Count me as singularly unimpressed with John Kerry’s pitch for military action. Nine points do not trump eight beatitudes.
The British pacifist Muriel Lester denounced the outbreak of that singularly hideous and immoral adventure known as the Great War. Her points are far more convincing:
“… cannibalism, chattel slavery, blood-feuds, and dueling … a daily crucifixion of Christ.”
Mr Kerry wrings his hands over 1,429 Syrians killed without bullet wounds, shrapnel, or such. As if murder is any less dishonorable and cowardly if it happens by means of projectiles and propulsion technology. Arms dealers might have the same lament: why couldn’t Mr Assad have bought guns from us instead? And those non-combatants affected? Since when have the forces of war ever cared about medical assistance? The days of honorable warfare were certainly dead a century ago in Europe, and they were probably on life support for decades before that, if not centuries.
More than a thousand dead this week. What about the past few years? Mr Kerry needs to convince us all that this isn’t just more emotional manipulation disguised as moral outrage. It seems to me that there’s been a lot of cause for outrage. Why now? Get the airstrikes in well in advance of the 2014 elections?
Certainly, the tragedy in Syria demands action from the world. I wish there were a non-violent way to empty the country of every soul except the perpetrators. Let Mr Assad and his supporters try to create a self-enriching nation and culture without women, children, farmers, workers, tourists, or really anything human. Let the remnant wither, fade, starve, or repent. Let it be a Mordor without its slaves. For once, I would love to see criminals limp out of a fortress begging the world for mercy.
I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think we’re going to see the modern equivalent of blood-feuding and its inevitable face-saving spin to recruit yet more generations of Muslim activists and Western warmongers. A weird dance marathon with partners more alike than they would guess.