I picked this out of the news a few weeks ago and wanted to address it, but what with one thing and another, just couldn’t get in the right mind frame to lay it out.
This is a pretty hideous clip of an execution in Syria. It horrified folks when it came out (with good reason) and due to the timing of it, while we publicly debate what involvement is appropriate for this country, it was fairly widely distributed.
The government forces gassing of children in Syria galvanized many in this country into self-righteous indignation and the public call for intervention on the behalf of the rebel forces. No-one loves the underdog like the USA.
Not to denigrate the emotions dredged up by those heinous acts. As a parent myself, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the various videos out there. I can’t imagine living through that, and I myself feel the swell of self-righteous indignation too. I want to strike back at the people who did that, I want to hurt them.
But then hard on the heels of those videos, comes one like this. A summary execution by the rebels that we felt such a sudden kinship for after the gassing ordeal.
For anyone paying attention, it does sort of rip the bandaid off.
We want to believe in black and white. We want to believe in right and wrong. We want to believe in Good and Evil. But those are silly, childish, conceits.
We are all of us capable of the full spectrum, and it is only our self-control; our adherence to the civilizing influences of society, culture, or religion, that keep us from descending into madness and purely animal behavior.
These influences are all over-run by war; trampled into dust, left in pieces in the treads of a tank, the rubble of a church, the shallow grave of a friend.
Sometimes War is necessary. Sometimes War has to be.
But don’t ever forget, there is no honor in war. There is no dignity in war. There is always atrocity in war. For all involved.
Thus it ever was, and thus it ever shall be, for ever and ever, amen.