We Had No Choice

Ed. note: Please help – see the note below and pass this along so that we make the kind of difference that needs to be made. America thanks you.

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“We have no choice,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zyhri in rejecting a cease fire proposal. Hamas had been launching rockets into Israel for years and nothing, it seemed, got the Israelis’ attention in the same way. Certainly, a cease fire wouldn’t help make the Israelis do what Hamas wanted. What else could they do but continue to fire rockets into Israeli cities? They had no choice.

Saddam Hussein was a really bad guy, President Bush told us. He killed his own people and was interfering with the work of the UN weapons inspectors as they searched for weapons of mass destruction. Condoleeza Rice, Bush’s national security adviser, presumably speaking for the president, told us that, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” We had no choice but to invade.

And we had no choice but to bail out the big banks and refuse to prosecute the perps.

And we had no choice but to torture prisoners.

That’s the phrase people use so very often to explain their actions. Somehow, it seems, they were backed into a corner from which there was only one course of action.

Oddly, the facts suggest that sometimes there are alternatives other than the absolutes that are brainlessly invoked. Sometimes life and death hang in the balance awaiting our more thoughtful, wise judgment. Too bad the leadership in the House of Representatives can’t figure out such things and instead constantly regurgitates the non-scandals of Benghazi, IRS-gate and Obamacare. Too bad they have no choice. The new Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has told us that he intends to regurgitate those issues in the Senate, too. Apparently, he has no choice, either, any more than Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) saw any choice other than shutting down the government and making innocents suffer.

The next time you hear someone invoke, “We had no choice” to explain their actions, I invite you to consider a new meaning for that sentence: It is an admission of a complete failure of diplomacy, negotiation, thoughtfulness, creativity wisdom and leadership. It is the abject failure of the very things our leaders are supposed to do, practices in which they are supposed to excel. It is incompetence run amok.

We need better than that.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue. Please help by offering your comments, as well as by passing this along and encouraging others to subscribe and do the same.  Thanks.  JA

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2 Responses to We Had No Choice
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply


    It also amazes one that it is the cowardly and the wicked who are the ones that resort to the worst means to resolve issues first. That even stoops down to the guy who threatens a law suit without any consideration of the many alternate means of resolving an issue.

    There are those who believe that “might makes right”. So the bully who is bigger and/or stronger, or has the biggest gun(s) or the greatest number of guns, thinks he can dictate what’s to be done and how it should be done. This also applies to those who feel they have been wronged by another. And, if he can dictate, there is no need for discussion, or mediation, or mitigation. It applies to leadership and governing of cities, counties, states or nations.

    On another related note, please note the use of masculine pronouns exclusively. That’s because only men run governments, with very few exceptions, and make the decisions about how to deal with problems. MAYBE it’s time for the men to back off and let the women run things … they’ll probably do a better job of it.

  2. Frank Levy Reply

    I wholeheartedly agree with you – all too often, people in positions of leadership fall back on the hackneyed phrase, “we had no other choice” due to a lack of creativity, vision, wisdom, or leadership.

    But in the case of the examples you gave, it is not a case of “no other choice.” It is a case of them doing what they did because their actions were exactly what was needed to accomplish their goals – Hamas launches rockets into Israel because the goal is not peace, but the destruction of Israel. The war criminals Bush and Cheney invaded Iraq because the goal was not a free, democratic Iraq, but erasing the embarrassment of Bush 41 not defeating Saddam Hussein in Gulf War I. The House Republicans, and now Senate Republicans, continue to regurgitate old issues not because they have no choice, but because their goal is to embarrass and undermine the President and Democratic leadership, and American democracy.

    They have a choice. They could to do the right thing for the greatest number of people, for the country, for the world. But that is not their goal, Their goals are destruction, division, and derision.

    These people do not lack leadership, or imagination. They have plenty of both.

    They are focused with lazer-like clarity on the destruction of anyone, or any -ism that does not totally agree with them. They are focused with lazer-like clarity on the subjugation of minorities, people of color, and the poor, for the benefit of the 1%. They are so dedicated to winning that they are willing to trash the Constitution they profess to love and defend with their voter suppression laws and other un-American acts, and their supposed religious teachings to accomplish their un-American, unpatriotic goals.

    The have another choice, but it is between right and wrong, not tactics.

    The vision they lack is the vision of the best of what America, Israel and Palestine can be. The vision they have destroys, not builds, a bright future for the people they serve, and the world.