Nobel peace prize winner, Barack Obama, has decided to commit acts of war against Syria but wants the U.S. Congress to give its approval first. The reason is to punish Syria for its alleged use of poison gas to kill more than 1000 of its citizens.
Perhaps there is some desire to assist the Syrian opposition, which–along with their allies–have their own record of brutal murder of Syrian Christians.
To intervene in another land’s quarrel is always dangerous–even when the moral choice is clear–but when the choice is murky, the only certainty is that U.S. intervention will lay even more innocent people in their graves as collateral damage to killing some bad guys.
Consider, also, our own children; those we send to do the our killing. Middle-aged presidents do not fight; nor do Congressmen, nor most of the voters. The question is the same as one posed almost fifty years ago during another war:
As a father, I must look at my son, and I must ask if there is anything I possess—any right, any piece of property, any comfort, any joy—that I would ask him to die to permit me to keep. I must ask if I believe that it would be meaningful—after his mother and I have loved each other and begotten him and loved him—for him to die in a lump with a number hanging around his neck. I must ask if his life would have come to meaning or nobility or any usefulness if he should sit—with his human hands and head and eyes—in the cockpit of a bomber, dealing out pain and grief and death to people unknown to him. And my answer to all these questions is one that I must attempt to live by: No.
~ Kentucky teacher, poet, novelist and farmer Wendell Berry, “A Statement Against the War in Vietnam,” 1968.
If an enemy were invading my own country, trying to kill my family, my sons and my daughter, my friends and neighbors, I would stand with them to defend the people I love on the land that I know. I cannot say the same about making war around the world, whatever the justification.
The government has a track record too long and too clear to believe that any good will come of it. We will lose our sons. We will kill their sons in battle and their mothers and daughters on the sidelines. That much we know with certainty.
What we cannot be sure of is when our meddling will ignite the next world war. When that comes, most of our youngsters–the ones sensible enough to have had other plans–will be forced to make war for this government. Their parents will send them, but the parents will not go.
The parents will not even have to pay for the guns and the bombs, because the money for war can always be borrowed or printed, secured by the promise that our children and grandchildren (if they survive) will pay it back after their fathers have died, warm in their beds.
It is hard to imagine any overseas war worth the price.