Had I been a Brit or Frenchman in 1861, I most likely would have felt sympathy for the black slaves in the USA. I might have seen the photograph of a black slave whose back was riddled with disgusting scars.
Although slavery was not the only issue between the industrial North and the agrarian South, it certainly was the most emotionally charged. Those differences led to a bloody war that saw over 750,000 American lives lost.
Interestingly, any intervention by British or French troops was successfully blocked during that time.
There are, to be sure, many differences between what has been going on in the middle east and what was going on in America in 1861-65. But certain similarities are striking. Today it’s oil and plutonium. Back then it was King Cotton and King Corn. Shelling innocent civilians in Syria and poisoning school girls in Afghanistan are abhorrent acts most certainly. The question is, however, who should be responsible for addressing those terrorist acts?
From slavery to Al Qaeda attacks on America, our tradition has always been that we will take action against such forces ourselves. It was women in America who fought for their rights as citizens. The Civil Rights movement in America was (and continues to be) a matter for Americans to resolve. And now it’s gay rights and abortion—matters that have not been free from violence and hate crimes. But would we stand still for NATO or the UN to interfere?
Not since WWII has it been a clear case of military attacks on America that sent our brave troops into harm’s way. Korea and Vietnam had nothing to do with us except the illusionary idea that “godless communism” might take over the world. What began as retaliation against Al Qaeda became all out war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the latter, the Taliban did not want us in their country. Why isn’t it the proper choice of the Afghan people if they want the Taliban there? Is it all right with them that their daughters are being poisoned (literally) at school because they object to women being educated?
Yesterday I visited a cemetery with American flags decorating the graves of veterans who valiantly served their country.
What does it take to stop the bloodshed?