Posts Tagged With: Saddam Hussein

DISUNITY

You would think that after inhabiting this planet for at least tens of millions of years, man would learn to live side-by-side with each other in peace and harmony. You would think that the evolutionary process that has supposedly brought man to a more advanced, civilized existence, would also produce enough wisdom to promote a more cooperative and benign state of affairs among the world’s nations. You would think. Sadly, however, as we all know, just the opposite is more likely the norm. Rather than living in a spirit of peace and cooperation, we live in a world populated by terrorists thirsting for the blood of innocents on a massive scale. We live in a time where tyrants and despots cause the wholesale slaughter of their own people, or threaten other countries with war or military aggression. If there’s an evolutionary process going on, it seems to be one of regression rather than advancement. So let’s examine some of the cases and causes of major disunity among the 7 billion people that currently populate this planet we call Earth.

Libya might be a good place to start. Libya was the one instance where our current Administration was willing to use force to assist the Libyan people in overthrowing one of the world’s worst despots who had ruled them for more than 3 decades. His name was Muammar Gaddafi, and he was a really, really bad guy. When the Libyan people finally rose up against Gaddafi, it looked like the rebellion might be doomed to failure until the U.S. began bombing Gaddafi’s military forces, thereby ensuring the success of the uprising. Gaddafi was killed and there was great cheering and celebration as the Libyan people tasted freedom and liberty for the first time in decades. Now fast forward to today when there’s no more celebrating in the streets. A very weak central government has resulted in Libya being broken down into a series of tribal fiefdoms, with each tribe having its own tribal dictator. Some are despotic Islamic terrorists and all the tribes appear to be at each other’s throats. There’s no more dancing in the streets, as the the hopes and dreams of the rebellion have turned to dust. Add to that the murder of our Ambassador to Libya and 3 of his aides that occurred a few years ago, and you have a prime example of a country in an advanced state of devolution.

Another prime example of disunity is the fiasco in Iraq. George W. Bush ordered our invasion of Iraq in 2003 because Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein could not be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction in his arsenal, including nuclear bombs. Now, unquestionably, Saddam Hussein was another really bad tyrant who had slaughtered tens of thousands of his fellow citizens if he felt they, in any way, opposed him. But the trouble was, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq. We did remove Hussein from the world stage, but at a terrible price. Over 6000 American military and civilians were killed during this 10-year war. Another 30,000 Americans were so severely injured that their lives are effectively over. Things like brain injuries, blindness, lost limbs, etc. About 150,000 Iraqis also lost their lives during the war. And we also spent close to a trillion dollars, chasing WMDs that never existed. So what is the result of investing so much blood and treasure to pursue phantom WMDs and remove Saddam Hussein from office.

Similar to Libya, Iraq is totally fractured today. Different factions of the Iraqi populace, (Shia versus Sunni) are at war with each other. Almost daily occurrences of terrorist bombings kill scores people. Going shopping at the local market means literally risking one’s life. More than likely, a car bomb is set to go off. Al-qaeda terrorists now occupy large sections of the country. So once again, all the joy and celebration of of ridding the country of Saddam Hussein and his thugs have totally evaporated. Afghanistan is another country where the U.S. is involved in a similar war that is still on-going. So far, about 2200 Americans have lost their lives in that never-ending debacle. We’re scheduled to remove most American forces by the end of this year, at which time Afghanistan will likely, once again, devolve into a state of tribal dysfunction. The beat goes on.

In Syria, another tyrannical dictator named Assad has already murdered (sometimes with the use of chemical warfare) about 150,000 of his own people in order to maintain power. He supposedly crossed the red line in the sand that this Administration established when his forces used chemical acids to to destroy his opponents. Nevertheless, there was no American military response. Just a lot of finger waving an indignation. The problem is that the American public is too weary and drained by the prolonged military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has absolutely no desire for further military adventurism in Syria. So the killing continues there unabated.

Also on the current world stage is another murderous tyrant named Vladimir Putin who has achieved the first military annexation of European territory since the end of WWII. I’ve written extensively about Putin’s thuggish actions, so I won’t rehash previous entries, except to say that he is obviously getting away with the occupation of chunks of the Ukraine, with virtually little response from the U.S. or its European allies. In the Pacific, a brutal, murderous regime in North Korea terrorizes its citizenry. The dictatorship in China continues to militarily threaten Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries. And, of course, the most dangerous regime of all, the Islamic fanatical tyranny in Iran, is inches away from acquiring nuclear weapons.  And Iran’s leaders are just fanatical and crazy enough to launch nuclear bombs against its perceived enemies such as Israel and the U.S. Kind of makes you tingle all over, doesn’t it.

I could go on about more instances of humans behaving very badly; but I’m sure you all get the picture. Perhaps I should have titled this entry as the devolution of the human spirit.

 

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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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