The Widdershins

Activist Wednesday: Consistency, Anyone?

Posted on: September 25, 2013

Our dear friend Prolix has made some very good points about moral outrage lately. I do heartily agree that it seems to be no longer the done thing to say, “It’s the right thing to do.” It’s just so square, so unironic; and at least for those of my generation (X), a day without irony is like a day without chocolate. It’s dull as George Bush’s thousand-yard stare.

My point of view about Syria is, however, that killing children is always wrong. If I am going to be outraged when Assad does it, then I am going to be twice as outraged when American war hawks do it. (Because let’s face it, Americans should be better than third-century Bronze Age buffoons like Assad.)

Remember our last attempt at “regime change” because a Middle Eastern dictator “gassed his own people”? (With our gas, I might add – thank you, Donald Rumsfeld.) How did that work out for Iraqi children?

Counting the Dead

A survey published in January 2008, conducted in August and September 2007 by Opinion Research Business, a British polling firm, in conjunction with Iraq’s Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies found that about 20% of households surveyed had lost at least one member, and estimated that 1.03 million people had died in the war with a 95% certainty for a number of deaths between 946,000 and 1.12 million.

The deaths of so many men, women and children have had an enormous impact on Iraqi society. According to the Iraqi government,around 4.5 million children have lost one or both parents (almost 1 in 3) and approximately 600 000 children are living on the streets. Child labour has increased with 15% of children under the age of 14 now working.  There are now between 1 and 3 million widows in Iraq, many struggling as heads of households and living in extreme poverty.

So far this year (July 2012) 49 children have been killed and 169 injured in the violence.

I am not AT ALL suggesting that our Prolix is for war. However, I do think that advocating for regime change in the Middle East never helps the children we may rightfully want to rescue.

On a slightly more ironic note, we should never allow a maniac like Assad to make us look like the bad guys. John Kerry, you are just inept. Thank goodness Hillary got out before this mountain of cr*p erupted.

“The words of the Syrian regime in our judgement are simply not enough, which is why we’ve come here in order to work with the Russians,” John Kerry told reporters in Geneva ahead of high-stakes talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the thorny issue of Syria‘s chemical weapons.

He warned it was also up to the Russians to show that they could “deliver on the promise of the moment” after Moscow proposed a plan earlier this week to eliminate Syria’s deadly weapons stock.

But Mr Kerry highlighted that the US and Russia still disagreed on who carried out a suspected sarin gas attack near Damascus last month, which Washington says killed 1,400 people.

“The Russian delegation has put some ideas forward and we’re grateful for that. We respect it. And we have prepared our own principles that any plan to accomplish this needs to encompass [emphasis mine],” Mr Kerry stressed, before a room packed with reporters from around the world.

Okay, first of all, nice syntax, John. I wouldn’t say it was Dubya-worthy, but I think HW Bush might have said something similar at some point.

Second of all, we are now looking like the aggressors because we practically declared war on yet another country that didn’t attack us, for the most contrived and inconsistent of reasons. We have Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo taunting us as we attempt to preach against attacking and killing civilians, so “It’s only bad when someone else does it” is not really a stance I’m comfortable embracing.

I’m not sure what else to say on this topic, except that I am really, really tired of the MIC being in charge of our country.  I feel like I’m in a Dustin Hoffman movie, only this film isn’t clever, funny or even ironic.

It’s just a d*mn tragedy.

This is an open thread.

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15 Responses to "Activist Wednesday: Consistency, Anyone?"

I spent the entire last decade convinced that I was trapped in an endless showing of “Wag the Dog”.

Courage, mother.

Ah but consistency gets in the way of tribalism, doesn’t it?

(A big disappointment for me post-2008 was realizing that “my” side wasn’t actually for truth and justice and Mom and apple pie. I’m way old enough to have figured that out decades ago, but I’m sheltered and naive and gullible so it took a while.)

quixote said: A big disappointment for me post-2008 was realizing that “my” side wasn’t actually for truth and justice and Mom and apple pie.

But I think we all wanted to believe it.

Off topic but still germane to Activist Wednesday. A report put out by the Center for American Progress on the state of women in America today. Complete with a map where you can click on each state. Not surprised at all at the states in red.

Fredster, that map was really interesting. How do you find these things?

Nice post MB.

socal: Oh it was on nola.com here:

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/09/worst_state_for_women_liberal.html#incart_more_business

If you click the link it says worst state for women liberal group says. 👿

What does it matter who says it if it’s the truth?

Hey socal, did you get the email I sent to you? Just wondering…

MB, agree on all points. Regime change for the sake of regime change is a non-starter and in fact, in Syria it is particularly unproductive at this juncture. There are over 1,000 different factions and what comes next is more important than “doing something for the sake of doing something.” If Iraq has taught us anything, doing what Bush and Bremer did by dismantling the government structure in one fell swoop is the worst thing possible.

Death is death whether by a cruise missile or gas — although gas is a particularly grotesque weapon.

My post on moral outrage wasn’t good and in fact it probably sucked castor oil popsicles. My point, as poorly as it was drawn, is I didn’t hear the moral outrage on Syria. I heard the remnants of a rightfully war weary electorate saying, “Not again– not our problem.” That’s legitimate, but reacting in such a fashion is allowing Dubya’s lying gang to affect the zeitgeist and I think that is wrong.

I don’t know what the right policy is. I know I don’t want to kill people or see more die. Over and above those immediate concerns, I have a long-term concern that our collective pathos has been affected by the Bush adventurism and technology showing us the glide path of bombs. I do think we have somehow become anesthetized to some level of the horrors whether those horrors are gas or guns or bombs. That is a shame.

Prolix, your post was excellent, TW is not an echo chamber.

Ditto what chat said.

@9 and 10: I agree also.

Fredster, sorry, I had missed it, sent you a response.

socal: I saw it and sent you a reply also.

@8: Prolix, I was very moved by your post and agreed with your main point. We must never become numb to the horror of mass murder. I also don’t know what the right response to Syria’s actions should be. I’m not that bright.

I’m not bright enough to figure it out either (in addition to being gullible, etc.). I wrote a post on what to do about Syria at molvray.com/acidtest. Short version: start your time machine and go back sixty years….

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