When diplomacy and dialogue fail . . .
Ask anyone who’s been the victim of constant bullying what they wished– no prayed– for almost every day: that someone would make the bully stop.
I have never been the victim of bullying myself, but I saw plenty of it while I was growing up. I always felt compelled to intercede. Usually, when I did, the bully would stop, but I always knew there was the possibility that I’d end up in a fight. Still, I believed it was the right thing to do.
Everything we know about President Bashar al-Assad is that he’s a bully. This is not the first time he has used chemical weapons against his own people. Not only are chemical weapons outlawed under international and humanitarian laws, but using them against innocent civilians violates every moral imperative of all time. It’s just plain wrong– which in the American context is why Osama Bin Laden had to die for the attack on the World Trade Center towers.
Trump’s decision to fire missiles at Syria was the morally right thing to do– even if he has a different agenda. We know he doesn’t want Syrian refugees coming to America, but there are just so many places they can go before the other “civilized” nations began pressuring this country to do its share.
Besides, the parents of the children being sprayed with death-dealing chemicals could care less about Trump’s hidden agenda. They just want their children to live– as do we all.
Trump should have communicated with the Congress– out of protocol and respect– and did not, prepare for a new reality in the USA. Trump has already given the Pentagon total authorization to wage war on Afghanistan, and it’s likely the military commanders will do whatever they think needs to be done– in Syria or anywhere else that houses Afghan sympathizers.
I understand that the United States is the lightning rod for revolt throughout most if not all of the Middle East. This country has a history of throwing its weight around. Like everyone else who is in power, Assad will do whatever he has to do to preserve the status quo. Whether he’s justified or not in digging his heels into the ground when the country’s majority Sunni Muslim population is opposed to him, I don’t know.
What I do know is that waging war on children is wrong. Most of us would take a dim view of anyone who simply stood idly by and watched children killed without trying to stop it. And when diplomacy and dialog do not work, other steps have to be taken to get the bully’s undivided attention. The U.S. and its allies seriously discussed military action against Assad in 2013 to punish his regime for using doing the very same thing.
If you’re asking what gives this country the right to chastise the bully, my response is to see the moral imperative involved. You don’t ask a bully who can save your life not to save your life simply because he’s a bully.
If you can help, you should help. (Thank God for abolitionists.)
At some point, the repeated use of chemical weapons and the killing of innocent civilians– particularly children– has to move from being philosophically intolerable to having demonstrable consequences. Assad’s actions deserved some serious push-back. When diplomacy and dialog don’t work, the only way to stop a bully is to stop talking and act.
On an aside, it’s not difficult to see that Trump is hard at work attempting to show the world that he’s a better leader than Obama. His presidency to date is way too much about what Obama did or did not do. His insecurity about how he measures up to Obama is becoming increasingly evident– and old. If he ever decides that North Korea needs to be bombed– for whatever reason– his need to outdo Obama could end up starting World War III.
Assad knows the U.S. can’t sell guns to the rebels. There are too many jihadists in that group who would love to use those weapons on us. He also knows the U.S. can’t force him out of power. There’s too much of a chance that ISIS would come in and take over the country. So, destroying his airplanes and transport vehicles is probably the only real way to get his attention, short of taking human life. Assad knows now that the U.S. is serious. That when it comes to chemical weapons and the killing of innocent men, women, and children, we say– and mean– “no.”
Assad knows now that the U.S. is serious, and that when it comes to chemical weapons and the killing of innocent men, women, and children, we say– and mean– “no.”
Now, we just need Trump to see the need to get serious about the innocent men, women, and children who are killed in places like the Sudan, and right here in this land.