It's that time of year again, when my discussions with those (including myself) who ask why I wear a white poppy are enriched by comments left on my post a couple of years ago.
If anyone is interested, and wasn't here at the time, that post is, to some extent, followed up in another post a couple of days later.
This year, though, the decision to wear a white wrestles with another, more agonised decision: my preious to support foreign military action in Libya [audit trail here, here, and here]. Which brings me up against Ray Girvan's reservation (and, for that matter, my own) about the practicality of pacifism. But ideals are always impractical, and always run up against both reality on one side and other, not always compatible, ideals on the other. We have to weave the best path we can between Scylla and Charybdis.
For the moment, at least, my path continues (Libya notwithstanding) to approximate the white poppy route.
Syria is a much murkier case than Libya. In Libya, there was a clear case to argue; the potential to alleviate loss of innocent life, on balance, could be made (if not conclusively); in Syria, it is much harder to see how that algebra might play out. Undeniable mass slaughter and suffering now, in the case of inaction, is not balanced by any clearly perceivable reduction if any ralistic action is taken. Which, ironically, makes the white poppy less problematic, for the time being ... but doesn't make me feel any cleaner.