Thursday, September 5, 2013

Musings About Syria

There is an awful lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking going on in this country right now. Nearly everyone seems to have a firm opinion about what should be done about Syria; nearly everyone has a different opinion about the veracity of the evidence of chemical weapons use; nearly every politician I've seen on television seems to be focused on how their potential vote will impact their political careers rather than on trying to figure out what is right or wrong, and nearly every person out there knows Exactly What Catastrophe Will Occur if their particular strategy  isn't the one that wins out. I have spent a lot of time reading blogs, watching testimony, checking the news and trying to find out what others who share my faith are saying. So it comes down to this:

I really have no clear idea or opinion. Except that this is really hard.

The issue is really complex, and full of cultural history that is beyond me, and regional political currents that are unknown. So I am trying to approach this issue, like I try to approach everything, through the lenses of my faith and my values.

So to begin my own musing, I need to say that I deplore what has been happening in Syria. Chemical weapons or conventional weapons--the outcome is the same. People are dying. A few are dying for a cause, but many, many more are dying simply because they are in the way. I would like to find some way to stop this. To finally put an end to the fighting so that we can begin to really care for the children who are refugees, for the parents of those children who have no idea what the future will be (or if there will be one), for the people who are homeless, hurt, heartsick, and just want to go to work each day and come home to a, well, a home with a roof, and no bullet holes in the walls. I want the war, sectarian violence, civil war, regional conflict or whatever label you prefer, to end.

Chemical weapons are deeply concerning. To kill so many of your own citizens, to care more about winning a battle or war than doing what is most right for the people of your own country: this is simply taking bullying to a level of evil that is hard for me to comprehend. I saw pictures of dead infants. They had no chance. This is heartbreaking. But would military strikes in retaliation do anything to stop the use of chemical weapons? Or would military strikes just leave more bodies to mourn?

I know what I wish. And I wish this, not as a fantasy, but because I wish the world would work this way. I want a Star Trek approach. I know I'm a geek, but this is exactly why I like Star Trek--it envisions a the possibility that we as human beings will evolve beyond violence, and this is what I mean by a Star Trek approach:  Phasers set on stun.  Weapons that destroy without killing. Weapons that disable weapons that do kill. Can you imagine? We find out where the weapons depots are (for any side), and drop a bunch of gook on them that disables them, makes them impossible to use. Chemical weapons made harmless. Bullets melted into a mess that won't fit in the barrel of a gun or cannon.

I suppose this is also a very old dream:  that we might bend our spears into pruning hooks and our swords into plowshares.

I don't know what should be done about Syria. But I know what I hope: that, soon, the killing, the dying, the hating will stop, and that healing, building and creating will begin again. That's the resolution that I pray for.

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