Thursday, September 5, 2013

Why the US needs to read a book or why MTV owes Syria an apology.

I think I have figured out who is responsible for this whole Syria problem (well…maybe not the whole problem, but the problem with the people of the United States arguing over what should be done about it). Reality Television. Yep folks. By inventing a cheap alternative for networks to fill their time we no longer have educational programming filling the airwaves.

I understand that citizens of the United States don’t want to go to war in a place that seemingly has no importance to us here at home. I understand that the world doesn't want the United States to just go around playing the world’s police. Unfortunately both viewpoints are not valid anymore.
I know that the words Police Action have been used many times to make War seem less offensive. Unfortunately this has also made the terms now interchangeable. When the fighting in Syria was just fighting then it really was their affair. But then outside influence was brought in on both sides of the argument. Now it’s a regional/global affair. That reason should not be enough for the United States to walk in and shut everything down. The reason that is big enough and that the world should be behind is that the world decided almost 100 years ago that using gas in war was inexcusable.  It doesn't matter if it is a civil war or a multinational conflagration. If those responsible for using gas as a weapon are not brought to justice then the fear of using it as a weapon will diminish.

I don’t think that the general public has a good idea of what we are talking about when Gas is mentioned. This is not the Tear Gas that we see used on protesters. (Although when it is used everyone seems to freak out and demand that police officers should be tried for war crimes.) Tear Gas is designed as a “Less Than Lethal” tool for crowd control. It makes your eyes hurt and water so you can’t see. It makes irritates your lungs so you don’t have the energy to keep doing what you were doing. It irritates the skin to add to both of those other problems. Tear Gas is a fast acting irritant that does its job and generally leaves your system quickly and without lasting harm. When we look at Syria we are talking about gasses like Mustard or Sarin.  Mustard Gas causes severe skin, eye, and lung damage. It is slow acting so it can take a day for symptoms to fully appear. It can cause your lungs to bleed, your eyes to swell shut, blisters to form on any contacted skin. It will spread to others through contact with contaminated clothes. It is not used to control a crowd, it is used to kill slowly and painfully and keep your enemy from being able to fight because they have to help the fallen. Sarin is worse yet because there is little hope of surviving. It attacks the nervous system and makes your body turn on itself. It causes muscles that you need to breath to spasm suffocating you. It causes total loss of bodily control so that you vomit, urinate, defecate, and a number of other things that make your last moments on earth an agonizing experience.  This is the kind of thing that the human race has decided is not allowed to be done to people.

This is where I feel that Reality Television is at fault. Before channels like Discovery, History, and TLC got on board the Reality Train, they would have been making shows that informed people of what these gases were, why they should never be used, and what happens if people are not stopped. They would have also been showing the world why different people is different countries are important to all of us. Now we only seem to care about if some random rich person is mad at another for some perceived slight against them. We must know if the drama of the week will close down some small business in the middle of the country or if they will get to take some time off to go to an award show to give a musician an award.

I hate to say this but it’s looking like the crazy housewives that thought that MTV would ruin their children might have been on to something.  Their children didn't die in some Satanic Cult, but now they have to watch that Honey Boo Boo instead of asking why it’s taken weeks to get the discussion started on why we should or shouldn't care about some small country on the other side of the world.

I don’t care if you like the President or not. This should not be a political decision. This should be about taking a stand with the rest of the world to say that using chemical weapons is wrong. Should the UN be handling this? Yes. Yes they should. The UN doesn't have an army. They can only try to make people talk. When talking fails then it comes down to the countries of the world to step up and do what is right. The United States has been there helping the world for a very long time. Even before we were a super power. When our country was still young we sent ships out to fight piracy. I’m not just talking about trying to track down people with names like Blackbeard or Captain Jack Sparrow. I’m talking about people that would attack trading vessels and kill or enslave their crews far away from our shores. We had to make people think twice before attacking Americans. It made us safe and prosperous. I admit that with that prosperity we gained a lot of ego and tried to control the world. Some things we did were good, some were just expedient and a lot of those things went bad.

While I’d love to discuss the many ways this political mess is one sides fault or the other, it just frankly doesn't matter. This is about standing up against Chemical Weapons. I would love it if we could just walk in and confiscate the weapons and leave, but that can’t happen. The people of the United States don’t want their soldiers doing that. They have decided that if we are going to risk something, let’s send a robot. Our current robots are only good at blowing things up and making cocktails and Toyotas. So we can either get the entire country drunk enough so they walk the weapons out to us or we have to blow things up. Most of Syria doesn't drink. Maybe they should. I’m sure they would love to meet one of our bartender robots and tell them their problems.

And with that bit of rambling I am going to call an end to today’s discussion. In conclusion, we need to either stop making Reality TV, or weaponize it and rain DVDs down on war zones to get people to quietly sit on their couches to wonder if they could give it all up to drive a truck in Alaska.