Sunday, June 12, 2011
The West Needs a New Friggin' Brain
When it comes to the Middle East, the U.S. usually looks like a clueless dwerp. A few well-enacted and clear principles would go far to change that.
1. Human beings are all human. The West tends to think of Arabs as non-human. A sort of mongol race, with a terrorist bent. Think of all the paranoia about the Muslim Brotherhood, as if it's back to its 1950's ascendancy, as if it proposes a return to "the caliphate", GW Bush's touted raison d'etre for the GWOT (war on terror). Think of the cries of "we don't know who these people are!" when considering aid to democracy movements in The Middle East. This is all bullcrap. Drop that load and get real.
2. Freedom and Peace are legitimate goals to defend. Humanity is diminished without them. But... they CANNOT be achieved by FORCE! It must be a willing achievement of the free will of those seeking freedom.
That's why Iraq and Afghanistan failed. We sought to IMPOSE freedom. That's an oxymoron ... moron!
3. In the Arab Spring, our help, no matter how military, is asked for by willing seekers of freedom from oppression. Examples: Libya and Syria.
To compare that to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is either ignorant or political posturing to an ignorant power base or both. Or worse, it could be mean-spirited cynicism appealing to a snarky, nasty power base.
Helping Libya is the same as helping France fight Hitler in WWII. What's in it for us? Our high ground. Freedom is a universal good. Who's gonna defend it? Unarmed civilians?
4. Terrorism cannot be successfully fought as if it's a foreign army with leaders, etc. while ignoring what it is: a freedom-seeking rebellion against oppression. Yes! In this case, seen as superpower-imposed dictatorships and repressive regimes. The latter includes, from the point of view of the Palestinians under their brutal thumb, the state of Israel.
Terrorism is not some sort of pro-caliphate ideology described by George W. Bush. Its idea (in Islamist-style terrorism) is that Islam will make people free from tyranny by non-Muslims. Look at the Palestinians under the Israelis, look at the Arab streets under their dictators. The dictators are all westernized, including the Saudis, whose duplicity is legendary. What could the people be expected to assume??
The only way terrorism could gain a power base of any kind is by the existence of repression that it appears only terrorism could remove. It gained a foothold only as a means to conquer oppression. PERIOD.
Many Arabs and Muslims believe that the word "terrorism" is a ploy invented by repressive regimes - including that of Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinians - in order to maintain and excuse their repression. We have clearly seen how Mubarak used the "threat" of terrorism to justify atrocities against his people. Do the people then not have good reason to believe this, O men and women of supposed minds???
5. Israelis are human beings. And therefore responsible for their actions. They are not fetuses. They are not angels. If the Israeli government is a repressive regime to the Palestinians, then how can they tout their "democracy" while denying Palestinians their basic human rights??? The word "security" is the same reason given by ALL midde eastern dictators for their repression. Are we not then supporters of oppression? Are not taxpayer dollars lavished on oppression? Then what is meant by "freedom-loving"??
6. The naming of groups of people as "terrorists" and thus justifying all manner of torture, murder, repression, abdication of human rights and principles CANNOT be a path to freedom or democracy. It is immoral, unjust, hateful, hypocritical, is itself oppression and repression, and destroys everything we claim to uphold as principle.
Without principles and a high ground, what exactly the hell are we???