Sunday, July 13, 2008

Iran’s Missiles and the coming Mid-East War

Lead news story July 9, 2008, was Iran’s test firing of several missiles capable of hitting about any target in the Middle East. Displaying its tin ear for news, the targets the MSM most often mention are Israel, U.S. troops in Iraq, and Europe. The ones that should take note of Iran’s missiles are the Sunni Arabs or almost all of the Middle East.

Diplomats and other talking head pundits have looked at the missile launches through context to what is happening now. The importance of the second Iraqi war has not been fully realized. The U.S. overthrow of Saddam and installation of the Iran friendly Shia in Iraq has drastically changed a Middle East balance of power that had been in effect for hundreds of years. The consequence of this reshuffling of lethal age-old rivalries is yet to be known, but a Mid-East conflagration the likes of which we have never seen could erupted.

The Shia have been considered and treated as the bastard stepchild of Islam since shortly after Muhammad death in 632 − that’s over a thousand years of hatred, mistreatment, and persecutions. There was a time when the Shia were not allow holy pilgrimages to Mecca, and many Sunnis still believe that holy ground is defiled by their presents.

And now Bush has handed Iraq over to the Shia, and they will no doubt fully exercise their new position within the Islamic world. The hatred of Israel is new. It has only been around for some 50 years. For hundreds of years, Jews could live freely in the Arab world while they were being persecuted Europe.

The struggle against the Israelis and a solution to the Palestinian problem has paved over age-old rivalries that are still bubbling and brewing below the surface. Our bungled overthrow of Saddam proves that. Sunni and Shia had lived together in Saddam’s Iraq, but neighborhoods are being cleansed and huge migrations are occurring as the old factions separate themselves. Bush’s Neocons never even saw this coming.

A solution to the Israel/Arab conflict is within our reach and solvable. However, the hatred between Sunnis and Shia is hundreds of years old and the rebalance of power Bush brought about in the Middle East may very well lead to catastrophic consequences.

As soon as Iran and its pro-Iran factions in Iraq have consolidated their power, the U.S. will be invited to leave. In the coming struggle between Sunnis and Shia over the soul of Islam, oil supplies will be threatened. The world’s economy will be held hostage.

9/11 has been compared to Pear Harbor but the better comparison may be the start of WWI. Just as a terrorist attack began a conflict that eventually included all the major nations and the dismantling of the old European order, so too, 9/11 and the change of government in Iraq could lead to a war within Islam that we cannot allow to happen but cannot stop.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Let My People Go

First. I don’t give a rat’s ass what happens to those sons of bitches in GITMO. If whoever captured them had put a 45 slug in their heads at that time, it would have saved us all a lot of trouble and they could have experience all of their 40 promissory virgins by now. If win-win is not ringing in the back of your mind as you read this, there’s really no reason for you to read on.

My concern is not for the captives but the captors in this situation. The argument that they are not Americans misses the point. We are! GITMO is not American. It’s not moral. It’s French or German or Russian or Japanese. If John McCain had been treated as the prisoners in GITMO are being treated, would that have made it OK? If the Japanese had treated the Americans and Filipinos on the Bataan Death March as well as we treat the GITMO inmates, would it even be called a Death March? Would that have been all right? Would we feel anything more special about veterans of that march or those that perished than we do any other veteran?

Americans have been given the unique opportunity to view the Death March or the Holocaust from a wholly different perspective. Now, I don’t believe GITMO is in any way near what the Death March, Holocaust, Gulags, or any number of other atrocities inflicted on one people by another, but then, a lot of eventual atrocities were not either – when they started. Isn’t that albatross of slavery enough for America?

I love to read stories of WWII POWs being held in America that didn’t want to go back to their own country when the war was over. That’s because we held WWII POWs as Americans should hold POWs. They were nicely – but firmly – treated. Some were allowed to intermix not only with Americans, but more importantly, with American culture. I doubt any of the inmates of GITMO are going to want to stay here. That is if they are ever released.

Even to argue their right to habeas corpus, is un-American. That’s like arguing the right to breathe oxygen. Habeas corpus is not just an American right, it’s a world-wide human right. If you’re a country that believes in the rule of law – and by the Constitution that’s what we are – then anyone deserves a day in court.

How many movies have you seen where some American POW demands to see the commandant? What has the world come to, when we are not even as good as our movies?

Close the base. Either turn them loose, turn them over to authorities of their home country, or put them in a proper prison. It’s too late to take them out and shoot them. I’m not concerned about their interest; I’m concerned about ours – a “we have met the enemy and he is us” type of concern.

Terrorism is not new. Of all the fears we have to face, terrorism is one of the oldest. A terrorist attack started WWI. A terrorist assassinated McKinley. We called them anarchists back then.

Terrorism was suppressed during the struggle between communism and free market countries, or a terrorist act had a major power behind it as part of the Cold War. It’s only since winning the Cold War that terrorism has been allowed to ferment and grow. Before, either we would eradicate it because we felt it was communist inspired and the commies would do the same because they felt it was some sort of capitalist plot.

But Americans acting un-America, that’s new. Close GITMO. It’s a Fourth of July kind of thing.