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I am 77.  I have watched the myriad excuses for killing at the one on one level up to the threat of nuclear war.  My friend Jim Coffman and I have published a book on "Global Insanity".  At my age I must have heard every possible argument for the use of force and violence that could be conjured up.  The term "perpetual war" is seen more and more often these days.  I guess it is the human condition.  Our book makes the case that we are more animal than we realize.  Recently diarists have made the excellent point that when our limited capacity for reason fails we resort to violence to make things "simpler".  

My long term thesis here has been that we are very primitive when it comes to understanding the behavior of systems.  The word "systems" is VERY context dependent and has myriad meanings and nuances.

I use systems in very modern way even though it has a long history as well.  We are a very strange species among animals for we are subject to our nature and our limits but have developed mythologies, among them science and religion,that convince ourselves that we really are on top of things.  I say we are arrogant fools.  If you want to know why read on below.

We live in a time of contradictions about our own mental capacity.  Yes we have developed all this technology.  Yet most of what our technology has done is to make things more problematic.  You do not solve problems with technology.  You can use technology to solve problems when you have ideas.  Most of the time the technology controls us.  And now we are back to the systems idea.

The human mind is limited.  It can do wonders.  But one of its most severe limits is its inability to see humankind in the broader context of our world and to sort out what we control and what controls us.

So here we sit ready to "solve" another problem with bombs.  Never mind that the history of this problem goes back centuries and that the present manifestation has complex, systemic attributes.

Our country has been controlled by those who profit from arms, force, war, etc. for a very long time.  We said this in the 1960s:

War is good for business...invest your children
. Maybe I should be ashamed for so simplistic a statement in the context of a systems view but it is a facet of of a complex many faceted whole.

The economy is a system within a larger system and the feedback loops are myriad.  Those of us who want change are fools if we believe we can get change by voting or protesting.

This system has grown to be so very stable that eats any potential force for change like candy.  It will fail.  Its own nature makes that sure.  Meanwhile we play the theater that says we have a voice.  The next round of killing will be justified by "rational" argument which says far more about what our "rationality" is than anything else.

One thing it says is that this "rationality" plays into stabilizing the system in a very important way.  In the end we will tolerate the lives lost, resources wasted, and so on because we believe in the system.  Here the word system has a different contextual meaning than what I said above.
 To the many who disagree with what I am saying I will anticipate and tell you that I have no answer.  I have my ideas and feelings.  My soul tells me to wish my country would stop playing god.  My better instincts tell me that forces within the country use the playing god thing to make even more money.  Yet none of them, or us, are in control.  

You may dispute that.  My challenge is this.  Remove any or even all of the present players and see what will change.  My guess is that very little will change.

A simple example is the "war on drugs".  How many hundreds have we jailed or killed in this "war"?  What has it done to the system?

So I await still another step as the lemmings run to the cliff.  The system  IS doomed and will take most of us with it.  You really don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.

Originally posted to don mikulecky on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by DFH Local No 420.

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The coming military action

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2%1 votes
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76%30 votes
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:01:10 PM PDT

  •  War Fans would have us believe it's like (4+ / 0-)

    Thermodynamics.

    You Can't Win, You can't Break Even, You Can't Quit.

    Except contractors prove One AND Two False.

    We never get around to trying three.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:08:36 PM PDT

  •  This is as ridiculous as a fight on the playground (10+ / 0-)

    There is no strategic objective other than punishment, and there isn't even a clear plan for how they are going to accomplish that.

    The military said they can't take out the chemical weapons site.

    Pr. Obama said he is not interested in regime change.

    So, it's "We told you not to cross that line, now we have to save face and stomp you."  

    Yet, we have people cheerleading this shit.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:29:54 PM PDT

    •  part of "Global Insanity"...n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranger995, xxdr zombiexx, Sunspots

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:33:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's the schoolyard bully syndrome (4+ / 0-)

      "ya crossed that line, so now I'll whack ya"

      this is what goes by the name of "diplomacy" these days

      even the absurd President G. W. Bush was sublter than that

      total regression to the stone age

      We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

      by Lepanto on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:37:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Think There is a Strategic Object, to Discourage (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IreGyre

      future use of chem weapons anywhere.

      Not to say it will work or that it won't generate all sorts of blowback in this situation.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:46:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with your first paragraph. (0+ / 0-)

      But you're really selling punishment short.  I'm strongly sympathetic to the idea that our military power should be used to punishing the world's worst people, when there's no other prospects of them being punished.  

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:07:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  By what right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky, bewild, Sunspots

        . . . does the U.S., or any other country, presume the authority to be police, judge & executioner of the world? Or in other words, to launch an unprovoked act of war against a sovereign country - one that poses no threat to us - as "punishment". Certainly not in the name of human rights. Not the country that operates Guantanamo, practices torture & rendition, & leveled an entire city in Iraq as collective punishment. The U.N. Security Council won't support this. the Arab League - no friend of the Assad regime - won't support this. NATO won't support this. Hell, Great Britain won't support this. So the Obama administration is just going to make up some sort of legal justification & roll with it. The decision to go to war has already been made!

        By this sort of reasoning, the U.S. could claim a right to bomb Egypt or China. But Egypt is an ally. And China can fight back. So instead we choose to pour gasoline on the flames of a raging sectarian war. As "punishment". To save face.

      •  I'd say the guys who killed over 100,000 people (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sunspots, don mikulecky

        in an illegal war really don't have a lot of standing to do that.  And zero credibility.

        •  Sort of biblical there... evil stain for how long? (0+ / 0-)

          Children's, children's children unto the xth generation stuff? Are Germans today all morally culpable for WWII? Is the USA still run by the exact same people as those in power during the Vietnam years? The US's moral standing is still exactly the same as during those years? How is this supposed to work?

          There are a couple of international treaties on use of Chemical weapons... do they mean anything? should they be enforced somehow, some way? It is not just a US notion... others feel that Chemical weapons are anathema... yes the US stood by and let Saddam use it against Iran... Would the US do that again?... Can the US make up in some way for not responding to that use in the past?... the current administration would seem to want to NOT repeat the indifference or even support of the Reagan administration's reaction to use of Chemical weapons...
          So... the choice seems to be a repeat of those years... do nothing... tacitly admit that chemical weapons are on the table for any nation or armed force to use without fear of sanction
          or...
           try to do the right thing since the rest of the world is unable or unwilling?
          But apparently we can't since we still have the moral taint of previous years and making a symbolic response to the gas attacks cannot be allowed? It that what it amounts to?

          A symbolic attack would be to list the targets in advance (like Clinton did with Saddam) so that they could be evacuated before the strike, make them targets that would at least make Assad rue the gas attacks, make a repeat unlikely and perhaps weaken Assad's military in some key areas... So that way we are not adding even more killing to killing... and maybe lessen the chance of at least some types of future killing.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 08:59:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Are you familiar with this by Mark Twain? (8+ / 0-)

    The War Prayer written for a long ago war but still works today.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:32:17 PM PDT

  •  Tipped, Repubed & recced, in no particular order. (4+ / 0-)

    I tipped and recced Barbara Lee and Dmechworks as well.

    There's no excuse to go kill innocent Syrians to show that killing innocent Syrians is wrong.

    Obama should be on the horn to Iran, which allegedly has new leadership and IRAN should be chewing Assad a new asshole.

    Sarin gas is horribly dangerous and it cannot be safely disposed of. Blowing it up is out of the question.

    Launching it into space is likely not safe enough

    This is all I have to say on the matter  -  I am not getting engaged further.

    It's out of our hands.

  •  Thank you, sir, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, on the cusp

    For telling it like it is.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    by Bisbonian on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:01:05 PM PDT

  •  Yes, that would make us worse than Assad. (3+ / 0-)

    Or something like that. I can't even understand the argument.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:09:02 PM PDT

  •  We do not have any standing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, Sunspots

    to call our country moral and good behind killing bad guys so possible bad guys can win over there.
    If the majority of the world isn't behind a military action, the US shouldn't be.
    I am with you, Don.

  •  Have a little hope Don .... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    I do.   The answers are found in understanding, and property modeling what we are doing. And, then making government policy decisions based on that understanding.

    I think the big leap of faith is understanding that structurally stable systems are all around us in the natural world. And we can learn from them if we do not destroy them.

    Don, the ideas you promote in your book "Global Insanity"  are profound, complex, and deceptively simple all at once. And these ideas challenge the conventional wisdom.   I'm looking forward to a third reading of "Global Insanity."  Each time I read it I get more out of it.

    Best,

    JON

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:25:00 PM PDT

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