This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
Yet another “upgrade” of the warning levels on Fukushima. “Dirty” water is still seeping into the ground and pouring into the sea. Is anyone paying attention?
It turns out that Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) doesn’t know much about what to do when a catastrophe hits its nuclear plants and doesn’t do much with what it does know. Ditto the Japanese government – with the addition that they don’t know what to do with TEPCO. If there was ever a private/public (corrupt) partnership from hell this is it.
Upgrade the warning level on Syria, too. It seems we’re back in the “WMD’s in Iraq” Twilight Zone programming where proof is beside the point and the existence of WMD’s, this time the use of chemical weapons, is the convenient trigger for military intervention . With over one hundred thousand dead and millions of refugees why is it time for the US, with the UK as our favorite junior partner and now France as the junior, junior partner, to strike Syria? Is it because the “opposition” is fragmented and losing its bid to topple the Syrian regime?
The Arab League, that bulwark of ethical propriety with its own Israel/Palestine strategic land swapping propensity, has come out against this latest intervention threat. The United Nations, a similar bulwark of ethical propriety, is balking. The Obama administration is left to cobble together a principled platform to cover its obvious political angles. Which, as it turns out, aren’t that obvious.
Since it isn’t the humanitarian cause we are worried about, what are our political reasons for intervening now? The suffering is worse but it has been horrendous. Why now?
Then there’s Secretary of State John Kerry calling the chemical weapons attack a “moral obscenity.” With Kerry in general, you can either laugh or cry – his economic adventures, peace plans and attempts to explain away the NSA scandal in foreign countries are even more torturous to watch than they are to read. Whether Kerry doesn’t know what is going on or how he and US policies are perceived is the question of questions.
Whatever it is, it’s doubtful that a man of his stature could be more out of touch with reality than he is but there you have it. We’re stuck with Kerry for the remainder of the Obama administration. But, then, we are stuck with Obama as well.
Syria is being carved up, eaten away and pummeled. The Syrian people deserve stability and peace so the dead can be buried and the refugees can return home to rebuild what is left of their lives. Do the allied powers contemplating striking Syria truly believe that this new phase of war will bring that possibility closer?
The language of moral obscenity should be restricted to those whose nations they represent have never committed such acts when they have power and wouldn’t commit them if they did. If any nation retains authority on the moral obscenity watch let us know. The world is eagerly waiting the news.
Politics should be argued on the political battlefield. Let President Obama say politically why he wants to act now. He should state it politically, bare knuckles, without any moral flourish. Then we can agree or not.
What we can be certain of is that the Syrian people are in for more suffering and will have no say in Obama’s decision or with any of the players in this war of wars. And the issue remains: Can America strike without contributing to the moral obscenity it condemns?