F–K THE F–KING RED LINE: And here’s why…

MacheteIn 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:


Arik Bjorn

Arik Bjorn lives in Columbia, South Carolina. He was the Democratic Party / Green Party fusion candidate for U.S. Congress in the 2nd Congressional District of South Carolina. Visit the archive for Arik’s campaign website, and check out his latest book, So I Ran for Congress. You can also follow his political activities on Twitter @Bjorn2RunSC and on Facebook. And be sure to check out more from Arik in his archives!


Facebook comments

  • Lorraine

    That’s quite a tantrum you had there. And ten minutes I’ll never get back.

    • The Author

      I call it righteous anger. Unfortunately, the millions upon millions of people (citizens and soldiers alike) who have died in wars in just the past 100 years alone aren’t available to provide their opinion.

    • Doug

      Lorraine, meditate on this thought for ten minutes…. THOU SHALT NOT KILL!

  • Pipercat

    Actually, I’m disappointed you went this direction and not the proxy war example. I was hoping you’d explain how the, “Battle of the camel” fits into today’s events in a James Burke-esqe way. Then, why it really isn’t a good idea to interject ourselves into 1300 year old blood feud!

    • The Author

      Sorry, Pipercat. Tired of the absurdity of it all. The global military industrial complex is immoral.

      • Pipercat

        No argument here on that. Getting over my intense hatred of your writing skills, and the fact you’re younger than me which means I really hate you, I truly wish you’d consider a piece the notion I posited. My inner Val Kilmer aside, I cannot think of anyone who could frame what’s going on over there better than you in a historical context. I understand the contemporary motivations and the various players, but I have no background, other than casual reading, on the religious aspect of all this excitement. Taking all of that into consideration, via the Burke method, would be a great read!

      • The Author


        Thanks for the high compliments! If I had time in the coming month, I will consider the idea. I feel like I’ve said what needed to be said–although a deeper understanding of the situation, with possible solutions, seems necessary. I will try my best. Thank you,

    • Charles Vincent

      I concurr let them solve their own problems.

      • Pipercat

        See, we can agree!

      • Pipercat

        The more I thought about it, I can’t hide my incredible cynicism regarding this civil war. I actually don’t believe for a nanosecond that they will ever solve their own problems. Adding another big reason for staying out of it. Consider this notion, what war does this really remind you of, if you think about it? It really, really reminds me of the Spanish Civil war of the 1930s. Why on Earth should we become a de facto Condor Legion?

      • Charles Vincent

        The whole Syria thing smells eerily like a Vietnam type conflict, we didn’t know the enemy then and we won’t know the enemy now. And I don’t really like the fact that we are arming known terrorists like Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s just a glaringly bad idea.

      • Pipercat

        There’s an old adage I made up not long ago, it goes like this: While looking ahead and you smell shit, look down, take notice and try not to step in it!

      • Charles Vincent

        I am afraid we already stepped in it and are(given our current track record) about to step in a really deep pile of it currently.

  • Turner Jones

    I am so glad someone else rants about this. I showed this to my family, who are heartily sick and tired of my rants, and they agreed. One brutally brilliantly written article. You rock! It is absof234ingllylutely counter intuitive to think that using violence to stop violence would work. Never has and never will. to think our slap on the wrist to a major nutjob would work…laughable. To kill more innocent humans on a whim of maybe it would stop…about like killing 1.5 million Afghans and Iraqis in response to the act of a small group of madmen who killed 3000+ Americans, then add the deaths and destroyed lives of our troops…really…seriously…when will the world just stop the killing.

  • Jaimie Cortena

    Please define “fucking”

    • The Author

      Of many possible definitions: “filler, the purpose of which is to get attention of reader for extremely urgent matter.”

    • The Author

      Although in the first instance, I think of it as an execration aimed at an absurd global military convention that aimed far below what civilization needed, but which the global military industrial complex could live with.