Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Few Words About Things Happening in the Middle East

Very often during the day I leave the TV on while I work on the computer or do chores around the house. It is usually tuned to one of the news channels so I don't get distracted by some movie or drama and wind up not getting my tasks finished. The problem with doing that is simple. The news stations like to repeat their stories over and over through the day, or worse, if something news worthy is happening they all flock to it and report and analyze it to death (often before all the facts are even known). As a result there are days when I just can not stand to listen to one more news report or one more political pundit. 

One such report on FOX News the other day was about a "new revelation" that Iran is secretly supplying arms and ammunition to Syria. Now, I want to ask you, is there a person out there with an IQ over 75, who is remotely surprised by that? We have known for years that the Iranians have been supplying arms to organizations all over the Middle East who use those weapons to kill Americans. We have found and photographed such arms caches. We have captured Iranian agents smuggling arms into both Iraq and Afghanistan who even admitted what they were doing. They don't even make much of an effort to hide it because they stamp Iranian serial numbers and logos right into the weapons and rockets. So, why the moral indignation about Iran supplying a known ally like Syria? Why is this story such a shock? Why do we have to be exposed to a daily (sometimes hourly) body count of civilian casualties in Syria? I can only believe someone would like to influence the American public into supporting military action in Syria. I hope that is wrong. Don't get me wrong. Reporting these stories is fine. I have no problem with that at all. What I object too is the hypocritical moral indignation and pretended surprise in the reporting of the stories. Fortunately, there is a poll out this week showing that 72% of Americans do not want us to get involved militarily in Syria. I, for one, hope that statistic holds.

By the way, if you think the UN is going to take any real action in Syria, think again. While the UN Secretary General was in Syria meeting with the President and demanding political reform and a halt to the killing, back in New York they refused to take Syria off the UN Human Rights Commission... yeah, you just can't make this stuff up.

Another story coming out of the Middle East is our good buddy Hamid Karzi calling for NATO forces to leave Afghan villages and stay in their bases. Well, as stupid as it sounds for him to be calling for that (I do not think he is going to live very long after NATO troops leave Afghanistan, unless he decides to flee to his flat in London), That request is one we should seriously consider. It costs a lot less in money and we are not exposed to combat loses nearly as much when we are not conducting patrols or engaging in "winning hearts and minds" in the villages. That, by the way, is something I have heard several high ranking officials claim we have made "amazing progress" doing over the past couple of years. I have serious doubts about that when you see these violent riots and protests going on daily over there and when Afghan soldiers, police and government employees turn the weapons we gave them and taught them to use -on us!

All these stories coming out of the Middle East are just simply depressing. Not only because of all the blood, sweat and tears they represent, but because it reminds me daily that we "Westerners" have never learned to understand nor appreciate the culture there. Time and time again we try to understand what is happening and try to predict what is going to happen by projecting our own values on events in that blood-soaked region. It is time to disengage militarily and let them sort out their own problems. The only exception I would make is that we should double down on our alliance with and support for Israel (who can not survive without that support). Beyond that we should not get involved at all except to defend our national interests. If it becomes necessary to take out a threat based over there, we should not hesitate to go in and take it out. But just do it and come home. None of this "spreading democracy" stuff. You can not do that very effectively anyway, when you have to have an armed escort to keep you alive.

Yeah, I know. It's depressing. OK, I'll stop for today. Ya all have a good day, hear?

Live Long and Prosper....

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