I’ve no doubt that rich and powerful people in Syria, and around the globe, are killing and displacing poor, powerless people. I’ve no doubt that the moral indignation expressed by Obama and Kerry over the Syrian crisis is sincere. And yet it feels like the moral high ground they are protecting is much like King Kong on top of the Empire State Building.
The United States, after all, has produced the atom bomb, which killed millions of innocent civilians, Agent Orange, which damaged everyone it touched, nerve gas used against the Kurds, cruise missiles, unmanned drones, and who knows what other fiendish weapons of mass destruction. Greater military force does not secure the higher moral argument. Nor, as we’ve already seen during the longest war in U.S. history, the Iraq-Afghanistan debacle, do such weapons bring peace and prosperity to the poor and powerless.
For the U.S. to act alone, without the support of NATO or the U.N., and to use force rather than diplomacy and humanitarian aid with the support of potential allies in the Middle East, would suggest a dizziness at the height of power which is worse than alarming. It suggests that once again there are rich and powerful corporate interests, like Halliburton — weapons manufacturers, oil and gas companies — hovering at the periphery of danger, counting their potential profits.
Haven’t we the American people already paid too high a price for these high-minded impulses of our elected officials? In the loss of thousands of American lives and limbs, in the current unemployment rate, the foreclosures, the people who are suffering from hunger, homelessness and poverty in this country? There is much our country can do for its own and for others, but to follow our leaders into another war disguised as a “shot across the bow” is definitely not one of them.
If we cannot stop this senseless action, I believe we will be witnessing, sooner rather than later, the decline and fall of the American Empire. Add that “accomplishment” to the resume of any of our congressional representatives who vote in favor of a military strike in Syria. I like both Obama and Kerry but have to wonder what has happened to these former anti-war politicians who have risen so high they can no longer see clearly.
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