Friday, January 23, 2015

Careful what you wish for

Americans tend to view things in absolutes.  One-issue politics is a good example.  A candidate can be an otherwise smart, all-around good guy perfectly capable of leading, but if he/she crosses you on your one hot-button issue, he's out.  We refuse to take a little bitter with our sweet, and it often blows up in our face.

The Mid-East today, complete with its radical Islam, is a textbook example.  Back during the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, President George H W Bush had a clear shot at taking out the Iraqi dictator.  But George The First listened to the Saudi King (I'll just call him Ralph because I'm too lazy to look up his real name) who told him to be careful, that taking out Saddam would upset the balance of power in the volatile region.  Bad as he was, we might end up with someone worse.

But we like to wear white hats, and wear white outfits, and ride white horses.  We're the Good Guys, always fighting for "Truth, Justice, and The American Way".  There's really nothing at all wrong with's a genuinely noble idea, actually....but it often doesn't play well in the cold, cruel, REAL world.  

Sure, there are no doubt sinister motives behind much of what we do, but it's always sold to the American people as "taking the high road".  And because we're basically good people, we buy it.

The old USSR first stirred the fire ant pile when they invaded Afghanistan back in '79.  The Afghan's, aided by other Muslims around the region and the US, showed them how to fight dirty.  (We didn't give a flip about Afghanistan at the time. We just wanted to poke a sharp stick in the Rooski's eye.)  That's where the shit originally hit the fan.

Saddam Hussein tortured and killed his opponents and gassed his Kurdish citizens.  Bashir Assad (Syria) did the same.  Libya's Muammar Qaddafi had horrendously bad taste in costumes uniforms.  Oh, and he killed anyone who looked cross-eyed at him.  And given half a chance we would have popped a cap in any number of other Mid-East dictators, too.  (Truth be told, including the Saudi royal family, also.  Their treatment of women and their cruel form of Islamic justice rightly rankles us.)  The world would be a better place if they were gone, right?  Right??

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!  We indeed helped make it happen, either overtly or covertly.

But here's the problem:  Despicable as those people are/were, their replacements (or lack of replacements) are worse, just as Saudi King Ralph predicted.  Despotism/anarchy reigns in the Mid-East today, and it's in these conditions that al Qaeda and Islamic State flourishes.  We brought this on ourselves.

Our intentions were so honest and pure....we wanted to share our wonderful way of life with the downtrodden.  We want them to enjoy freedom and the good life, too.  But based on the fact that they didn't RSVP to our invitation, I'm guessing they don't want it.  To many of them, killing/bombing/beheading is just a way of life.  "Sniper", "bomb maker", and "blade man" are probably legitimate career choices recommended by Mid-East high school guidance counselors.  

Maybe we should have just left them alone?  Maybe we should just sit back and watch 'em hack each other to pieces.  There apparently isn't much we can do about it anyway.  *Note to self....we'll need more popcorn*

Sometimes there isn't anything wrong with wearing a slightly soiled hat.



  1. When the good ol' U.S. of A goes about trying to democratize a country they also try to Americanize them. Some countries (and cultures) don't want either. It is time to leave them alone.

  2. I agree with Bill. Culture is a powerful thing. We don't look at different culture and study it. We simply feel OUR culture is the best one ever, and well, everyone should be like us. That sounds a lot like colonialism.

  3. But shouldn't everyone be like me? What's wrong with that? Huh? HUH?

  4. Whenever I think of all the problems in the Middle East I think the answer is simple; develop an alternative energy source to oil and fossil fuels. The planet will thank us for it, and these Arab terrorists will sink back into the sand because of a lack of money. The Middle East doesn't export much other than oil and violence. We have the technology to do this and we're only lacking the will and determination to do so.

  5. I tend to agree with Stephen. Make oil irrelevant and see what happens.

  6. I wish we would just leave them(middle East) to work our their own problems. We have enough of our own.