Posts Tagged With: Iraq

NEW VICTIMS…SAME OLD HATREDS

It is said that hate is so insidious, that it hollows out from the inside, the container it’s held in. Once a person invests his or her soul in hatred, it’s virtually a bottomless pit that one can rarely crawl out of. That person then becomes a mere shell of a human form, with his or her insides totally corroded and eaten away. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Mid-East, which has become an all-encompassing cauldron for the most deep-seated of hatreds and revenge-seeking. And it’s not just Arab versus Jew. It’s also one sect of Islam trying to destroy a different sect of Islam although both sects pray to Allah with the same level of devotion. For example, in Syria, almost a quarter of a million inhabitants have been slaughtered in an on-going 4 year old civil war pitting the Sunni faction of Islam against the the Shia faction. Yet both sects pray to Allah and generally follow the same Islamic trappings and customs. Similar mortal combats between Shia and Sunni are also occurring in Yemen, Iraq, and Libya. Sadly, when such hatred spills over the top of the vat, people are fated to die. Nowhere, however,  is the lust for hatred and vengeance more pronounced than in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Between Arabs and Jews. As we all know, this has led to an outbreak over the last few weeks of mostly young Palestinians mindlessly attacking  and killing Jews with knives and guns, and in turn, usually being shot dead by Israeli police. The attacks are mainly on civilians peacefully going about their business. So far the death tolls have been about 10 Israelis and 25 Palestinians; but there seems to be no end in sight. The attackers are sometimes as young as 15 or 16. Teenagers willing to so recklessly throw their lives away in an act of delusional fantasy about achieving vengeance against the hated Jews, and martyrdom before Allah. And why not? Arab children are brainwashed from their earliest age to despise Jews, and that their greatest glory would be to become martyrs by killing as many Jews as possible.

The head of the Palestinian territories, Mahmoud Abbas, recently stated that he cherishes every drop of blood spilt in Jerusalem. Arab children from ages 2 or 3 are taught that Jews are to be despised as beasts. That Hebrew rabbis seek to slit the throats of Arab children and drink their blood. That Jews are desecrating Arab holy lands by their occupation, and must be killed or otherwise be driven into the sea in order to re-purify those lands. That Allah’s greatest wish is for martyrdom to be achieved by spilling Jewish blood, and if these children succeed in that objective, a special place in heaven will be set aside for them. Virtually all Moslem political and religious figures throughout the Mid-East preach this same message; and it’s been ongoing since the end of WWII, when the state of Israel was created by the United Nations. Almost 70 years of pure, undiluted hatred and vengeance-seeking that has resulted in nothing but death, destruction and misery for both sides. Almost 70 years of a failed policy that Arab leaders refuse to disown.

The United States position in this long conflict has come to be known as the two-state solution. Have Israel give the Palestinians total control over the West Bank and Gaza, and let them form their own nation. The trouble with that premise is, that in this realm of pure hatred, it’s plainly unworkable. Israel did just that in the Gaza Strip and the result has been 3 wars and the loss of thousands of lives. As soon as Gaza was free of Israeli occupation, the people living there turned over the reigns of government to Hamas, a terrorist organization. Hamas’s first priority was to acquire thousands of rockets that could be launched against Israeli civilian population centers. As I said, they did this 3 times with the same resulting death, destruction and misery for both sides. Hamas’s second priority was to dig 30 mile long tunnels into Israel so their terrorist thugs could sneak across the border and murder Israelis sleeping in their beds. It would appear that there is just too much hatred for a two state solution to be a feasible option.

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration, with the most timid foreign policy objectives of any administration since WWII, continues to push for a two-state solution. It doesn’t seem to matter that under this administration, U.S. foreign policy objectives have been a total disaster. Obama’s failure to act in Syria, when Assad, the butcher, crossed Obama’s red line in the sand, has let to the loss of the 250,000 lives I mentioned earlier. It has led to Russian entry into that war, in behalf of Assad, with virtually no U.S. complaint. It has led to ISIS, Al-Qaida and other assorted terrorist organizations establishing an Islamic “caliphate” in huge chunks of Iraq and Syria, with the most minimal of U.S. counter-actions. To the most brutal and barbaric killings of innocents by these terrorists.To on-going civil wars in Yemen and Libya with no U.S. counter-action. To allowing Russia’s tyrant, Vladimir Putin, to slowly but surely chew up the Ukraine with hardly a peep from U.S. officials. To a deal with Iran that would supposedly prevent it from achieving nuclear bombs, in return for unfreezing about $150 billion of Iranian assets held by U.S. banks. A deal which looks more and more flawed with each passing day. And so it goes.

A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinan conflict will never materialize because there is just too much hatred, rancor, despair, vengeance-seeking, etc. to allow such a solution. Over the next couple of decades a one-state solution may occur, with Israel absorbing the West Bank with its large Arab population. Jews would still have a narrow majority of the population in such a nation, but with Arab births exceeding the Jewish rate, that majority could easily slip away. When that happens, it would well behoove Israeli Jews to immigrate to the U.S., and move into the vast, unpopulated areas of Nevada, Montana, and other similar states.

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THE SIN EATER

Many of you are not likely to be familiar with the role of the sin eater in ancient tribes and societies, and more recently in some 17th and 18th century places such as Scotland and Ireland. But the sin eater was thought to play a vital role as one approached his or her death. For a very nominal fee, a designated sin eater was called in by the family of someone on his or her death bed, or someone who had just died but had not yet been buried. The sin eater was then served a sumptuous feast or perhaps just a few slices of bread depending on the wealth of the family in question. The sin eater would then consume the food presented to him, and by doing so, would absorb all of the dying person’s earthly sins. Those sins would then belong to the sin eater, and the dead could then enter the afterlife completely absolved. Pure as the driven snow. The problem was that when it came time for the sin eater to die, no one would be willing to absorb the huge tonnage of sins that the sin eater had taken upon himself over a lifetime. Most of the time, other sin eaters were too frightened to take on this burden. The sin eater, upon his death, was then doomed to roam the alleyways of Hell for all eternity. The relevance to today’s world is that the United States has been the sin eater for the rest of the planet for a century now, and the burden is beginning to become too heavy.

Just about a century ago, WWI broke out between the Allies and Germany; and  quickly bogged down into a stalemated exercise of trench warfare. More soldiers died from the filth and disease inherent in these trenches then from being shot. It wasn’t until the U.S. was persuaded to enter this fray that the stalemate was finally broken and the Allies were able to push on toward victory. Twenty years later history repeated itself, as a more vicious and evil war machine in Nazi Germany set out to conquer Europe while their counterpart in the Pacific, Imperial Japan, sought total dominance in that part of the world. Again, our desperate allies called upon the sin eater to save them from total destruction. It wasn’t until the U.S. entered that battlefield that the tide of war started turning in the Allies favor. Just a few years after the end of WWII, North Korea invaded South Korea, and the U.S. was again called upon to save the day. It did free South Korea, but could not do the same for the North, which today remains a giant concentration camp, under the heel of a ruthless and tyrannical dictatorship. As in the previous wars, the U.S. once again experienced a huge loss of life.

Not long after the Korean fracas, the sin eater allowed itself to become enmeshed in the hellhole jungles of Viet-Nam, in a war where the U.S. had no vital or essential interests. There was a huge loss of American life, over 58,000 dead, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of Viet-Namese deaths. It was a war the U.S. lost, in time, and it took the much maligned Richard Nixon to extract us from that fiasco. It also soured the desire of most Americans from entering into any further military engagements. After another decade or so, President George Bush, the Elder, got us involved in another shooting match, this time in the Mid-East, by coming to the rescue of Kuwait, which had been invaded and conquered by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. We were successful in that venture, and Bush the Elder was smart enough to walk away after Kuwait had been freed.

Not so smart was successor George Bush the Younger. On the pretext that Saddam Hussein was in the the process of acquiring weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear bombs, Bush the Younger decided that once again, the U.S. would be the world’s sin eater by initiating another war against Iraq. Now unquestionably, Saddam Hussein was a very, very bad guy who had slaughtered tens of thousands of his own countrymen, because he believed they opposed his dictatorship. But the problem was that Iraq had not acquired WMDs. There were no nuclear or other deadly weapons to be found. But, on the theory that once you break something in the china shop you own it and have to pay for it, the U.S. has now, and it seems, will for evermore, be responsible for the events unfolding in Iraq, and indeed, the entire Mid-East.

As we all know, a ruthless band of cutthroat Islamic Jihadists known as ISIS has come on the scene and taken over  huge swathes of Iraqi territory, as well as large chunks of Syria, and lately Libya, and is active in other Mid-Eastern countries. In actuality, they are murderous serial killers on a grand scale, and bloodthirsty killings are the name of their game. But they seem to be gaining in both territory and power. So once more, voices in this country and the rest of the world, are pleading with the U.S. to be their sin eater. They want the U.S. to put boots on the ground and go to war in Iraq for the third time. ISIS must be stopped now, or like Nazi Germany, they will become too powerful to take on. However, most Americans are now too tired and weary of becoming the world’s sin eater. The U.S. has now been pretty well drained of any desire for foreign adventurism.

Next time I’ll explain why it would be a bad idea for the U.S. to put boots on the ground in fighting ISIS, and that another option exists outside of a shooting war. Remember that while things may turn out well for the sinners, they seldom turn out well for the sin eaters.

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NEW YEAR, SAME OLD HATREDS

A recent Gallop poll showed that close to two-thirds of all Americans considered 2013 to be a bummer. A year in which their fortunes or circumstances not only did not improve, but mostly worsened. So, as the festivities surrounding the artificial demarcation of the calendar have now ended, it might be useful to view where the world stands and what we can expect in 2014. A good place to start might be the Mid-East where centuries of embedded hatreds have come bubbling to the surface with a vengeance, resulting in the slaughter of thousands of people. Besides the hatreds between Palestinian Moslems and Israeli Jews, there are the larger hatreds between the primary two factions of Islam-the Shiites and the Sunnis. Both factions pray to Allah; both observe nearly identical religious rites, and yet both despise the very existence of each other’s lives. Never underestimate man’s capacity to revel in the depths of hatred and thirst for vengeance, which is like a bottomless pit.

A good example of this is current-day Iraq. Remember Iraq; the place that used to be ruled by the tyrant Saddam Hussein. Remember back in 2003 when President George W. Bush stated that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weaponry. How the world could not allow such a blood thirsty butcher as Saddam to possess these WMDs. How we had to go to war with Iraq in March 2003 in order to depose Saddam and rid Iraq of these WMDs. And how, after we easily won that war, we found that, lo and behold, there were actually no WMDs in Iraq whatsoever. Oops. A slight miscalculation in our intelligence community. We finally extracted our forces out of Iraq after nearly 10 years of on-going bloodshed, after the deaths of over 6000 U.S military personnel and civilian contractors, the expenditure of nearly a trillion dollars, and the slaughter of close to 200,000 Iraqis. What’s left now, however, is an Iraqi nation in shambles with Shiite and Sunni factions, along with the emerging presence of Al-Qaida, murdering each other by the thousands.

In 2013, almost 9000 Iraqis were killed in suicide terrorist attacks. When Saddam was in charge, he had led his minority Sunni people to rule over the majority Shiite population. With Saddam gone, and with no U.S. presence to mediate between both Islamic factions, the majority Shiites have taken control of the government led by Prime Minister Maleki who has moved harshly against the Sunnis; including handing out death sentences against Sunni political leaders. As a result, old hatreds have come to the forefront with Sunnis going on a killing spree against Shiites to avenge the oppression they’re experiencing.  Al-Qaida, ever vigilant for new opportunities to spread their unique brand of terrorism, has stepped into the fray by aligning themselves with the Sunni minority. But in reality, Al-Qaeda is just out for themselves, and has now taken control of a significant chunk of Iraqi territory; including the city of Fallujah, where so many U.S. lives were lost. As the beat goes on, old hatreds keep on bubbling to the surface as Iraq continues to degenerate or devolve into never-ending tribal warfare.

I’ve written extensively before, about the 3 year-old civil war going on in Syria, which has now claimed about 125,000 lives with hundreds more lost on an almost daily basis; so I won’t repeat the details here. Except to note that Al-Qaida also has a growing presence in that debacle as well; with the goal of uniting with Al-Qaeda in Iraq so as to control a huge area of land and population from which they can indulge in their terrorist fascism with impunity. The rest of the Mid-East is a similar basket case. Libya, which commendably overthrew its own bloody tyrant, has now degenerated into a conglomeration of tribes that are constantly at war with each other. Tiny Lebanon, has the unfortunate circumstance of having a major terrorist organization within its borders thanks to funding and support from Iran. It’s part of Iran’s scheme of one day destroying Israel. And speaking of Iran, 2014 should be the year that it is allowed to, at last, come into possession of nuclear weaponry. While this country, and the rest of the world, sits by and lets it happen. Sort of the way the world watched Hitler and Nazism rise to power in the 1930s, and did nothing about it until it was too late.

Which brings us to the most intractable of all Mid-East hatreds-that, of course, being between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Both sides have been in a kind of constant state of war, hot or cold, since Israel was granted statehood in 1948. The problem is that both sides seek to be the dominant force in a relatively small geographical space that is, apparently, not big enough for the both of them. As a result, both sides are trapped in a never-ending cycle of terrorist attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians, resulting in a series of harsh reprisals and segregation of the Palestinians by the Israelis, countered by cries for vengeance and and destruction of Israel by the Palestinians, etc., resulting in a never-ending merry-go-round of bitterness, dysfunction, and revenge. Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, is engaging in almost super-human effort to bring both sides to the negotiating table to find a peaceful resolution of this on-going mess. Remember John Kerry? He ran for President in 2004, and lost by whisker to George Bush, when Ohio tipped into Bush’s column. Now, he’s making it his life’s mission to forge a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli state, where both parties can live in peace and harmony. He deserves an A for effort; but the prospects for success remain quite poor. The reason-its not easy for people or nations to give up on their centuries old hatreds or lusts for vengeance.

And so this is the way the world spins in 2014, or at least that part of the world I’ve discussed in this entry. Doesn’t look very appetizing does it? But, we have almost an entire year to see how all this plays out, before we once again, engage in the rites and rituals surrounding the artificial turnover of the calendar that occurs during every winter solstice.

 

 

 

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