Daily Archives: September 9, 2013
Yours truly cannot but look with some concern at the views and the mentality with which many of those opposed to a US intervention in Syria present their argument. Let me describe some of them, and add my two Catholic cents on them.
1. The US might become involved in a new war.
I do not know you, but I always thought that with power comes responsibility, and a superpower should have correspondent responsibilities. If we look at the past, it was the richest and most powerful who were asked to make the biggest effort – be it concerning the Crusades, the feeding of the poor, or the building of the next cathedral -. To be a superpower involves the continuous risk of being involved in undesired conflicts; the obvious counterpart, by the by, of the possibility of influencing each one of them.
2. War is bad/no more war/make love,not war/give peace a chance (and similar rubbish).
This kindergarten pacifism (a favourite pastime not only of hippies and assorted potheads, but also of Pope Paul VI, and Bishop Francis) has the consequence that Neville Chamberlain must be considered an excellent man at least until September 1939, and Winston Churchill a war-thirsty bastard who led countless young lives to a useless death. Every wholesale expression of war as a never acceptable option not only does not take account of reality, but positively helps evil fanatics the world over. At times, evil regimes must simply be kicked/bombed out of existence, and again to deny this means to be a Chamberlain of a particularly obtuse sort. Unfortunately, the bishop of Rome cannot escape this kindergarten logic; a logic which makes him look good with the kindergarten masses, and which he must therefore think very smart.
3. Violence must make way for negotiation.
The continuous calls for peace where peace is clearly not in the cards is, if we are honest, another piece of kindergarten stuff; whilst I expect calls to peace from a Pontiff, when it is the only plan of action this is what we hear from people who wants to look good on the cheap, and without taking risks. Wars – most of all, civil wars and/or religious wars – aren’t fought because the parts aren’t aware that there is the option of negotiations. As long as the military option seems more promising to at least one of the fighting parties, an armed confrontation is what you will get. Actually, in the presence of an extremely ideologically motivated side – say, Al Qaeda-near fighters; or the Vietcong – any ceasefire will only be used to regroup and go better prepared into the next military campaign, which is why in this situation any ceasefire now is probably going to be paid with more violence later. More in general, to ask what is clearly unrealistic merely in order to look good and please the crowds – yes, I am thinking of Francis again – is nothing to do with a serious analysis of the problem or an intelligent proposal for its solution. It is merely what Francis does all the time: pleasing the crowds.
4. Every Syrian was born equal.
This is very un-PC, but I think that it must be said. I am sick and tired of those appeals to peace who are generically addressed to the Syrian people as if its Christian population were not the most endangered part of it, and those who have most to fear from the collapse of the Syrian regime. It is the height of ecumenical stupidity not to have the interest of the poor Christians in Syria on a higher plane than the one of the Muslim population. If it were so, we should welcome a new regime merely because, say, deemed more honest, efficient, democratic, or near to the needs of the people. It is not so. One regime would treat Christians much, much worse than the other, and I see it as the duty of every Christian to put their safety before other consideration like “freedom” or “democracy”. When Bishop Francis manages to put Christians and Muslims in the same basket without addressing in a compelling way the special dangers of the Christians in Syria, I shudder.
“Well then, Mundabor” – you will say – “what is it, then, that you propose?”
What I propose is that we sensible Catholics stop the easy slogans – which lead nowhere and are only useful to let us feel good with ourselves – and start acting, in our own little sphere of influence (we aren’t Popes, are we…) according to well-probed principles of realism.
Personally, I consider the condition of Christians in Syria as far more important than the increase of prestige and power for Hizbollah if the Syrian government wins this war. Similarly, I consider the danger coming from mad Islamist militants – ready to uncork the fanatical madness that must be present in every prevalently Muslim country in virtue of its being… prevalently Muslim – as a far greater menace than the Assad regime they want to overthrow. A menace, I mean, immediate and all too evident for the Syrian Christians, but certainly very concrete for all Western Countries, as every child – bar Obama – must certainly see.
Therefore, I do not think that the usual empty calls for a “peaceful solution” should be supported. You won’t have any peace until Muslim fundamentalists are around in forces. What you will have is either violence now, or a ceasefire now in preparation of more violence tomorrow.
The sensible behaviour here, if you ask me, is not a generic call to “peace”, much less a “humanitarian” help to the destruction of Assad’s regime as the “help” pushed by the First Gay President. The solution is, on the contrary, massive military support for the Syrian government. There are many ways to do this avoiding both a painful loss of life from Western countries – say, with massive air strikes, and/or an extensive use of drones – and a massive re-armament of Hizbollah. The Syrian army isn’t the South Vietnamese one: the Syrian soldiers have been fighting rather well for years, and they well know what might happen to them if the other side wins. In no way can be said that the rebels have won the “hearts and minds” of the Syrians; actually the contrary is more probably the case.
The British Government, the Vatican and the other big and little powers should let the White House know that they have picked the wrong side, and the smart thing to do is: a) to help Assad’s regime to survive and b) to use its army to give the rebels a lesson that those of them who manage to survive will remember for a while. I never thought I’d see the day where Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel are de facto on the same side and the US are, to all intents and purposes, on the other, helping Al Qaeda and the persecutors of Christians. Many European countries are, behind the peace rhetoric, seeing the light, and are now listening to the likes of Israel rather than to an idiot in Washington only worried to look good and appear “concerned for the welfare of humanity”.
A pacific attitude is a beautiful, Christian thing. Pacifism, on the other hand, is the mother of holocausts, world wars, communist dictatorships and other horrible calamities.
Si vis pacem, para bellum. He who loves peace will have to be ready for war; he who does not want war will attract it, and his empty slogans will be of no use in the end.
I fear much for the destiny of the Syrian people, but most of all I fear for the destiny of the Syrian Christians. They should be, I think, our first concern, and we will not address this concern with generic calls for peace.
Two sides. One must lose.
Draw your conclusions.
Some of you might know of the vicious attacks of some journalists (that must, on reflection, be the oldest version of the oldest profession in the world; with sexual prostitution emerging on a later and more advanced stage of human organisation) to Father Ray Blake, one of the most interesting blogging priests around and one who can be relied on not keeping his keyboard inactive when he thinks something must be said.
I read the now famous blog post about the derelicts of Brighton when it first appeared and, not approving the general message of it for other reasons, have avoided commenting on it. My luminous example was not followed by some journalists, to whom you are complacent merely if you challenge the usual thinking about drunkards, addicts and other bums; people to whom the general rule applies that they must be ignored in practice and sanctified in theory. Thus, if you point out to the way some of them customarily and routinely abuse the generosity of their helpers – an abuse, I add, fully to be expected every time one gives a scrounger something for nothing – you are being, well, complacent. Ah, the beauty of political correctness.
Father Blake has invited the journalist in question to help him physically in his complacent work for the poor of Brighton, but I doubt feel-good protection of bums will come as far as that. I for myself make the following reflection: if you want to avoid criticism talking about “the poor”, the only way to follow is to canonise them whilst living and carefully avoid any criticism.
You see, in this country most people are not interested in knowing reality as it is. Their main aim from morning to evening is to feel good with themselves. Everyone going in the way of this continuous self-celebration must, therefore, be bad.
Woe to the one who challenges their comfortable fantasies about the poor “victims of society”, then; fantasies that are the very essence of the complacency they criticise.