We Broke It, That’s Why.

People on both the left and the right are questioning why we are involved with the wars in the Middle East.  Listening to SiriusXM Progressive radio today, for example, the left-leaning radio hosts like Thom Hartmann are taking the view that we have no responsibility in the Middle East wars.  The people of Syria or Iraq or Turkey have to assume responsibility, they argue.  We can’t afford it.  We can’t allow ourselves to be sucked into another quagmire and so on.

The right — well, the opinions from the right are irrelevant as they are entirely political and unhelpful — so think what you will about them.  But the right is certainly culpable — indeed most culpable — and largely responsible for the chaos in the Middle East today.

The United States has meddled in Middle East affairs for decades in order to advance and protect its selfish interests.  However, the seeds for today’s horror in the Middle East begins with the Iraq War which destabilized the region and radicalized millions.  The Bush Administration and its war cabinet — Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al — have so much to answer for.

Absolutely nothing about that war has made the United States or the world more secure.  Nothing.  We are living in the legacy of that war today and likely will for decades to come.

Destroying countries and the lives of millions is not a way to make friends and gain peace.

We have responsibility in the Middle East because we broke it, that’s why.  Running away from it won’t make up for our mistakes.  It won’t protect us from them either.

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3 thoughts on “We Broke It, That’s Why.

  1. DK Fennell

    Yes, the U.S. offensive war in Iraq radicalized at least some Sunni groups in the region. The assault on Fallujah alone, with its unrelenting decimation of homes, mosques and hospitals, and the immense loss of civilian life, probably resulted in dozens of battalions now part of this latest threat.

    So what is the plan here? To do the same thing all over again, but this time from the air. Is that going to be more meliorative?

    And what about arming the “moderates”? We spent a decade training and arming the Iraqi army. Many of those weapons are now in the hands of soldiers of the Islamic State. How are we going to handle it this time? We are going to find “moderates” who the President quipped not very long ago were a rag-tag bad of dentists and accountants. I suppose the Islamic State is going to have a harder time taking away those weapons?

    The fact is, as everyone knows, a European coalition led by the U.S., once again bringing death and destruction to this region, without any Sunni military assistance is more of the same. What do you call the belief that when we do the same thing but this time expect that we won’t get the same result, namely “breaking it”?

    Reply
    1. Shane Schmidt Post author

      I don’t disagree. I’m not sure we can fix much in the short term. Usually when someone warns “If you break it…” they conclude by saying you will own it. I think we have no choice but to own it. ISIS is a direct outcome of the Sunni-Shia conflict that resulted from the Iraq War and the fall of Saddam Hussein.

      The plan? I’m not sure that Americans bombing ISIS fighters is the answer, or not the compete answer. You’re right, it will foster animosity. However, what seems to radicalize fighters is lost opportunity, maltreatment, and poverty. Prisons have created a lot of fighters. We need a strategy that empowers leadership in the region.

      One might suggest bolstering the Iraqi security forces so they can fight a legitimate fight. That might involve targeted strikes and military advisers on the ground who can train and coordinate US military support.

      Pressing Iraq to embrace the Sunnis again is a key piece to the puzzle. The Sunni’s have been cut out of governing since the fall of Saddam, right? That’s where much of this trouble begins and so it is where a solution should begin as well. With a new government in Iraq, perhaps there is an opportunity there.

      What do you think about Syria and Iran?

      It is a mess.

      Reply
  2. Pauline Kale

    More black hole military spending may ease your guilty conscience but that is about all the good it will do. I do not see any benefit in perpetuating the co-dependent relationship that countries like Turkey have, It is time that Iraq’s border countries step up and defend the immediate threats against them.

    Reply

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