It is time to finally admit it: America’s Middle Eastern wars, now in their 17th year and counting, are Vietnam 2.0, except in many ways they are worse. Setting aside the disparity in casualties between the two wars (Vietnam was about six times worse), the Middle Eastern wars are more poorly conceived, less necessary, and much more deleterious to American interests, both short and long term, than the Vietnam war had ever been. The war in Vietnam was part and parcel of the struggle against Soviet and Chinese expansionism and a check on their drive for ideological supremacy. In that sense, it was a war against totalitarianism and in support of freedom. Letting communist puppet regimes such Hanoi gain the upper hand and obliterate their more western-oriented neighbors unopposed would have been an unacceptable show of weakness on America’s part. Additionally, the Vietnam war came on the heels of the successful defense by the US of South Korea, an operation that would have been every bit as vilified today as the Vietnam war, had it proven equally unsuccessful. Many factors combined to defeat the American defense of its South Vietnamese allies; the corruption and ineptitude of the South Vietnamese regime as contrasted with the organic populist nature of the North Vietnamese led by the popular Ho Chi Ming, the newly acquired distaste by the new generation of Americans for war and its inevitable casualties, the weakening American economy, the new (for that time) American dependence on Middle Eastern oil, to name but a few. But the rationale for the war was solid; it made sense for its time. In contrast, the 21st century wars in the Middle East have always been based on a false premise, a premise that was more political daydreaming and wishful thinking than level-headed threat analysis.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks were the results of gross negligence by the Clinton administration followed by more of the same form the new GW Bush government. Misidentifying the root cause of the attack as the lack of democracy in certain Middle Eastern countries like Afghanistan rather than admitting to the true cause, which clearly was the rise of radical Islam and continued American meddling in the Middle East, America went to war against a country, Afghanistan, that played no role in the attack other than harboring its mastermind, Osama Bin Laden. As is well-known, the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated mostly by Saudi citizens and funded mostly by Saudi money. Intelligence and operational support was provided by Pakistan. So why has America attacked Afghanistan, a country that if it played any role at all in the attacks, it was clearly a tertiary one? The answer is simple: an attack on Pakistan was unthinkable because it was a nuclear power and an attack on Saudi Arabia was equally unthinkable because it was a major supplier of oil to the United States and a supposed ally against Iran. Why wasn’t radical Islam identified as the true culprit? Unfortunately, we all know the answer: because it was politically unpalatable to the American establishment to do so. The American establishment, both Democratic and Republican decided sometime in the early 1990’s that unchecked immigration from third world countries, including Muslim countries was necessary for its continued hold on power and the development in America of a European-style underclass of cheap laborers who perform menial tasks without integrating into the rest of society and thus without ever experiencing any upward mobility. Declaring radical Islam as the true culprit behind the first and second attacks on the World Trade Center, would have necessitated that actions be taken against unchecked Muslim immigration and certain controls put in place to monitor the activities of Muslim immigrants already in the country and even Muslims on work and student visas. This would have been the correct, cheap, and effective response to the terror attacks on American interests at home and abroad by radicalized Muslims. But it was not the response that was needed by the establishment.
Far from it. In a move whose cynicism is difficult to comprehend, the powers that be in America decided to leverage the 9/11 attacks to gain the political support needed for an unprecedented growth in the size of the federal government, including the creation of the behemoth Department of Homeland Security. Not being satisfied with this alone, they decided that it would be a good idea to further increase government spending by engaging in a series of unending wars starting with the “soft” target of Afghanistan and continuing through Iraq where GW Bush had a personal vendetta to settle. The resulting wave of regional destabilization, human misery, loss of American blood and treasure, and waves of migrants posing the first existential threat to Western civilization since the 1683 siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks, define our world today and not for the better. Israel’s security was undermined by American elites’ greed and selfishness arguably more than that of any other country since Operation Iraqi Freedom, if it succeeded in anything at all, succeeded in freeing Iran from the need to worry about its arch-enemy Iraq and allowed it to focus all of its considerable vitriol and messianic hate on Israel.
It is particularly galling that the ideological foundation for the elites’ policies, be they unchecked migration from third world countries of the ridiculous notion that America was threatened because certain countries did not enjoy a representative form of government was developed by a group of people who were as idle as they were useless, collectively known as “neocons”. Many, if not most of these people, unfortunately, were American Jews who never ceased to proclaim their support for Israel. Thomas Friedman, a charter member of this group, though ostensibly not a conservative new or old, ridiculously declared that “democracies do not go to war with each other” and hence all that needed to be done was impose, at gunpoint, mind you, a democratic system of government on a few Middle Eastern countries and voila! no more Middle Eastern terror. The fact that democracies develop over centuries and only in those countries that are composed of highly empowered individuals rather than fanatically religious tribesmen, never seemed to bother Mr. Friedman and his followers. Neither did the fact that democracies have never been externally imposed. In fact the whole concept of a democracy imposed by a foreign entity has only one precedent in history: that of Japan and anyone who, like me, knows both Japan and the Middle East can attest that no two cultures are more diametrically opposed in any way possible. Finally and strangely, the democracy as war stopping measure was to be applied only to those countries, like Iraq, that did not attack the United States and spared from those, like Saudi Arabia that did.
It is inevitable that the United States withdraws its forces from the Middle East; from Syria, from Afghanistan, from Iraq, from all of it. The how and how quickly remains to bee seen. Hopefully, the shameful scenes of the Vietnam rout with the Hueys being pushed overboard from aircraft carriers to make room for new escapees will not repeat themselves. The damage had been done, the blood shed, the money wasted, the towns and villages destroyed, and most dangerously, a lasting hatred of America was planted in an already fertile soil where it will inevitably grow. There is no happy end, no redemption. There is only one glimmer of hope that this unimaginable and completely avoidable fiasco will once and for all spell the doom of the Clintons and the Bushes, and the rest of the inbred, ossified, inhuman and inhumane American establishment and return the power to where it belongs: the American people, .