On Friday morning I woke to find that President Trump had ordered retaliatory air strikes in Syria in the wake of the Idlib gas attack. That evening, I watched The Who live in Glasgow and the lyrics ‘we don’t get fooled again’ and ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss‘ ring frightfully in my mind.
Now, I am of the opinion that the solution to this conflict can’t, at this stage, be through dialogue. Especially considering that time and time again, the regime and Russia have disregarded the UN, NATO & the EU. They are protecting their strategic interests and could not care less about the Syrian people – If Assad goes, they’ll still be there.
Action had to be taken and it was. If flattening Syrian airbases prevents further gas attacks then surely that is an appropriate response, but then again, I’m not a military strategist, I’m also not one for advocating sending others to die while I binge on PlayStation for seven hours on a Sunday.
What I do have an issue with is the rhetoric coming from the media and the state. It echoes everything we heard in the days preceding the Iraq War, and scarily, we seem to be quite oblivious to it, happy to go along with the conversation and posture aimlessly to at least have a say in it all. Hell, even people who’ve spent months castigating Trump have applauded his response, it is utterly baffling.
Additionally, the response to the gas attack was not what I expected. Compassion fatigue is very much present in the west, and these events and atrocities are often sideline news to the cacophony of garbage we are bombarded with. “It happens everyday, you just can’t keep up” is often a response I hear. People are outraged and they are angry, and that’s good, so you should be when other humans are suffering at the hands of a despotic maniac and his puppet master in Moscow, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
Over the weekend we have seen news organisations, political commentators and politicians alike all calling for an increased presence in this conflict – Some going so far as to call for boots on the ground. Many of these people are those who have consistently screamed “let’s not get involved” or “we’re the reason this is happening, leave the region alone!”.
This is dangerous. These things can take on a life of their own and we the public are often blinded to the reality of the situation – Remember how certain people were that Iraq was necessary?
It also reeks of hypocrisy, you can’t bury your head in the sand until a Facebook post shows just a glimpse of the countless suffering children in Syria then suddenly become Dwight D Eisenhower, a military strategist, statesman and diplomat all rolled into one. Have you thought about the outcome of this? The repercussions of another costly, bloody conflict in the Middle East? Are you the one going there?
It’s frightening to see opinion swivel on a knifes edge, and exercising restraint in this scenario is imperative. Let’s not get dragged into a current of war mongering, I don’t know the solution to this, neither do you, and you can bet your life that your government or favourite news outlet doesn’t either. Regardless of the outcome, the losses and the torment, they all profit from this, not you or those still dealing with this horror every single day.