Forgetfulness – the real cost of war

Forgetfulness – the real cost of war

Well, it’s an interesting time in the world, that’s for sure.  We have POTUS 45, who railed against POTUS 44 for even considering the use of missiles against Syria, authorising the use of 59 cruise missiles to attack the Syrian airbase of Al-Shayrat.  Each missile has a unit cost of $1.8 million, thus $106.2 million in total for the missiles alone.  Now, let me make this clear, whoever authorised the sarin gas attack committed an obscene war crime.  Something had to be done, but the question is, what?

Looking at the reasons for the non-action of POTUS 44 in Syria, research soon shows that analysis was undertaken over weeks, sometimes months.  Those involved were experts of the political quagmire that is the Middle East; those who understood the tribal and religious complexities involved; military men and women who were aware of the operational environment into which they might be drawn – and, even more importantly – how mission creep can occur.  All understood and debated the cost, actual and potential, of such actions.  

POTUS 45, on the other hand,  talked about ‘beautiful babies’, children, and women and then authorised the use of missiles.  

In sum, the world has an emotionally unstable, emotion-led individual in a position of authority who can authorise the use of force without having to ask anyone’s permission to do so.  That he can do it again, (North Korea comes to mind); that he can be led by what he sees on Twitter rather than by the experts whose role is to advise him;  that he can do this based on an ‘emotional spasm’; and finally, that many believe in his fantasy, is a real cause for concern.  We can only wait and see where POTUS 45 will lash out next.  And, trust me, he will… 

Now, let me clarify why I have such concerns about this operation, and there are a number.  The first is that there was no analysis, it was knee-jerk;  second, insufficient consideration was given to the sarin attack being, potentially, a ‘false-flag’ operation – or not;  third, this was done without the involvement of Congress, in fact side-lining them; finally and most importantly, there does not appear to be a ‘well, what happens next?’ plan.  It is interesting to note that within hours of the final missile strike, Assad’s airforce was flying from the airbase concerned.  

Now, that’s ‘merely’ the military / political element of this blog.  We have yet to discuss the social / economic costs.  Invariably, there is a cost, a cost of increased hatred between people of different nations; the social cost of hatred between communities; the economic impact on social programmes since money is being spent on weaponry rather than people and infrastructure. 

However, what is particularly worrying, is that months from now, people will need to be reminded of this particular event, since, with the atrocities that are occurring so frequently around the world, this is ‘merely’ one more.  That many forget such things is the real cost of war. 

J Mitchell

‘Never leave anyone behind…’