Farce in the Middle East
Well, might as well comment on the current farces underway in the middle east. I’ve gotten pretty cynical and tired of the whole thing. In the USA we have the left wing fundies who think there’s this huge conspiracy to turn the entire Middle East into failed states so that the USA and Israel can dominate and exploit the region for decades, up to and including being responsible for the 9/11 attacks. On the right, we have millions of Americans who sincerely believe we are a force for good and civilization, fighting against the evil terrorists to install democracy and freedom in a troubled area of the world. Both viewpoints require self enforced tunnel vision to maintain, which thanks to the Internet is so much easier to do these days. Just limit your web browsing to sites that reinforce your point of view, and voilà, instant world view without all the trouble and bother of say, getting an education or going out and meeting people…and infinite amounts of “documentation” to back up your “arguments.” (see previous post.)
Sigh. Fortunately I’ve noticed that people with such extreme viewpoints rarely trouble me with comments these days, which is kind of a shame. They are no doubt concentrating on more popular people like Jon Carroll, who also talks about being pilloried by both left and right in a recent column. He also mentions a prominent conservative web site that apparently has seriously suggested that its server problems are due to some sort of liberal conspiracy, fortunately my mind is no longer blown by such revelations. I’ve reached an age and level of understanding where nothing surprises me, expect possibly the infinite human capacity to simultaneously commit evil and blame the victims.
Moving right along, the so called Iranian speedboat attack is getting more press than I am comfortable with. How this is proof of anything is beyond me, but the fact that it is being trotted out as further proof that Iran is a “threat to world peace” worries me. Bush may be moving an attack on Iran back to the front burner. The USA is the one who invaded two nations on Iran’s borders, has moved unprecedented amounts of military hardware including nuclear armed ships to within sight of the Iranian coast, and threatens Iran at every turn. The USA has attacked and invaded dozens of countries the last few decades, Iran hasn’t attacked anyone since the nineteenth century. Not that I am a big fan of the Iranian regime, but Bush calling them a threat to world peace is the pot calling the kettle black.
As for the facts of the “incident,” there aren’t any. Some tiny Iranian boats acted “aggressively” to some large American warships off their coast, this is a surprise? The recording of the Iranians “threatening” to blow up the American ships is just macho posturing if true, and needs to be taken with a severe grain of salt in any event. Sadly, those that want to see this as “proof” of Iran’s hostile intent will do so, while the conspiracy sites are all screaming that this is a “false flag” operation on the part of USA or Israel. What really happened? Beats me, us blokes on the street may get the facts decades later, until then all that matters is how it is perceived by the public and manipulated by the powers that be. And by that token…not reassuring.
Moving to another popular ongoing farce, Bush is making noises about peace in Palestine. He can afford to do so, since by setting it up so that the Palestinian “representatives” are little more than sock puppets, Israel and the USA can sign any sort of deal they want with them, knowing full well that the “Palestinian Authority” has little to no actual authority in the occupied territories. That way when the Palestinians are unable to uphold their end of the bargain, Israel can just gobble a little more Palestinian land, make life a little more nightmarish in the occupied lands, and carry on with its “no partner for peace” propaganda. It’s sad, because so many people on both sides desperately want peace. As long as Israel only negotiates with the Palestinians that it approves of, there will be no peace in Palestine.
The same pretty much goes for the sock puppet “governments” we have installed in Afghanistan and Iraq too. On the plus side, the USA is beyond bankrupt, and at some point simple insolvency is going to bring our fabulous foreign military adventuring to a grinding halt. Will that bring peace to the region? Snort. It will however mean far less American blood spilling on foreign shores, something I think most Americans can live with.
(The above image of a diabolically threatening Iranian speedboat is courtesy of the US Navy and is public domain under US copyright law. I mean, at least in the Gulf of Tonkin incident the North Vietnamese were in modern military patrol boats. These guys look like they are out water skiing. This is a threat to world peace?)