I never expected to write anything about the pros and cons of war. I hold neither pacifist nor hawk convictions. Rather, I agree with view that each situation needs to be evaluated in light of history and present to future reasons/justifications and expected consequences.
The deeply jarring and shocking reports of victims of recent chemical weapon attacks, including babies and children, causes a reaction to lash out, to mete out punishment against the perpetrators and justice for the victims. The same when we see innocents hacked and killed as has happened in other places, where we have heard of the thousands slaughtered.
Here are my top concerns that I hope others might consider regarding the present discussions here and abroad about attacking Syria:
- War is ugly, and we need that common sense saying kept in mind. If we could see live film/video of real people in the infernos of war, including innocents blown away while in their homes or shops...would we ever forget; would we not be forever so sickened that only a clear "must respond with more killing" (including likely civilian victims) would suffice?
- Have you known well any veteran who saw the front lines of war? I have, and he would never offer any comment about what he saw as a decorated war fighter pilot...I never heard him speak of war in specifics beyond a couple of close calls, where he survived. He knew war involves killing others. If we agree that war is horrific upon even the victors, then surely we know it is a heavy burden to carry.
- The U. S. (and international community, either) has not intervened in many places in the world where years of war have brutally hunted, hacked, and killed thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians. Rwanda, for example, comes to mind. More questions...
- What are the U. S. doctrine and laws about war?
- Why is the U. S. Congress not debating Syria with President Obama now?
- Why is President Obama not responding to letters requesting meetings on attacks on Syria?
- Is the U. S. Congress, in full membership or through foreign relations/affairs committees, so weak it cannot call for hearings on these matters?
- Do we believe, with confidence, that strikes would prevent chemical weapons being used in the future, or even as a pause; can we be sure they would not be used even more viciously again and in the near future? Do we know where are other chemical weapons stockpiles that could be shipped into Syria?
- In the present situation, are we aware of the refugee problems already ensuing and the suffering of many of weak resources in neighboring countries already over-burdened? (Could you or I, for example, absorb overnight 3,000 people on our property or in the neighborhood, each one needing to stay indefinitely, needing water, bathrooms, and food?) What about the increasing numbers likely to try to leave a Syria under attack? Are we planning to help them as they flee to Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, and elsewhere?
The British Parliament debates the Syria-attack option. It makes this American somewhat angry and saddened to see that body in full debate when nothing close to face-to-face debate or information is happening here, at home. Finally, if the U. S. decides to go and calls it an "intervention" or "humanitarian response" as euphemisms often serve so well today to cover reality...then we need to learn more, become better educated about what we are being told...or fed.
These are a few thoughts and questions on my mind and, possibly, on your mind as well.