In case you missed it, California drew a RED LINE in the sand this week. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban on foie gras. Which is great news for consumable waterfowl everywhere. But just ask last year’s Christmas goose how it feels about that.
Think about it for a minute.
On April 29, 1997, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction took effect as a global arms agreement, signed by nearly every sovereign political body on the planet.
The list of the seven dingbat nations which refused to ratify, sign or accede to this global wink-wink nudge-nudge may be found at this link. I find it ironic that two of these nations receive more than $1 billion in annual foreign aid from Uncle Sam. Yet another of these nations is about to get bombarded by kind-hearted, heart-laced, democratic-republic ballistic missiles by that same avuncular figure in the red, white & blue top hat.
The Chemical Weapons Convention makes me really angry. If I were God, I might consider scrapping my Human Science Fair Project™ altogether on the basis that, after these many hundreds of thousands of years of recent hominid development—opposable thumbs, bent larynx and all—here is what humanity has to show for its collective geopolitical collaboration: 16 years ago, most Nations of Earth determined that killing each other with chemicals formulated to inflict death willy-nilly should be banned.
Then there’s the United States, which deserves its own special metaphysical spanking for its current hypocritical war drum dance being performed a la Miley Cyrus twerk-rampage on the global stage.
Uncle Sam: As soon as we finish this round of video Texas Hold ’Em, let’s go punish those red-line crossin’ Syrians. Psst! Someone go hide the Agent Orange, White Phosphorus and Radiated Bullets.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: agent orange, white phosphorus and depleted-uranium bullets aren’t chemical weapons.
Hearty Laughter on the count of…3…2…1. HA-HA-HA! HO-HO-HO! HEE-HEE-HEE!
Honestly, we do not deserve our sentience.
The title above says it all, but it bears repeating: FUCK THE FUCKING RED LINE.
And I’m just a tad curious how many people will be more upset about the title of this article than with the fact that our nation is about to embark on an immoral rampage to kill Syrians for killing Syrians.
(I admit I’m stealing a bit from the playbook of the Cicero of Evangelicalism, Tony Campolo, with the above sentence. I’m sure he won’t mind.)
Still with me? Good.
Now, let’s turn back the clock for a minute. The year is 1994, three years before the Chemical Weapons Convention goes into effect. In a matter of less than four months, from April 1994 to July 1994, at least 500,000 Rwandans—one-fifth the entire population of the nation—will be fucking murdered.
And do you recall one of the principle weapons of that genocide? Take a look at the photo that accompanies this article. That’s right, a machete.
If only all those Tutsis had been killed with trichloromethyl chloroformate instead of cleaver-like knives, perhaps the world would have gotten off its ass a little sooner.
When I think of everything that’s right with the world, my mind turns to the scientific team that set Voyager II adrift into the bounds beyond our solar system, the courage of Rosa Parks, the gravitational defiance of Baryshnikov, the brush strokes of da Vinci, the “dinosaur egg” prose of Marquez, the perseverance of Sarah Hale, the steps of Neil Armstrong, the courage of Gandhi.
There are so many moments of exquisite individual and small-scale human beauty and accomplishment. But with respect to the world acting as a community, how can it be that we are so unimaginably idiotic that the best global political agreement we can muster is not to kill each other with mustard gas?
Do you disagree? Then let’s just consider community progress in our own nation: the only thing the White House and Congress apparently can agree on anymore is that our nation needs to kill people on the other side of the planet.
I’m sorry. Did I interrupt your water cooler discussion about how the unrated version of “Blurred Lines” is ruining our planet? Really? Take a weekend trip to Haiti and hold a malnourished child in your arms for some perspective.
I’m sorry, but civilization will not come crashing down because of bouncy boobs. Try instead the hundreds of billions—no, the trillions—of Capitalist and Communist dollars that have floated dictators and wars around this globe since the conclusion of World War II.
Who created Bashar al-Assad? I don’t know, who created Papa Doc Duvalier? Probably the same assholes who created most of these guys.
The RED LINE is the blurred problem.
Back again to the title: FUCK THE FUCKING RED LINE.
Listen, there isn’t a journalist or blogger on the planet who hasn’t tossed his or her few thousand words into the ethersphere with an opinion about Syria.
But this article isn’t about Syria. It’s about the damned absurdity of our species to insist that there is an authorized way to kill human beings versus an unauthorized way.
And just how absurd is the Chemical Weapons Convention RED LINE? Let me suggest two hypothetical situations to put it in perspective:
(1) On April 29, 1997, the Convention to Reduce Abuse of Children was signed. All but seven nations of the world agreed that the only child abuse worth banning altogether from the planet is when parents spray Lysol or some other common household chemical product in a child’s face. All other forms of child abuse will continue to be frowned upon with emoticons, but no nation is really committed to doing anything about it. Yes, yes, it’s perfectly fine if one hacks off a child’s legs with a machete in Central Africa. After all, it’s only the Dark Continent.
(2) On April 29, 1997, the Convention to Reduce the Extinction of Majestic Animals was signed. All but seven nations of the world agreed that it was okay to continue slaughtering endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List—UNLESS one kills them with 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or Phosgene oxime, perhaps even hydrogen cyanide. For Christ’s sake, if one is going to kill a polar bear or a Mekong giant salmon carp, one should do so humanely with a hand grenade or an AK-47!
I’m looking forward to the first commenter who tells me I’m too idealistic—that I need to “get real” or that this article is loaded with “straw men.” There are thousands of whacko maniacs out there proposing the nuclear destruction of the entire Mideast Region; I am not the misguided one.
I have a five-year-old daughter. And, honest to Christ, I would sooner go to my grave than look her straight in the face and suggest that there are circumstances when it is okay to plot the death of our fellow human beings.
Yes, there are madmen in this world. Bashar al-Assad is one of them. And there are others of my own countrymen, plus citizens throughout the globe, who similarly deserve that label.
But I will not be one of them. I have my own personal RED FUCKING LINE. It’s a pretty good one that has lasted the test of time. And as for me and my house, we will not cross it:
THOU SHALT NOT KILL
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