On Bombing Assad’s Bombs
Saturday, September 07, 2013
The dithering concerning bombing Assad’s military assets continues unabated, and I find myself in the minority yet again. Moreover, I am also taking a stance that is in fundamental disagreement with my personal beliefs regarding the sanctity of life. However, I would hardly call my position categorical on that issue as I’m pro choice and pro assisted suicide–though only when one is terminally ill and suffering. On the other hand, I am against the death penalty, so my philosophy on taking life is hardly “mature” or consistent as it now stands.
The problem is that context makes a mockery of categorical positions. For example, in my view it is unconscionable to force a woman to give birth to a child that is the product of a rape or incest–regardless of one’s position on abortion. Similarly, one can be against the death penalty, but still seek the life’s blood of a criminal who savagely raped and murdered one of your kids. The situation often dictates what recourse we seek, which puts me in the camp of moralistic relativism–a dreary place for sure.
I suppose my position on the “need” for attacking Assad is based on fear. There are chemical weapons out there that make Sarin look tame, such as VX. A leader who uses such weapons on his own people is also prone to using them on others, as Saddam proved during the Iran/Iraq war. We turned an official blind eye to that, at least until Iraq became unfriendly. It was the fear of such weapons that drove us to attack Iraq, though it turned out that Iraq had abandoned its chemical munitions. Silly us.
Now we have a person who has definitely used these weapons of mass destruction and done so on a large scale. Yet there is NO desire in the hearts of the American people to stop him. Been there, done that, didn’t work out so well. And it isn’t like the UN will ever intervene, toothless and useless organization that it is. My goodness, the UN has the oddest governance and decision-making mechanism imaginable–one wherein one powerful nation can insure that nothing gets done. Until that changes, very little good can come from that organization.
Of course, giving the UN power would come at the cost of countries like the US, China, etc., conceding control and authority. It does not seem that the powerful nations are ready for that, and thus it often boils down to nations taking unilateral actions that meet shifting and transient ends–such as destroying Assad’s means of using chemical warfare. As its core, we have created a toothless world governance, mostly out of fear that it will one day bight us in the ass for our own perfidy. We are simply not willing to give up our control, our sovereignty. Indeed, the idea of actual world governance has become anathema to nearly all powerful countries…
Given this dreadful status quo, each powerful nation takes it on its own shoulders to stop a threat that could one day reach its shores. The US has shown time and again how silly that behavior is, and now we are too weary to act. Had Bush not lied us into the Iraq war, it might have been possible to get mass support for eliminating Assad’s WMD. But now, we must go it alone or turn our heads away. Oh, but the cost of turning our heads away eventually leads to terror at home.
The only real answer is to craft a UN that has real power, a power that cannot be controlled by any one country. That will not happen any time soon. So on one hand, people in the US bitch about us playing the part of the world’s police force. But on the other hand, we’ll also bitch about not being subject to a police force that isn’t under our solitary and direct control. I don’t suspect many folks see the irony in all this. There is only one answer, but we’re not quite ready for anything like “real” world governance yet. I hope the future will not curse us for our myopia. I hope it doesn’t end up destroying everything we love…