Friday, March 18, 2011

Stop the Violence?

History is our greatest teacher; it is perhaps our only true teacher. Yet, we seem to reject its indelible lessons. We look at the goings-on in Libya, and we are confused, mostly because we refuse to see through history's prism.

Libya's Muammar Khadaffi has been in power for the last forty years. Of course, he should leave. Forty years is too long for even a good dictator to rule. But if Khadaffi wants to hold onto power in Libya, history says there is nothing wrong with that. If he wants to hire mercenaries from other countries (in this case, Chad and Mali) to help him, history says there is nothing wrong with that. And if the rebellious Libyans want to enlist the help of a foreign power to help them - say England or the U.S. - history tells us there is nothing wrong with that, either.

King George III of England ruled the American colonies prior to the American Revolution. When the Americans rebelled against his rule, he hired Hessian mercenaries to help him subdue his colonial subjects. The colonials, in turn, enlisted the aid of France (and Spain and the Netherlands) to help them overthrow the king.

Khadaffi, like so many rulers before him, is fighting to hold onto power. He is within his rights. So, too, are we within our right to help the rebels if we wish. America goes lame, however, when its president gets on the world's biggest megaphone and declares to Khadaffi, "The violence must stop."

So far, Khadaffi has done nothing so horrific as what America's forces did on 3-2-11 when they bombed nine Afghan boys gathering firewood outside of their village. All of the boys were killed. America's General Petraeus, commander of all forces in Afghanistan, apologized, saying, "We thought they were insurgents."

If I come from a small town, like I come from, you would know that nine boys might be all of the boys (of that age group) that village had. And America says, "Sorry about that."

Over the past ten years, America has killed many thousands of men, women, and children - perhaps as many as all of the other nations of the world (excluding Sudan) combined.

Today, America is running guns into Mexico - some twisted ATF strategy ("Letting guns walk") - designed to fashion a trail to the narco-terrorists. All we have truly accomplished is to up the body count of innocents in Mexico.

We have a trigger happy army in Afghanistan lobbing bombs at anything that moves. We have another army in Iraq poised to do more of the same. American killer drones patrol the skies of four sovereign nations.

The other day, an American contractor in Pakistan killed two Pakistanis, shooting them both in the back. Obama declared the American should be granted diplomatic immunity, (though that American was no diplomat).

American wreaks violence on a scale Khadaffi can only dream about. When President Obama told Khadaffi, "The violence must stop," Khadaffi should have responded: "well stop."

History tells us that "stopping our own violence" may be the toughest task of all, especially when there is no on the block big enough to "make us."

Monday, March 7, 2011

His Cup Runneth Over

Never in the history of the US presidency has one president had so much to do. Obama's cup runneth over.

Two weeks ago, Raymond Davis, an American embassy worker in Pakistan, killed two Pakistani men. The US asserts Davis is a diplomat and must be afforded "diplomatic immunity." A Pakistani on the street declared, "There's not that much immunity on Earth."

The Obama administration wants Davis released. The Pakistani people want him tried in a Pakistan court. The grief-stricken widow of one of the men has already committed suicide. Other members of that man's family threaten to do the same if the Pakistani government turns Davis over to the US.

The US is threatening to withhold foreign aid if Pakistan does not release Davis. The Pakistani people don't care. (They never see that money anyway.)

If Obama does not secure the release of Davis, the US loses face. If Pakistan releases the American, the people of Pakistan may rise up en masse and add another American-friendly regime to the list of those fit to topple.

Such a regime is Bahrain, a small island nation in the Persian Gulf. America's 5th Fleet is based there. There, also, a Sunni royal family has ruled the Shiite majority for the past 200 years. Today, the royals of Bahrain are facing sustained protests from the Bahrainian people. Secretary of State Clinton has urged the royals to "exercise restraint." Apparently, she did not "urge" them in Arabic, and they must not understand English. On February 16, in the middle of the night, while protestors slept in Central Square, government forces attacked from two directions. There was blood everywhere.

At first, the people there simply wanted reforms. After the Central Square killings, they want change. They want the king to become a figurehead - to replace his power with a constitutional democracy. The US does not want that. That would put the Shiite majority in power, which would amount to another feather in (Shiite) Iran's cap.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is frantic. Not only did they urge Mubarak to withstand the Egyptian protests - going so far as to offer him billions if the US withdrew their aid - they continue to exhort the royals of Bahrain to withstand their protestors, too. Seeing their fellow overlords on the brink must haunt the Saudi royals with visions of their own fat necks on the chopping block.

One consequence of the Egyptian revolution: The favors the US had come to expect from Egypt are over, many never to be revisited again. For instance: No longer can the (freed) Egyptian people be expected to help the Israeli government imprison the entire population of Gaza. That linch-pin in American-Israeli strategy is rightfully doomed.

Add to that: On Feb. 18, the Palestinians put forth a UN resolution condemning the building of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. The Obama administration had urged the Palestinians not to file the resolution; they did it anyway. That put America on the spot: Of 15 Security Council members, 14 voted in favor of the Palestinian resolution. The US, alone, voted to uphold that which the rest of the international community deemed illegal.

America is reeling. For the first time since 1979, Iran has sent warships up the Suez Canal.

Hezbollah has grasped the reins of power in Lebanon.

There are rallies against American-friendly governments in Djibouti, Yemen, Jordan, and Kuwait.

The one Middle East nation the US "blessed" with democracy (Iraq) is demanding an apology from the US and a billion dollars.

Mexico is on the verge of anarchy.

China is eating our lunch.

Social media has snatched the covers off of the world's leaders. (All of the emperors have no clothes!)

And this: America sits atop a 14 trillion dollar debt. (It may explode.)

Hail Caesar!