Thursday, November 1, 2018

Santos Sí, Sin Soldados

Today was All Saints Day, a day in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church on which the faithful commemorate the communion of saints, those individuals who have died and abide in the presence of God. In the vernacular, a saint is a person who embodies goodness, typically kindness and forbearance, and the other virtues. Using this definition, a saint is generally considered a person who will put their own interests aside to help others... the sort of behavior that seems sorely lacking these days.

On this All Saints Day, in the aftermath of a synagogue massacre perpetrated by a man enraged at the false tale of an invasion caravan, the President of these here United States is still pushing that canard. Even more disquietingly, he is proposing sending fifteen thousand soldiers to the border, a military force which is more than double the size of the 'caravan' of civilians it is meant to counter. Horrifically, Trump has indicated that he believes that the rules of engagement should be loosened so that massacres are more likely.

Rather than spending untold millions of dollars to engage militarily with people fleeing violence in Central America, the US would be better served by spending that money to undo the damage it caused in the region by engaging in proxy wars in the 1980s. The Reagan administration armed right-wing militias in Central America to counter the leftist Sandinista regime, culminating in the arrival of three thousand American troops in Honduras in 1988. The decade saw brutal murders of American missionaries by members of the right wing National Guard of El Salvador and the assassination of the Archbishop of San Salvador. Washington bullets filled the Central American air, Washington dollars paid to train and arm the paramilitary forces who were fighting to prevent the dirt-poor campesinos of Central America from embracing Marxism. In this violent, chaotic milieu, gangs such as MS-13 developed among displaced, brutalized individuals. In a very real sense, the ongoing problems in Central America are the poisoned fruits of an evil foreign policy decades ago. These problems were caused by American militarism abroad, and American militarism won't solve them.

We need saints, not soldiers, to solve this crisis. We need to succor the afflicted, not sight them down gun barrels. I have long pondered the importance of soft power in American foreign policy, but the current maladministration would rather use violent means to address the refugee crisis- personally, I will be looking to see which members of his administration will be profiting from militarizing the border.

ADDENDUM: In the context of All Saints' Day, it's way past time to de-canonize St Ronald Reagan, who really inaugurated a lot of the bad policy now plaguing the nation.


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

i agree with you, and note that, sadly, the history of the impact of the estados unidos on america central is a closed book to most yanquis

i sang in the choir in our all saints mass today - it was a bilingual service - the bible readings were printed in one language and read in the other, most hymns had english and spanish verses, the pastor (who is from spain) gave his homily in english and then spanish - among the saints mentioned was the recently canonized oscar romero, the murdered archbishop you cited

as krishna said in the gita, people have both divine and demonic tendencies - and as jesus said, let the wheat and the weeds both grow - they will be separated at harvest time

may the creative forces of the universe have mercy on our souls, if any

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

That's us, mister charley, cursed with memory.