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Here We Go Again

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

Here We Go Again

 

Will someone remind me again,
because I must have forgotten, why we think it’s a sound idea to lob missiles
into Syria.  Isn’t this in effect like chucking cans of
petrol on a fire?

Yes, I know the Western allies
are only thinking about it because President Assad has allegedly used chemical
weapons on his own people.  But what
precisely are our objectives in launching an aerial attack on him and his kind?  Do we expect, by this action alone, to depose
him?  Or are we just trying to teach him
a lesson, ensuring that he won’t do it again? 
Or is it a purely tactical move to help redress the balance of military
power in Syria
in favour of the rebels. 

The first seems monstrously
far-fetched.  A few dozen missiles,
however well-aimed, are hardly likely to bring down a tyrant whose family, by
far mean and foul – mainly the latter – has clung to power for half a
century..  The second is morally understandable
but practically futile; teaching a lesson to someone who has no intention of
learning, believing moreover that he has nothing to learn, is a pointless
exercise.  The third motive makes sense only
if the western allies consider the rebel cause worth sustaining, which they do,
but apparently only on the basis that if the devil you know is so bad, the
devil you don’t know can only be an improvement.     

We’ve been down this road before,
of course.  Most recently, the West
supported the rebels in Libya,
and Gaddafi was duly ousted (and brutally killed) but without bringing about a
conspicuous improvement in that country’s democratic process.  The army-led uprising in Egypt was
likewise bolstered by Western ordnance, but after the bloodbath that followed –
and continues – few have been cheering a resounding victory for the Egyptian people.  A monstrous regime in Iraq was
toppled by military force, but that benighted country still suffers from
routine sectarian atrocities which kill thousands every month.  And then there’s Afghanistan, where some kind of
hiatus has been achieved only because NATO forces, having announced when they
will be pulling out, have left the Taleban with little else to do but wait for
it to happen.    

In Santayana’s famous aphorism,
now known to all of us, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  Barack Obama and David Cameron seem intent on
doing just that, a fact unaltered by all the expressions of moral revulsion. 

Assad is undoubtedly a murderous
shit and speed the day when he gets his come-uppance.  But we won’t be speeding it, I fear, by
adding yet more explosions to the Syrian conflagration, randomly killing a few
thousand more Syrians in the process, and inviting unpleasant retributive
consequences.    

“Let the buggers get on with it,”
my late father would probably have said at the time of the Suez Crisis.  “We’ve no business being there.”  It may have been a copout then, and it may be
now, but sometimes discretion, even with gorge rising in outrage, really does
represent the better part of valour.

 

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