The View From 1776
Saturday, December 30, 2006
A Reader’s Review of American Foreign Policy
A reader sees American foreign policy since World War II as a series of failures in judgment, concluding with Afghanistan and Iraq. The focal point of our policy today, he believes, should be supporting Israeli actions to defeat Hezbollah in Lebanon and then turning all our forces upon Osama Bin Ladin.
Israel Steps Up When The United States Steps Down
By Lewis Lafontaine
??He follows his father, but with shorter strides. ?Virgil
??The President of the United States has acknowledged that things are “bad” in Iraq. The United States chose to invade Iraq believing that the Iraqis abandon Sharia Law which has served Islam well for hundreds of years in favor of a Western style of democracy. This endeavor is doomed to failure.
It is time for the United States to recognize some fundamental facts about Islam.??Jesus was crucified by the Romans and subsequent to his death Peter, his fellow Apostles and followers were relentlessly persecuted by Rome until the conversion to Christianity of the Emperor Constantine in the year 313. From the advent of Christianity Church and State were separated. This separation was exacerbated with the advent of the Protestant Reformation which resulted in many schisms within Christendom and hundreds of years of violence.
In the year 610, Muhammad reported receiving the words of the God from the Archangel Gabriel and wrote them down in what became known as the Koran. Several years later Muhammad and his followers would conquer Mecca in battle thereby uniting Church and State. The Islamic nation state was founded as a Theocracy. Unlike in the West the separation of Church and State is a historically and culturally alien concept within Islam.
The concepts of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are as foreign to Moslems as the concepts of Sharia Law and Fiqh are to Christians.
There are many Islamic nations. Among them are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Niger, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Syria. While all of these countries are predominately Moslem Islam is not a monolith. The nations of Islam are as historically, culturally and linguistically diverse as their Christian counterparts of Argentina, Armenia, Belgium Botswana, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, East Timor, Finland, Greece, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Ukraine, and the United States.
Take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then if they turn away seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take no friend nor helper from among them ~ Sura 4:89
At the death of the Prophet Mohammed a schism developed between Sunnis and Shiites over the legitimate successor to Mohammed. The depth of this schism between Shiites and Sunnis must not be underestimated and ought to be used to the advantage of the United States. In the Koran there are indeed admonitions for faithful Moslems to attack the Crusader (Christian) and the Jew but more importantly the Prophet Mohammed condemned the Apostate of Islam as a greater sinner than either Crusader or Jew.
??Approximately 85% of all Muslims are Sunni and Sunnis are the dominate population of Saudis Arabia, Egypt and most other Arab nations. Sunnis are also the majority in non-Arab Turkey and Afghanistan. Sunni Muslims constitute most of the Palestinian Muslim population.
??Iran is the only nation with an overwhelmingly dominate Shiite population. Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain have large Shiite populations. The mixture of Sunni and Shiite populations in Iraq and Lebanon and the fact that they view each other as Apostates goes far in explaining the secular violence in these respective countries.
??hu?bris NOUN: Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance: There is no safety in unlimited technological hubris (McGeorge Bundy).
??Since 1945 the possession of the Bomb and the existence of oceans separating us from potential enemies in Europe and Asia gave us a false sense of security and invulnerability.
??The United States began to fight “politically correct” wars and settled for a truce in what was referred to as a “police action” in Korea. Today after giving billions of dollars in “aid” to North Korea this third member of the so-called axis of evil possesses the bomb.
??The United States left South Vietnam after 50,000 Americans died. Communist Vietnamese regiments halted the genocide of Pol Pot in Cambodia and went home. A unified communist Vietnam did not conquer any of its neighbors. The ?domino theory? did not materialize at the conclusion of the war. North Vietnam did not change its politics but now enjoys Most Favored Nation status and will soon be admitted to the World Trade Organization.
??The United States under President Carter experienced months of “malaise” while U.S. citizens were held hostage in our own Embassy in Iran and did nothing. The United States during the Reagan Administration did nothing when 200 marines died at the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Clinton Administration stood idly by as our embassies were bombed in Africa and a Somali thug and his militia killed our airmen. The United States did nothing when the U.S. Cole was bombed. An earlier era would have proclaimed: ?Remember the Cole.?
??Another “Super Power”, the Soviet Union, went to war in Afghanistan and lost in this poverty stricken third world country. The United States financed, trained and equipped the Afghan Mujahideen including the Arab Al-Qaida fighters under Osama Bin Laden. The U.S. celebrated this loss by the “Evil Empire” but failed to understand why the Soviets had lost. The U.S. State Department and Department of Defense failed to learn as the British had in an earlier century: “You can rent an Afghan but you cannot buy one.” Had the United States recognized this truism it would have used its own forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban at Torah Bora rather than outsourcing the job out to Afghan warlords.
??Like the Soviet Union the United States boasts of capturing Afghan cities and destroying enemy infrastructure. This ignores the fact that Afghanistan has no infrastructure and is not an urban based society. The traditional Mongol method of warfare has always been not to face the enemy in all out battle but ever to retreat and bide their time. Mongols have always surrendered their cities. Mobility, terror and defeating the will of the enemy were the greatest weapons for the Mongols and are the weapons they are using today.
??In addition the Afghans are experiencing bumper crops in the growth of poppies which are finding their way into Western Europe and the United States. The U.S. does nothing to destroy the cultivation of poppies. The U.S. is a long way from victory in Afghanistan and the War on Drugs.
??This history of a failed foreign policy crosses all party lines. While the United States faces the grave threat of chemical and/or nuclear attack upon our soil both republicans and democrats demonize each other. They are like the two lepers who continuously ague with each other over who has the most fingers left.
Prior to the United States choosing to go to war with Iraq Saddam Hussein (a Sunni) represented a buffer that protected the Shiites of the Arabian Peninsula as well as the Jewish State of Israel from aggression by the Shiite dominated Iran. The tragedy of the United States first pre-emptive war in its history is that in geopolitical terms the United State broke what was not broken. Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida with support from the Taliban in Afghanistan attacked the United States and not Saddam Hussein.
??As a matter of fact Osama Bin Laden despised Saddam Hussein. When Kuwait was invaded by Saddam, Osama begged the Saudis not to allow permanent U.S. Military bases on the Arabian Peninsula that would be used to evict Saddam from Kuwait. Osama offered his mujahideen forces that had already defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan to defeat Saddam and liberate Kuwait.
??Osama is a Sunni who was born in Yemen but raised in Saudi Arabia. He is a devout Sunni who considers the secular Sunni Saddam Hussein an abomination. As a Sunni Osama also has a natural antipathy towards the Shiite Iran. The Saudi Arabian refusal to accept Osama’s offer to fight in behalf of the Saudis against Saddam prompted Osama’s flight to Afghanistan from Saudi Arabia.
??The United States would renege on its promise to abandon its military bases in Saudi Arabia at the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. This would cement the hatred Osama Bin Laden has of the United States and the Saudi house of Fahd since in the Koran Mohammed prohibits the establishment of any foreign military forces on the Arabian Peninsula.
??Americans should note that there was never an Islamic attack upon a U.S. embassy, vessel or American soil until after the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases upon the soil of the Arabian Peninsula.
??A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.~Joseph Stalin
??Saddam Hussein is an unsavory character but a breath of fresh air compared to Josef Stalin who was an invaluable ally to the United States in defeating Nazi Germany or to the Ottoman Turks who ruled Iraq for over 350 years.
??Americans forget that Saddam made his bones fighting Iran from 1980-1988. It was Saddam who fought the Ayatollah Khomeini. In the first four years of war with Iran Saddam Hussein suffered 250,000 dead troops. He would lose nearly 500,000 by wars end. In comparison the United States has had fewer than 3000 casualties in four years of war in Iraq.
??Saddam hated Israel but he hated the Apostate Iranians even more. A great irony is the fact that had Saddam possessed WMD he would have been far more likely to have used them against Iran than the United States. This is fundamental to understanding how to “fix” Iraq.
??Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one ~Karl Marx
??The United States will never gain a military and political victory in Iraq using its current mode of fighting. Victory with reliance upon high tech weaponry and the avoidance of a high body count (of U.S. forces and the enemy civilian population) is doomed to failure. Like the Battle of Stalingrad only the use of overwhelming force i.e. the firebombing of Baghdad and Fallujah can assure a military victory.
??As in post war Germany and Japan military victory would need to be followed up by a 21st century Marshall Plan giving billions of dollars in economic reconstruction aid to Iraq once the enemy has unconditionally surrendered. Inexplicably the United States currently spends billions of dollars in taxpayer?s money reconstructing enemy territory before the enemy has surrendered.
??Reconstruction of Iraqi cities includes those controlled by Muqtada al-Sadr. This is the same Shiite militia leader who killed a number of U.S. military personnel in Fallujah and still has an outstanding Iraqi warrant charging him with murder. Saudi Arabia whose very existence the United States protects from Iranian aggression pays nothing towards the war effort. Meanwhile millions of Americans pay three dollars a gallon for gasoline produced from Saudi oil.
??America has also pledged aid to Lebanese cities and town bombed by Israel. This aid is given despite the fact the Hezbollah has not surrendered or abandoned the areas being rebuilt.
??Prior to 1945 the United States never lost a war. The Civil war was won with the burning of Atlanta. Dresden and Cologne were firebombed in Germany. The dropping of “Little Boy” on Hiroshima and “Fat Man” on Nagasaki brought Japan to her knees. Civilian casualties inflicted upon enemies of the United States have always been crucial in attaining victory. Since 1945 the United States has fought “politically correct” wars and consequently has never won.
??Nuclear War is and will be an ever present danger in the world but the Wars since 1945 have not been nuclear. They have been modeled after the Battle of Stalingrad I.e. All out urban, or in the case of Vietnam, Jungle warfare. This is an important lesson for America and Europe to internalize since the riots in French cities last summer by Moslem dissidents are probably a forerunner of the urban warfare that will infest Europe in years to come. They are patterned after the battles of Stalingrad, Baghdad and Beirut.
??Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war. ? John Adams
??Initially the rationale for choosing to go to war with Iraq was to destroy weapons of mass destruction. There were no weapons of mass destruction and faulty intelligence from the CIA was blamed. It was George Tenant who headed the CIA under both Clinton and Bush Administrations guaranteed the existence of WMD in Iraq.
??Shortly after President Bush chose to go to war in Iraq George Tenant received the highest civilian honor this nation can bestow: The Medal of Freedom. With over 2500 dead American soldiers and billions of taxpayer dollars spent one can only wonder at the mockery of bestowing such an honor upon Mr. Tenant.
??The United States must reestablish a buffer between the Arabian Peninsula including Israel in order to prevent military aggression from Iran. To do this the United States must abandon the fantasy of democracy in Iraq and reinstate a Sunni strongman to bring order to Iraq and stand up against Iran.
??President Bush boasts of millions of Iraqis voting in ?democratic? elections. Democratic elections have also been held among the Palestinians and in Lebanon. Hamas won Palestinian elections and Hezbollah won a large block of seats in the Lebanese Parliament. Does the United States have any realistic reason to believe that its enemies will not win democratic elections in Iraq?
??The outcome of War is a most uncertain thing. ~Queen Elizabeth I
??This would bring us full circle back to the geopolitical position in Iraq prior to the U.S. intervention of troops. While an eminently practical solution geopolitically this would be a poison pill domestically for the Bush Administration to swallow.
??There is a second alternative to “fixing” Iraq but the second alternative demands that the makers of U.S. foreign policy and the American public ask a most provocative question: Why does the United States need to fight and die in Iraq to protect Israel?
??It was in our power to cause the Arab governments to renounce the policy of strength toward Israel by turning it into a demonstration of weakness. ~ Moshe Dayan
??The mid-term elections served as a mandate by the American people demanding the United States remove or substantially reduce its military forces from Iraq. This will create a power vacuum and it is an axiom of international politics that power vacuums are always filled. The question is: Will the power vacuum be filled by Iran or by a nation state that supports the interests of the United States?
??Prior to the mid-term elections in the United States Israel had two of its soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah forces based in Lebanon and subsequently endured missile attacks by Hezbollah forces across the Israeli border with Lebanon.
??Israel retreated ignominiously from Lebanon. Israel did not even attain the most minimal goal of the release of their soldiers who were taken hostage by Hezbollah. The Israeli retreat was due partly to the ferocious fight put up by Hezbollah fighters and in part by pressure from the United States insisting that Israel not be the catalyst for a wider war in the Middle East.
??This is the same Israel who defeated several Arab armies in the 7 Day War. This humiliating defeat on the part of Israel and the inability of the United States to win in Iraq is a source of great succor to our enemies. Imagine: Two nuclear Super Powers unable to defeat largely uneducated insurgents who possess no nuclear weapons, tanks, planes, navy or high tech equipment. This is truly shock and awe!!!
??The mid-term elections in the United States changed the dynamics of the Israeli-American relationship. If the United States cannot establish a situation in Iraq where the Iraqis step up so the United States can step down then it is time for Israel to step up so the United States can step down.
??We always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon - no alternative. ~Golda Meir
??The kidnapped Israeli soldiers have not been released by Hezbollah. Hezbollah is reconstructing its missile sites and reinforcing its military forces and bunker positions in Lebanon. The Israelis have witnessed both the winning of over 30 seats in the Lebanese Parliament by Hezbollah and tens of thousands of Hezbollah supporters demonstrating in Beirut for the overthrow of the current Lebanese government which is supportive of the interests of the United States.
??Israel must bring their kidnapped soldiers home to Israeli soil either alive or in body bags. Israel cannot allow Lebanon to fall into the hands of Hezbollah. The very survival of Israel as a nation would be threatened if the Shiite Crescent extended uninterrupted from Tehran continuously through Lebanon to the Israel’s northern border.
??Israel must destroy Hezbollah. Hopefully this can be done with the active support of the Lebanese Maronite, Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic Christians and the tacit support of the Sunni and Druze Moslems in Lebanon and thereby establishing a secure Lebanon which would constitute a buffer against potential Iranian aggression. This objective will only be obtained by the shedding of Israeli blood. Israel is not unfamiliar with the concept of Blood Atonement.
??With the elimination of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the removal or substantial reduction of U.S. troops from Iraq the Iraqis will be forced to make a decisive decision: Make peace with each other or to annihilate each other.
??The United States would then be free to focus on the destruction of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It is a known fact that members of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban operate in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan.
??With the United States preoccupied in Iraq the government of Pakistan has negotiated a treaty with the warlords of northwestern Pakistan in which the Pakistani government agrees not to send troops into northwestern Pakistan to attack Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
??Adding insult to injury, Pakistan who ostensibly is an American ally refuses to allow U.S. troops into northwestern Pakistan to attack forces of Al-Qaeda or of the Taliban. In essence Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have safe refuge in Pakistan. Remarkably there is little outrage from the American public over this farcical situation.
??Once free of the yoke that is Iraq the United States must focus on the destruction of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. This is an imperative objective since there is an ever present danger of a coup occurring in Pakistan that would install militant Islamists in power of a nation possessing nuclear weaponry. This would have a chilling impact not only upon the United States but impact the relationship between Pakistan and India.
??The American and Israeli public opinion must support this objective since they cannot afford to lose the War on Terror.
??If we lose the battle with Crassus and Pompey I won’t need a horse, and if we win, we’ll be riding Cilician ships from Brundesium. ~Frankel