Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Americans then, Americans now - Syria

I have been listening to the Texas version of talkback radio and I must say I prefer it to Newstalk ZB and Radio Live and the likes. While the people are absolutely cray (there is no other words to describe it), for some reason that kind of crazy talk sounds normal in Texas. It doesn’t seem to behoove Kiwis.

There are lots of crazy opinions floating about namely that many don’t believe Assad is actually behind the chemical weapons attack. There is a belief that the rebels (ie Al Qaeda) are behind it and therefore the US has no business going into another war. There’s also the minor detail of the need for Congressional approval before any action can be taken. The recurring phrase I’m hearing as justification against military action is “look how Iraq and Afghanistan turned out, why are we going into war again!”

This is extraordinary. I was in the United States between 2001 and 2003, living in the Midwest, and I remember that opposition to either war (Afghanistan and Iraq) was seen as not supporting the troops, un-American and un-patriotic, and downright evil. At the very least you had to declared that you “supported the troops” to prevent the Vietnam like treatment of soldiers but that movement effectively silenced opposition to war. It is odd to see that people have finally woken up to the idea that those wars may have not been the greatest response to the terrorism/WMD ‘threat’ at the time.

In all honestly I don’t have a position on what should happen in Syria except that something should happen. How can I? I don’t get the intelligence briefings. I don’t understand what is actually happening on the ground. All I know that are the images of the lifeless bodies. I know THAT is unacceptable. The fact that chemical and biological weapons even exist is a terrifying thought. Where valuable scientific resources should be geared towards finding cures for AIDS and cancer, our society makes weapons to kill children.

What is happening in the Middle East is a complicated situation with no easy answers in the short term. What fascinates me is how Americans are reacting to this situation now compared to 10 years ago. They have war fatigue and they are tired of losing. They believe their military is spread thin, they don’t believe they are going to win this and they have very little faith in the information they are getting from their leaders. I don’t know if the blind trust they used to have in their President is gone because they don’t trust Obama specifically or if that trust was ruined by Bush but it certainly isn’t there now.

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