Last night I consumed a pint of Christian Brothers® brandy from Royale Junior Liquor Market and sat down to determine my position on U.S. Intervention in Syria. This was not inspired by Drunk History:
I kept thinking about a guy peeling potatoes.
Originally I pictured him in one of Assad’s palaces. I heard on NPR, an expert speculating. Maybe the US would bomb the palaces to send a personal message to Assad. So I thought of a guy who works in the kitchen there. You think they let them leave when they’re going to get bombed? I’m sure there are guards standing around with AK’s, making sure the staff stays put. I kept thinking about this guy. He has a kid maybe, a girl. He was having issues with his wife, some pain in the ass in his day. But good things happened, too. His daughter did something cute, brought home a picture from school. He was employed. Lucky to be. And what other jobs are out there. You get a job for the king, you gotta take it. So he’s peeling potatoes in the kitchen. Everyone is nervous. They heard the Americans are going to bomb the country. Scared chatter. Someone makes a joke. The dark mood is broken. Then they’re all vaporized in fire. Skin blistered off, organs boiled inside their bodies. His daughter hearing the news.
Now they’re only gonna bomb military installations. So only troops will be killed, which is thought to be OK. But the same principle applies. What the fuck choice do these people have, other than joining the army? Do they have a draft in Syria? Sounds like the kind of place where they would. So some 18 year old kid HAS to hang out on this military base that’s about to get incinerated. Human beings, dying horribly. For what.
Nobody in America wants us to kill people in Syria. Nobody. We’re gonna do it anyway. We have to, they say. If we let this instance of chemical weapons use go unpunished then everyone will use chemical weapons. Therefore we must launch massive warheads from our ships, incinerate young people who are conscripted, forced to be where they are. People who would be executed for leaving. Burn them alive. Otherwise an atrocity would go unpunished.
I keep thinking of some kid in the Syrian army. Yeah, Assad is awful. Yeah, those guys are fucking the rebels. But I keep thinking of some kid who stays in back and keeps his head down and doesn’t use flamethrowers on old ladies. Just wants to do his time and get the fuck out. We’re gonna burn him alive. His kids are gonna be fatherless.
The president has to do it now though, we are told. Because he said “redline” one time. Redline means if some contingency is triggered then you MUST firebomb innocent human beings. If you don’t, what good is your word? You could never threaten to incinerate children again! You’d be a laughingstock. You’d tell someone: hey, see all these battleships with all those cruise missiles on them? We’re going to burn your young people with them. Suck the air out of their lungs, broil them in their skin, turn them to ashes in a flash of six thousand degrees. Leave children motherless, fatherless. Knock over buildings, crush people, leave them gasping, mutilated, bleeding out, legs blown off, guts hanging out, dragging themselves in smears of blood through the rubble trying desperately to live. You would threaten this, and they’d laugh at you! The president said “redline,” dammit! Redline! That means bad! It’s a thing you shouldn’t do to your car! Silly people, how could you not understand?
Nobody wants to go to war with Syria but the government does not give a fuck. The level of opposition to “intervening” in Syria– intervening means setting off huge flaming explosions that sear the skin off the faces of children– the level of opposition to “intervening” in Syria is about as high as if the president proposed bombing Cleveland. No matter though. His hand has been forced! Well if your hand can be forced, what power do you have. If you can be forced to kill people for nothing, you’re a fucking puppet. Your hand can be forced by dubious intel out of a chaotic war zone but not by the opinions of 99% of your own population, in a democracy. Get the fuck out of here.
He’s a puppet, but a puppet of what? Israel doesn’t want Assad gone, right? Isn’t the opposition Al Qaeda? There is no good alternative here. No one’s gonna make any real money off this war, are they? Raytheon? Who? We talk like we’re a big empire, like we’re the Romans levying tribute. But we LOSE money on these wars. We are the least competent empire in history. The Romans taxed people. They took stuff. They got rich. And yeah, they fought wars, but mostly they brought in hot baths and fun entertainments and people just caved. We’re a shitty empire, we hurt people and then gain nothing from our imperialism. Not even the oil companies. Would have been better for them if Hussein was still around. We don’t get money, we don’t get stability, we don’t get a better position for us or our allies or anyone. What the fuck good does the killing do? Well, if we didn’t do it, you see, shit would be even worse. No. Hundreds of thousands of people fucking died horribly. That is as bad as it gets.
Assad is awful. But of course: he goes, what comes next. Some other nut. Some more reactionary force, another Iran where people get thrown in dungeons for their haircuts. I don’t know what to do about Syria. But I know what not to do, which is set a bunch of 20 year old kids on fire. I mean, for Christ’s fucking sake.