The Dying Gaul
By John P. Flannery
In a world that prefers to war, can’t get enough of it, innocents are killed, and those senseless incidents in turn provoke more war.
It happened in the Ukraine and the testosterone is running high. Ukraine calls to the West to put up or shut up with military force, not just economic sanctions. The US saber rattles in response. Partisans insist we must do more.
It could be as “simple” an error in the Ukraine as giving the separatist “freedom fighters” weapons that they should never have had. The Russians entrusted these weapons in the Ukraine conflict. They thought they’d trained them no doubt. When the plane went down, the “freedom fighters” said they’d downed a military transport. When they found out otherwise, the separatists went dark. The United States weighs giving these weapons to other “freedom fighters” in Syria.
Not only do we have to trust these people – freedom fighters – if you must – to use the weapons in a just war, whatever that is these days, we also have to trust that they really know how to use the weapons at all, under the right circumstances, and, oh yes, that they won’t lose, give or sell the weapons we supplied to be used against us.
There are sophisticated signals by which you can determine the profile of the aircraft you are targeting, meaning whether it is civilian or military.
Our own people, so fast to draw conclusions in recent days about the Ukraine, couldn’t distinguish civilian from military aircraft some years ago. We shot down Iran Air Flight 655 and it was a civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai. Nor was it some freedom fighters doing the shooting. It was us, by way of the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988.
The attack on a civilian airliner took place in Iranian airspace, over Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, and on the civilian flight’s usual flight path.
Our forces destroyed an Airbus A300 B2-203 with SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the Vincennes.
We took 8 years to pay millions to the survivors of those killed that day for our “error.” No, of course, we didn’t admit anything. We just paid a lot of money.
There’s a madness in war, like the madness of greed or power. It feeds on itself. It becomes self-justifying. Anything necessary to win becomes right because it’s us against them. The madness of war is loose in the twisted violent minds of our so-called leaders here and abroad.
Above the fold news headlines and the daily relentless media bulletins are about hurt and sorrow and violence amid the pretense of soulful humanity.
My Dad told me when I was very young, that this was how we managed an over-populated planet, in addition to famine and disease. We had wars and killed each other.
My Dad wasn’t saying it was right, he had been through World War II in the Army Air Force, he knew something of war; he was just saying that was the way it was.
The human impulse, it cannot be denied, is mostly self- destructive and there appears to be less sanity, fewer restraints, more madness in the world every day, than is safe for us to go on this way. But where are the leaders to say otherwise?