09 September 2013

Syria: Every Road Seems Like a Dead End

I love my mom.
I love that she has opinions and she's not afraid to share them. She won't argue with you (this is not a trait I inherited), but she'll tell you flat out what she thinks.
And she's pretty good at roping you into a discussion on sensitive topics. Like how sex changes work Syria.

I call her once or twice a week. My dad usually answers. We discuss the weather and his flowers, then he asks me if I want to talk to my mom. I say yes and throw in an "I love you" because the world is crazy, and you just never know. My mom picks up, asks how I am. I confirm that I am alive and still able to pay for food, whether I really am or not.

"What do you think about all this crap going on in Syria?" she asks, while munching on potato chips in my ear. I'm silent for a moment while my dad yells his opinion from the kitchen in the background.

Syria.What to do, what to do... There's no good answer.
Any opinion is going to contain some bad theology and even worse politics.
Go in, bomb the country, kill some civilians... This might have worked for me - no, it WOULD have worked for me - a little more than a decade ago, when I was in my early 20's and couldn't be bothered to think beyond the "it's-us-or-them" mentality that went along with 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Now I get that it's not that simple.

After all, what good does a little ol' bombing do? Send the bad guys packing to a new location. New location, same dubious plot. Nothing much will have changed.

Put boots on the ground and kill even more innocent civilians? Piss off the entire Middle East? Start World War III? This option, supposedly, is off the table. I think it's a damn good thing. If it ever resurfaces, I'll be underground with my cat and my husband if anybody needs me.

Should we back off and let Syria's chemical weapons fall under international control? This sounds like the best option so far, except that by the time we get actual inspectors in the country, Bashar al-Assad could wipe his own people off the map.

My personal opinion changes depending on my perspective. The blond-haired, blue-eyed American in me doesn't think we should do a damn thing. "Let them kill each other." Let them fight their own battles. Our defense spending has been cut, we're already in debt up to our eyeballs, our unemployment rate is too high, and, and and... We just don't need another major problem. Why do we always have to be the playground monitor, going around breaking up every fight between countries that are too ignorant and hell-bent on destruction to do it themselves?

But then I try to imagine myself as an innocent Syrian woman, hoping and praying that my children will get through the next school day without having their flesh melted off by a freakin' sarin gas bomb. That's when it stops being an American-Syrian issue, and it starts becoming an international crisis. A crisis of humanity. This isn't any less of an international crisis - any less of an international horror - than the Nazi extermination of the Jews, the extent of which, in case you've forgotten, was not fully understood until all of the damage had been done.

Oh, and there's this one other thing that influences my views: Jesus.
He said this thing once that really made people stop and think. He said, "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword."

As a Republican, I did my very best to find ways around those words. I tried to come up with other explanations for them. Maybe Jesus only meant this, or maybe Jesus was actually only referring to that. Now I don't know. It's hard for me, as a human being, to believe that there are no exceptions to this rule. But the Bible is full of stuff that doesn't make a lot of sense to human beings. Who am I to question Jesus' wisdom and integrity?

Do I think Obama has taken that into consideration? No. Maybe. Maybe he's flipped through his Bible, but I don't think this is what is weighing heavily on him at this moment. Not because he's a bad guy, I just don't think it's playing a big role in his decision-making. I'm sure Congress isn't mulling it over, either. This is just me talking - the personal opinions and theology of Julie A. Fidler, a college drop-out and Christian living in some dumpy Pennsylvania hamlet, who doesn't want to see anyone get killed....except for maybe the really bad guys.

I've been reading that all of this Syria business is biblical in nature, as in, foretold in the Good Book. That's another blog (and it WILL be another blog.) So if that doesn't kick your perspective in the crack, I don't know what will.

Anyway...I usually agree with my mother, not because I'm too much of a pansy to have my own opinion or to express it, but because it's easier than admitting to my own mass confusion. It's quicker than saying everything I've just written here. I don't want to argue with her. I have to reach a solid conclusion before I can tell anyone why there's is wrong.

Every option is a bad one, ultimately, because someone will have to die, either because they've been murdered or because we failed to murder someone else. That's heavy stuff.


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