UI – Part 444 – Was America Over Zealous in the Middle East?
Since that Tragic Day
It has been 16 years since 9/11. Many born today will little recall the tragic events of that day. For those of us that do, we can recall where we were at the time we learned of the first hijacked Boeing 767 striking the north tower of the World Trade Center. Phone calls and emails and tweets brought more eyes to TV’s and ears to radios to engage moment by moment on the subsequent terrorist attacks. Friends, children and acquaintances in the City have shared eye-witness testimony of the evolution of the second strike and the fall of the towers, as well as the crash of the plane into a western Pennsylvania field by the resistance of loving Americans to a plan to fly the aircraft into the White House, and the third target, the Pentagon, hit and significantly damaged by a fourth plane.
Referred to as the ‘deadliest tragedy in American history’ by many. Over 3,000 people died during the attacks OF 9/11 including more than 400 police officers and firefighters in New York City. The words “Let’s Roll!” have been heard by many from a passenger on United Flight 93 out of Newark as those onboard took steps, knowing they were going to die, to prevent the death of many more Americans at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
George W. Bush, the 43rd President, has a legacy defined by this tragic occurrence. The questions I ask – Did we go too far as to our response? Did we have insufficient proper intelligence in administering our response to the attack? Did we have inadequate safeguards in place that might have prevented the attacks? Were the targets chosen the proper locations and sources of those planning, financing and perpetrating the well orchestrated attack sequence? Was there unnecessary collateral damage from America’s response? Did we then and do we now understand enough about Islam, the radical and political Islamists and their ideology, to appropriately deal with them? Is there a Holy War (Jihad), the Islamists against the world, that we refuse to label? Do we have a contingency plan, other than knee-jerk reactions to a Holy War? Where is the rest of the world, the other free nations, the western nations, when it comes to being a victim of the Islamist’s jihad? Are we all on the same page? Do the Liberals, the Democrats, see Islam differently than the Conservatives, the Republicans?
The questions go on and on. I’d like to hear your questions too. But history is important and a look back on Presidents before Bush 43 and their dealings with the Middle East, with parts of southeast Asia and the Maghreb, with Egypt and Africa may paint a picture that clarifies decisions made, the rationale, considers possible errors in judgment, and the impact America and other western nations have had on the areas noted, their current and future prospects. A look forward also, to Obama and now Trump will help frame the portrait.
The Middle East Quagmire
In the coming weeks this blog will discuss Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and other majority Muslim nations. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will not be overlooked. And neither will Syria. Less will be said about Israel, but we cannot forget it is as an oasis of Democracy in the desert. Many Islamists from the various nations, the leadership, point their finger, and long-range weapons, at Israel and credit America’s relationship and protection of Israel as justification for their wrath and hatred of the USA. The people of these nations have become victims, as moderates and peace loving, of the political and military choices made which have resulted in major changes taking place from infrastructure, advancements and governance.
The concept of modernity for the nations mentioned, seeking advancements for the people and the development of productive economies that compete and trade with the rest of the world, was evident in the past, prior to 1979 in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Libya. Egypt has been referred to as the ‘cradle of civilization.’ The governments in the majority Muslim countries have been either theocratic or secular with a state religion – Islam. Their sovereigns have at times been Muslims chosen by free elections of candidates nominated by Imams or Mullahs, often disputed by the populace, or from a monarchy, rulers ascending from the line of members of the monarchy. There have been Sheiks, Presidents, Ayatollahs, Prime Ministers and Kings. It should noted the heads of state have been assassinated, overthrown, exiled and in a few cases succession has been non-violent. They often live concerned for their lives, sequestering obscene amounts of money in Swiss banks, with bags packed and jet planes fueled and ready to depart on a moments notice should their tower of power begin to crumble under a revolutionary onslaught.
History is Important – The Future Too
Since 1979 and after 9/11 changes have been taking place. Unfortunately in almost every case the countries have become battlefields, cities and infrastructure destroyed, stable governments have fallen, in many cases having horrible dictators in change at the time, and the new order remains divided, splintered, confused and conflicted. Terrorist factions born from the womb of the mother of radical Islam have spread and seek control in too many places, not just Syria. Bombs explode daily somewhere in the areas noted. Muslims are killed along with collateral damage to non-Muslims and moderates who are simply trying to live a life, prosper as possible and support their families. Often those killed are NGO’s and others in the country to love the people, the locals, to help and to educate them.
Who has the legitimate right to govern the Islamic world? Who can define ‘true Islam’ in a fashion that the whole of Islam can agree? With over 1.6 billion Muslims throughout the world, concentrated in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Maghreb, the vast majority considered ‘moderate,’ how is their future defined? Are the political Islamist ‘bullies’ the ones that will continue to reign, prepared and weaponized, the stronger, to destroy the dissidents, to eliminate those who seek greater freedoms, independence, and more humane treatment. An example would be President Erdogan of Turkey who by deceptive means is turning the faces of the people of Turkey away from the future and back to times past, as far back as the 7th Century. Or will a charismatic ulema favoring a rational free thinking electorate rise up, survive the hatred of those in power, and cause a revolution that can rekindle a period in time when progress and cultural advances where underway, a time after the fall of the Ottoman empire until the mid-to-late 70’s. The past are those times in places like Afghanistan, Iran, Libya where women were educated, able to work, drive, go about uncovered, and associate with the opposite sex, in public too. The past are those times when electricity was available throughout, fresh water was common, hospitals, schools, highways, bridges, and transportation systems made travel readily available, comfortable and safe. Opportunities for men and women to work, to improve their lives, to speak out and seek positive changes was not uncommon then, but not common now. Christians were able to live among the populace without fearing for their lives.
What occurred to reverse positive trends towards an improving, modern, Muslim world? What is happening now that will or can improve conditions? Is emigration from the Islamist enclaves good for the areas where they seek refuge status; is it good for the immigrants; is it good for the world; and is it good for those leaving their homelands?
Much will be discussed. Become a participant. Comment. Let us have your views, share what you know, and let us collectively try to understand Islam and the havens for the vast numbers of Muslims today.
Grace and Peace