October 03, 2012
Amrican heroes

Thanks to an American cousin I am now up to date on the realities of American politics. If I had any doubts about the Saudi loyalties of that Kenyan-born Muslim in the White House, this clip from a Christian source, relying on the evidence produced by an Israeli Jew, settles all my concerns.

Except that Obama is not the first Saudi dupe in the White House. George W. Bush out-performed him by far as a jihadist. It was he who proclaimed that 9-11 was not a blot on Islam, and who not only overlooked its source in Saudi Arabia, but dallied while the Iranians proceeded with their nuclear program and went after the best friend of the moderate West in the Arab world, the late Saddam Hussein. It was Saddam who--admittedly with an iron hand and some nasty words about Israel--sat on the explosive tinder of Iraq and prevented its Shiite majority from cozying up to their cousins in Iran. No doubt that Jews and other lovers of peace and democracy would have liked a more humanitarian figure at the head of Iraqi's government, but Saddam kept that mixture of hatred from exploding.

The results of George W. Bush's efforts to bring peace and democracy to Iraq are hardly successful, by any of the numerous and conflicting estimates of the dead, injured, displaced, and the spillovers from Iran and to Syria. Estimates range above a million Iraqis killed as a result of military actions, suicide bombings and other sectarian violence that continues until now. More than 4,400 American soldiers died there, and who knows how many additional lives--still counting--have been lost to post-Iraq violence and PTSD in its various manifestations. The Bush-initiated adventure in Afghanistan has been less costly, perhaps only because Afghanistan has fewer people than Iraq to kill and be killed. Pakistan remains a place of considerable potential, with drones piloted from Nevada producing as much collateral damage as anything else, while inflaming a population of 180 million with nuclear weapons.

Americans who confuse the Middle East with the Middle West should look at a map and realize that Iraq sits between two other lovelies of the region, i.e., Iran and Syria. The Shiite controlled government ostensibly in control of Iraq--put in place by those Saudi dupes George W. Bush and Barack Obama--has allowed planes from Iran to bring fresh troops and munitions to the Assad forces in Syria, which have something to do with upping the weekly death toll in that country to near or exceeding a thousand. Numbers are flexible in this part of the world where various groups of fighters and their out-of-country admirers compete with statistics as well as guns, missiles, and road side bombs. But it is all a sign of democracy on the rise, spoken in Arabic with Allahu Akbar every few words for those who don't get the message. Americans still applauding Barack Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo, must be proud of their hero, whether or not he has done better than George W. Bush, whose high point was that 2003 appearance on the USS Abraham Lincoln, under a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Reports are that the administration is preparing to avenge the killing of diplomats in Bengazi, retreating from the claim that it was provoked by that film about Muhammad, done by an Egyptian swindler posing as an Israeli Jew. Should we expect another presidential claim of victory, like that after the killing of Osama, ideally timed for a day or two before the election?

All of this may be marginal in the extreme for most of my American friends and relatives. I doubt that many of them have relatives serving in the military or otherwise feel any direct impact of what the United States does or does not do on the other side of the world. More important in this election season are party loyalties, ideological preferences boosted by campaign rhetoric, the music heard from the lips of Barack, Michelle, Mitt, and Ann, and feelings about the prominent topics of employment, government deficits, health care, abortions, single-sex marriage, gun control, and whatever I've missed.

Most of the time, on most issues, it doesn't matter who is President of the United States. That highly institutionalized democracy does its work via a myriad of advisors, agencies, legislative committees, courts, and many thousands of state and local entities. HOWEVER, there are some issues, like those heroic invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the heroic non-invasion of Iran, where the preferences of the commander-in-chief count for a great deal.

Considering the power of the United States, along with the foreign policy wisdom and military savvy of recent American presidents, I must hope that God will help us all, if He/She/It really cares.

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Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tel: +972-2-532-2725
Cell: +972-54-683-5325
Fax +972-2-582-9144
irashark@gmail.com

Posted by Ira Sharkansky at October 03, 2012 05:13 AM