News reports suggest that President Obama is on the verge of authorizing an act of war against Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, to send a signal to the Syrian dictator that using chemical weapons is unacceptable.
But al-Assad knows that America cannot afford another war, and that the citizens of the US and UK have no stomach for any more post-colonial ventures in the domain of the Prophet Mohammed.
President Obama also knows this, so it is hard for me to understand why he might think that blowing up Syrian military facilities using “legal” weapons would discourage al-Assad from killing fellow Syrians with “illegal” weapons. And let’s not forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki: we don’t hold the high ground on this one.
So what’s the real message? Stop using nerve gas and buy Tomahawk missiles from Raytheon? No need for Purell; the unsullied hands that release your legal war weaponry can safely caress your spouses, tousle the hair of your children, and fold in prayer before the supernatural being of your choice.
When the United States delivers its moral convictions on the tip of a Tomahawk, the calculus of life and death is not satisfied. We hunt the cosmos for ET, but today the only known life in the universe is on our own planet, which makes our species very precious.
It’s unfortunate that we are obliged to eat other life forms in order to live. Some won’t eat meat or fish because of this. But regardless of differences in our personal empathy for animals, most of us think killing people is wrong unless they are trying to kill us.
President Obama, please put down the Tomahawks. It’s time to take the value of human life more seriously. Syria has not attacked us, so we have no business killing Syrians.