Dumb and Dumber
“I don’t oppose all wars,” said State Senator Barack Obama from the speaker’s platform at an antiwar rally in downtown Chicago in October 2002. “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.”
Dumb and rash—that pretty much sums up the threatened US bombing of Syria.
In this age of permanent war we’re once again treated to selective images of war’s brutality and the tragic human suffering war imposes (a reporter for NPR, betraying incredible ignorance of the proper role of a free journalist, said, “I’ve seen the gas attack videos from the Defense Department, and it seems the US must do something.”); once again we’re asked to forget the consequences of US interventions in Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and more; and once again we’re told to ignore the “ignorant foreigners” who oppose US military aggression from the UN, the Arab League, and the Parliament of Great Britain (!!!)—all of whom oppose US “strikes”.
Despite majority opposition to US military intervention in Syria among the US population, the runaway US military machine cranks up their proxie front-group “NATO” and assembles an ever-shrinking “coalition of the willing” (France?). Once again a group of Dr. Strangeloves from the Pentagon’s military intelligence (oxymoron) make smiling and extravagant claims about the evolution of our creepy new war technology (“You can see these surgical strikes on YouTube!”) that guarantee success without harming a single innocent human person.
But “we must do something!” US leaders, who can’t think beyond military terms and violent responses, have badly damaged imaginations. What we, the people, must do is to deploy our social imaginations in the service of “doing something” in response to the horrible likelihood of gas attacks, and to human rights violations wherever and whenever they occur, not just those certified by empire in order to justify its own crimes; and again in steady mobilization and fierce opposition to the despicable and predictable US military attack.
Dumb war. Illegal war.
Quick, bring in an “intellectual!”=erce
Richard Fontaine, the president of the Center for a New American Security, a self-described centrist research group, said, “The kind of attack the administration appears to be planning will demonstrate to Syria and to others that there is a cost the United States is willing to impose for crossing clearly established American red lines and violating widely held international norms.”
It sounds like a playground bully making a dare. “Don’t cross those clearly established American red lines…or else.” Or else what?
Fontaine, again: “It probably will do very little to alter the fundamental balance of forces on the ground or hasten the end of the conflict.”
Are we Sparta? Can we stand up to the impulse for greater war and demand ethical and political responses to the terrible Syrian conflict? Can we do at least as surprisingly well as England? Can we teach ourselves about the genius of Syrian civilization and the beautiful Syrian people? Can we beat swords into bicycles? After Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Mali, can we simply say NO MORE WAR?