Is there any way to help without more blood on our hands?
Would Syria turn out better than Iraq? Afghanistan?
We can’t fix what we can’t understand
We can’t help ourselves, much less these foreign lands.
We’ve created hellscapes before from too-easy solutions
Brain-damaged our soldiers, betrayed our institutions
Laid waste to lands most of us never see
They say we’re all in this together, so we’re all guilty.
We invaded Iraq when I was 17
Assuring ourselves we knew what that would mean.
We all know now that didn’t go as planned,
Can they blame us for not wanting to try again?
Yes, they can and they do and hell they may be right for all I know.
But do they really still want us running the show?
Led by this coward who hides in his tower,
Pointing fingers at others at ungodly hours?
(He’s selfish and ignorant and a bit of a fascist,
But the bar’s pretty low now, at least he’s not gassing us!)
Some people voted for him, despite all the lying,
Thinking he’d avoid war, telling themselves they were trying.
But our new NSA guy already knows how to love the bomb
And now they too will get dragged along
Now we can’t hear ourselves think above all the noise and
If we stay or if we go, Assad’s still got that poison
The children will still choke on sarin gas and vomit
“Don’t worry, we’ll set our worst man on it!”
The Middle East Jenga tower keeps growing higher,
It’s our turn to play but it’s now all on fire.
And it is definitely going to fall,
I’m afraid we’re out of water,
All the buckets we can find seem filled with kerosene.
What can we do? Run around screaming?
Fall to our knees crying, we didn’t light it?
None of the manuals say how to right it.
(I think we’re busy burning books at home anyway.)
Fuck it, it’s too hard to solve and I want to stop playing,
Minimize the guilt that I’ve had no option of escaping.
Damned if we do, damned when we don’t,
Warmongers who will or heartless who won’t.
Lord, send a lightning bolt! Spare us the decision!
(We need help with the morality, not the precision.)
Forgive me for not thinking war will solve this
It seems nothing we can do can absolve us
It’s all already our fault, according to this thesis
Perhaps in 20 years we can help pick up the pieces
I see no way of helping besides running away
—and taking some of them with us
Can we just please,
For the love of God,
Accept some more refugees?
Emily C. Susko
Santa Cruz, Calif.
One of the considerations in “just-war” or “moral war” theory is that the war or intervention must be effective, or must have at least a reasonable likelihood of being effective, and a reasonable likelihood of doing more good than harm. So if we’re going with moral war theory, or just as a pragmatic matter, we need to consider (1) will our intervention (whatever it is) have the desired effect?, (2) will it have a counterproductive effect?, (3) will it have little or no effect?