Thursday, June 13, 2013

We Must Do Something, Even If It Makes Matters Much Worse

And that is why our war in the Middle East is going to start all over again.

I’ve given Obama a lot of credit for his seeming reluctance to involve the US in military conflicts. A McCain or Romney administration, I’m sure, would have had boots on the ground by this point. But the Liberal Interventionists in the administration, such as Susan Rice and Samantha Power, so traumatized by the failure to prevent the Rwandan genocide and as helplessly compelled to view all conflict through the lens of that failure as the previous administration was compelled to view all conflict through the lens of the success of the Cold War, and operating under the doctrine the UN now calls “Responsibility to Protect” but which was once known as the White Man’s Burden, seem to have made a winning case for dipping a toe into the tar pit.

Now that we’ve determined (to “a high level of confidence”) that Bashar al-Assad has used sarin gas several times over the past year, we’re going to fix it by handing out guns to the “moderate” rebels. It’s a slam dunk. I wonder, if we offered chemical weapons to the rebels, whether they would use them. I suspect they would.

Rebel General Idris: “Give me 200 antitank missiles, 100 antiaircraft weapons, and half a million bullets so that the killing can stop.”

Now that we’ve selected our proxy (an incoherent faction within an even more incoherent faction), it will be that much more difficult to resist the pressure of calls for escalation when half-measures inevitably fail. Those half-measures will turn into full-measures, and the civil war that perhaps Assad could have cruelly won will be invigorated now that his opposition has a high level of confidence in US support. We will prolong the suffering and provide a whole new set of motivations for men to kill other men in the region.

In “Nonviolence and Peacemaking Today” (1997), an essay in which Michael Nagler endeavored to establish the concept of peace as an activity and not merely as the absence of an activity, “violence is [defined as] a failure to perceive the living web of unity that binds attacker and victim.” Violence, more than the application of brute force, is a form of blindness. What can restore our sight?

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