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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kristof Still Wants War

Sunday update:  Believe it or not, the sequel to the sequel: In new column, Kristof AGAIN calls for air strikes against Assad forces, despite the chem weapons agreement. 

Wednesday update:   Believe it or not, the sequel:  In his new column today, from refugee camp, Kristof STILL comes out for U.S. airstrikes, despite our apparent win on maybe getting rid of Assad's chemical weapons.  Yes, I get the humanitarian impulse, but he continues to appear blind to the likely negative after-effects. 

Earlier:  Believe it or not, Nick Kristof, often admirable in the past, in new column tonight, is still calling for bombing Syria.  He argues that we simply must oppose crossing red lines in the use of inhumane weapons--yet in earlier column he supported the use of atomic bombs against Japan, killing at least 120,000 women and children and 50,000 others (and see my book here).  Kristof's hero Nelson Mandela pointed out how U.S. STILL suffers--around the world--from stain of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In today's column (in a separate note he reveals it was written as the deal to get rid of Assad's arsenal was just about wrapped up), Kristof makes this argument:
A missile strike on Syrian military targets would result in no supplemental budget, so money would come from the existing military pot. In any case, the cost of 100 missiles would be about $70 million — far less than the $1 billion annual rate that we’re now spending on humanitarian aid for Syrians displaced by worsening war and by gas attacks.
If a $70 million strike deters further gas attacks and reduces the ability of President Bashar al-Assad to bomb civilians, that might actually save us money in humanitarian spending.
Also notice how he is charging Assad with "presiding over" deaths of 100,000, even though most counts claim the rebels have slain up to half that number.   And admits "some" of the rebels "are vile."   Maybe three or four, you know. Artful.

Finally, he dishonestly  ignores the fact that if Obama had followed his call last week (and that of his colleague, Bill Keller) and started firing cruise missiles we would have already no doubt killed an untold number of innocent Syrians.  Also  we would not have the current agreement to get rid of all of Syria's chemical agents without bloodshed--which our bombing would not have come close to accomplishing.   Also, this agreement will, if carried out,  eliminate the chance of those weapons falling into al-Qaeda hands.  Also, there will be no Assad retaliatory strikes and our bombs will not inflame much of the rest of the Muslim world against us.

In a tweet yesterday, Kristof crowed that the "threat" of bombing that he backed was working and this produced the Syria/Russia offer.  Fair enough except--if Obama had actually gone ahead with the bombing already, as Kristof wished, there would have been no such offer. 

1 comment:

Alban said...

The justification always seems to be related to this idea of "a necessary evil". Like Kristof said in his 2003 column, not using the atomic bombs on Japan would have been worse than using them to end the war. We may say, it is evil to do it, but we just don't have a choice. In order to limit the damage, we have to do it. And slowly but surely we slip more and more into chaos and are identified with evil itself - by our own actions. How can one stand it? Is this the range of choice we want to be limited to?

What is the solution? I don't think there is one, although I may continue to hope there is one. You seem right when you mention the "current agreement to get rid of all of Syria's chemical agents", and certainly, no one would want to see those chemical agents fall into the hands of al-Qaeda. But all we are doing is that we look to a past event to react to. No matter what happened, it is past. Should we really do this? Isn't there a better way of living and acting, that we all have experienced at some point in time? What good does it do to limit ourselves to a past event that will define the range of choice in the present and for the future as long as we do not let it go and come to a present moment?

The situation is not solvable as we see it. If we want to take a look at all that has happened in Syria already, what hope do we still have for healing and peace in the ways of the past? But maybe that is not even what we want or look for. Maybe we are still just once again content to see our painful and cruel world view be justified, as if there is just nothing we can do about it. We are all evil and sinful somewhere, although we strongly or weakly believe that the others are worse or more cruel than we. Maybe we need to be fixed in our damaged and offended identity of being the good one, the strong one, the superior one in this world of chaos. Then we attack Syria for our selfish reasons to prove our superiority. Oh ye of evil nature. We attack you because we are the better ones. We define the moral standard that lets us act like a police of the world, and our attack will make us better, because of its underlying definition.

But are we really inescapably subjected to the definition of the problem as it is described? What is really going on?

How about saying, I really can't stand this world, I don't see any sense in it, it's total chaos, and there has to be something else. A Course In Miracles teaches me that I have invented the world I see, because God did not create this meaningless world, it is my projection, the pictorial representation of my own attack on myself. And the solution to this unreal situation has to come from outside of my mind. I am the problem, and I have to let go of how I see the situation in its totality, because NONE of it is real. I am willing to do this, because, if this world is really like it seems to be, there is no chance to heal and be happy ever. There is no good if this is really real. Therefore, I choose to accept responsibility for my self-identity and projected world and ask God, a power greater than myself to show me the way to leave this slaughterhouse and nightmare. I choose to deny this world and let my mind be healed.