Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hasn't Anybody Heard Of Blowback?

The resilience of the Baghdad government has admittedly surprised me. I didn't expect it to be here by now. One big reason it has survived is that the Islamic State extremists are bigger fools than I thought, as well. They've managed to alienate enough people in the Middle East to ensure that they won't have the success that, say, the communists had in Southeast Asia. I was wrong to compare the Baghdad government to the Saigon government. I admit it.

Plus, the ISIL militants have proved so barbaric in their standard practices that they can't be ignored. It can be argued that they are a direct product of "blowback," of U.S. meddling in the region. But it could be similarly argued that the Nazis were the direct product of the harshness of the Versailles Treaty after World War I. Nazism perhaps could have been avoided, but it ultimately couldn't be ignored. The enormities of Islamic State can't, either.

But what the right wing in America consistently fails to understand is that, to a large degree, this is a Frankenstein monster of our own creation. And it goes back much further than a few years, much further than Il Doofus' decision to invade Iraq, much further than even the Gulf War. When a CIA unit led by Teddy Roosevelt III (Sorry, it was Kermit Roosevelt -- I stand corrected here) overthrew an elected nationalist government in Iran in 1953 and installed the Shah back in power with a "pro-U.S." government, that started us down a slippery slope in the region. Over 60 years later, we've now got a nuclear threat in Iran, and a decidedly "anti-U.S." government that's well-entrenched there. Not to mention clerics who habitually put horns and a tail on all Jews.

At the risk of sounding neo-isolationist, I venture the opinion that the region would generally have been far better off if the U.S. had stayed out, period. I doubt that Islamic State would even exist now if the U.S. had refrained from meddling in the region in the first place. For that matter, the 9/11 attacks might never have happened, among many other unhappy events that perhaps could have been avoided. The radicalization of some elements of Islam are the direct product of Western meddling.

I can't count myself as a big fan of Barack Obama, but I don't think the events of the past 60-plus years are lost on him, and I think he's doing a wise thing so far to confine U.S. involvement to airstrikes and try hard to extricate U.S. ground troops from the region. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a hideous mistake, but sadly the kind of mistake we'd been making in the region for decades. ISIL must be opposed by force, but it's important not to forget the conditions that created them in the first place.
It's a simple point -- when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Postscript: I took a long hiatus from this blog for a variety of reasons. One is still very much with me -- I don't have a day anymore when I don't have to put out some kind of fire, personally or financially. I think the computer issues are at last solved, so I expect to resume posting regularly. For followers of this blog, I apologize, but I have a life, and this blog was one of many things that had to go on the back burner for a while. Thank you for your patience.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.