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Snowden is Not My Name

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Snowden is Not My Name


Alen J. Salerian, MD


Snowden is not my name yet I am thankful for the courage and integrity of the British Parliament not to authorize a knee-jerk military response to a highly uncertain yet for sure grotesque human suffering in Syria . And I am not a pacifist and I do believe, that there are times the military option is the only option.

My concerns are twofold: first I'm not sure whether we have sufficient evidence to identify the source of the atrocities. How can we be sure that a subgroup of bad guys is not involved in inducing atrocities to trigger a military intervention. In an extraordinarily complex military social political environment inherent with ancient conflicts what would be more natural than making your adversaries look like mass killers? Furthermore how would short of a direct military intervention, we shall find solutions for chronic and complex political problem by fireworks? For sure we may experience a transient euphoria associated with a false sense of accomplishment of revenge and justice. But does this mean the fireworks are either rational or helpful?

I have another concern which is my primary source of respect for Snowden and the British Parliament: defending institutional integrity. Let me explain. Our government has not always been truthful when it comes to war. Before the second world war we claimed we did not know that Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor . Today the evidence suggests we chose not to know. Before the Iraqi invasion we said Saddam Hussain is armed with nuclear weapons. Today we know he did not have nuclear weapons. Before the Vietnam War and the loss of 58,000 Americans and one and a half million Vietnamese we fabricated an attack by the North Vietnamese. Today we know the truth. We needed an excuse to start the war. McNamara acknowledged it.

After 9/11 our government claimed we were surprised that a dozen of young men would fly airplanes to attack the twin towers. What we know today does not match the original governmental claims. We also said we don't know how and why three sky scrapers collapsed imitating the precise features of buildings demolished by man-made engineering. What's obvious about 9/11 is the simple truth that there are plenty and well contained secrets our government is unwilling to share with us. Yet, we took our government's word to send our young men to Afghanistan and Iraq and other faraway places to defend democracy. Democracy and integrity are inseparable. They are blood brothers. That's why Snowden and the British Parliament are sending us a very meaningful message. And all I wish to say is, thank you my friends.

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Alen J. Salerian, MD is a Washington, DC based physician, author, and historian who has been practicing psychiatry and psychopharmacology for 35 years. He is the former chief psychiatrist of the FBI's mobile psychiatric unit. He has authored (more...)
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