I’m not telling you what I believe your answer to these questions should be, I just want you to think about them.
For the record, though, whether we personally believe that it’s morally right to kill other human beings in the first place or not, some people believe it, and the non-homocidal among us have to find a way to live among them. Every time another new war is imminent or the rhetoric of oppression and militarism is being dialled up, it astonishes me how many people that paint themselves as moral centres of a community due to their faith instantly forget the “thou shalt not kill” part, which is really a subset of the golden rule – treat others the way you would like to be treated – which is present in not only the Bible and the Quran but in one form or another also graces the message of every major faith in the world. I find the howling for blood that gets off leash every time something happens like the Prime Minister of Canada using the word “terrorism” to describe the actions of a lone mentally ill homeless drug addicted Canadian disheartening and distasteful, but I’m not about to deny the reality that the chorus is loud and insistent.
Of course, it is also remotely possible that foreign policy which brutally crushes others underfoot with overwhelming force might also have something to do with anger directed at those wearing the boots. I’m not condoning war crimes and do not advocate violence, nor do I feel that acts of terror are ever justified – neither the desperate suicide bomber nor the state sponsored death from above variety. But again, whether or not you or I agree, it’s a fact of our reality that some people frame things in those terms, and that thinking impacts the way they interact with the non-homocidal among us.
Resistance to probing root causes — a curious phenomenon in an educated society — is ostensibly about not wanting to suggest sympathy for the terrorists.
But probing root causes has nothing to do with sympathizing with terrorists. It has to do with wanting to understand the problem well enough to address it effectively. The warmongers among us are keen instead to perpetuate the knee jerk anger that helped create the problems in the first place and continue to perpetuate them.
Bombing campaigns fuel extremism, they cannot fight it. They are gasoline on a fire. Does the idea that we’re going to endlessly repeat exactly the same approach that helped turn the Middle East into the bloody mess it is in the first place and pretend it’s going to magically produce a different outcome because the umpteenth time’s the charm seriously convince everyone?
Here’s a list of US bombings since 1945. Many of these involved military support from other nations as well, of course.
And here’s more than 50 attempts to assassinate political party leaders. All such operations are illegal and almost all such killings are aimed at geopolitical objectives. In almost no cases can any clear humanitarian benefit be identified, even if the target is/was indeed tyrannical.
There are of course other concerns as well, such as various attempts to overthrow or obstruct democracy or democratic processes.
History shows us what the effective strategy against groups like ISIS is, and bombing campaigns definitely aren’t it.
For the record, my thoughts on the questions I pose with this meme are:
I don’t feel any group’s call to slaughter any other group is ever morally okay. I don’t feel that the way to respond to a war crime is ever to commit a second war crime in revenge. I don’t believe that indiscriminate killing is ever justified. But at the same time, when studies of the real world impact of military interventionism have led for years to consistent conclusions that the so called war on terror is the primary cause of what it claims to fight, it’s insanity to never so much as talk about taking a different approach.