My daughters’ kindergarten teacher said it best. When confronted with a bullying situation: “Don’t hit.” “Use your words, instead.” “And tell an adult.” I can tell you that the “adult” solution was never to overpower the bully and hold them down so the offended person could hit back.
Many politicians, commentators and militarists are saying we can’t sit back and do nothing; we have to “bomb Assad.” First — we are not bombing Assad, we are bombing people. Second — the either/or approach is a fallacy and a failure of the imagination to consider other possibilities.
Our government needs to use good old American ingenuity to discover creative strategies other than bombs. We will never stop the cycle of violence if we answer violence with more violence ourselves. There are many possibilities other than bombing or doing nothing.
One politician said, “If you make a threat, you have to follow through.” No, you don’t! If the threat was wrong-headed, as threats usually are, you can use your better judgment and reconsider your options. That is not “weak”— it is prudent. Where are the adults?
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- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers short speech in Gettysburg, Pa.; in 1984, a Pemex LNG facility destroyed by series of gas explosions, 600 people are killed; in 1998, Senate builds fire under Bill Clinton.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1831 – Independent South American super-state, Gran Colombia, dissolved; 1856 - Fort Buchanan built to control Apache warriors; 1970 - William Calley Jr. goes on trial after 1968 massacre at My Lai, Vietnam.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy takes advantage of Cold War jitters and builds a tidy little fiefdom for himself on Capitol Hill. It's all good, but pride goes before you know darn well what. The junior senator is damaged going down.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in control of the Soviet Union; in 1970, Oregon DOT tries to dynamite a dead whale off a beach with a rather shocking result.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Southern Airways Flight 49 is hijacked, the crew and passengers held for ransom. The hijackers want $10 million and passage to Cuba. In 2007, in Santiago, Chile, King Juan Carlos of Spain loses patience with Hugo Chavez.