Another Miscalculation?

I hate to write about politics because it stirs up such feelings both positive and negative. But I feel compelled to get my feelings down here because I think we are once again being led down a blind alley. I should have called this piece the Law of Unintended Consequences. That is something bad happens that we didn’t intend to happen.

First, I am and will always remain a supporter of Israel and all it stands for. I find the Jews tough, courageous, aggressive, and combative. Since 1948 they have been fighting against tremendous odds surrounded by armed people who want to destroy their country. They have never known any real peace. I agree with President Bush that every country has a right to defend itself. But I sense in the latest escalation of violence in the Middle East the hands of the neo cons who led us to war in Iraq. The President’s statement that it was clear now how we could change the Middle East scared me. It was the same kind of talk he started before we invaded Iraq. Somehow our President is allowing this war to escalate in the hopes that Isael will destroy the terrorist group Hezbollah. Most Middle East experts don’t think it can be done militarily. We may turn Hezbollah back into an insurgency, like the one we can’t beat in Iraq. It also appears that those who opposed Hezbollah are now coming to their support like the Sunni’s and Christians in Lebanon. Even moderate Arab countries that at first criticized Hezbollah’s actions in starting the latest confrontation and war are now moving toward them because of the Arab street. We are losing more friends in the area and didn’t have too many to start with.

I stated before the war in Iraq that I was against the invasion for the following reasons. First, I didn’t think we had finished in Afghanistan, and we were changing direction too soon. Secondly, I thought Saddam Hussein had been contained. He had been our man to counterbalance the power in the Middle East in the threat from Iran. By overthrowing Saddam, there was no longer a counter balance of power to Iran. We had done the Iranians a favor by overthrowing their mortal enemy in Iraq. Third, we did not understand the region and the problems every invader had ever experienced in trying to deal with a country with three sectarian tribes who hated each other. The only thing that has held this country together was a dictatorial strong man. Fourth, my analogy of going to war with Iraq was the fable of Brer Rabbit and the tar baby. Remember how Brer Rabbit couldn’t let go of the tar baby. I felt it was going to be like that for us. We would get to Iraq and not be able to leave. Well fans, we got our tar baby. We’re there and we’re stuck and we have no successful way to get out.

We have now taken our eye off the Iraq war while we concentrate on Hezbollah and Lebanon. While our backs are turned the violence in Iraq has really cranked up. 50-100 people are being killed every day in Baghdad and adjacent towns and country side. And guess who the new Iraq government came out and condemned. They condemned Israel’s attack on Hezbollah.

We have purposely stood aside and let this violence continue with the notion that the Israeli’s can wipe out Hezbollah. This is directly opposite of every American administration in the recent past. We have always stepped in to stop the violence, worked hard to try and establish peace talks and solve the Palestinenian and Israeli conflict. We may be jeopardizing the new young Lebanese government that is weak and not able to deal with this conflict nor control Hezbollah, which is a terrorist organization and a political party. They are members of the current government.

Here is part one of unintended consequences: We wanted to bring Democracy to the Middle East. If we brought it to Iraq it would spread, and it has. The Lebanese had a democratic election and voted some members of Hezbollah into the government. Secondly, the Palestinians had an election and voted Hamas, a terrorist organization, into power. Three, the new Iraq government, controlled by the Shiites (Iran is a shiite country), came out against our position in Lebanon. We may have created a government not friendly to the US.

Finally, we have probably in the last couple of weeks united all the militant factions in the Middle East against us. Anbar Province in Iraq may now be the new training ground for terrorists. Some of our friends are turning against us because their citizens are so angry at our lack of action. Should we care? I think we better care because what our President has hammered home to us is “we are fighting over there so we don’t have to fight over here.” When you stir up a bee hive what can happen? Something we never intended. We are going in the wrong direction. We need a change in policy before it’s too late.
I was watching TV and observed the 100,000’s of Lebanese fleeing into Syria. That is one of our “enemies” in the region. Certainly a country that has helped Hezbollah. What had the Syrians done with these refugees. They have met them at the border with food and water. They have helped them find a place to stay, and many Syrians have opened their homes to them. Hey, wait a minute. The Lebanese are pro US. Do you suppose they are beginning to wonder who their friends are, the people feeding and housing them, or those standing by and watching them being bombed and their country destroyed. Are we doing the right thing?

Syria is a secular Sunni nation. Iran is a theocratic Shiite nation. We do not talk to either one of them. We refuse to talk to them. We think they sponsor and help terrorist organizations. Would it be possible to diplomatically move Syria away from Iran. They are Sunni’s. If we broke that connection it might be easier to keep Syria delivering weapons to Hezbollah. We need to get smart and creative quick. (stole this idea from Tom Friedman, the NY Times writer who just got back from Syria).

So I’m sticking my neck out here talking about foreign policy and criticising our American foreign policy. Showing my bias possibly, but that’s what I feel. So what do you think?

About Fred

I am the running coach of Quest Club of Arizona, an adult running club. Formerly coached at Phoenix College for 18 years, and have coached a number of elite runners including Trina Painter and Lisa Weidenbach. Most recently coached Priscilla Hein, graduate of ASU and Olympic Trials semi finalist. In addition to coaching I am the sports publicist for the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference in track and field, and the Meet Director for the NJCAA Region Championships in Cross Country and Track and Field.
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2 Responses to Another Miscalculation?

  1. RWC says:

    All valid points. I agree its a mess. I’m not sure there is a solution. At least one that we can broker. Remember when Pres. Clinton locked up Arafat and I can’t remember which prime minister it was from Israel at Camp David. Now there’s not a more persuasive guy than Pres. Clinton. He couldn’t get a deal brokered. The last president to broker a peace deal was Carter and that was with Egypt and Israel, both sovereign countries. How do you deal with a group like Hezbollah? It appears that Lebanese government does not have the will or the resources to police itself.

    I totally support Israel’s response. Hundreds of rockets being fired into Northern Israel every day is not acceptable.

    However, on the other hand … We just heard from some friends who were evacuated from Lebanon two days ago by the U.S. gov. They were born and raised in Beirut and are now U.S. citizens. They were in Beirut with their three small children visiting friends and family. They are heart sick with the violence there. The Lebanese citizens are caught in the middle between Israel and radical Muslims.

    I’ve got no answers!

  2. chris says:

    I agree with the previous comment…”I got no answers…” However, I found your blog entry to be quite enlightening. You should write more about those types of issues, because they are so interesting and so relevant to the world.

    You said that the only thing that kep Iraq together was a dictatorial man…Do you think we (and the world) would be better off if we had left Saddam in power?

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