Crazy Talk

On developments in Syria, this caught my eye:

By formallydesignating Syria a civil war, the International Committee of the Red Cross may have inadvertently revealed an uncomfortable prospect for the country’s future: Civil wars are typically protracted and bloody as both sides fight with their backs to the proverbial wall. And they rarely result in the complete vanquishing of either combatant party; far more common are political and territorial compromises that redefine the state.

I have no idea what that would look like. NO CLUE. Do you?

One of the things that continues to infuriate me about our punditry (not so much the journalists in the region or even their editors, removed as they may be) is the tendency to talk about the Middle East as if it is another planet and the customs and people there strange to our human ways. “Why do they hate us” is only a terrorist attack away from being written again, always, forever, and … um, look, we can argue all day long about justification for this or that bit of foreign policy but can we at least all get together on the concept that human beings are human beings and we react in fairly predictable ways?

When I was editing the Feith book, I kept telling my boss that it was like he and his buddies hadn’t read any recent history. “Forget recent history,” quoth the boss, a much smarter fellow than me. “All you have to read is Shakespeare.” Go back even further, the Bible. Go back further than that. Revenge, resentment, frustration boiling over into violence, it isn’t like we don’t know how these things work.

It’s not justifying any of them to say that they work the same everywhere, and if you say you would never, or you couldn’t, or you don’t, then you’re in a much more advanced stage of kidding yourself than even you think.


ps. Countdown to some veteran of Operation Enduring Cheeto saying we need to go over to Syria and “turn the whole place to glass” starts in 3 … 2 …

4 thoughts on “Crazy Talk

  1. Man, it was a month or so ago when I found myself screaming at the teevee. I was watching Morning Dickhead.
    Shit was happening in Syria and people were killing and being killed. Terrible, sure.
    And here comes Dickhead Scarborough, wondering when Obama was going to take action: “We have to do something,” says Squinty to a nodding Mika. “Somethings must be done. It’s just terrible and we have to do something about all of these terrible things.”
    From me: “At what fucking cost must something be done in Syria. Is a stable and peaceful Syria worth 30 dead Marines? maybe 123 Army troops? 12 SEALs? Please, Mr. Scarborough, tell me just how much American blood and how much treasure Syria is worth.
    Will a fuckload of American bombs and an occupation force bring peace to Syria?
    Maybe Junior Scarborough can leave the fucking frat house in Tuscaloosa, join the fucking Corps and carry his ass over to Syria and DO SOMETHING! Daddy is squinting and being all serious about how terrible things are in Syria, so naturally the U.S. must sacrifice its soldiers because we owe the Syrians so fucking much. And the Syrians would do the same for us, huh?

  2. @A and @mass, exactly. The region is such a mishmash of complicated factors that I am speechless at the idea that some simple solution is going to cure the problems.
    Not to mention that the west has been extremely instrumental in interfering in the area in ways which set up the current problems (such as the post-war drawing of political boundaries, support of various shahs, even putting certain people into power.

  3. Meanwhile, on NPR yesterday, they were breathlessly reporting that Syrian rebels were claiming the government had linked up with al Qaeda, just beforean al Qaeda-style bombing that may have killed two of the government’s top defense officials. Meanwhile, back in the spring, SoS Clinton waswarning that arming the rebels could aid al Qaeda.
    Then, of course, there are still something likea million Iraqi refugees in the country who fled ourlast goodwill mission in the region.

  4. @darrelplant, not to mention the extreme probability that the presence of extreme poverty, violence against the population, etc. could contribute to persons interested in Al Q

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