JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IS OBAMA LOSING THE MODERATE MUSLIMS? A SUMMARY OF WHAT THINGS LOOK LIKE FROM WESTERN ASIA   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL POST

“…it has provoked some American neoconservatives, previously firm friends of the Turks, into unrestrained fury.”

Neo-cons and unrestrained fury are old friends.

This group of crypto-fascists has spent years advocating virtually unrestrained use of American power, wars all over the globe, and especially in the Middle East.

Western Asia – a vast region of many proud and ancient peoples – cannot be expected to keep mildly accepting such stuff – piled high as it has been with many genuine atrocities.

Iraq was a ghastly mistake – a million killed and two or three million made exiles, and the United States didn’t even have the decency to accept a good share of the exiles. They left it to poor lands like Syria to stagger under the humanitarian burden.

Afghanistan was another ghastly mistake: only the goal of vengeance describes what has happened there. Any reasonable expectations by the U.S. of justice could have been met through diplomacy and economic pressures and police work.

Pakistan is being bombed on the flimsiest of excuses. Families and poor villagers are being murdered weekly – under Obama’s watch – in the name of trying to get a few “suspected” bad guys. The victims are in the hundreds, and it has terribly increased civil unrest in that land.

Yemen has been bombed. Recent evidence of the use of cluster bombs in the deaths of about fifty people has come to light.

Somalia has been kept under terrible pressure.

Israel has over the last few years called for attacks on Syria and Iran, buzzing the presidential palace in Damascus with jets and weekly making serious threats towards Iran.

Israel has, of course, invaded Lebanon.

It has treated an elected government and a whole people in Gaza to inhumane and anti-democratic pressure.

Somewhere in the heart of every thoughtful person in this region of the world, the idea will have occurred that American policy is just slightly skewed against them, all for the sake of a small new country of immigrants, most of whom have little sympathy with the people or traditions of the place to which they chose to migrate.

Now, most of these events, to one degree or another, center on some concept of keeping Israel going. That certainly, and not oil, was the reason for all that killing in Iraq.

The people of Western Asia are perfectly aware of that. Their views are based on what they see and hear from friends and relatives, not on the sanitized stuff seen on Fox or CNN or ABC.

And then they see Israel behaving even worse than the Somali pirates on the high seas, the pirates generally not killing any of their victims, and they see the United States saying it is just fine.

Well, it is not just fine. It is completely unacceptable.

Of course, coupled with this is everyone’s growing realization that Israel does not play by any rules but its own. It lied, cheated, and stole to build nuclear weapons. It thought nothing of sharing such weapons with a ghastly state like South Africa, all for benefit of some access to strategic materials.

It started the Six Day war to expand its territory, and continues a glacially-paced process of ethnic-cleansing to absorb those captured territories, minus their people. It steals and forges anyone’s passports over and over again to carry out murderous operations. It even ferociously attacked – a two hour assault with every weapon Israel’s air force had – a United States’ military ship in the Six Day war in an effort to drag the U.S. into the war.

And one or two of the most damaging spies in American history were Americans working on Israel’s behalf. Jonathon Pollard was perhaps the worst, yet Israel actually traded in some of the secrets he stole with the Russians and has never stopped asking for his release.

These states see Israel is always forgiven, indeed more than forgiven, Israel being the receiving end of the most extraordinary foreign aid package in history, five hundred dollars per year per Israeli, year after year after year, the virtual subsidy of a society. After all, there are many poor lands where the annual per capita income is not that large.

Erdogan has been friendly and reasonable in the past towards Israel, especially considering the fact that conservative Muslims are a large part of his secular state. But Israel’s behavior kicked him in the teeth, it having been Turkish forces (NATO) that inspected the convoy to make sure there were no weapons. Also, of course, Turkish humanitarians were on board and some were killed, others having been defamed by Israel’s early efforts afterwards to squirm out of what it had done before the eyes of the world.

What is one to make of these events, if you are a reasonable person who loves peace and democratic values?

I can only conclude Israel’s hubris and utterly unethical behavior and America’s unjust favoritism have driven the world pretty close to the brink of despair, and that likely is more keenly felt in those lands than elsewhere.

More unrest would be felt were more of these countries democracies. But many like “moderate” Egypt are hidden dictatorships, and people do not readily express their frustration and disillusion. Ironically, it is a place like undemocratic Egypt where Israel finds its best partner, while never stopping to remind everyone of how Israel is the only democracy in the region (and many might say, judging by acts rather than words, it’s a good thing there are not more such).

The Obama experience also undoubtedly adds to the great weight of these matters. With a name like his, and being the first black man elected president, Obama naturally raised new hopes for justice, and, indeed, Obama sounded good on the Mideast originally, seeming to understand that only American pressure on Israel can produce genuine peace.

But in far less than two years, all that has changed. Obama seemingly accepts every insult (Biden’s treatment on a visit) and bloody excess of Israel’s, just as Bush did, and Obama is the Commander-in-Chief whose orders see Muslims bombed in several countries.

In most important matters, Obama has proved himself little different to Bush, just a more polished and charming version.

He has left all those people with perhaps less hope than ever, a very dangerous situation.

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