Was it really “Mission Accomplished”? Did it seriously degrade Syria’s chemical warfare capability? Will Russia retaliate? Should Trump have gotten permission from Congress? Will Syria strike with chemicals yet again? If so, what do we do then?
May I explain why I’m in no mood to argue any of those and other vital issues on either side?
The awkward and somewhat embarrassing truth is, I feel spiritually lifted by America’s leadership in the strike against the Assad regime and his two “protectors,” Russia and Iran! Yes. Spiritually lifted. When’s the last time you heard a grizzled policy person confess to being spiritually lifted?
In explaining, I want to make a contribution to the science of psychiatry. On the level, I think I have a good idea for psychiatrists. If I were one I’d have my new patients send me a description of their five favorite scenes from movies over the years. That would be a quicker way to delve deeper in the “getting to know you” process.
All of my own favorite scenes would have a common thread. Darryl Zanuck’s film “The Longest Day” dealt with D-Day. In one scene, we saw a German soldier, in a bunker guarding the Normandy beaches, jump out of bed, splash water on his face, climb the ladder to his battle station and look outward to the sea. The look of horror on his face was “spiritually uplifting.” That Nazi could barely see water in the English Channel. There was nothing but thousands of ships about to seal Hitler’s fate with a Second Front!
Another one of my favorite scenes would be the Norwegian fishing village under Nazi occupation, where the local preacher became a hated figure for urging “turning the other cheek” and “this-too-will pass” to the point where the oppressed townfolk almost considered him a Nazi collaborator.
The Germans had captured several members of the resistance and demanded the entire population of the village come to witness the execution by firing squad. As the German officer lined the patriots up to be shot, an ugly tension gripped the public square. The Nazi officer, arrogance fitting him like a jockstrap, barked out “Ready! Aim!” But then the camera shifted to the steeple of the church. And there the “pacifist” preacher licked the tip of a British Sten gun and mowed down the German officer and every German soldier in sight! When I used to jog, I could get quick energy just by thinking of that scene!
My other nominations would be about what human rats would say when trapped. I guess my shrink’s note on me would be something like, “He likes to see bad guys get it good.” That would be close. I relish the expression on their faces at the instant they realize they’re been overcome by decency. And that air strike against Assad is as close as you can come to shooting evil!
We Americans in World War II may have gained more praise from the people of Europe than we deserved. The Russians suffered and sacrificed much more than the Americans, and the British came in second. Yet, as a student at the University of Oslo, I hitchhiked with two buddies from Norway to France. All we had to do was thrust out the American flag and the European drivers would screech on the brakes! So many people wanted to do so much for the “American liberators”! A Dutch bus driver took us to his home and gave us bed and breakfast. And that was just one of dozens of such delights. Why did they love us? Because our military did to Hitler what American, British and French forces did to Syria, only much more, of course, and every night someplace in Germany!
America was hailed as the brave and generous homeland that charged them nothing and gave them their freedom back. Receiving that kind of love was spiritually uplifting. Then something happened. People who were uplifted by successful freedom fights were instead slapped by history, with the apparent triumphs of evil – the Hungarian Revolution, the Nigerian civil war, the Bay of Pigs, the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East. My crowd began to feel that America had lost its moral compass and had scooted away from the liberation business.
Those who oppose the strike against the chemical warfare capabilities of a brutal dictator are sabotaging humanity by trying to abort decency just as the world seems to be finding its moral footing. Wrong! We should rejoice the way the household does when the baby takes his first step! This message will engage the attention, not just of Syria, Russia and Iran, but it will resonate between the ears of every dictator everywhere!
And you who trash and ridicule the air strike as ineffective are simply wrong. Here I am. Please try to convince me that Assad and his global teammates of evil will figure that, despite the increasingly heavier payloads of high explosives dumped upon their illegal weapons capabilities, it’s still worth the price to continue the tactical joys of gassing their own countrymen!
“Make America Great Again!” is a good battle cry.
“Make Being a Dictator Dangerous Again!” is a better one!