I don’t know about the rest of you but I sure do love iced tea on a hot summer’s day. Here in Arizona we are quite fond of tea but were not as fussy as the British about it and often drink our tea ice-cold, which no self-respecting Brit would ever do. I being a world conscious and free spirit type have tried tea of several varieties including green tea and herbal teas. I have yet to find one I hated the taste of, though some are far better than others. Then this movement comes called the Tea Party and I was not a fan of this kind of Tea or Party. Seeing members wearing tea bags on their hats and tea paraphernalia caused me for a while to hide the fact from my liberal friends I was a frequent tea drinker and I liked it. I feared all my coffee drinking liberal friends would disown me if they knew the truth of my love of tea.
I even managed to become friends with some tea party members of the libertarian variety. Even though on discussions of economics, guns, race, etc… we were on opposite sides of the fence, when it came to personal liberty we had views in common. I realized I could be friends with who I once saw as my enemy. I could have a reasonable discussion and debate with them and in the end we both realized we were not as divided as it seems sometimes. In other words I can get a long with at least the libertarian wing of the tea party, the more authoritarian social conservative wing that is a brew simply too strong for my taste. Every time I try to have a discussion with someone of that variety of political persuasion things end up boiling over. Though to be fair I often get scalded when I try to debate with the pro big-brother variety of liberals. Left-wing progressives and left-wing libertarians though are my perfect cup of tea to have a discussion with. I can tolerate living in the same country with the Tea Party and actually as I said have a few Tea Party/ Tea Party leaning friends. Though to be honest some of the more extreme members of the Tea Party it is hard not to get very angry with them, not to see them as the enemy, and not have a severe dislike for. However there is another kind of TEA out there, that I have no patience and respect for whatsoever. That is the tyrants, extremist, and authoritarians harming and killing innocents.
This brew of TEA is not only extremely bitter it is so toxic even smalls sips can be deadly. This kind of TEA should not be tolerated and is worthy of throwing overboard from positions of power. If these tyrants, extremist, and authoritarians think they can run the show they got another thing coming. I have had it with them. I have had it with their brutal and savage crimes. I have had it with their crimes against humanity and human rights abuses. I have had it with them murdering children and young people or anyone else. They are the modern-day equivalent of Nazis and need to be driven from positions of power and never allowed to gain a foothold. As savage and barbaric as they are they are still human so I don’t endorse bringing ourselves down to their level to defeat them, but we must fight against them. They have been in positions of power and influence for too long. We should use every diplomatic and legal tool we have to defeat them, and if that is not sufficient we will have to use some hard power to protect innocents from being massacred.
I reject militarism and pacifism; as both philosophies in the end lead to a loss of much innocent life. Yes pacifism leads to loss in life as well; if there is a massacre taking place and we do nothing to defend people from that massacre we are allowing them to be killed by inaction. I will not stand by while thugs kill entire groups of people. I will not stand by and watch a tyrant’s regime continue to torture, maim, rape, and murder men, women, and children. I will not stay silent to thugs who decapitate journalist. I will not stand by when rogue law enforcement and security personnel take the law into their own hands and murder our citizens. I will not be able to do much as an individual to stop it being my situation, but I have the power of the pen and my voice and I plan to use it.
I don’t want us to be fighting endless conflicts around the world, but where we can prevent massacre and crimes against humanity we should. I have been involved in activism for Syria almost from the beginning of the conflict and reading, hearing, and seeing all the terrible things I did and watching the world play musical chairs at the UN was beyond frustrating. Watching that tyrant Putin who is so in love with himself, stop every proposal that could have helped lessen the conflict was infuriating. Watching the former UN Secretary say for month after month only diplomacy can end the conflict and we should not respond militarily in any capacity was effectively allowing the massacre to continue. Too all such pacifist I say If those were your children, you would quickly give up your pacifism and take up the sword and fight. If not, you would have allowed your children to be killed because your “values” and “fear” were more important to you than their lives.
I am no war hawk and anyone who knows my views would know this. They would know I only support the use of force in self-defense of human life. I am opposed to all preemptive, unnecessary, and offensive conflict including conflict which violates international law and the laws of war. If some murderous thugs have to die to save hundreds, thousands, millions and they refuse to lay down the sword than we should take up the sword in self-defense of human life.
I want peace but the problem is these tyrants, extremist, and authoritarians around the world don’t want peace. They want war, bloodshed, and carnage. Why we Americans sit in our comfy chair in our air-conditioned home drinking our iced tea men, women, and children are being massacred. It’s not our child, not our mother, not our father, not our family, not our friends and neighbors. It really sickens me how some people seem perfectly fine doing nothing when thousands of Muslims are being massacred.
“We can’t afford it”!!!! Oh how that excuse infuriates me. When we get to the point when we can put money above so much of humanity than we have indeed moved over to the dark side. We can afford to feed every hungry child in the world if we as a world made it a priority. We certainly can afford to feed children in the region. We can afford blankets and tents. We can afford medical supplies. Even if you for whatever reason don’t believe in violence for any reason even to prevent massacre than at least you should support humanitarian aid to suffering children in the conflict. For us as a world to do nothing is to be a passive participant of genocide and crimes against humanity.
All the moral philosophers in the world who preach absolute non-violence never offer alternatives how to prevent and stop massacres and crimes against humanity. If every child grew up in a loving home, in a loving neighborhood, in a loving world free from pain and harm we would have no violence in the world. However that is not the world we live in. We can pray, meditate, think our way to peace and men with evil intentions will go on committing atrocities.
I support all of those positive things previously mentioned to help bring peace but they alone are not enough. I am always advocating for more love and peace in the world. However we can not stand on the sidelines as we largely did in the Holocaust and many other mass genocides in world history. We have ways today to prevent and stop such from occurring. Prevention in the way of law and peace keeping troops and stopping by targeted military action. We as the world have the power to stop much of the crimes against humanity in Iraq and Syria. We have the power to save many refugees lives. If we do not make use of that power we will live to regret it. Hardship will someday arrive on our shores and we will wish someone would help us and they will be nowhere to be found.
We think we live in a fortress, an island, a land protected from such. That is very naive thinking. We can only allow things to get so destabilized before we start also suffering the consequences. It has already happened to James Foley and I fear there will be many more acts of savagery against Americans and Europeans in the future. We as a Nation seemed unbothered for years when Muslims were being beheaded in Syria and recently in Iraq. However when it happened to one of our own suddenly people cared. I cared for a long time and so did many others, unfortunately most seemed to care less. World leaders besides proclamations did little to stop the massacres. I find it so heartbreaking we as a world can so base our empathy based on someone’s race, nationality, or other trait. A human being is a human being, a child is a child; our love and empathy should not care where they came from and the shade of their skin or the God they worship or don’t worship. The fact that such traits obviously does matter how much empathy we have or lack thereof, judging by the lack of concern people had for years, shows how heartless we as a society and individuals can be.
We all bleed red, we all cry tears, we all feel pain. If there was a way to end the crimes against humanity occurring without the loss of any life, even the guilty of horrendous crimes I would support it. That is not possible though as a man or a woman who is determined to murder others is going to murder others unless they are prevented from continuing to do so. Sometimes we can capture them and try them in courts but on the battlefield with warring armies that is not possible to do most of the time. You think a man who could cut off a journalist head with a small bladed knife is going to think twice about killing our troops in the attempt to capture him? I don’t know what horrors happened to the man in the course of his life to make him that cruel, I don’t know how difficult he had it growing up, I don’t know what inner darkness in the man’s heart allows him to do such a thing; all I know is he and others will continue their “Jihad” against “infidels” until they cease to be free or cease to breathe. They are not Muslim just criminals using their perverse interpretation of the Islamic faith as a justification for their crimes. I have heard countless Muslims refer to them as not real Muslims and savages. They’re even too cruel for Al-Qaeda to accept them in their ranks. Several are Westerners from Europe and the United States. These typically younger aged men were once living on our shores. There is no shortage of troubled young men out there and these guys are experts at tempting such young men to join their ranks. Many of these guys are experts at social media, the Internet, and very tech savvy.
Then there is the Assad regime who is among the most savage of regimes in world history. I know Syria quite well though I have never traveled there, just from what I picked up in my activism and talking on social networks to other Syrians. If there is any tyrant worthy of removing from power it is Assad. An entire book could be written just on a brief summary of the crimes his regime has committed. If we ever do go into Syria to deal with ISIS might as well target Assad’s regime as well, as they are killing even more Syrians than ISIS. Just attacking ISIS is like cutting the tail off the snake, Assad’s regime is the head of the snake. Until Assad and his regime goes there will be no peace in Syria. Assad will burn Syria to the ground before he will step down. All these “experts” who predicted Assad would step down were wrong, and we activist were right. Here he is 3 1/2 years later and still going strong. We activist were also right about the failure to respond to the Syrian crises would cause a regional conflict and a long hard battle would fan the flames of extremism. The Obama administration didn’t want to go in so they found experts to tell them what they wanted to hear. Well Hillary and Gates wanted more active involvement but they were Vetoed. I am not mad at Obama I understood his fears but I believe he now realizes this issue is not going to solve itself and we are going to have to do something to overthrow the regime and run out ISIS into the desert.
With the chemical weapon destruction Assad proved when his back is against the wall suddenly he becomes very willing to negotiate and be reasonable. Well its time to put his back to the wall again and not let up until we negotiate his departure. With ISIS they are smaller than the media makes them out to be. Yes they cover a large swath of territory but much of that is desert. The areas they control they have less a grip than some seem to think. Look with U.S. air power even the Kurdish forces could overpower them. They may be savage fighters but they still can be beaten, Assad’s forces have beaten them before as has the Free Syrian Army. If we provide enough air cover, ISIS could be driven out in a matter of weeks to a few months. Destroying ISIS should not be our goal, as that would require a prolonged campaign and fail as they would just get more fighters. Just protecting the population centers should be our goal. Let them hold up in the desert somewhere.
When it comes to authoritarians on our own shores I have no less anger for and see them ever bit as large of threat to human rights, human liberty, and human dignity. I have very little faith left in our Nation’s police and security forces and I think a major overhaul is needed in departments across the Country and departments within our Federal Government. The entire justice system needs to be reformed and we need to root out all the racism and corruption that exist within it. Cops who commit crimes against the public need to face severe penalties. No longer should we accept officers excessive use of force and killing suspects where it not necessary. No more should we accept corruption just being the status quo in our prison system. No longer should we treat human beings worse than we treat stray dogs and cats. No longer should we accept draconian laws, private prisons, and prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. No longer should we accept failure to protect inmates from severe harm and death either by prison staff or other inmates. We should demand an end to corruption, cruelty, and crime within our justice system, our prison system, and police and security forces.
Though I believe the average American has little to no appetite for any further military involvement in the Middle East, I believe it is necessary to save many innocent lives in the region. Sure we can do nothing and allow Assad’s regime, ISIS, and other extremist groups to continue to terrorize the region. We can continue to allow them to torture, rape, and murder innocent Syrian and Iraqi men, women, and children. We can continue to allow them to burn and pillage Iraqi and Syrian neighborhoods, towns, and regions. We can continue to watch the death toll grow ever higher and read news stories of ever more savage, brutal, and shocking crimes. We can continue to make declarations decrying their savagery but do nothing of real consequence to stop such crimes. We can continue to be as a Nation silent to crimes committed by our own governments and silent against the injustices and racism in our police and security forces and our justice system as a whole. We can do all those things or we can stand up and take a stand and say no to Tyrants, Extremist, and Authoritarians. We can stand up and fight and not allow such people and organizations the ability to continue their crimes against humanity and human rights abuses. I for one will refuse to stay silent and will fight with the mightiest weapon of all, making use of the power of the pen. I will continue to write to try to get the world to pay attention and call on the United States, Western, and Regional Powers in the Middle East to action. The military will not accept me in their ranks due to health reasons, but I am willing to die fighting for human rights, human liberty, and human dignity if needs be. Without those three things life is not worth living and those things are worth dying for.
“Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged.“- Franklin D. Roosevelt
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