The other day I was perusing through the comments here at SUFA and stumbled across a short and simple post from Mathius. He asked whether there was anyone here at Stand Up For America that agreed with what was happening in Libya, specifically, the US participation in that country. I don’t remember what the answer was from everyone who answered. What I distinctly remember is what I thought when I read his question….. No, but why? I most certainly don’t like what is happening in Libya, or what happened in Afghanistan or Iraq either, for that matter. Although I understood the the first foray and tolerated the second. But the real question I wanted everyone to answer, because it seemed as though most were answering “No”, was WHY are you opposed to what is happening in Libya?
Is it because you are simply opposed to whatever Obama does? Or perhaps you are bitter that the media is giving him a pass on this while lambasting the previous President as waging an “Unconstitutional War” (which it most assuredly was not, Bush actually went further than Obama and got Congress’ approval for his). Or do you oppose what is happening in Libya because you oppose ALL military action? Perhaps instead you feel we are backing rebels who may very well be our enemies. Or you fear that the next leadership group in Libya will be more radical and dangerous. I am certainly interested in hearing the why behind everyone’s opposition to the US action in Libya. But first, I am going to fill you in on why I oppose it.
In short, I oppose the war in Libya because I feel it is an extension of the suicidal foreign policy directives of an arrogant and habitually schizophrenic federal government. I will give examples and state my case. But allow me a moment to express my thoughts on how this has harmed us. The common question asked by Americans is, “why do the countries in the Middle East hate us so much?” The most frequent, and for the record the most incorrect, reason given is the verbal diarrhea that flows in the form of, “they hate us for our freedom.” Bullshit, they don’t hate us for our freedom. How does our freedom impact them in any way? Did you hate the USSR so badly that you wished to have terrorist attacks occur there because you “hated their communism”? Of course not. In fact, almost universally American citizens didn’t give a squat about communism until they felt like it may encroach on us here.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that jealousy can breed hatred. All you have to do is listen to the far left drivel against the wealthy to see how jealousy and a lack of understanding breeds hatred and a desire to destroy them (along with, of course, a healthy dose of sowing the seeds of class warfare as a motive for stewing that hatred). But that isn’t the case in the Middle East. Our freedom doesn’t negatively impact their lives. A young man in Saudi Arabia doesn’t sit around and say to himself, “Those damn Americans are so free…. I desire to sacrifice my life to punish them for it!” That is ridiculous. And it is nearly as ridiculous that so many Americans accept “they hate us for our freedom” as a plausible explanation.
NO! Do you know why they hate us? They hate us because our government negatively impacts their lives in real ways. They hate us because it is our own arrogance and greed that causes us to do so. They hate us, not because of our freedom, but because we do so much to ensure that they will never have theirs. They hate us because we will support and defend even the most brutal dictator if it serves our purposes. They hate us because we will later change our mind and destroy their country to take down the same brutal dictator that we supported a decade ago. They hate us because we are hypocrites, whining about innocent deaths while simultaneously dealing out or allowing innocent deaths.
I know some of you are starting to cringe. You are thinking that perhaps USWeapon has finally cracked and gone to the dark side to reside with Black Flag. Fear not. While I don’t see BF’s side as being quite as dark as many would think, I haven’t switched over to simply hating everything the US does simply because the US did it. But failing to recognize, acknowledge, and demand change in regard to flawed foreign policy is akin to silently watching as someone disconnects your gas lines and turns on the gas. You are inviting your demise. If we are going to survive the next century and truly embrace some of the concepts that we drone on about here, it should include how we deal with the rest of the world. Some examples:
LIBYA: We all know that Libya hasn’t been exactly one of the favorites of the USA. However, there have been significant shifts in Libyan policy directives over the last decade. President Bush moved to normalize the relationship between Libya and the US. This included lifting of sanctions and official relations after a period of none. Libya acknowledged their role in the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, and as a result, the US embraced Muommar Qadhafi.
Qadhafi saw Al Qaeda as a threat because the Islamic radicals opposed to his government in Libya were shown to have ties to Al Qaeda. But Qadhafi was brutal to his people, and as a result they have revolted against him. Those radical Islamic groups stepped forward and challenged his power. Now, the US government which once supported the brutal leader who made the lives of Libyans hell, has reversed course again and given support to the radicals challenging him (The same radicals who have ties to Al Qaeda according to some reports).
EGYPT: Hosni Mubarreck was a brutal dictator. There is no doubt about that. Oh, I know that he didn’t always fit the legal description of a dictator. But what looks like a duck and quacks like a duck… And for a very long time we have supported him in his position despite leaked cables within our government such as this:
“The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators, certain political prisoners and unfortunate bystanders… NGO contacts estimate there are literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations alone.”
Why do we support him despite his brutal tactics and harsh ways? Because he kept in place the peace treaty with Israel. So long as he acquiesced to that one demand, we gave him money every year and supported his claim to power. So in the eyes of his people, we supported their oppressor. Then we withdrew our support when we felt it benefitted us (when it was obvious a new sheriff would be in charge, we immediately switched sides).
SAUDI ARABIA: We could do an entire article on nothing but the insane relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. The relationship dates back to the World War period, when even Roosevelt said the the security of Saudi Arabia was vital to the security of the United States. Despite the US support of Saudi Arabia, the relationship has always been tenuous at best. A letter from Crown Prince Abdullah to George Bush in 2003 stated:
“A time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look at their separate interests. Those governments that don’t feel the pulse of their people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran.”
In other words, Saudi Arabia felt it was time for the partnership to come to an end. The Saudi’s have always acted only in their best interest (which I don’t fault them for). The real question has always been how far are they willing to go in order to serve their interests? The reality in Saudi Arabia is that we have supported a ruling family that has continued to oppress its people. How many of you, before the last few weeks when people talked about it on the news, knew that it was against the law to protest against the government in Saudi Arabia? In a ministry statement published on the official SPA state news agency, the Saudi government decreed:
“Regulations in the kingdom forbid categorically all sorts of demonstrations, marches and sit-ins … as they contradict Islamic Sharia law and the values and traditions of Saudi society.”
They threatened to take “any and all measures necessary” in order to quell the protests. Do you know what they were primarily protesting over? They wanted the release of a an outspoken Shiite prayer leader who demonstrators say was arrested more than a week ago after he gave a sermon stating that Saudi Arabia should become a constitutional monarchy. He had the audacity to suggest a different type of government. So the Ministry of Truth came and got him. The Saudi’s don’t hate our freedom, they desire it. But we instead support the monarchy that doesn’t even allow them to say they would like a change. We cannot endanger our oil source, now can we?
IRAN: Where do I even start? The good Colonel is giving an accurate account of the current situation in Iran. But Iran’s hatred for the US goes back a long way. Forget that the US helped put in place and has staunchly defended Israel, which Iran wants wiped off the map (YES they do BF, your refusal to admit such is maddening). Our meddling in their government was the catalyst for their hatred. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi maintained close ties with America during most of his reign, which lasted from 1941 until he was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution in 1979 (And let’s not forget where he immediately ran to when the proverbial crap hit the fan). During that time, the American and British government helped pull off a coup in 1953 while simultaneously pretending to support the Prime Minister they helped overthrow.
Despite what you may initially think, it wasn’t about oil. The British were the beneficiaries of the oil in Iran. It was about Iran’s position as the largest and most powerful country in the Middle East and their proximity to the Soviet Union. But all that is neither here nor there. After the coup, the US supported the Shah without fail. He was a frequent visitor to the White House and received Billions in aid. But what was he doing? Torturing his people, hoarding the country’s wealth, and oppressing any who believed differently than he. All while under the express protection of the United States. It wasn’t until Jimmy Carter that a US President came out against the human rights violations of the Shah’s regime (while only months later praising the Shah for being an island of stability in a crazy region! WTF? ). By then it was too late.
The Iranian people blamed us for supporting and protecting the man responsible for their horrible lives. The revolution happened and the rest is a history that we are all pretty familiar with. We ended up with anti-American Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.The Iran/Iraq war followed and after its end we “allowed” trade with Iran, and the country started to prosper. Bill Clinton ended that by putting a complete embargo on Iranian trade. We then had our Congress pass an act that basically prevented any other countries from making any large investments in Iranian energy. From Iran’s perspective: We love them, we hate them, we love them, we hate them and we keep them from achieving economic prosperity. And when the few who rose up to challenge their oppressive government, they were slaughtered while we did nothing about it. What do you think they are feeling as we intervene in Libya now?
IRAQ: Speaking of Iraq. We seem to like the idea of helping someone gain power within a country whenever we deem it to be in our “national interest.” So the US government decided to use the CIA in the early 60’s to help the Ba’ath Party come to power in Iraq. And with that party came one Saddam Hussein. The brutal man who terrorized his people so horribly that we deemed it necessary to later remove him from power. A man who used chemical weapons on his own people, who had dissenters dragged outside and shot on site. A man who’s sons used Iraq as there personal playground, terrorizing anyone as though it were a game. It is well documented the gruesome things the Hussein family did to the people of Iraq, including one son who liked to take whatever pretty woman he saw, force her to come back to his place, rape her, beat her, and then give her to his dogs to tear apart. Great family those Hussein’s. And we helped put them in power. I am sure the people of Iraq loved us for that.
And then when we felt it was no longer in our interest to support the brutal dictator that we helped put there, we decided that we should remove him from power. We put sanctions on the country, stifling economic growth, which punished the people of Iraq, not the leadership. Then we acted militarily. And no matter your position on the war in Iraq, you cannot dismiss the results. Many, many innocent people killed. Millions more injured and maimed for life. A mother doesn’t care that you removed a brutal dictator when she sees that an American bomb took her child’s limbs or their life. Once again we supported a man who brutalized them and then became schizophrenic and punished the people to remove him.
AFGHANISTAN: True to our Schizophrenic nature, we have also flip-flopped on the Afghani people. It began when we imposed our influence there when the Soviet Union decided that they wanted to stroll into the area. What did we do? We armed the resistance. To the tune of about $3 Billion. And we turned a blind eye when what evolved out of our assistance was the ruthless Taliban government. From the Afghani perspective, we helped put the Taliban in place, or at least enabled them to take charge. As a result we had a government in Afghanistan that was as ruthless as any towards its own people. Soccer stadiums used as hanging fields. Women oppressed and mistreated in horrible ways. Government torture houses, assassination of political opponents. And we said nothing.
Then 9/11 came along and we believed it was perpetrated by Bin Laden while he was under asylum in Afghanistan. There was little question that the Taliban was a supporter of Al Qaeda. And there was little question of the brutality that the Taliban was horrible to its own people. But now that we had been attacked, we decided to care about the plight of the Afghani people. Those poor women and the horrible soccer stadium! We had to remove the Taliban from power, not only because they supported terrorism, but because they were mean to their people. As a result, we invaded. Again a vast death toll that included many, many innocent people. Normal for a war zone, I agree. Try telling that to grieving parents.
There are a lot of other countries that we could talk about, such as Syria, Yemen, Ivory Coast, or Tunisia. Add to all this our unwavering support of Israel, no matter whether they are wrong or right on their actions and reactions within the Middle East. What it all boils down to is that what the Middle East sees from the United States is schizophrenic foreign policy where we support then oppose (or vice versa) based on our own interest. We help people rise to power in those countries and then we sit back and do nothing while those people brutalize and terrorize their citizens.
We come in and take a “moral stand” on something like Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan while simultaneously doing nothing when North Korea starves its population, Iran slaughters protesters, Genocide happens in Darfur, Rwanda, or the Congo. When there is no economic or political interest in a region, we are happy to sit on the sidelines while entire populations are murdered, terrorized, and repressed. But a little unrest happens in the oil rich countries that we need and we cannot stand the site of innocent people being slaughtered in the streets.
You can talk all day of all the good that America does in the world. And believe me, I am well aware that there is A LOT of good that America does in the world. But that isn’t what THESE people see of America. What these people see is an America that abandons them we they need us most, bombs them in the name of saving them, and who sides with any person, no matter how evil, if it serves our purpose.
I know that there are those of you who will claim that they hate us because we are not Muslims. I won’t go into the whole Islam is a religion of peace speech. If you want my personal opinion, there is NO religion of peace. NONE. There is no religion that hasn’t been used in the justification of war. There are those in Islam who preach hatred of non-muslims. But they wouldn’t be nearly as able to take root in the minds of young people if not for all that I talked about above.
So the next time someone tries to tell you that the people of the Middle East hate us because of our freedom, remember what you read here. Remember that this is a statement rooted in absolute bullshit. They don’t hate us because we are free. They hate us because we constantly manipulate their world in an effort to serve our own interests and impose our definition of morality on those who have a different definition (It is kind of like Paris Hilton telling you that you dress like a whore).
And we cannot continue this suicidal policy as a way to deal with the rest of the world. We are doing nothing but creating an environment where the world turns against us. It is like the tough kid who runs a gang. Those who take our side do so because they fear us, not because they admire us. They join us because they feel they economically cannot afford not to or because they are afraid to oppose us means that they will be next on our list of “regime changes.”
Before I go, allow me to make one important point. I don’t hate America in any way. I love my country. I love the ideals that we were founded on. I love the freedom that I have and the promise of opportunity I was given. I have shed my own blood, sweat, and tears because of how I feel about this country. But we cannot continue to stray from our principles and to move away from what is truly moral (not the crazy definitions of moral I hear from some folks that result in massive contradictions like “we must steal to be moral” or “trampling another’s rights is moral”) if we hope to survive and prosper going forward. When you have a family member that is a drug addict, you love them, but you know tough love is needed to turn their world around.
When it comes to American foreign policy, America needs an intervention.