August 29, 2013
Maybe It’s a Repetition Compulsion

When we find ourselves getting into similar situations over and over we have two basic types of response. We often start thinking of the world as the kind of place that generates such situations. Occasionally, though, we find a moment to lift our gazes and see our lives as a story we’re telling as we go along. In those moments we can notice patterns in our lives that seem related to us as much as to the universe, and start to wonder whether anything we’re doing might contribute to generating those repetitive situations.

If only the same self-consciousness could be brought to nation-states! Here in the US our leaders continue to follow the pattern Chomsky described: you can’t reach a position of power in the US government without believing that the United States is unique in history in acting purely from altruistic motives. And it looks like Obama is about to do it again in Syria. Here’s some questions that occur to an amateur observing from the sidelines, which I would hope have been considered.

  • Is it possible anyone still believes that sending cruise missiles into a sovereign nation wracked in civil war will decrease terrorism around the world?
  • Is Obama going to follow Bush along the path of legalizing preventive military action, as he has on so many of Bush’s paths where we needed change? Is he going to order the UN inspectors to leave while the UN secretary-general pleads for more time?
  • What does it mean to teach a lesson to a country whose government is unable to control its own territory through military force?
  • Why is this egregious violation of human rights deserving of cruise missiles when so many other violations at least as egregious go unpunished by the same forces?
  • What is the endgame? A weekend of cruise missiles and that’s it? Pardon my disbelief.

Ultimately, as with all things political, cui bono? Who in Syria, the United States, and around the world would benefit from military action? If the US claims to be acting on moral grounds despite being unable to generate a case under international law, then those moral grounds should, it seems to me, be clear and unassailable.



Posted by Chuck Dupree at August 29, 2013 01:46 PM
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Posted by: karen marie on September 1, 2013 2:59 AM

Who would actually benefit from a US strike on Syria?
I don't see who wins here? Whose interests are served?

Posted by: Sean O on September 1, 2013 11:24 AM
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