More American intervention in the Middle East is simply insanity
Recently President Obama has faced fierce lobbying from right-wing politicians and chicken hawk think tanks to put “boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq. This lobbying for war is based on the familiar delusion that American military intervention is a panacea for all problems in the Middle East.
Even though military adventures have blown up in our face over and over, war is still our default position. The USA is like a man dying of thirst in the desert who sees a mirage again and again and continues to think it is water.
Let’s take a short tour of our misadventures, beginning in Iran in 1951. Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh was elected prime minister with 90 percent of the vote. He had become even more popular when he nationalized the oil companies. In 1953, the CIA engineered two coups to overthrow him. The last coup put the shah back in power, and he maintained dictatorial control of the country for 24 years until a popular uprising overthrew him and installed the Ayatollah Khomeini. “The chickens came home to roost” on November 4, 1979, when radicals overran our embassy and held 60 Americans hostage for 444 days. It was a humiliating international embarrassment for America.
Next stop: Lebanon. In1982, Ronald Reagan sent a military peacekeeping force to Lebanon. On October 23, 1983, Hezbollah, with support from Iran and Syria, attacked the Marine barracks in Beirut. A truck bomb with 2,000 pounds. of explosives killed 281 Marines. Reagan wisely retreated in February of 1984.
Next stop: Afghanistan. Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted in an interview that in the summer of 1979, the CIA began training the mujahideen. This was a key precipitating factor for the Russian invasion on December 24, 1979. On that date, Brzezinski wrote to President Carter saying, “We now have the opportunity of giving the USSR its Vietnam War.” Between 1985 and 1992, the CIA trained 12,500 mujahideen in bomb-making, sabotage, and urban guerilla warfare. The CIA funneled 500 million dollars into this enterprise.
It helped fund groups lead by Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, which later became Al Qaeda. We helped create the Frankenstein’s monster that attacked us on 9-11.
Next stop: Iraq. General William Odom described the Iraq invasion as the “greatest strategic disaster in United States History.” The cost in money and lives is staggering. The outcome is that half of Iraq is a failed state where terrorism is ascendant, and the south is a Shiite dictatorship dependent on Iran. Recently, columnist Cal Thomas, who was a mindless supporter of the invasion, expressed nostalgia for the Iraq ruled by Saddam Hussein.
Our interventions in the Middle East have been abysmal failures. They have resulted in more chaos, senseless violence, and destruction, while increasing the number of terrorists and anti-American sentiment. We must acknowledge our incompetence and give up our delusion that American military power is the right hammer for every Middle Eastern nail.