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Syria: Employing the Reaper

February 23, 2012

We are caught between reluctance and humanity, in a situation that favors neither. Death has no remorse for the humane, and it has no reluctance in its actions.

Day by day, week by week the world glances over headlines filled with death tolls, cries for help, and speculation over intervention. As the conflict in Syria persists, so too does the thinking man’s thought process. There is no blink of an action here, this is not Libya. However, do we want this to be another Iraq? Another Afghanistan? These are the foretold futures on the minds of Western decision-makers as they ponder intervention.

The list of complexities scrolls further: if we intervene, how will it be received abroad? Will Russia and China act against or come to terms?

Will Iran, seeking to aid an ailing friend in his hour of need, come to Bashar al-Asad’s support? Will they retaliate against the United States? Or, will Iran finally fulfill the threats against Israel? The actions would be damaging, regardless of the attack’s shape or form.

What of Hezbollah? How would they perceive intervention? What would become of Lebanon? Hamas? Palestine? Jordan? Turkey? Kurds? The election year? What if….? And the list goes on, as does the torment of Syria.

Of course, it is no surprise that the reaction to a climbing death toll in a far away land is perplexed and muddled. Death tolls climb day by day on a host of different issues, and it would be naïve to think that they all deserve attention. From disease to poverty, from conflict to war, the challenges of intervention in any form are always inventing new ways to include more complications. Syria is just another example.

Knowing that power politics will always create the roadblock to an ethical reaction is one thing; however, to actually consider it is another. From headline to pundit to op-ed, the “what if’s” will always believe that taking the ethical, humanitarian road can outsmart us and leave us in the gutter. This makes basing a decision on either humanity or politics neither right nor wrong. Yet, if we cannot pause to consider the other side, humanity for the sake of humanity, then death will always have the last laugh.

Ben Ali, Mubarak, Qaddafi, and Saleh may have all ceased their laughter, but it just takes one dictator, unchecked and unchained, for the reaper to stay out of unemployment. Of course, like death, the decision-maker always has to make his dollar and pay his dues. Money is not always green, but red, and drenched in blood.

According to politics, the human heart is meant to be forever poor.


Image: Reuters/Homs, Syria – February 4, 2012

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