By Pierre Tristam
We are going to war again in Iraq and expanding the bombing to Syria, the seventh country in the Middle East to be graced with American bombings since 2001 (not including Gaza-Palestine, where American bombs are piloted by Israeli largesse). We’re doing this why? Because two Americans and a Brit were beheaded and American media whipped public opinion into a frenzy over it. The same media shrugged when 200,000 Syrians were butchered over the past three years, most of them by the same guy to whom the U.S. Air Force is about to give aid and comfort. The same media chest-thumped and encouraged the butchery of 2,000 Palestinians in July, about a quarter of them children, when Israel launched its latest massacre of Gaza residents. The killing was carried out mostly with weapons you and I paid for. But let the jingoes parade YouTube beheadings and Anglos, and suddenly it’s time to care.
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At least this much is clear: we either don’t know what we want in Middle East or don’t have a clue how to go about getting what we want. We are not expanding the war again for humanitarian or strategic reasons. We are doing so as an emotional response, and because the president’s spine has been replaced with Playdoh. The beheadings were gruesome. And the brutality of the Islamic State is indisputable. But neither adds up to a compelling reason to step up the killing and get back into billion-dollar waste.
More to the point: we have no moral ground to stand on when it using the Islamic State’s bloodlust for execution as a spark plug for intervention. We do it all the time, just as gruesomely. Rick Scott has signed the death warrants of 13 people in his brief tenure as governor, a faster rate of executions than any of his predecessors in a four-year term. Florida has executed 81 people since re-instituting the death penalty in 1979, and the United States has executed almost 1,400 since 1976. We don’t show it on YouTube, because we’re ashamed while pretending to be civilized. We hide it behind a grotesque dead-man-walking ritual that poses as solemnity.