Christmas Day is in central California; it’s not even often that warm there in the middle of August. (For my friends out in the world, that’s 21 C. ) I find myself hoping that I am wrong, that the global warming thesis is not just a mass religious movement. I catch myself wishing it were really, really man-made. (Little hope of this, but one can still hope.) If it’s man-made, there is a chance we might crank it up. More plants, more food, more scantily-clad women. What’s not to like? It sure beats the global winter the changists’ elder brothers were promising us in the 70s. (If you thought I had forgotten, you are out of your mind.)
“And she brought up her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn.”( Luke 2:7)
I am not a believer but I miss the poetry of Christianity. I suspect it’s more than missing. Absent poetry, people develop a king of bloodless, and often heartless morality and one so lacking in compassion that it’s difficult to even recognize it as morality. Thus, mainstream, orthodox libertarians – people with whom I have otherwise much in common – announce loudly their indifference to the sufferings of the world. They do so behind a political isolationism, in fact, a limp-wristed pacifism that they don’t even have the courage to admit to. I suspect they have more influence in America today than even they know.
The Syrian civil war is nearing its third year. International rights organizations have stopped counting the dead, mostly civilians, or the media have stopped publishing them. It was more than 100,000 according to the UN last July. (Other estimates are not much lower, some are higher .) There is also the small matter of 130,000 disappeared. Their families don’t know if they wish them dead or kidnapped. Dying in Syria has become old hat. It always happens, that’s one reason to make haste to intervene against atrocities: We simply get used to them. We quickly come to feel compassion fatigue. Happens every time. Remember Rwanda? Barely ?
President “ Barack “Lucky” Obama ,through his spinelessness, has his share of responsibility in the gross deterioration of the situation in Syria. He did manage, with Russia’s help, to make the fascist Baath regime agree to turn over its weapons of mass destruction. It might happen, it might even happen smoothly because the Russians want peace, they genuinely want peace in Syria; they want peace under the 40-year old, predictable Assad tyranny. As for the 3,000 civilians the regime killed with chemical weapons? Well, President Obama let his “red line disappear after the agreement. “Nobody is perfect,” he figured. “Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone.” Also, there is nothing in the agreement with Assad that prevents him from dumping from helicopters large oil barrels filled with explosive and metal parts on apartment houses as he did in Aleppo right before Christmas.
And the US Navy jets could not simply knock those helicopters from the sky because?
And if you wait long enough, the problem often disappears or it morphs into something else so that you may not have to lift a finger. (If Hitler had conquered the UK in late 1940, FDR would have probably signed an agreement with Germany and also with Japan.) So, thanks to western indifference, including the indifference of the country in the second best position to intervene productively, much of Syria’s ground has been taken over by religious extremists. We are on the verge of being told: “The Syrian secular rebels, the ones who are much like us, the ones we would like, have been eliminated. We now have a choice between the classical Baath fascists and the Islamo-fascists of Al Quaida. Which do you prefer?” That’s the strongest possible argument for non-intervention of course. It did not have to go there. It’s Mr Obama’s fault, another demonstration of gross incompetence, one parallel to the disastrous unrolling of Obamacare.
My point on this Christmas day is this: There are times where it’s morally mandatory to kill some people to avoid much graver suffering. Destroying Assad’s air force would have been one application of the principle.
My libertarian acquaintances in the meantime carefully and smugly camp on the fat ass of their uncritical non-interventionism.
And yes, one quarrel I don’t have with them is this: The very existence of standing armed forces is a serious obstacle to the greater good of tiny government. Every actual use of armed force aggravates again the problem. The Founding Fathers believed pretty much the same. That didn’t prevent the young and weak Unites States from going to war vigorously and with determination in a just cause. They did it at much greater risk to themselves than anything Americans can imagine today.
One more thing: Americans are tired of war. “We can’t be the policemen of the world,” they say as if it were self evident. If we really become disengaged, who do you think is going to take over the role? Think about it, think hard! (Hint: Not long ago, they used to make the families of executed prisoners pay for the bullet that killed their loved one.)
I have been away working on other things, all about writings. I will try for better attendance.