A moment ago the United States Senate Foreign Relations Panel approved a resolution to be considered by the full Senate which would grant President Obama permission for military action against Syria. I don’t quite know where to begin to think about and to respond to what is happening. At this point, all I have is a collection of somewhat random thoughts:
- If Bashar al-Assad is crazy enough or desperate enough or sane enough (see Thomas Merton’s essay entitled The Sanity of Adolf Eichmann) to use poison gas on the citizens of his own country what makes us think that some type of limited military action is going to change how he thinks or influence how he acts?
- I wish there were the same press coverage about the growing humanitarian crisis that the civil war in Syria has created. And, instead of nations debating about whether or not to take some type of military action, we were debating how best to meet the overwhelming needs that the war has created and how best to support those countries who are shouldering the burden of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
- Along the same line, I wish countries were tripping over each other to see who could offer the most help to those who find themselves in such desperate need.
- If we want to have a long term positive influence in that part of the world, how do we best do that? By bombing or by offering substantial aid that protects and serves and meets the needs of the most vulnerable?
- And, what is the real moral difference between poison gas which kills the innocent and “shock and awe” bombing which does the same? This way to kill innocent people is okay, but this way to kill the same number of innocent people is not okay. I am not sure I see the real distinction. Shouldn’t we be saying that the indiscriminate killing of innocent people is NOT okay? But, we can’t say that, can we because we would then have to admit our own guilt and complicity, and we are not willing to do that.
As I said…
Disconnected reflections held together only by my deep sadness that we are so enamored by position and power that we refuse to find a better way.