Brett’s Alternative to The Alternative

My friend Brett Pharo wrote this regarding ISIS. Brett is a sheep farmer in Michigan and regularly sends his very insightful “Random Thoughts from the Corner Chair.” I was planning to write about the same subject and can’t improve on what Brett says here so I’m passing it on in place of The Alternative.

What I’d really like to see come of this is some discussion of what Brett and I think regarding our government’s ongoing involvement in the Middle East. Please feel free to write to this paper or me and I will pass it on to Brett.

Random Thoughts from the Corner Chair

Ok, so our leader has finally gotten his wish to bomb targets in Syria.  Of course we’re bombing the opposite side he wanted to bomb a few months ago, but let’s not quibble about details when we have the opportunity to take out a few “targets.”  Notice how “taking out targets” sounds so much kinder and gentler, to borrow a phrase from the previous Chief Executive, than does “kill, maim, destroy, raze, and mangle.”  Don’t get me wrong, these ISIS, ISIL, IS, or whatever folks seem to be some bad dudes and dudettes, but why does this somehow justify the President to bomb targets in a foreign country?  And to do so without a declaration of war, or even a credible threat to our country?  I understand that a lot of Americans, both in and out of DC, think that the entire world is our country, but maybe for less money we could buy everyone a map of the world so they would understand where our boundaries lie.  Yes, I know these IS folks have decapitated some of our citizens who were in that area of the world for whatever reason.  Let’s look at a plausible analogy of a Chinese visitor, reporter, businessman, or what have you being killed by low-life gang thugs in Chicago.  Would we (you) be OK with China sending in war planes to take out “targets” important to the operation of these gangs?  I wouldn’t.

Isn’t it about time we admit that our strategies and policies in that part of the world are a miserable failure?  From most points of view, that is, but I’ll get back to the exception.  For some reason we Americans are just sure that everyone everywhere wants to be like us – our governmental system, our morals, our consumerism, etc.  That’s every bit as ego-centric as them believing we would want to be like them.  We have, or I should say had, an exceptional constitutional system for our people.  That doesn’t make it right for everyone else, and as it’s become corrupted it may be questionable whether what we have now is best for us.  Another topic for another time.

Let’s look at how far we’ve come with mid-east strategies.  Turn the clock back a few years.  The countries in the entire area were relatively stable.  The exception, of course, was that most of the countries wanted to eliminate Israel from the map, which has not really changed.  That stability was rather remarkable when you realize that many, if not most, of the boundaries were put into place by the British and French rather than by the natural inclinations of the inhabitants themselves.  America, though not on the best of terms with all the nations, had functional relations with them.  Yes, our guy the Shah of Iran was booted out and replaced by a theocracy, we gained influence relative to the Soviets in Egypt, and the Soviets were bogged down in the quagmire that Afghanistan always is.

We felt compelled to assist the resistance in Afghanistan, so we equipped and trained them.  They would become the Taliban and Al Queda.  They were for us, until they weren’t.  We didn’t want any one country to become too powerful in the area, so we equipped Iraq against Iran in one of the bloodiest wars of that century.  Saddam Hussein was our man, until he wasn’t.  We built huge military bases on the Arabian peninsula anchored around Saudi Arabia, because the Saudi Arabians were our friends, until they weren’t.  One of our Hollywood actresses was Queen of Jordan, so they were okay, except when they weren’t.  

Fast forward to fairly recently.  The countries on the peninsula were all stable kingdoms.  Of course we don’t normally like kingdoms, but these guys gave us oil and places to put our military toys.  Iran was still a little iffy, but they are an ancient people and not likely to court their own doom by making us want to attack them.  Afghanistan was controlled by the folks we armed and trained.  Ditto for Iraq, where Saddam ruled with an iron hand, but would not tolerate Islamic fundamentalism and saw to it that Christians could worship in peace.  Syria ruled by a dictator, but again one that resisted Islamic militants.  Egypt was to a degree a democracy that resisted Islamic militants.  Libya, led by Qaddafi, was under an egotistical tyrant, but he resisted Islamic militants strongly.  And we had our military and diplomats all over the place showing them American consumerism and, to their point of view, lack of morals.  What could go wrong?

In Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, we were courted by the rulers, but resented by the people to a great degree because of what they perceived as our having a degrading effect on their societal morals.  Whether you or I think their moral codes are superior is immaterial.  They did/do.  A group of Islamic militants, trained by us, and primarily from our close ally Saudi Arabia, became quite active in their desire to rid their region of direct American influence.  They made some minor attacks, and then made the major attack on September 11, 2001.  They were Al Queda.  They were being given a base of operations by our former friends in Afghanistan, the Taliban.  We were attacked by Al Queda with the support of the Taliban.  In my opinion, we had every right and obligation to retaliate into Afghanistan.  We did, and we should have left it at that and been out of there in a matter of months.  Liberators who overstay their welcome are soon viewed as occupiers.

Not content, for some reason, we decided to attack Iraq.  We had no justification for doing so at this time.  Yes, we did when they invaded Kuwait several years before, but that was done and over with and handled appropriately.  But in 2002, we had no reason to attack a sovereign Iraq.  We displaced a stable secular dictatorship and in its place we now have massive religious violence with no tolerance for other beliefs, and in the process we destroyed a once prosperous country.

In Libya, we displaced a stable secular dictatorship and replaced it with Islamic militants and religious violence.

In Egypt, we approved the removal of their secular government and in its place is more chaos and violence.

In Syria, many desired to intervene to remove a secular dictatorship and replace it with Islamic fundamentalists, some of whom have now begun decapitating our people in the area.  So now we are sorta on the side of the dictator, though we want to arm a third group to fight both the dictator and the IS.  Hmm.  What could go wrong?

Can we never learn?  Why are we so bent on war and destruction?  War is not some nice diplomatic tit for tat.  War, as Sherman put it, is hell.  War is death and destruction.  War is pain and suffering.  War is destruction of decades worth of infrastructure and sometimes centuries of historical artifacts.  War is orphans and widows.  War is maimed men, women and children.  War is the opposite of all that is good.  War is profitable.  Wait, what? What happens in war?  Things are destroyed.  That means new things have to be bought, be it bombs, planes, cars, trains, schools, oil, or pogo sticks.  GDP soars, jobs are created, fortunes are made.  War is profitable, and an enemy is a powerful distraction from problems at home.

There may be causes for which war is a viable option, but they are few.  War is failure – failure of diplomacy, failure of reason, failure of compassion, failure of empathy, failure of communication – failure of mankind.  Sure someone can always be blamed (the other guy), but ultimately war is the failure of mankind.

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3 responses to “Brett’s Alternative to The Alternative

  1. A lot of Mr. Pharo’s commentary is likely accurate, up to a point and as far as it goes. But I would offer that it is a far too narrow a perspective. At the recent protest in New York, that was ostensibly about anthropogenic climate change, the leftists marched under the hashtag #FloodWallStreet, claiming that if we could only stop capitalism the climate change crisis would end. My, what an amazingly simple solution.

    Mr. Pharo appears to suggest that if America would only stop its Middle East intervention antics it would stop the demented envy and hatred of America by the Arab Islamic fanatics (and, by far, the great majority of Islamic fanatics are Arab-Muslims). But this singular explanation, or position, conveniently ignores about 1,400 years of Muslim aggression history wherein Islam expansion and conversions were achieved by delivering the sword, not by preaching the word.

    Also, Mr. Pharo handily and easily accepts, and seems to cast aside, the fact that Islamic hatred for Israel and the Jews has always been the case. Therefore, Mr. Pharo appears to suggest, America’s support of Israel cannot be a reason that the U.S. is hated by Arab-Muslims. Yet, we’ve heard over-and-over again from many different Muslim quarters that America’s abiding support of Israel (and by extension, support of Jews) is a significant cause for Muslim animosity toward America and the West in general.

    Certainly, the meddling by the U.S. in Middle Eastern governance serves as a lightning-rod for encouraging a persistent state of Muslim irritation and acrimony toward America. Our intervention activities don’t help the already existing situation of America-envy and Jew hate that is proselytized on an almost universal basis by Islam. In fact, without Jew hate, and in the last 60-years, America-envy and hate (essentially, since 1953 when the U.S. unseated the democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran and replaced him with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran), there would be no reason for Islam to exist.

    I believe the reason for Arab-Muslim hatred of America more deeply stems from severely conflicted followers of the Islam religion. Look around the Middle East at Muslim-governed nations. Muslim countries have the weakest economies (save for the oil-producing venues), have the weakest militaries and are the least free. Muslims possessing a modicum of an intellect are fleeing Islamic countries as fast as they can obtain visas. And for those oil-harvesting countries that do have some economic success, that success is mostly owed to the countries of the West who construct and then manage the petrol recovery operations.

    For Muslims, the world isn’t supposed to be like this and Islam should be dominant everywhere in every way. But, clearly, the exact opposite situation exists. Muslim nations are perceived to be doormat countries and made so by Western nation and American exploitation. Again, for Muslims imbibing the Qur’an doctrine in a literal manner, the world is just is not supposed to be that way.

    So a Muslim has to ask, why isn’t Islam controlling the world? Why isn’t American and Western nation success in the world owed to Muslim influence and governance? A Muslim can’t blame Allah for this situation, because Allah cannot fail. Neither can a Muslim blame the infidels because, according to the Holy Qur’an, it is impossible for non-believers to stop an army of Allah. Therefore, for a Muslim, the reason as to why Islam isn’t dominating the entire planet has to be because, obviously, Allah isn’t coming to their aid and is, instead, punishing them. And the reason for the punishment is that Muslims are being disobedient. Therefore, all obedient Muslims must crack down on those Muslims who are disobedient and that means an awful lot of killing. Disobedient Muslims are apostates and, just like infidels, good Muslims have a duty to kill them.

    This, I believe, is how a conflicted Arab-Muslim thinks. Look at these people. At least since the beginning of the 20th century, aside from oil, the Arab world has produced and exported only three products, and those are Jew-hate, violence and America-envy.

    The Arab-Muslim world has produced essentially no technology, no medicine, nor anything else in the world of science. It has almost no contributions to world literature, to art or to any sort of intellectual development.

    Even Arab “intellectuals” (in the most recent United Nations Arab Human Development Reports 2003-2005), write that Greece, with a population of a mere 11 million, annually translates five times more books from English than the entire Arab world population of 370 million. Nor is this a new development. The total number of books translated into Arabic during the last 1,000 years is less than what Spain translates into Spanish in one year.

    ArabianBusiness.com reports that about 100 million people in the Arab-Muslim world are illiterate; and three quarters of them are between the ages of 15 and 45. As for Arab-Muslim women, the situation is even worse. Nearly half of the Arab-Muslim world’s women are illiterate, and sexual attacks on women have actually increased since the fantasy “Arab Spring,” as have forced marriages and trafficking. And the exact number of women murdered by family members in “honor killings” is not knowable, but is only known to be large.

    And in Egypt, the largest Arab-Muslim country, 91 percent of women and girls are subjected to female genital mutilation, according to UNICEF. Not to mention the number of women in the Arab-Muslim world who must wear veils or even full-face and full-body coverings known as burkas. And, of course, Saudi Arabia is infamous for not allowing women to drive a car.

    So, then, is there anything at which the Arab-Muslim world has excelled for the past three or four generations? Has there been a major Arab-Muslim export (other than oil from Western developed operations)? Except for hate, envy and violence, I think not.

    The Arab world has no peer when it comes to hatred – of America and the Western world generally, and especially of Israel. Israel-hatred, America-envy and Jew-hate are the oxygen that the Arab world breathes.

    These are backward, intellectually undeveloped people who don’t, and can’t (due to Islam’s anti-modernity dogma), think like those who inhabit the successful Western countries of the planet.

    I would necessarily agree that American intersessions in the Middle East exacerbate, and generously objectify, the hate, the envy of America and the violence. But to put forward the idea that all Arab-Muslim animosity and envy and violence would stop if only America would stay within its own borders unfairly simplifies the factors of causation. It ignores Islamic history, Qur’anic and hadith dogma, the conflict that exists in the Arab-Muslim mind, and the intellectual starvation that several generations of anti-modernist teachings have produced.

    • Absolutely, Fred. No matter how unPC it might be, your observations make a lot of sense.

      We’ve been through this before on the causes of attacks and “our” reactions or defense. If I were to pick what undeniable truth there is in Brett’s piece it would be that what we have done isn’t working. No matter what causes there are for the aggression of Arab Muslims, our actions are what we can control, not theirs. So, to bomb a bunch of people in Syria and Iraq, hoping some bombs land on the dangerous ones is sorta inhumane, not to mention ineffective.

      To me, as my dad said, we need to re-evaluate our foreign policy. It can’t help but recruit some to violence who were straddling the fence, and spread limited resources over an unrealistic jurisdiction. I continue to be amazed at how people simply mouth sound bites from media… or pastors, so they don’t have to think deeply. “Policy” is based on pleasing these retards. And it puts us in danger.

      On Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 4:12 PM, alternativebyfritz wrote:

      >

      • Yes, I agree. I wasn’t defending U.S, policy and actions in the Middle East. Rather, I was suggesting that the envy and hate toward America’s success that fills the minds of these Arab-Muslims isn’t going to stop if we pull-out. That stated, I would certainly agree that what we’ve accomplished, so far, in the Middle East has been the exact opposite of the outcomes we intended, and is based on a refusal to confront what Islam really is, it’s dogma, it’s forced conversions by the sword, its anti-modernity, and its incompatibility with any political system (e.g., democracy) other than Sharia, or Islamic clerical interpretations of the Qur’an and hadith.

        All of the flim-flam, garbage reasons provided by the Bush and Obama regimes (giving Muslims the liberty and freedom they want, bringing democracy to the Muslim people, stopping human rights violations, etc., etc.) for our incursions into the Middle East are articulated to placate a low-information U.S. populace and to provide government-propaganda talking points for the so-called “journalists” in America. They are nothing but B.S.

        Since before 9-11 (when we forced Shah Pahlavi on the Iranian people), we’ve been witness to a completely inept and ignorant foreign policy toward the Middle East. We don’t really have the foggiest idea as to who the enemy of the U.S. really is in the Middle East (ISIL, Iran, al-Assad in Syria, Erdogan in Turkey, the Kurds, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Sunnis. Shiites, Alawites, even Sufis), so we take a more-or-less scatter-gun approach to stall the advance of the problem with a hope that some epiphany will enlighten us as to how best to make them love us and need us and make them miraculously embrace the American way of life. Silly, cavalier and presumptuous, to be sure, but that’s been the chutzpah of our foreign policy for about 60-years. The fact is, Islam, the religion/ideology, in the Middle East is the enemy, for the reasons I wrote earlier.

        I understand that there is an economic consideration with potential to impact most all of the prosperous nations of the world. Most all of the economically flourishing nations of the world rely on uninterrupted supplies of Middle East oil. The U.S. relies on places like Japan and China to finance its treasury debt. America also relies on China, India and now parts of Africa to manufacture the goodies that Americans expect to purchase at relatively low costs. Trade and commerce among the world’s healthy nations would come to a screeching stop if the flow of oil and natural gas were interrupted, or blockaded, by angry nations in the Middle East. So, it would make some sense for someone (e.g., the U.S.) to ensure that the necessary routes for trade and commerce in the world are kept open, at least for as long as the planet has lunatic ideologies with world domination as their obsessive objective.

        This task of ensuring that necessary commerce is maintained around the world falls to the U.S. because America, in its hubris, ignorance and lack of foresight, has made sure that no other nations are equipped militarily or economically to halt any significant efforts of renegade nations or groups (aka, Islamic sects) to bring the planet to its knees by major crippling interruptions of trade and commerce routes among nations.

        It is easy to suggest that we abandon any and all interdicting efforts in the Middle East, step-back, and let the various Islamic sects fight it out among themselves. But that risks major damage to the world’s trade activities (blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, for instance), not to mention the damage to the major U.S. energy companies that manage the flow of oil and natural gas out of the Middle East (but a discussion about protecting U.S. business interests is for another time).

        There is no doubt that the U.S. has stupidly and arrogantly painted itself into a corner and the end game can only be a disaster.

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