BY HAL SPAKE
On April 13, without proof that the Assad regime launched a chemical weapon that killed 80 people, the U.S. fired 68 Cruise missiles at Syrian targets.
In 1988 Iraq unleashed 30 gas attacks that killed 50,000 to 80,000 civilians and soldiers. In that attack our government prevented UN inspectors from verifying the use of chemical agents and blocked any discussion of the topic in the UN Security Council.
In response to a question about England’s use of gas, Winston Churchill said “I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes,” and The British Manual of Military Law said civilized nations couldn’t use chemical weapons on one another but those rules do not apply in wars with uncivilized states and tribes.
It appears that one person who used chemical weapons is accused of being a monster, another is embraced because he fought for our national interests and the third is hailed as a hero and recently had two fictionalized movies about him in movie theaters.
This shows that though war is wrapped in the cloak of morality, war is about the politics of power and acquisition of wealth.
The Government Accountability Office says over the past 17 years the U.S. has spent $2.4 trillion blowing stuff up and killing people. We could talk about how much that amount of wealth could do. Coast-to-coast high-speed rail could be built, numerous infrastructure could be completed, K-higher education funded, universal health-care provided and rural hospitals kept open.
Everyone has heard that discussion before and the arguments seem to fall on deaf ears. Instead of rehashing these lifeless topics, let’s look at China’s “One Belt, One Road Initiative.”
China is currently building a new “Silk Road” of rail, highways and pipelines that will link Beijing to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Belgium, France and Italy. Their Maritime Silk Road, with new and expanded port facilities built and controlled by the Chinese, will link Italy to Egypt, through the Suez Canal, around the Horn of Africa and on to Kenya, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the two Koreas.
For half the cost of America’s wars, China is building alliances while taking economic control of Eurasia. Someone in American leadership needs to question our unwavering devotion to the dogs of war.
Our military adventurism is currently alienating many of our allies as we continue to destabilize one Middle-East country after another. Even Turkey, our staunchest partner in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, is now buying non-NATO compatible weapons systems from Russia and moving closer to China.
It’s time we abandon our ideas of military domination and instead focus our national wealth on development. If we don’t, a new Eurasian economic bloc will abandon the U.S., because the dividends of improving life greatly outweigh the financial and psychological costs of taking life.
– Norman resident Hal Spake has worked for the National Security Agency and isa retired U.S. diplomat.He also is chairman of Common Cause Oklahoma.