Recent events have turned the nation's attention towards the horrific assaults upon the citizens of Syria. As so often happens, controversy has begun to brew over our foreign policy and there is disagreement over whether or not U.S. forces should intervene in an attempt to aid the citizens there. As many turn their focus towards our policies regarding chemical warfare, I am reminded of how little impact our discourse regarding this subject actually carries. We have become a complacent nation. We sit idly by and watch as our own freedoms are eroded and our liberties are stripped from our grasp. Our creature comforts have softened our way of life and we have lost our initiative and drive to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and demand what is ours.
We have forgotten that our government exists for US, by US, and of US. Not some special elite ruling class that seeks to shape a nation while we punch a time clock and follow orders — us, you and me. We are responsible for every bomb ordered, paid for by our unconstitutionally taxed labor, delivered by another vehicle or vessel of destruction, and ultimately dropped on an innocent in a foreign land. If you see an image of a victim of a United States drone attack, bear in mind that you can directly trace the buck to a line item on your pay stub that reads 'IRS'. The buck stops with Obama, but it starts with YOU — President Barack Obama is just the lucky man who gets to be the face of the operation. He's simply the man who gets to claim such acts as a portion of his legacy. He's the guy that history gets to hate for our ignorance, comfort, and complacency.
Our collective naiveté can be seen by our response to an event like 9/11:
Two office buildings were leveled and we lost our fucking minds.
To offer a bit of perspective, just less than 3,000 lives were senselessly lost on September 11, 2001. Reports vary, but there have been over 114,000 documented civilian deaths in Iraq alone as a result of our nation's military strikes on their nation.
We have leveled entire cities, nations, hell, we've damn near leveled the region... But I bet you remember those two New York office buildings collapsing like a life-altering catastrophe.
We all do.
Because it absolutely was one — one that is carried out with our tax dollars, far removed from our sight — every single day, while we sit pretty and shit-talk Miley Cyrus for growing up.
Let that sink in.
Before we continue to allow large-scale profiteering by moguls within the defense industry to lock us into a cycle of perpetually on-going war, we should learn from places like the Middle East: Continuous cycles of war, battle and unrest do not serve the best interests of the people. And it's no one's job to fix it, but our own.
If the idea of your tax dollars going to arm groups with names like 'Al Qaida' or 'Syrian Rebels' sits well with you, then by all means, sit idly by as your government continues to deliver implements of mass destruction into their hands. Continue to allow other people to make life-altering decisions that will impact the lives of your children and grandchildren - continue to allow the dollar to be valued as priority over human life. Continue to rebuke common sense in favor of the existing and the established.
Continue to hope and pray that a newly armed 'Al Qaida' or band of 'Syrian Rebels' or any other nation or group that they may align with doesn't return the fruits of our national budget's single largest expenditure to our doorstep. Hope and pray and positively manifest just as hard as you possibly can that 9/11 is the single most tragic act of retaliation that we ever experience on American soil in our lifetimes or the coming generations.
Please. It'd mean an awful lot to my kids.
You see, they are growing up in a world where future retaliation for our current foreign policy serves to place them in harm's way, ALMOST as much as continued domestic apathy towards our own acts of aggression perpetrated upon each other. As a parent, I have some tough decisions to make regarding my kids' future; I can either teach them how to love people, listen to them and unite them, or how to load a weapon and carry a bulletproof backpack.
That's a fucked up parenting choice, isn't it?
And that's from domestic threats, not foreign concerns.
Reports indicate that as many as 15,576 children and teenagers were injured by firearms in 2010 alone. If you choose to teach your children respect for our troops, you should be aware that 15,576 is nearly triple the number of U.S. soldiers injured in the war in Afghanistan in the same year, according to the defense fund.
Tell me, when's the last time some thoughtful couple saw your PTA t-shirt and paid for your breakfast in celebration of the fact that you served our nation's youth on the front lines and survived?