A legitimate question that needs asking is, “What is in America’s national interest?” As in, why is it in the national interest to be militarily involved in the Middle East? What overwhelming justification is offered for continued military involvement in Iraq? Are the “old” explanations of oil and Israel still applicable today? Is the extent to which we “care” about the region at all tied to the continued flow of oil as well as any “moral” solidarity America has with Israel?
Speaking of which, because we broke Iraq, does America have any moral responsibility – or culpability – in the unfolding events there today? I recall from college history classes the “recent” example of Yugoslavia being held together by the strongman, Marshal Josip Tito. There were four or five distinct “peoples” within Yugoslavia and until Tito died they “functioned” as a nation state. Until America overthrew the Iraq government in 2003, Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds were operating as a nation state. Granted, any cooperation such as it was, was brutally enforced by the autocratic despot Saddam Hussein. Nonetheless, Iraq functioned as a nation state until the United States broke it. That is fact.
I am continually amazed that with any Middle East “crisis” – whether it is Libya or Syria or Iraq – the Republican Party immediately pushes for American military intervention. Why is that? Why are events in these nations any of America’s business? Is it still about oil and Israel? The answer, the justification, is now terrorism. Of course, oil and Israel are still factors. Radicalized Muslims want to kill Americans in America. That is the “rationale” for fighting “them” over there as opposed to experiencing another New York City 9/11.
It is suggested that “radicalized Muslims” want to murder Americans because “they” are at war with our way of life. Pluralism, democracy, minority rights, capitalism and religious freedom are so threatening and egregious that “war” with the infidel (that’s us) is the only course of action. I question that assessment of Muslim grievances against the U.S. (the West). Because we have toaster ovens as well as six Catholic Supreme Court Judges and that we “try” to hold democratic elections, Muslims want to murder us? Hmmm? Surely there must be “additional” reasons. Surely.
I never so much hear Muslims chanting, “Death to the Brazilians!” Or, “Death to the Chinese!” Have you ever wondered why that is? What could be the explanation? Oh, and what do the Chinese pay for a barrel of oil?
I believe autocratic, theocratic tyrants (take your pick) often require an enemy to divert “the” people from the oppressive (political, economic, social) conditions they live in. What America has done in spades for decades is provide such despots ample justification for our vilification. We deposed the leader of Iran and installed our own (See: Shah of Iran). We invaded and occupied Iraq. Sent troops to Lebanon. Declared war in Afghanistan. Intervened in the Somalia Civil War. We have supported so many oppressive Middle East regimes that it is far beyond our ability to count such geopolitical mistakes on all our toes and fingers.
So ask yourself: if radicalized Muslims want to murder Americans today, to what degree are we culpable in creating such Islamic hatred and animosity?
Is it in our national interest to have Muslims wanting to murder Americans? If no, perhaps we should consider, oh, a 50-year hiatus of not pursuing military solutions – and not meddling period – in the Islamic Middle East. Dear Abby said it best, “MYOB.” Mind your own business, America. And stay the hell out of Iraq.