There was an episode of Father Ted, where Ted was running a raffle, and the grand prize was a new car. Unfortunately, soon after he picked it up, the car suffered a minor dent. Ted got it into his head that he could tap the dent out with a small hammer. This, of course, went horribly wrong, and the denting spread and spread around the whole car, it looked like a write-off.
Here’s YouTube to help:
My Facebook was lit up today with posts about the British Parliament’s vote to bomb Syria.
This Father Ted clip reminds me of the West’s foreign policy. And not a new phenomenon. I recently read an article concerning a bunch of places whose economies we ruined, and whose population we severely harmed. The CIA overthrowing governments, installing their own preferred puppet, who turns against them a few years later. From 2001 to the present day, going into perpetual war in Afghanistan, Iraq. Fighting ISIS in one country, aiding them in another (*cough*Syria*cough*).
Our rhetoric about protecting the poor civilians, again and again proves to be misleading (to say the least). At best, our rhetoric says something to the effect of “we caused this problem, so we should go and fix it”. At least that kind of rhetoric actually acknowledges that we caused a problem, too often it doesn’t. But, much like the poor car, our “fixing it” hasn’t made things better in… how long? The Fifties at the latest?
And it’s baffling to me when people use this issue to side with one political party over another. Blame the Tories when, in reality, Labour has done it as well. Same in the US with Republicans and Democrats.
I believe that part of the problem is that the debt-backed economic paradigm has war as an integral component. Look for a pattern of the minority party being able to provide more dissenters than the majority party. Politicians who stay in office long enough to establish a consistent dissenting opinion and vote, and actually consistently do, are very rare.
Ted, at least, had a conscience. Mulder’s maxim of “Trust no-one” sadly very much applies in this arena.
Pray for the Syrian Christians. May they fare better than those in Iraq, where the effects of our actions have proved catastrophic for them.
This sounds somewhat familiar, as ne’erdowells such as Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Manuel Noriega, Carlos Castillo Armas, and many others were put in power, trained, propped up, or otherwise backed by the US, before becoming a thorn in the side.
I recall reading a bit about this in a book by Michael Moore, while he was on his big crusade against Bush II. That was before I discovered Mr Moore was just as misleading as the Bush regime, but on that particular point he was quite right. (He’s been suspiciously silent during the reign of Bush II’s successor, who hasn’t been any better – wait for Moore’s big comeback when the next Republican president hits)
“We practice selective annihilation of mayors and government officials, for example, to create a vacuum. Then we fill that vacuum. As popular war advances, peace is closer.” – quoted in Civil War by Guns ‘n’ Roses (embedded below).
It also should be pointed out that, in addition to the power vacuum mentioned in the video above, There’s lots we’ve done to encourage people to be our enemies. The humiliations we inflicted on our prisoners, which were, and were supposed to be, deeply offensive to Muslims (though I can’t imagine anyone else would particularly like it, either). Bombing the shit out of countries for no good reason isn’t going to win you any friends, either, and for all the propaganda about very precise weapons, the amount of “collateral damage” we’ve inflicted is something we should be deeply ashamed of, and is likely to turn people who might possibly be supportive of us, into personal enemies.
And I very much doubt the list stops there.
It should also be pointed out that our actions have had lethal repercussions for Christians in the middle east. The near-total elimination of Christians in Iraq (either fleeing the country, or through death), churches that dated back to the first couple of centuries AD. I recall seeing that symbol replace profile pictures on Facebook. the martyrdom of those Ethiopian Christians, in that video that did the rounds a little while ago.
A little while ago, Christian leaders in Syria were begging the West NOT to help them, it’s like they’ve seen our track record, or something. Christians in Syria are supporting Assad. Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the US are trying to oust him (mentioned in the video above, though I’ve also read France and Saudi Arabia are also against him).
i don’t remember how I felt about the war in Afghanistan when it started. I’d like to think that I thought it was a knee-jerk reaction, a punishment meted out before all the evidence had come to trial, so to speak. I’d like to think I thought that, but I don’t really remember.
I remember being skeptical about the war in Iraq. That the news outlets were pushing for it (shame on you, BBC) in the run-up, the reasons for going to war being dubious, the Blair regime saying they hadn’t decided to go to war yet, when they’d already started shipping troops out, and the protest against the war, apparently the largest protest in British history, being completely ignored.
Two books on the subject, one I read a few years ago, and the other about a year ago, have proved pretty interesting. Disarming Iraq, by Hans Blix, who lays out his experiences very methodically, goes into the perspectives of the weapons inspectors. Backstabbing For Beginners, by Michael Soussan, goes into the inner workings of the Oil-For-Food program. A much more lively book, it provides insight into the political situation of Iraq at the time.
More recently, I remember the Kickstarter videos for an as-yet incomplete documentary project called “The Killing Of Tony Blair“, where George Galloway, MP, intends to prove that the former Prime Minister is guilty of War Crimes. Galloway was the only Labour MP to lose his job over opposing entering the war in Iraq. I think he’s probably got a pretty good case, though I am a bit cautious. The caution may be a natural reaction to Galloway being a politician. And, although Galloway has done all right for himself since then, the documentary may be easily dismissed by some as a “revenge piece”.
On the American side of the pond, although the current President talked a lot about peace while he was campaigning for the job the first time round, he seems to have acted as much an interventionist as his predecessors, at least as far as Truman. The only politician who’s really seemed to mean what he says about not going to war, has been Ron Paul. Recent article
I’ve seen on Facebook statements like, “if we can’t afford to care for our veterans, we shouldn’t send them to war in the first place”, which I have to say I agree with.
There’s also been kerfuffle over policies of immigration of refugees from these places. There seem to be extremes of “don’t let anybody in” and “let everybody in”, where a middle way is probably much more sane than either.
The concern over refugees is specifically about the Muslim ones, though we know Christians are trying to escape the area. It seems accurate that there has been Muslim killing Muslim, and so (most of) the refugees are trying to escape those you don’t want to let in. Seems reasonable to me.
Those concerned about the Trojan Horse factor, I don’t know. That doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable, either, but I cannot envision a vetting process that could easily catch that. Can’t say I’m terribly worried about it, but then again, I don’t live in an area that would be a priority target.
The relationship between Christians and Muslims has long been tricky, and that needs to be acknowledged. Church and State usually have tensions and disagreements, and political power is often at the expense of someone else’s, so there’s a certain amount of status quo there. Trying to compare Greece under the Turkish yoke, or Syrian Christianity under the Muslims, to Christianity in China, or in he USSR as-was – my face twists like a dog chewing toffee, just trying to think about it.
There was a story I came across in the last year or two, about previously friendly Muslim neighbours giving up a Christian family to extremists that were heading into town.
The situation’s difficult, and it’s frustrating how little acknowledgement of that, how little nuance, and how little consideration for opposing viewpoints there is.
Anyone can cherry-pick verses from the Koran (or the Bible) to show how it promotes peace, or violence. I think careful consideration needs to be given to the history of Christian/Muslim relations, and try to discern events that are purely religious, and what is political with a religious mask on.
Another thing I’ve seen on Facebook, is the uncensored version of the phrase, “Stop killing people, you f***ing twats.” I’ll agree with that one, too.