FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cruise Missile Morality

by RON JACOBS

Here Washington goes again, talking about blowing up homes, military buildings and people in faraway lands. Of course, the reason presented to the US populace for this bluster before the crime is based on a morality that considers a military response to have some kind of moral foundation. Yet, even if we believe the president’s rationale of a chemical attack, the accusations against the Assad government in this case remain flimsy and impossible to prove. Indeed, all of the evidence against either side in this case is purely circumstantial. In other words, there is plenty of reasonable doubt as to who the perpetrators of the attack were and even if it happened at all.

Why do Americans pretend that their weaponry is somehow more moral than that of other combatants? Back in the 1990s, Bill Clinton lobbed cruise missiles at his perceived enemies the way kids throw rocks. The net result ended up being dead innocents, unnecessary destruction, angry governments and negligible political results. Cruise missiles always seemed to me to be nothing more than car bombs of US imperialism. Ostensibly targeting certain buildings or people, they often kill with little regard to who happens to be near the target. In addition, like the drones favored by Obama, the element of surprise these weapons depend on intensifies the likelihood that innocents will be killed. Just more collateral damage.

Tomahawk cruise missiles were originally manufactured by General Dynamics, one of the few corporations in the US (if not the world), that makes all of its profit from designing and manufacturing weapons systems and the software required to target and deliver the ammunition those systems exist for. The missiles are now manufactured by Raytheon, another corporation whose profits are derived primarily from the machinery of death. The weapons can be launched from ships and from land. They travel at a subsonic speed and the newer versions can be re-directed in flight, should a “juicier” target present itself. Their payload can consist of several smaller armed missiles. Each Tomahawk costs around $569,000 to $1.5 million.

It is not my purpose here to dismiss the grotesquery of the images presented to the world portraying an alleged chemical attack in Syria. However, to pretend that there is genuine proof as to who perpetrated the attack is at the least a cynical manipulation of the facts available. Furthermore, the plan from Washington and other western capitals to launch an attack on Syria in “response” is not a solution. It is as morally repugnant as the alleged attack and just as likely to expand the death and killing as it is to lessen it. If one examines the overall policy of Washington towards Syria over the years, any response other than skepticism about its purported goals in its current policy ring exceedingly hollow.

This becomes even more so when one examines the comments made regarding Syria since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. One such comment came from then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in testimony before a congressional committee in October 2005: “Unless we commit to changing the nature of the Middle East,(italics mine) and if we tire and decide that we are going to withdraw and leave the people of the Middle East to despair, I can assure you that the people of the United States are going to live in insecurity and fear for many, many decades to come.” As the past years have shown, it is that insistence on changing the Middle East to fit Washington’s goals that is causing the insecurity and fear anticipated by Ms. Rice.

Sending cruise missiles or, god forbid, something more lethal to attack Assad’s troops and military bases will not decrease Washington’s insecurity or that of its populace. Nor is it likely to cause any participant in that nation’s conflict to change their stance. Instead, we are likely to see an increase in all of the negatives associated with the war. The least of these negatives will be the claims of a higher moral purpose claimed by Washington and the worst will be the ramping up of the murder this and all wars revel in.

Ron Jacobs is the author of the just released novel All the Sinners, Saints. He is also the author of  The Way the Wind Blew: a History of the Weather Underground and Short Order Frame Up and The Co-Conspirator’s Tale. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden.  His third novel All the Sinners Saints is a companion to the previous two and is due out in April 2013.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press.  He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail