Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How long before this lesson is learned?

After nearly SIX milennia, wouldn't you think humanity would figure out that violence just. doesn't. work. ?

Here we are, in the veritable footprints of 5500 year old history, repeating the same mistake. Syria, site of the first recorded urban warfare, is the latest battleground in the neverending MiddleEast conquest. It's the same old story: outsiders coming in with weapons that wreak havoc, destroy lives and local livelihood, and drive out the innocent population for the sake of politics and gain.
Ruins of Hamoukar, Syria
 Hamoukar, attacked and burned 5500 year ago, was the first known victim of urban warfare.
Our President had a chance recently to advocate peace in a speech to Irish youth, but when they read the news, they see he is proposing to arm militants (terrorists or rebels, depending on your perspective) in Syria, a combat zone that has already cost 60,000 lives and driven millions from their homes. How peaceful is that?

Meanwhile back in our own country, our national legislature is preventing measures to curb violence on our streets, instead keeping it easy to arm militants (terrorists, rebels, freedom patriots, call them what you will) with high grade automatic military weapons. How peaceful is that?

Wait, you say, that isn't the same. The people here in the US who commit mass murders are crazy. They kill without reason. There is no political motivation to the slaughters (as if THAT is a reasonable argument to keep weapons trade active in our nation).

But imagine: what if there was a manifesto on the perpetrator's website when U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen others were shot? What if the Boston killers had disrupted the marathon with automatic AK-47s instead of homemade bombs? What if there were more than two in the conspiracy to bomb the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City? What if the many assassination attempts of the 20th century were attributed to a coup rather than one lone gunman? What if the Occupy protestors were brutalized, as happened on our streets back in 1968-70? If all those incidents were reported happening in another country, what would our national reaction be?
Murrah federal building, Oklahoma City
Murrah federal building, Oklahoma City 1995
What if another nation, reading about our history of protest and oppression, were to seize the opportunity to arm and train the militants (terrorists, rebels, freedom patriots) here? How would we react then?

I'm sure of the reaction: What is good for US is not the same thing as is good elsewhere.

This inconsistency of attitude is perpetual: We top the list of armament dealers and our legislators support any initiative backed by the NRA. We train terrorists (military leaders, soldiers in the drug wars) in torture at WHINSEC (School of the Americas). We supply mercenaries (security personnel) and munitions (defensive, of course) to hotbeds of civil war and areas dominated by drug cartels (which in themselves have shady ties to our many questionable clandestine operations). We overtly invade countries (Vietnam, Iraq) -- and who knows how often covertly disrupt to install an "ally". We bomb "strategically" with drones wherever those targets happen to be. And in every case, we expect to be hailed as heros by the locals as well as the international community because, above all, we maintain a national self-image of US as peacekeepers.

Get real. Americans need to face the facts: We are aiding and abetting murder; we are perpetuating violence; we are keeping the world in a state of tension and terror. We torture and incarcerate without recourse. We spy with impunity everywhere and on everyone. And most of all, we keep it all secret. We put up with limited "news" and choose denial over believing that the disparities we detect should be investigated, reported, and corrected.

I have to agree (at least about this part of her statement) with Irish politician Clare Daly: The only label for someone who talks peace to Irish youth while perpetuating war by arming militants in Syria is "hypocrite". The Nobel committee should rescind President Obama's Peace Prize if he pursues a strategy of violence in Syria.

Violence only begets more violence. After 5500 years, you'd think intelligent international leaders would have realized this repeatedly demonstrated truth. Why can't humanity learn this essential lesson and come up with a better alternative?
I wonder... what you think.
ps I wonder if women were fairly represented here and around the world how much more cooperative things might become. -- Do you suppose that might be part of the same lesson mankind needs to learn?

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