“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
in the wells of silence”
As I began to write this article the lyrics from the great Simon and Garfunkel song “The Sounds of Silence” began racing through my head. Silence and inaction can lead to disastrous conclusions whether it be in our personal lives or in the actions of our country. I am of course referring to the latest news out of Syria about the death of over a thousand innocent people believed to have been killed by Sarin gas deployed by the Assad regime.
According to numerous reliable sources the United States has in its possession conclusive evidence that the Assad regimes used Sarin gas, a Weapon of Mass Destruction, in this attack. This evidence has been provided to Congress and the Senate so they can decide a course of retaliatory action our government can take for this criminal offense. This has sparked a spirited debate not just between politicians but also by the American people. If we go by the recent polling numbers about 49% of Americans are against the strike, 26% are for it. These numbers were derived from averaging several of the more popular polling results. It is clear Americans are hesitant. The list of excuses not to use military might is extensive. Jobs are more important than cruise missiles…..afraid of what Russia or Iran might do….afraid of this widening into a larger conflict….doesn’t have anything to do with OUR security…don’t trust Obama he is a jerk.
When I review the above reasons I think of another time the United States was face with a dilemma similar to this. Reports of thousands of innocent people being murdered by a mad man dictator flooded the White House and in the end our government decided to do nothing. As a result close to 10 million people were killed, old men, woman, children all non-combatants. In the end it cost us four hard years of fighting and the lives of over 2,300,000 American soldiers. Of course I am referring to Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime. Though this happened over 65 years ago the excuses for non-action then were the same as they are now. The US were slowly emerging from the greatest economic disaster of its time; much like we are now, our unemployment was high; much like it is now and the times were tough; much like they are now. People cared more about their own situation than those thousands of miles away; much like we do today.
Is this wrong? No not at all. But there are times and events that need to make us look past our own troubles and understand that the price of inaction now may cost us much more than the price of action.
The United States has always been a beacon to the world of strength, rightness, staunch advocate for Human Rights and fair play. Of course we have swayed from that path several times, after all we are only human but we have managed to navigate through the fog of human emotions and returned to that path we were placed on so very long ago. We have always been the protectors of those that can no longer speak for themselves, those that are oppressed or denied their “human” rights. We can’t help ourselves, it’s who we are. Even those that are gone have a voice that needs to be heard. Those one thousand people who were killed in Syria are screaming at the world too. To hear them we only need to listen.
“And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence”