War Again!


So we’re going to war again – this time in Syria.

And the reason? We’re outraged by the killing of innocent civilians through the use of the “weapons of mass destruction” that we so famously abhor. That is we abhor them when used by others. And these days everything qualifies for the category – even a pressure cooker filled with nails.

Meanwhile, the drone is never described as a weapon of mass destruction. Nor is the white phosphorus used to slaughter masses in Fallujah considered a chemical weapon. And what about the Agent Orange and Agent Blue “we” used in Vietnam and which is still claiming lives and causing horrendous birth deformities fifty years later? How about the depleted uranium that has caused not only deaths but an epidemic of child deformities wherever it has been used?

Have you seen those pictures? No, they’re too “graphic” for our sensibilities. But sensibilities be damned when it’s a question of our enemies atrocities instead of our own which absolutely dwarf the latter.

And where’s the outrage about our cooperation with Saddam Hussein in targeting Iranians, when Hussein was still our friend and ally? Just yesterday it came out that the CIA supplied him with targeting information for his famous use of chemical weapons . We were his collaborators in that crime! But that’s ancient history — way back in 1988.

And yet we rend our garments over this “unspeakable” crime that may have been committed by Bashar Assad – the latest personification of Hitler and evil itself just ahead of Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, Slobodan Milosevic, and Muammar Gaddafi.

No one asks “Can we afford this?” Where are the millions (billions?) necessary for this intervention coming from? What has Syria to do with us? How is it connected with U.S. problems of unemployment, income gaps between the super-rich and the ever-expanding ranks of the poor, failing schools, overcrowded prisons, voter suppression, crumbling infrastructure?

To address those problems we have no money. But for war, don’t ask. There’s always money for war.

And so our newscasters and pundits take John Kerry seriously when he wrings his hands over Syria’s use of chemical weapons. We have no option but to intervene militarily, Kerry assures us. And he’s the head of our “Diplomatic Corps!”

Where’s the diplomacy? Where’s the call for a cease fire, for U.N. peacekeeper intervention, for talks between the admittedly al-Qaeda-affiliated “rebels” and the Assad regime? What are we paying these guys for – these so-called diplomats?

And the mainstream media goes along with all of it. Putting on their most solemn faces and using their most serious voices the newscasters intone: “We have ‘undeniable circumstantial evidence’ that Bashar Assad is the one responsible for chemical weapons deployment. And there’s no time to wait for a fuller investigation.”

Sound familiar? When was the last time such certainty moved us to “shock and awe” an enemy, meanwhile killing untold innocent civilians in the process?

So our brave military stands ready to fire Cruise Missiles into population centers to retaliate for the killing of innocent civilians. The strikes will be as surgical as possible we’re reassured.

Have we learned nothing from recent history?

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

6 thoughts on “War Again!”

  1. Hear, hear!

    Thank you so much for this Mike…. like a voice in the wilderness. A sane voice in a crazy wilderness.



  2. I agree with John Wallace’s comment.
    I don’t know Mike where you get the energy… in not considering harakiri with this united state of Western hypocrisy, disregard for the intelligence of the remaining media-non-lobotomize dodo birds! I take an easy jet-lagged way our by leaving a link for anyone interested. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/08/27-3

    Kerry and Biden drives one to curl up and quit. Listening to the Irish National tax maintained radio drives one to wondering if we ever again have a not-too-unlikely famine we steer clear of the American Dream. Apologises to all my cousins in Philly and Boston. (Many being good Catholics working with the troops, FBI, CIA and just one in Nsa). But US Empire is becoming a nightmare. Jc
    PS The comments to the clip are worth the time reading.


  3. Thanks for today’s editorial. After sending the link to someone who’s traveling overseas, I found your blog. Will definitely become a regular reader, and will share that info with friends. Love the Sunday homilies!


  4. Mike, I hope you sent this to the President. You should. whitehouse.gov
    Copy and paste this whole blog post! I wrote a note this morning, but it doesn’t hold a candle to yours. Our comments might not make a difference (ha!, as if…), but it seems important to do anyway.
    Thinking of you all today!


    1. De nada, Trevor. Hope things are looking up for you, Laura and Emerson. Peggy and I so enjoyed your visit in Michigan and look forward to the next time. You should have heard me struggling with Italian during our recent spell in Italy. I wish I was one of those people who can keep languages straight and disconnected from each other. There were moments in Rome and Tuscany when I felt absolutely tongue-tied.


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