Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dog my cats and Rowrbrazzle

So apparently U.S. intelligence believes the Assad regime in Syria has used the organophosphate nerve gas sarin in its battle with insurgents and now everybody agrees that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE, notably president John McCain. Oy.

Having cut my blogging teeth explaining the bogosity of the whole Weapons of Mass Destruction™ thing in the months prior to the U.S. illegal war of aggression against Iraq, I must now apparently go back to the beginning and do it all over again.

Chemical weapons are battlefield weapons. They are no more massively destructive than guns or bombs. Does it really matter to you if you are blown up or poisoned? I don't care personally. By the way sarin evaporates rapidly and any place where it is used is safe within a few hours. That is not necessarily true of explosive ordinance. BTW, our friend the marathon bomber has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction™, specifically a homemade bomb. This language is essentially meaningless.

Our problem is that the propaganda used to justify the War on Terra has now trapped us. We had to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein might possess such weapons -- even though we have always known that Syria does. (Israel, by the way, possesses nuclear weapons, but we haven't invaded them yet.) If Assad has crossed this arbitrary line, some sort of military response by the United States -- why the U.S. and not, say, Uruguay or Lichtenstein? -- is obligatory. This is all so obviously silly.

The Syrian civil war is very ugly and it's causing a whole lot of death and misery. It would be highly desirable for it to stop. But you know, it's complicated. The insurgency consists of many different groups with varying ideologies and objectives, some of which I or president McCain might like and some of which we don't like -- not necessarily entirely the same set between us. The consequences of whacking the Assad regime in some way are completely unpredictable with respect to who ends up running what parts of Syria and how. Regardless of whether the Syrian army continues to use sarin gas, it will certainly continue to fire rockets and missiles, drop bombs, and shoot guns at people, thereby killing and injuring them. And various factions will shoot at the Syrian army. Many people, including many non-combatants, will be injured, killed and displaced. Gas or no gas. Doesn't matter one whit.

1 comment:

JRC said...

Every time we attack any country, anywhere--usually in the Middle East, but certainly always where there are people of color--it ends up in mass death and destruction. Who would've guessed that George Washington knew what he was talking about, all those years ago? Stay the fuck out of other countries' beeswax. We need to stop projecting our demons onto the rest of the world. Time to clean OUR side of the street--starting with racism, followed by joblessness, continuing on to poverty and environmental destruction through the use of fossil fuels.