How to explain my changing vision, and reconstruct my winding mental trails? At what point did my non-violent response to violence switch sides?
What I know is that on the subject of Bashir al Assad, I am pointedly hawkish.
I know that it is false logic to suggest that “negotiations” are possible with someone who has demonstrated a violent sociopathic personality. I know that such suggestions while mostly good-intentioned, disturb my own sense of reality, the reality that presented itself on August 21 with those painful scenes from Damascus. Those images will not be dislodged. They flare forward each time I hunt for some kind of peaceful solution.
Even if Assad’s violence is cultural or possibly, genetic, I still rigidly favor his removal. In fact, Assad is intimately familiar with violence. He was fathered by a man who decimated the town of Homs 32 years ago, killing 10,000 to 40,000 residents and then bulldozing the city while an Army contingent encircled Homs, slaying any living resident who tried to flee.
Assad was 15 when his father destroyed Homs. The violence of his father is a part of his identity, an acceptable memory, a tactic for survival.
I know that there are evil people. Not evil in a biblical sense; I have no faith-based beliefs. But evil in the sense of incorrigible wickedness. Again, these hot button terms show up and again, I deny that they come from any active Christian core. These come from respect for life. That same respect is what propels me toward my belief that Assad must be removed by any means possible.
Assad claimed his birthright when he repeated his father’s butchery a year ago in February 2012, slaughtering the children of Hamas. He has now outmatched his father, murdering hundreds of thousands of Syrians, steadily destroying the next generation. His 11 year-old son Hafez watches and applauds his father’s brutality, signaling a new generation of acorn and oak.
I do not claim to understand the actors and parties involved and intermingled in Syria. I do not sit in blissful naivete, imagining that the region can become a western version of democracy. I grasp the fundamental pursuit of money, oil and power by those who support and oppose Assad.
Yet, my overwhelming conviction is that Right Makes Might, to reverse a truism. There is very little that is “right” in this bloody mess. All sides have their self-interests in play.
The removal of Assad, that worthless butcher, is the only right thing. This is what I know in my heart.