Lemonnator

An awful time to be proposing war.

In Uncategorized on September 12, 2013 at 8:16 am

In spite of this blog not having extraordinarily high viewership (yet not low viewership either), I’m always hesitant to put forth my views on major international political disputes. Which is why I might’ve thought about commenting on the South China Sea dispute but ultimately stuck to writing about domestic politics instead. At the most, I blog very occasionally about US politics but even then, I do so quite superficially.

The main reason for this is that my knowledge of international dynamics is confined to competitive debating (wherein student-debaters such as I make a lot of inaccurate assertions), what teachers say in the classroom (wherein they too might inadvertently make a lot of inaccurate assertions), what I read in the newspapers, textbooks and online (wherein there is definitely inaccurate assertions and bias) and other not-so-reliable sources. It is so difficult to make a stance on international disputes without the whole background story on historical relations between countries and blah blah. Living in a slow-news kinda town, it is so much easier to stick to the politics in my own backyard.

But then again, I’ve always been hugely fond of Barack Obama – please see very old posts about his charm and swag to find out more. With my limited knowledge of his policies (like Obamacare), I found the gumption to tell people I wholeheartedly supported his presidency (despite my support not being very significant, since I am neither of voting age or American or very well-informed or very well-known).

Yet I find myself not eager to support US intervention in Syria.

We’ve all asked the same difficult questions with every war: What qualifies America to be the policing authority of the world when:
a) they seem to be holding a double standard with weapons of mass destruction (since they use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles which supposedly result in asymmetrical – unfair – warfare),
b) they, too, are flawed when it comes to politics and rights and liberties (since Gitmo is still in existence and different sects of society are not treated equally),
c) they’re of a vastly different cultural identity and cannot make a judgment on the politics of religion in any country – Middle Eastern or not,
d) despite going in with good intentions, foreign regime changes executed by them or any other country seems to be unsustainable with one dictator being ousted and another rising to power.

And we’re all still questioning the legitimacy of the Iraq war – a war that was intended for the degrading of weapons of mass destruction which includes chemical and biological weaponry.

Not that I live or have lived there but I think it is safe to say that Americans just generally don’t want to get involved in another war – whether there are “boots on the ground” or not.

Since it’s 9/11, the thought of mass killings, of Al-Qaeda and of utter chaos is on everybody’s mind. This morning, I woke up to a video from the 9/11 attack of the 200 suicide jumpers falling to their deaths – people who knew they wouldn’t survive anyway if they stayed within the burning World Trade Center. So I watched how, over a decade ago, 200 people streamed from the top floors of a skyscraper and I wondered how an atrocity of a similar gravity was happening every day in Syria.

My first thought was that such an atrocity should be opposed with the same viciousness, that Obama’s idea of an intervention was completely justified. My next thought was about futility, and how fighting fire with fire not only fails to end this sort of atrocity but serves to perpetuate it. Time and time again, we rationalise that “this war will end the use of chemical weapons”, “this war will enforce the rules we’ve already broken”, “this war will deter future violation of whatever treaty we signed in whatever country in whatever era”, “this war will end all wars” and still – STILL – we find ourselves asking, once more, if we should just have one last war.

What comes to mind is what the Mychal Judge’s last words were, before being killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Mychal Judge, the chaplain of the fire department, rushed to the scene to perform last rites for the dead and to pray for and with the wounded. Then he was struck in the head and killed. He was repeatedly praying aloud, “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”

Perhaps it is true that I’m working off a very narrow base of knowledge. Perhaps it is true that some wars achieved some measure of success. And yes, it is true that appeasement never got us anywhere in terms of ethics or in terms of preserving peace. Chaos is the only order we are used to.

Armed with my youth as an excuse for my idealism, I feel the world is chasing its own tail, standing on its own cape. History taught me loads but so did Geography – the Earth spins on an axis and it revolves around the sun and 365 days from now we will find ourselves standing in a vast universe on the same spot, and we will ask ourselves why.

We need to find another way to move forward, because this war will not be the last. Please, end this.

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