U.S. got payback for years on Middle East meddling

Mr. Fred Cole’s slam of Jo Stuart’s rather innocuous comment about terrorists is classic American jingoism and indicative of the kind of mindset that got the Twin Towers knocked down in the first place.

It doesn’t matter what you call the hijackers. Arguments over who are the terrorists, who are the freedom fighters and who are the psychotics in flaming turbans only serve to deflect attention from the realities of recent political history and future choice points based on the component events of that history.

Ten years on from 9/11, there is still no meaningful national conversation, let alone a debate, about why 3,000 people died that terrible day, although the reason couldn’t be more obvious if it were carved into the marble alongside the names of the fallen at the Ground Zero Memorial: The United States finally got paid back for half a century of clandestine meddling and overt mayhem in the Middle East.

America, (meaning the CIA, aka the gang that couldn’t shoot straight), just doesn’t seem to be able to get it right over there, and hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims have been killed, imprisoned and tortured along the way.

Who armed the Taliban? We did, to fight the Russians. Who armed Saddam Hussein? We did, to create a military balance to a radicalized Iran. Who radicalized Iran? We did, (with a little help from our friends), because back in 1953 we wanted to protect British petroleum profits and Allied access to Iranian oil. So we backed a coup that installed the Shah of Iran whose brutality gave rise to the Ayatollah Komeini, the capture of the American Embassy in Tehran and finally, Mahmoud Ahamadinejad, a genuine whackjob if there ever was one.

There are always going to be unforeseen and destructive consequences when a powerful country imposes its will on weaker ones through force or political machinations, no matter how compelling the argument for the actions of the stronger country may be. This is especially true when the stronger country is Christian and the weaker ones are Muslim. To pretend otherwise is political naiveté in the extreme.

No one wants to look at this or talk about the relationship between American foreign policy and 9/11. Instead, the conversations focus inevitably on the survivors, the pain of the families of those who were lost, and the two unwinnable but very patriotic wars which the U. S. embarked upon as a result, which have sapped the American treasury, killed thousands of brave men and women in our military and caused the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, just like the ones who died on 9/11.

Mr. Cole claims that “we have made our point” via these wars. What point? From my perspective, the only point that has been made is precisely that the contemporary American military strategy of shipping massive armies to the other side of the planet to fight relatively small groups of primitively equipped opponents at a cost of one million dollars per soldier per year, (I’m not making that up, that came straight from the mouth of presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs), is so preposterously illogical, unworkable and archaic that it’s virtually impossible to wrap one’s brain around the level of practical and strategic dysfunction it represents!

The United States is on the cusp of a massive political humbling. “We” can no longer impose our will on Islamic countries. The money isn’t there, the political will isn’t there, and the world in general and Islamic countries in particular will no longer tolerate it.

Islam will find its own way in its own time, and it will no doubt be a very long, bloody, chaotic and frightening process. Many, many people will suffer and die. But we can’t stop that! We must accept that fact, or it will lead us to national ruin. We must worry first and foremost about putting our own house in order before it falls down around us. We can no longer afford to spend trillions of dollars staging preemptive attacks on sovereign governments because they may attack us one day.

End the wars. Bring the troops home now. Strengthen and clarify the War Powers Act. Protect America by creating national security on American soil. Let the Middle East deal with the Middle East, for better or for worse.

Dean Barbour
Manuel Antonio

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