Then events that took place in Paris on Friday are tragic and reprehensible. They are examples of real terrorism. We should all be outraged and saddened by the darkness that dwells in the hearts of those who would kill and maim in the name of religion. My prayers are with the French people at this time, for we are all in this together.
That said, let me comment on what is already raising my eyebrows in the aftermath of the Parisian attacks. The first of these are some Facebook posts I saw this weekend. They were reminiscent of what I remember hearing after 9/11. That is, there’s already a whole lot of war-mongering going on.
When I say war-mongering, I mean that knee-jerk reaction that calls for the wholesale extermination of large population swaths in the middle east. I’m not exaggerating. I actually saw a picture posted displaying a nuclear mushroom cloud with the caption “August 6, 1945.” The message was that the “solution” for ending terrorism is to deal with it in the same manner that the US dealt with the Japanese.
Even if this was supposed to be a joke, I fail to find the humor in nuclear holocaust. In case nobody noticed, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed tens of thousands of civilians. Nor do jokes about nuclear war take into account the number of countries that now possess nuclear weapons. There’s no longer any such scenario as a one-sided strike.
I then turn on the radio Sunday morning and hear about the pope throwing around the phrase “piecemeal world war 3.” An increase in international terrorist activity could very well spiral the world into another world war. But we should do all we can to avoid that. World wars never turn out well for anyone, even the “victors.”
Therefore, it’s highly concerning that the pope, who millions of people look to as an authority on spiritual and political matters, would even bring such a phrase as “World War 3” into any conversation or speech. All that does is plant the idea into the minds of people who are already hopping mad and looking for any justification to act in an irrational and rash manner.
It’s not that ISIS doesn’t merit an appropriate response. They have certainly proved themselves a force that needs to be reckoned on an international scale. But recent history should have taught us that rushing into war is is fraught with undesirable consequences (“collateral damage”, I believe, is the blithe expression). Look at Iraq and Afghanistan. Neither worked out too well.
The danger lies in those heat of the moment decisions, or the support that’s given to such decisions by an emotionally-charged rather than rationally-informed populace.
I hear in the distance the drums of war. But let’s consider the innocent. Let’s remember the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about. And, oh yeah, let’s consider the crumbling economy and the fact that international wars always distract people away from reflecting on their domestic woes.
Let’s not be duped again.