Picking Sides

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Sometimes you find things you didn't really want to find.

Submitted: August 22, 2019

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Submitted: August 22, 2019

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I enjoy politics about as much as I would enjoy sitting in a bath-full of maggots! But I do believe that voting is an important right, and if you fail to cast your vote, you have no right moan about what your government is doing. I’m not much into political parties either, they’re no different to any other gang where bullying, one-upmanship and lying becomes a sideshow to the real issues. I’d rather vote for the person who has the best interest of my area, rather than the lolly-scrambles that never seem to eventuate. Sometimes there’s a need for conservative policies and other times, there’s a need to be kinder and make changes that actually benefit people.

I happened to read a news report about a New Zealand guy who’s married to one of America’s presidential hopefuls, so simply because of the NZ connection, I searched for her on the internet. We all know helpful internet providers, mine must’ve thought I was ultra-interested in her because lots of videos and articles about her started popping up onto my screen, so I watched some of it. I now know she’s a Democrat because she was on a panel of hopefuls going at each other as aggressively as pups do over their mother’s tit… Anyway this woman made some excellent points, was measured, spoke calmly, to the point and took a brave stance. I thought the Kiwi guy had chosen well. But then the clobber machine came out, clearly meant to discredit her, but to her credit, she remained calm, which made me interested enough to follow the goings on.

I’m just a no-account Kiwi, living on a no-account island in the South Pacific where too much of our news comes out of the USA and their corporate networks. I know only a few Americans, I’ve had three work for me on the forest, and two worked for me in Tanzania, all quite quickly told me their political leanings, which is something we don’t usually judge people by here. Generally Americans might look like us and use the same language as us, but there the similarity ends. No offence intended, but that’s probably why I thought Tulsi Gabbard was worth listening to, she comes from Hawaii, and so as a Pacific Islander she’s more relatable to us than someone from the US mainland.

According to the clips I watched of Tulsi Gabbard, she’s plainly against the so-called regime-change wars the US engages in, preferring the cost savings to be spent at home. Which seems a good and valid plan to me, but the military bigwigs and weapons manufacturers don’t like the idea of being hamstrung! Of course they have more grunt than a woman from Hawaii, so the machinery behind them is also trying to discredit her. One person called her an apologist for al-Assad, because she made a fact-finding, boots on the ground visit to Syria during which, she had a meeting with him. Which, I’d agree is a good way to find the facts about any issue. Brave of her to look the enemy in the eye and she didn’t have to like him. It’s a process called diplomacy.

Anyway, the Syria war’s been boiling for seven and a bit years, and during that time I’ve tried to understand the situation for myself but found it to be head-shakingly complicated, so I abandoned the exercise. But this apologist for al-Assad claim twitched my history-nose, so I began to take note of the information that came onto my screen without my trying. But in a way, I wish I hadn’t.

I had wanted to know why the US are fighting in Syria in the first place and up popped a video of an interview with a well-qualified US professor, who has been close to the issue. He said that the US has blood on its hands because the CIA covertly and illegally tried to overthrow Assad, by creating and backing the rebels, who are mostly non-Syrian anyway. He said the US is responsible for starting a war that’s caused 500 000 deaths and displaced 10 million people! He said the war goes against common sense, is against the UN charter and breaks international law. This was confirmed when I looked up Timber Sycamore. He added that there’s no evidence al-Assad has ever used chemical weapons, which was the excuse for the bombing raids.

There are two points of note about Syria. There’s a theory al-Assad refused to allow a US backed pipeline from Qatar to Europe, via Syria, also Russia wants a pipeline from Iran to a Syrian port. Secondly, while Syria is perhaps 90% Islam, the people respect other religions, so people are free to follow whichever they choose. Which brings me to a video of John Kerry speaking to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He said that the Arab countries, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were offering to pay the US the full costs of ousting al-Assad. The chair of the committee, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen seemed unsurprised, matter-of-fact even and asked, how much? Kerry replied, substantial and with a snicker said Arab countries offered to bear the full cost to do the whole thing, like the way we have done in other countries.

It doesn’t end there, but that’s enough to understand why Tulsi Gabbard wants to stop it all! So what about the American voters? It appears party politics will win the day again because everyone thinks they’re on the good side, any other choice is unthinkable. Like anywhere else in the world, others are apathetic, perhaps feeling the result is a given so fail to bother, thinking their choice won’t make a difference. But picking sides is a great responsibility.


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