It was 9 years ago today that many of the members of this blog met in person for the first time. Back then, this blog did not yet exist - we were members of another blog and message forum and had been conversing online for a while. We met up in DC with about 250,000 other people
to protest the wars in the Middle East (in particular - the undeclared war of choice in Iraq).
At that point, we were nearly 4 years in Afghanistan, and 2 years in Iraq. We were protesting the destruction of another sovereign nation, the reports of torture, the notion that every citizen in Iraq was suspect, the money wasted, the American lives wasted and used. We marched, we chanted, we flipped off the White House. There were no riots or tear gas or burned flags. The numbers of attendees were under-reported, and the ultimate result was probably nothing.
That was 9 years ago.
Fast-forward to now. For kids younger than 14, We have always
been at war
in East Asia
in the Middle East. We have removed most of our troops, but - like Germany and Japan - we will always maintain a presence there. Nine years ago, as our troops came home in body bags (purposely unseen by the public) and on prosthetic legs, the pro and anti war crowds could at least find some agreement that the proper way to have done this was using targeted strikes and special ops. There was no need for a massive invading ground force. There would be no end to the war because there was no country to surrender. These were (and are) a stateless force of nihilists.
So now as we sit on the 9 year anniversary of that massive protest, we are given the news that we have a new enemy, and that we will be fighting it in a new country - ISIS (or ISIL if you prefer to be accurate) in Syria. As a nation weary of war, and the physical, monetary, and spiritual costs that war exacts, there is naturally concern, angst, and anger, sparking protests on the anniversary of the original one
. What right do we have to do this? What right do we have to kill innocents on the ground or Americans that might be fighting with them without due process? When and how does this all end?
Those are all good questions without easy answers. Syria has apparently given the "OK" to bomb ISIS
inside Syrian borders. Among those targeted was a group poised to carry out some sort of strike against the U.S.
. There are some, of course, who don't believe that. There are some who see President Obama as a warmonger, which most people know is absurd. There are times when a military response is unfortunately necessary. Diplomacy isn't really an option with this group - they have nothing to lose except their lives, and don't seem too concerned about losing that.
During the leadup to WWII, America as a whole was isolationist. FDR had to use all his finesse to get America used to the idea of engaging in another bloody conflict in an area of the world that "didn't concern us". The spiritual grandparents of today's protesters were voicing the same opposition then that protesters of today do. It took Germany declaring war on us before we got involved. During that interim, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were murdered by the Nazi regime, and facing little real opposition, it grew stronger every year. Imagine the lives that could have been saved on all sides of the conflict if we had taken on that insanity before the flame had grown to a conflagration that engulfed all of Europe.
This is where we sit today. A maniacal murderous horde, driven by an absolutist ideology, is trying to establish an empire in lands that are part of other sovereign nations. They are stealing everything of value, destroying the rest in their wake, and committing genocide. How many innocents must die, how much of the Middle East must they occupy before those who protest against these targeted strikes grudgingly agree that these groups are a cancer on humanity that must be eradicated as much as possible?
The tactics being used are the proper ones. There is no need to put "boots on the ground" and risk the lives of our soldiers. There is no need to destroy the infrastructure of a nation. We are using targeted strikes to decimate ISIS while minimizing the loss of life of innocent civilians. There is no point in capturing "enemy combatants" and warehousing them in Gitmo. The much-maligned drones are being used perform the same function as helicopters or planes, but at a much lower financial cost, and with no risk to American lives. We are working with our allies. Even France is on-board with this, which should give some credence to the purported danger we face.
We are fighting this growing threat the way that we always said we should (and the way that President Obama said he would when he originally campaigned back in 2008). This is the best compromise between the colonialism of Dubya and isolationism. I don't like war, but sometimes there are those who force our hand. In this case, it seems, we've learned the lessons of WWII, and are trying to stop the virus from spreading.