Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Atrocities and Reason: Trouble in Syria

Dear Reader,

Sorry for the long delay. It has been a very busy summer. I fear must rely on your good graces even more by posting about a topic which only tangential relates to eighteenth century warfare. As you may remember, from the original few posts on this blog, Kabinettskriege warfare was marked by a respect for civilian life. Property might be stolen, and their were even some examples of forced relocation. In his book, The Seven Years' War in Europe, Franz Szabo attempts to show that Prussian soldiers forcibly relocated Saxon women to repopulate Pomerania and East Prussia. While Szabo usually exaggerates the breath of the atrocities to draw parallels with Nazi Germany (quite a-historically...) the armies of the eighteenth century did not, as a rule, massacre the innocent. As we have shown previously, the type of Church burning atrocities (as shown in The Patriot) simply did not happen in eighteenth century warfare.

As I return to school this fall, we are confronted with a situation in modern warfare where just such a massacre has occurred. I am not trying to make this blog political. Whether the use of Sarin gas in Syria was a government action to clear out entrenched rebels, or a rebel hoax designed to garner international support, it is clear from the many videos currently available that the target was not military, it was civilian. Many of the videos and images show dead or dying children. Children should never have to die in war. The eighteenth century is often referred to as "the age of reason." Sadly, with militant religion and totalitarianism active in the world, the world we live in is not very reasonable.

As we look at this atrocity, we shouldn't give in to harsh judgments about religious or racial factors. One of my friends told me that her father has a saying, "the more you travel, the less you want to shoot at the people that you meet." Human solidarity is the only thing that will get our species through this age of terrible weaponry. So, brothers and sisters, remember the children, women and men who died in Syria this week, and do what you can to bring more reason into this confused and hurting world we live in.