Thursday, September 13, 2012

Do The Math

I've held off for a long time in writing political posts.  It never makes me feel any better.  And I'm always left with the feeling that the people who need to read them won't and, if by some chance they do, they won't believe what it contains, so what's the point?

I've been following politics in the Middle East since the late 70s, when some close family friends were stationed in Tehran.  And I was fascinated, and sometimes horrified, by how much what we heard from them differed from what we heard on the news.

Now these folks were right in the center of the action.  One day, the father, a college friend of my own dad, came home and said to his family "Pack one small bag each.  We're leaving now!"  They did so, went to the airport, and bought four tickets on the absolute next flight out of Tehran, ending up in Mali.

A week or so later, most of America started paying attention to Iran, if you know what I mean.

So anyway, with the Middle East yet again front and center in the news, I'm going to answer the question that won't be asked or, if it is, won't be answered truthfully:

Q:  Why do so many people in the Middle East seem to hate America?

A:  Because of:

a)  Our "freedom."

b)  Our "Christianity."

c)  Decades of misguided foreign policy, promoted by both Democratic and Republican administrations, dictated by, and catering to the exclusive needs of, our "friends," both foreign and domestic, in d'awl bidness:  a little coup here, a little backing of  near-totalitarian but U.S. business-friendly regimes there, and a whole lot of arms-dealing everywhere

Which answer makes the most sense to you?

Now this does not address completely the rise of radical Islam, however, it does account for its appeal to a large number of otherwise average shlubs:  "These people have made your life worse;  we will make it better."  There is just enough plausibility to that to sell it.  And sell it they do.


A small digression:  Right-wing religious nuts are the same everywhere, whether they wear turbans or ties and regardless of what book they choose to thump.  Give them political power and this is what you get.

I saw Hillary on TV this morning saying "Religious tolerance goes back to the very founding of our country."  What?!?  Some of my ancestors founded this country.  They were Puritans: actual, witch-hunting Puritans, almost straight out of The Crucible.  Their only notion of religious freedom was to have the freedom to practice as they chose and deal rather brutally with anyone else.

On the Catholic side of my family, we have the Inquisition.  See?  Right-wing religious nuts are the same everywhere.


None of this addresses what our response ought to be to events in the Middle East.  To suggest that we can just let our people be killed is silly.  On the other hand, our response should be based in reality, as outlined in item "c" above.  That needs to be understood first.

You are welcome to interpret events differently, as long as you understand that any interpretation that does not take into account the points outlined in item "c" is fundamentally incorrect

Let's wrap up with a little math:

Number 1 oil-producing country:  Saudi Arabia
Number 2 oil-producing country:  Iraq
Number 3 oil-producing country:  Iran

Number of Saudis among the 19 hijackers on 9/11:  15
Number of Iraqis among the hijackers:  0
Number of bombs dropped on Saudi Arabia:  0
Number of bombs dropped on Iraq:  ???

Number of Saudi princes heavily invested in FOX "News":  1

Q:  In what country are the neo-cons itching to go to war next?

You do the math.

A final thought:  first, let's consider how well the war in Iraq went.  Now, let's consult an almanac (reality-based readers only.)  Roughly speaking, it appears that Iran has twice the population and three times the area of Iraq.

You do the math.

Very Truly Yours,




lime said...

math has never been my strong suit but i agree with you completely. and C is definitely the greatest part of the answer. we are not taught a complete history. i learned mine from a distant aunt who lived in iran in the late 60s/early 70s. i had friends in college from iran, kuwait, pakistan, india. these are the people who educated me and opened my eyes to things i never knew.

god have mercy upon us all if our leaders rush us to yet another front.

stephen Hayes said...

You make some thoughtful and well-considered points. The Middle East hates us because of our hypocrisy: we say we promote Democracy but we support dictators who suppress their people.

silly rabbit said...

Sigh. I hate politics. You are right of course. Or at least very right about part of it. There is far more than we will not learn for a long time.

I do know one thing. A protest is fine with me. God bless you for your opinion. I'll respect it if I do not agree with it. However, protest ceases to be protest when death participates.

We will all stand before God one day and answer for our actions. I try to use that as my guide in life. But I know that some religions do things that mine would not accept as ok.

This leaves me with no answers and no solutions. =:/

ds said...

First, we have to get out of Afghanistan (oh, yeah. Geography. What am I thinking?).
Then it would be lovely if we could reduce our need for fossil fuel (any type of fossil fuel, including the non-fossil power sources that depend on fossil fuel). But then we'd find something else to exploit...
Billy Joel comes to mind, not facetiously...

Thoughtful and true. Thank you.

Suldog said...

As you know, I agree. At least, insofar as "C" being the better answer to the question (and that our proceeding from "C" has led to most of the "A" and "B".) Whether or not it's all about oil is not something I can say with certainty, but basically that's beside the point. The arrogance we display, in deciding what's best for other people, is the problem.

Some folks were saying much the same as you've said here, following 9/11, but they were mostly reviled for being unpatriotic, and their opinions were relegated to the "obvious crank" sections of various op-ed pages. You might find the following, written by a man for whom I fervently campaigned, an affirming read:

Unfortunately, Mr. Browne is no longer with us. The great question now is "Who is?"

Jeni said...

Although many people here firmly believe all other countries love and admire us for our "freedom" first and foremost and also believe it is religious beliefs, i.e. Christianity vs Islam next that is the problem (and yes, that is in the mix) but the crux of it is all those things you mention in Item C! Although I personally may think our democratic way of life is great, when we try to force it down the throats of others, ignoring their cultures -which may be way, way different from ours but are theirs and have as much validity as ours does -how can anyone expect them to welcome us, to love us? The U.S. is not the great patron saint that has rescued every wayward nation on the planet! Not all of this comes via government but also from private industry but regardless, it doesn't make it right to be disrespectful of the cultural differences as well as religious ones too. JMHO here and I very much appreciate reading yours as I nod my head in agreement with you.