War, Ceasefires and Respecting Soldiers

War, Ceasefires and Respecting Soldiers

Pulling into work, my iPhone’s AP app (here’s CNN’s bit on this) pinged me with the news that Syria had agreed to a four day truce starting Friday. Though magnanimous and all, my first thought was “why tomorrow?” I never understood why ceasefires aren’t implemented immediately, regardless of whether we’re talking about today’s story in Syria or WWI’s armistice. I understand that it takes time to communicate out to the lines. But why didn’t the negotiators, or the government at a higher level, have a plan before they walked into the conference room. Perhaps its the finer details that need ironing out before communications can be launched. Perhaps the 1 day timeline is actually aggressive. However, it’s hard to imagine anything more simple than a radio communication of “stop shooting”. Mainly, I expect the Syrian forces are more organized and able to disseminate and act on this info quickly. The resistance, however, I expect to be more disconnected and chaotic. Perhaps that the limiting factor. Anyway, I’m really thinking of the WWI armistice as the ultimate example, where the ceasefire was held back for days so that we’d reach a poetic date. Of course, soldiers were still thrown over the wall to their deaths in the meantime. Some see glorious poetry, I see horrific waste. Perhaps these leaders forget that they aren’t discussing pieces on a board, or numbers on a sheet; rather, lives. Lives of civilians caught in the middle, families, and, of course, soldiers. That dementia disrespects those troops on the line, for those lives lost. For me, that’s unconscionable.

Carl Setzer

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