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What would “the Arch” say?

While working on something bigger I have submitted this to Business Day – without undue optimism.

“The South African print media is awash with overheated rhetoric ignited by Obama’s proposal to strike Syria over Assad’s use of chemical weapons. It includes pious declarations from certain high-profile theologians, who have been strangely silent till now, and the usual mix of conspiracy theories centring on the “imperialist” USA, oil and, naturally, Israel.

Murray Williams in the Cape Argus asks who we should follow, Obama and, by implication, the nefarious war-mongering American establishment, or our very own “Arch”?  Well in a matter like this with the hard information available and genuine responsibilities shouldered by Obama, I would prefer to follow him as the lesser of two evils.

Victim Syria

Victim Syria

Songezo Zibi  wastes about a quarter of an otherwise reasonably sensible article in Business Day speculating on the evil role being played by Israel. Question to Zibi: is concern over huge stockpiles of lethal, indiscriminate chemical weapons in the hands of a murderous despot clinging to power in a rapidly disintegrating, neighbouring country a human thing or a Jewish thing?

And so on and on in like vein. What would I do? Well I don’t really see how missiles will do the trick. Assad is busy moving his armaments and chemicals underground, surrounding them with prisoners and moving his army into populated areas – all to maximise civilian casualties according to recent Middle East tradition.

So I would gather the necessary quantity of elite troops and send them in with one objective only: secure the weapons of mass destruction and get the hell out. No-one can impose democracy but removing the ability of either the regime or the rebels or both to inflict mass indiscriminate casualties seems a humane and sensible thing to do.

I wonder what the Arch would think of that?

Mike Berger


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