghraib? What about the hundreds of innocent women, men, and children we have blown to smithereens with our repeated drone strikes?

Anybody who enlists in the military today is not just a fool but a damn fool, allowing themselves to be pawns in the political chess game played by the Pentagon, defense contractors, politicians, and others who comprise the MIC. War for profit is what it's all about and if you love this country and want to take it back for us the people you will stop, think for yourself, and refuse to lay down your life for those slimy, greedy, soul-less dogs of war.

August 30, 2013 at 6:37 p.m.
nucanuck said...

US long term Middle East policy is to take down Iran. Syria Is Iran's ally. Syria didn't just erupt into a civil war, the minority opposition was funded and armed to try to topple Assad and when that didn't succeed, the US, Israeli, and Jordanian dark forces went to work within Syria to rekindle the opposition.

The chances that a savvy Assad would use chemical weapons when he knew that would put pressure on Obama to act after his "line in the sand" remark are near zero. The chances that the gas attack was a false flag event are substantial. We won't know the truth until much later in history.

A strike against Syria is an act of war, nothing less. The US would not commit such an act to punish Russia or China, only a country that cannot contest the military might of the US. That makes the US nothing but a foreign policy bully...war criminals, no less.

No matter what we destroy in Syria, the US is the long term loser because we have lost respect and support from all corners. Our economy, or morality, our national pride are all in a long decline...we are watching our country die.

August 30, 2013 at 11:32 p.m.
nucanuck said...

What disappointment and disgust must be in the minds of the Nobel Peace Prize committee to see BHO threaten an act of war not supported by the American people, by the US's closest ally, by the Arab League, by the United Nations.

Indeed, BHO is moving toward a war crime with some strange bedfellows...Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. A man who brought hope to the world has now joined the neocons, the militarists, and the Sunni coalition.

August 31, 2013 at 6:48 a.m.
ccrider27 said...

There are lots and lots of questions about just who used chemical weapons on whom in Syria. For instance, the published pictures show aid being given to the attack victims by unprotected responders. Normally in a chemical or gas attack, the responders not wearing protective gear would be affected by the gas.

Obama wouldn't be sending this to Congress if the fix weren't already in. As if he cares about the War Powers Resolution, which he completely ignored in his attack on Libya. And we see where that humanitarian bombing got them. But Big Oil did get that Libyan Sweet Crude.

But the best information that I've found is this short article:

And here is Mark Twain's War Prayer - always worth reading just before we start a new war:

From Remember the Maine! to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to the babies being thrown out of their incubators by Iraqi troops to the medical students about to be murdered in Grenada to Weapons of Mass Destruction...whenever the war corporations decide it's time for them to make more $Trillions in taxpayer money, they seem to always fabricate lies to feed to the American public. These lies are then dutifully trotted out by the unquestioning, stenographer media and gullible America eats it up before going back to the latest news on Britney Spears and American Idol.

And remember also that the US is not above using chemical warfare against innocent women and children as we did in Falujah.

Jesus Christ: "Blessed Are The Peacemakers"

September 1, 2013 at 4:56 p.m.
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