AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File
No Fly Zone
So says the "leader" of the "free world."
I agree. There should be a no fly zone in Libya: The United States military should NOT fly anywhere near that country.
But too late now.
The Arab world has roundly condemned the United States' Middle East policies for decades. Even when I lived in Saudi Arabia in the mid-1970's, there wasn't much love for Americans in the Arab world. I'd say that we were, at best, tolerated. Perhaps the US was the least of the Cold War evil empires during that period, with Anwar Sadat having ended Egypt's love fest with the Soviet Union in 1972.
But dictatorships aside, the US presence in the Middle East in general, and Saudi Arabia in particular, has probably been more of a stabilizing force in that part of the world than we realize or than anyone else cares to admit. And that's not saying much.
Radical Islam was in full force throughout the world then and years prior. It's only in the past 20 years or so that we in the West have begun to open our eyes to those dangers. It's my not so humble opinion that most Americans still don't quite grasp the seriousness of radical Islamic movements, and many simply don't care.
The fact is, we are immersed in two ugly wars with people who culturally, spiritually, and politically don't like us. And if that's not bad enough, our government has now drawn us into yet another military conflict in the Arab world, under the auspices of an "international coalition" that makes it sound A-OK. "International coalition" should be stricken from the lexicon of our political discourse. Forever.
No good can come out of this latest US military exercise in Libya. None.
We're told that we are helping these "rebels" overthrow madman Gaddafi. And a madman he most certainly is. But just who are the rebels? What will THAT government look like? A tolerant, socially progressive power structure dedicated to civility, peace, and civil rights? Or will the Muslim Brotherhood, a group partially responsible for the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, try to portray themselves as "moderate" peacemakers in Libya and other countries?
Please. Review history. And stop believing the nonsense that's being spewed that these rebellions in the Arab world are "pro-democracy" movements that will lead to freedom throughout the Middle East. The recent violent actions taken by the Saudi military against the Shiite uprising in the Saudi Arabian city of al-Qatif were not designed to stop democracy: They were taken to stop pro-Iranian Shiite radicals from gaining power on the Arabian peninsula.
During my years in Saudi Arabia, I had to drive through al-Qatif several times a week, between my company's office in Dammam and my work site in Jubail, about an hour and a half north. Qatif was our stopping place in between for food and gas. What you probably never read in your papers in those days was that these Shiite uprisings were being staged even then, in the mid to late 1970's. And they were always violently squashed by the Saudi military.
Today, nothing much has changed except that these radical groups have much faster communication networks and more money and arms to stage uprisings throughout the Middle East and other areas of the world. Democracy be damned!
Arab League of Nations
So I say let the League of Arab Nations, a group that has given the coalition the green light to impose the no fly zone, police their own sand box.
Let the former colonial overlords, the Italians, help these peace loving Libyan rebels. Let the British and French, both of whom from time to time were colonial administrators in Libya, punish the madman. After all, the French have a long history of slipping out the back door of their colonial digs at the first sign of trouble. It's time France get a backbone and help save the world for a change.
And it's time the people of the United States get a fly swatter and smack the next politician who suggests we start another military adventure.
Wake up, citizens of the United States. Stop believing that by planting the seeds of democracy, and winning hearts and minds, the world will become a more peaceful place.
None of this is about democracy.
It never was.
Rick B. Baker
March 22, 2011
©2011 by R. Burnett Baker