Skip to main content

The Killing Fields

The subject of the war in Syria leaves me feeling fairly awful. No doubt, dear reader, your reaction is much the same. The reasons for this are myriad, from seeing the U.S. engage in yet another conflict -- seeing our troops deployed and stretched even further -- to the cynical cry of why it is almost always the Middle East countries that draw our indignation and justifications for war, when civilian slaughter and genocide occurs all over the world (unfortunately). It's just a bad situation all round.

One of the battle cries we've heard regarding Syria is how its government has (allegedly, but very likely) used chemical weapons against its people. This, of course, is horrendous. It is evil (an over-used word, but one that is appropriate in this context). The emotional, even rational, portion of myself would like to rain down a fury of righteously indignant hurt upon Bashar al-Assad and his cronies. But then, I stop and remember what the reality of military intervention almost always means.

As a nation, represented by our armed forces, we've been involved in two wars in the Middle East for over a decade. And, as a nation, we're tired of it and worn out. Goodness knows how our actual military personnel and their families -- you know, the ones who actually have to suffer through the conflicts -- feel about it. I, for one, am not eager to see our country turn around and become involved in yet another war. Call it isolationism, or being gun-shy. Call it what you will, but there you go.

Yet the drums of war beat on.

I am old enough to remember the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91, and then-President George H.W. Bush talking about Saddam Hussein's officers throwing babies from incubators. Terrible stuff. Then, in our post-911 fearful state, there was Colin Powell going to the U.N. to assure everyone that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Scary stuff. So, of course, both times, we went to war. Now, years later, John Kerry is telling us that Syria is using chemical weapons on its own people, and so we have to act.

To further complicate matters, I'm going to ask something. It's a sincere question, too, not meant to be flippant or out-of-line. The question is: Why is killing -- murdering -- people with chemical weapons so much worse than with traditional weaponry (you know, bullets that shred the body, sharp instruments that can decapitate, bombs that blow a human being apart, whether they be men, women, or children)? Honestly, and you can call me crazy here, but it all sounds pretty fucking horrific.

So, yeah, it would appear that 'chemical weapons' are going to be our new 'babies from incubators' and 'weapons of mass-destruction' justification for engaging in yet another Middle East campaign. Genocide? That doesn't seem to move us quite so much. And while I have enough respect for our current president to believe that he doesn't take these decisions lightly (not sure about Congress), I still find it regrettable.

Well, that's an understatement.


Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.