Trump orders Bombing of Syrian Airbase.
Last Thursday night, between six and 20 people at or close to the Shayrat airbase in Syria were killed by a US Tomahawk missile.
Before you dismiss this piece of news and justify the deaths of THESE people by reference to the alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government which, Western media claim killed 89 lives in the Syrian town of Kahn Sheihoun, let’s give a minute to these six or 20 unknown people. We have seen no photographs at all of these people compared to the deluge of pictures of people in gas masks from Kahn Sheikhoun, so they deserve at least a few minutes of our time.
Many of these would have been killed instantaneously by the wonderful Tomahawk missiles which have been so lauded by military experts in recent days.
Ever been burned?
Many would not have died instantaneously would have suffered severe burns.
Have you any idea or experience what this feels like?
I have a very mild experience – a week once spent lying on a bed with sunburn from which I could find no relief.
But Tomahawk burns are different.
Annie Dillard wrote that: “People who survive bad burns tend to go crazy; they have a very high suicide rate. Medicine cannot ease their pain; drugs just leak away, soaking the sheets, because there is no skin to hold them in. The people just lie there and weep. Later they kill themselves. They had not known, before they were burned, that the world included such suffering, that life could permit them personally such pain.”
Not only is there no substantiated, solid or independent evidence that the people who were killed in the Shayrat base or that the Syrian government were responsible for the alleged chemical attack, but none was sought and no trouble was taken to find any.
Nor was any attempt made to look at an alternative approach to dealing with this alleged atrocity.
You can do what you Like when you have Power:
When you have a lot of power and little obligation to do what is right, you don’t need evidence. You can do what you like. And you can get away with it, or appear to do so.
This is the danger of power – you don’t need to find out what is right and you don’t need to do what is right. You can do what you like.
And, not only will you get away with it but, on the surface and in the short-term, you may, like Trump, even get lauded for your strong and decisive action.
My local paper ‘The Irish Times’ reported: “the US missile strike on Syria was the dominant factor in the market yesterday with all trading near a one-month high, while the dollar rose …”.
Good news all round except for those dead or those lying in some Syrian hospital.
So, not doing the right thing, or not even trying to find out what the right thing is, doesn’t seem to matter and may even be counter-productive.
After all, Bush and Blair, don’t seem to have done too badly from the thousands of dead Iraqis and others they have left in their wake.
However, the deep down, long lasting, invisible and horrendous consequences of their actions remain and the price for those actions will be paid for many years to come however aware Bush, Blair, and Trump are of their being part of those consequences.
Bombing, Managing and Power
This might seem to be very remote from and have nothing at all to do with management!
But it has.
Every manager also has power and also has the choice of doing the right thing or, at least, making an effort to find out what the right thing is.
Just as there are Syrians and Iraqis upset and angry at the injustices being done to them today by countries with superior military power, I know people who are still upset and angry at injustices done to them 20, 30, 40 years ago by managers with power in organisations,
Equally, as with Bush and Trump, strong and expedient actions may also seem to work in the short term and managers lauded, promoted and rewarded for taking them.
Doing the Right Thing:
But, like Trump and the others, managers for whom the right thing has little or no importance may appear to succeed in the short term but they and everybody else will eventually know that they are failing at a much deeper and much more important level. They too know it.
All very negative.
Sorry! I also know managers in some Companies who always try to find out and do what is right. They lead companies that add great richness not only to their customers but to the lives of their employees by being centres of value and meaning for them.
They do make an effort to always do what is right.
They are also very successful.
I believe they will continue to be successful….and a lot more.