Thursday, September 25, 2014

War hawks crowing


It feels incongruous and sad to be in Washington, DC watching a President elected to end unjustified wars in which there could be no "victory" leaping back into the fray.

We happened to be a captive audience to Obama's speech to the UN, passing a slow morning in the crowded waiting area of a car dealer while our faithful Wowser got her oil changed. Loomed over by CNN's feed, our fellow citizens either followed anxiously, dozed, or tried to ignore the speech.

The Prez was at his serious and idealistic best, calling on the better angels of our human nature to overcome aggression, atrocity and oppression.

The questions remain. To what purpose is this country going abroad to kill demons? How would we know if our efforts had "won"? You can maim and blast humans, but you can't without genocide kill a nationalism or a deeply anchored cultural dream, such as that of a Caliphate. You can "degrade" -- but is that a victory? What kind of victory have you won if you've sowed the seeds of one million resentments and vengeances?

Before and after the speech, the cable talking heads reminded us to be VERY AFRAID of terrorist plots and cells that might have infiltrated "the Homeland." What have you won if you reduce your own people to shivering cowards who spy on each other and bluster for the cameras?

To what purpose are we called to this war?

(The triumphal neo-conservative headline pictured above is still on display in tourist areas of the capital.)

6 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

My concern is (and I posted it in the wrong blog the other day) if we don't do something, what would stop this from spreading? Terrorism is easily exported, and if it seems part of a higher cause, people are willing to die for it. The beheadings are easily transported as already to Algeria and an attempted one in Australia of two police officers. Likely it is part of why that off-duty soldier in the UK was beheaded awhile back. It's easy to do and has no way really to protect from it.

When a zeitgeist, like this seems to be of a caliphate, begins to spread around the world, it can appeal to the losers and the winners (some of the 9/11 murderers). I don't know that the President is right but I also don't know that he's wrong. If they really were putting together a plot to shoot down airliners with rockets, it damages the world economy not to mention takes the lives of innocents.

To me, for those of us who want logic to rule and can't imagine using violence to get our way, I don't know how you stop something where the only ones on their side must share their exact religious and political agenda. Some have started to call ISIS the anti-Islam group as it's as damaging to Muslims, who don't want thi,s as it is to the rest of us. A Muslim is not okay either unless they share their exact set of beliefs.

Logically it's not hard to see how this is the child of al Qaeda-- only taken a step farther. Thus, if we stop this group, will the next pop up with an even more radical agenda (although that's hard to imagine right now)? I just don't know how you stop such movements when there are so many eager to hear an agenda that offers them power and all it takes is beheading people to gain it. I read an article yesterday about how this is the product of a thinking that goes way way back in that world. We see some of it in Saudi Arabia in their corporal punishment. I just do not have an answer but doing nothing isn't one either in this case-- not given the goals of this radical agenda. No doubt though that the ones who love continual war are gloating right now :(

Hattie said...

Follow the money. The Intercept has a good piece. We are being suckered again. Americans never learn.

Rain Trueax said...

I read the Intercept articles but didn't really see an answer to this one there. Years ago I got some advice from a psychologist-- it's only paranoia if it's not based on what could happen. We know after the Nazis, Pearl Harbor, 911, etc. what can happen. We also know how we can be lied into wars from way back like the Spanish American War. How much of it is willed by someone who profits from it is always hard to decide. In this case, knowing what these people say they want to do, it seems obvious they are looking to recruit around the world based on their success with using terror and horro. How do we convince the ones who are eager to join up that it's a mistake? I have no idea. I also do not know that Obama is right with his approach. But if you look at history, you see such risings again and again. Always the question is how do you convince people that there are better ways to gain the power they want? Even in our own country there are those who see violence as their preferred answer :(

janinsanfran said...

Hi Rain: just want to say that I appreciate your questions and certainly don't feel I have answers. Sure, there are always people who believe they will profit from wars and other occasions that excite resentments. And the likes of ISIL is a terrible threat to people within its reach.

But that is not us. Those oceans are still large and the supply of homegrown terrorists of the Wahabi sort is small (tho not the supply of homegrown wacko militias ...)

So we have a right (and I think a duty) to ask what our purportedly democratic government thinks it will get out of jumping into the fire. Obama has an answer, but it seems beyond his power to accomplish. What's the end game? Can he realistically envision one? And what unforeseen consequences will follow?

Citizenship seems to me to consist of demanding answers to questions like that, loudly and persistently.

Rain Trueax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rain Trueax said...

I agree, Jan. we need to ask questions. I just read about a human rights lawyer in Mosul who was kidnapped, tortured and tried by the ISIL court and then murdered. If you are Islamic but you don't agree with them, you are in as much danger as anyone. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/25/samira-nuaimi-killed_n_5880900.html). I think the extremes of any religious or pseudo religious group are scary.

I have plenty of homegrown questions right now about our own police force that seems to be consistently overreacting with the use of force and yet Americans don't seem upset by it, I guess, until it nails them.

It is to say the least, a difficult time for answers. I definitely believe that by our country ignoring or even condoning the torture, that your partner wrote about, we set ourselves up for some of this :(. We do not have the high road.

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