Monday, February 28, 2005


Changing The Middle East

There are two sides to the debate about the Middle East. The right believes that what the U.S. has done in Iraq is planting the seeds of change in the region; on the left, the slightly less cerebral idea that we went in to Iraq for Halliburton. Let's take a quick look at what is being said and what is actually happening. First, SAEN columnist Susan Ives:
As long as Iraqis are fighting each other, a U.S. presence will be grudgingly accepted as a stabilizing force. The Bush administration has no objection to keeping a large military presence perched over the world's second largest oil reserve in a position to dominate the entire Middle East.

It would have made more sense to stabilize the country and defer elections until everyone could vote and the legitimacy of the election could not be challenged.

But if the Iraqis ever got their act together U.S. forces would get the boot, and that doesn't fit in with the Bush plan at all.

This is not to call into question the courage, optimism and resilience of the millions of Iraqis who did face the bombs and bullets to vote. But if they thought they were voting for democracy, liberty and freedom they are sadly mistaken. They risked their lives to legitimize the Bush administration's long-term plans for domination of the Middle East.

It may sound like freedom and look like liberty, but Iraqi democracy is just an empty box with a ventriloquist hidden in the hallway singing the same old songs.

I see no proof of what Ms. Ives is saying. The left claims that Bush and Cheney are in the pockets of "Big Oil," but if that is so then surely they would have known that the best thing for "Big Oil" would have been to lift sanctions, leave Saddam in power, and buy oil from him. Now the other side. The right believes that by taking out Iraq we would help the cause of freedom in the Middle East (note: despite the MSM's reporting, Bush made the case for freedom in addition to the WMD case). Yes, Iran is a bigger threat, but why effect change the hard way when you can take out the weaker threat to create that change. Now this on page 10A of today's SAEN:
Several thousand anti-Syria protestors took to the capital's streets late Sunday in defiance of a government ban, while a visiting U.S. official kept up Washington's pressure on Syria...

Read it again and notice "took to the streets" and "in defiance," concepts unheard of before Iraq. It's historical and it's beautiful. And in case you haven't seen this quote (from the Washington Post, reg. required) from Walid Jumblatt yet, here it is:
"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

Ms. Ives, I rest my case.
Note on Comments: If you want to comment on this post, please do, but don't say that Bush went into Iraq so that oil prices would go up, increasing the profits of "Big Oil," unless you can prove it. I find that suggestion absurd and disgusting.

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