Defanging the Monster

A dragon reborn
Dragons are no longer mythical

War, death, destruction, rape, refugees, bombings, assassinations, violence, uprootings, fear, terror—these are the words we daily see and hear in the media with such frequency we now consider them commonplace. They are the result of state actions and state actors acting on a world stage before a numbed, subdued audience of helpless victims, with us as witless witnesses. Our own country is one of those states. 

Armies attack civilians. Bombs are dropped, rockets launched and villages and cities destroyed. Streams of refugees flee across continents, morgues fill, hospitals cope, people perish and we watch, dumbfounded. 

What should arouse each and every one of us is our own mistaken bombing of the doctors of Doctors without Borders and their patients in a hospital in Afghanistan.

This act of gross, murderous negligence demands justice: not by penalizing one or more functionaries who were guilty of the negligence but by taking away the lethal instruments of power misused by our own government. We can no longer trust our government with instruments of destruction purchased with our own taxes and our own credit.   The only way to make ourselves and the world safe is to take away the toys the generals and politicians play with. If they want to fight, give them a pair of boxing gloves and maybe a club. They can’t be trusted with F-135s, gunships, submarines, rockets, missiles, bombs, tanks, divisions, special forces or naval vessels armed with attack weapons.

There is an unwritten law, often recited by saber-rattling generals and politicians, egged on by power-lusting academics:  “if you have power, use it.” We are using it, and it pains us deeply. The pain is intolerable. We must do something, and that something is not to accept empty promises that we won’t do it again. 

Bombing and killing doctors remains such a high crime that it demands high punishment. Take away the right to bomb or kill in our name.

There is nothing so fundamentally wrong with the Taliban that we should go to such lengths to export our violence to a country seven thousand miles from our borders.

The Taliban is not a threat to the United States. It poses no clear and present danger.  We have no business in Afghanistan, in Syria or Iraq or anywhere in the Mideast.  We may not like religious fundamentalism gone askew, but we have no business imposing our values on another county. One of the motives of the Taliban is to evict us. They are saying: this is our country, kindly get out.  We shouldn’t be there in the first place. We can’t connect 9/11 with the present-day Taliban. We are perceived as a foreign power trying to impose our foreign ideas on a Muslim country by force of arms. It won’t work. The Afghans will develop in their own time and in their own way.  

Sunni forces that have now turned against us in Iraq are using tanks and guns we supplied. The situation in Syria is so messed up we can’t decide whom, if anyone, we should help. There are no good guys. But there are plenty of victims. One statistic tells the story: 60 million refugees across the globe.

Peace is our goal, not war. Peace means stop waging war. Stop sending arms to a Mideast boiling with hatreds, fears and angry, desperate people.

Take away the lethal toys. We don’t need them, and neither does the rest of the world.  We need to address the problems, not the symptoms. We have much to offer, as we discovered in our recent negotiations with Iran. They want to trade. They want security, honor and respect. Bombing is the very opposite of diplomacy.        

 

Ancient civilizations slew dragons. We have our own dragon to slay: it is big and mean and snorts fire and smoke, but it is vulnerable.  Just stop feeding it.