Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Moral Obscenity"

John F. Kerry

The American Secretary of State, John Kerry, recently declared, "Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity."

Webster's dictionary defines "Obscene" as follows, "1. disgusting to the senses : repulsive : abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity".  It goes on to cite "indecent, blue, bawdy, nasty, raunchy and pornographic as synonyms.

Let's charitably leave aside the fact that "a moral obscenity" is a contradiction in terms; the statement of an oxymoron.

If Assad had used the "F-bomb" at a football match that would be an obscenity.  If Assad had sponsored Miley Cyrus at the recent MTV Video Music Awards show that could be called an "immoral obscenity".  When Secretary Kerry calls the use of chemical weapons "a moral obscenity" he trivialises what was in fact a crime against humanity -- an abomination, a holocaust in miniature.

Is it too much to ask of our Secretary of State that he speak with some precision when matters of war and peace are being considered?  John Kerry was widely known as one of the least popular members of the U.S. Senate.  Many of his colleagues were happy to see his backside after his confirmation by the Senate (a vote of 94 to 3) this January.  Confirmation as Secretary of State meant expulsion from the Senate.  "America is the world's only remaining superpower; what harm can he do at Foggy bottom?," they may have thought.  Time will tell.

We live in an age of lowered standards when our petulant President is given to making foreign policy pronouncements on the Tonight show (see..http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/obama-putin-andnapoleon.html).

Over 100,000 Syrians have been killed in their 3 year long civil war.  Thousands of refugees have streamed into neighbouring countries such as Turkey and Jordan.  The policy of the Obama administration has been to dither and avoid making any kind of a decision (see my "Solution for Syriahttp://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/solution-for-syria.html).

By postponing any kind of intervention for three years we have certainly made the ultimate price of intervention much higher.

On second thought, that truly is obscene.

Moral Obscenity...?


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2 comments:

Mark Hansen said...

In reflecting on the Lebanese situation in 1983, Secretary of State George Shultz refers to the "pivotal, destructive figure of Syrian President Hafez Assad," father of the current incumbent -- a much more accurate and equally evocative use of language, the medium of diplomacy. The moral character of the thing in question doesn't seem changed much, though.

Jim Hooper said...

I believe what Mr. Kerry meant to say was 'the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is reminiscent of Genghis Khan'. However, it's rarely clear when dealing with an intellectual Fop like Kerry.