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THE NEWS CYCLE: EGYPT April 14, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Uncategorized.

The Israeli Government may well have been emboldened to attack the people of Gaza again, given the increased involvement of the US in the bombing/murdering campaign in Libya.

So you may be thinking that reference to murder is an overstatement. We can apparently comfortably live with “collateral damage”, given that it is mostly quiet[oops, spelling] around here, which is not to say that violence does not occur. I was not clever enough to pose the moral questions, but others have been. Of course it is quite predictable that civilians will continue to be murdered by drone attacks in Afghanistan, as will people collected in “night raids” be thrown into prison – the irony of these excesses given the grievances of the American Revolution goes beyond cultural ignorance.

Of all the countries in the Middle East and North Africa, given its population and strategic and cultural importance, Egypt is the most important. I was not aware that last Friday’s demonstrations in Tahrir Square were very large. So it it very valuable to have an on-the-ground assessment of what is going on, and the connection with developments in Gaza, such as that provided by Adam Morrow in his interview with Scott Horton.

Andrew Bracevich maintains the necessary analytical distance. He writes:

The sequence of military adventures set in motion when Jimmy Carter promulgated his Carter Doctrine back in 1980 makes for an interesting story but not a very pretty one. Ronald Reagan’s effort to bring peace to Lebanon ended in 1983 in a bloody catastrophe. The nominal victory of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which pushed Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait, produced little except woeful complications, which Bill Clinton’s penchant for flinging bombs and missiles about during the 1990s did little to resolve or conceal. The blowback stemming from our first Afghanistan intervention against the Soviets helped create the conditions leading to 9/11 and another Afghanistan War, now approaching its tenth anniversary with no clear end in sight. As for George W. Bush’s second go at Iraq, the less said the better. Now, there is Libya.

The question demands to be asked: Are we winning yet? And if not, why persist in an effort for which great pain is repaid with such little gain?

Perhaps Barack Obama found his political soul mate in Samantha Power, making her determination to alleviate evil around the world his own. Or perhaps he is just another calculating politician who speaks the language of ideals while pursuing less exalted purposes. In either case, the immediate relevance of the question is limited. The how rather than the why is determinant.

Whatever his motives, by conforming to a pre-existing American penchant for using force in the Greater Middle East, this president has chosen the wrong tool. In doing so, he condemns himself and the country to persisting in the folly of his predecessors. The failure is one of imagination, but also of courage. He promised, and we deserve something better.

If violence does not work, what does?



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