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PEACE: Foreign Policy & Terrorism | December 25, 2001




An Essay in My Christmas Newsletter 

The three complaints against the US most often heard in the Middle East are 1) We back Israel, which oppresses the Palestinians; 2) We enforce sanctions against Iraq, which have killed 500,000 children; and 3) We do business with and prop up repressive regimes.

Well, when the UN formed the modern state of Israel, as a refuge for Jews, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the Palestinians were invited to join in. They refused. Later, surrounding Arabic states waged war on Israel. They lost. Then, terrorists tried to drive the Israelis into the sea. They failed. In 2000, the Israelis made enormous concessions at the peace table. The Palestinians turned them down cold, then went on a violent rampage. The Israelis defend themselves as best they can, by hunting down those who direct the terror. Israel is the only democratic government in the region. We support them, proudly.

Next -- after it was expelled from Kuwait, Iraq was subjected to international sanctions, until it could be confirmed that it had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction. However, from the very beginning, Iraq was permitted to sell oil to provide food and medicine for its people. After initially refusing to cooperate, their President Saddam Hussein went along with the plan; but he used the profits not for humanitarian purposes but for rebuilding his many palaces and undoubtedly for restarting his chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, after he threw out the UN weapons' inspectors. And as luxuries flow into Iraq through loopholes in the sanctions and via the black market, the poor indeed want for the basic necessities of life. But Saddam, like all good dictators, blames an external bogeyman, the US.

Finally, virtually every nation requires trade to survive. We did not create the governments in the Middle East; and if we were to claim their countries as our own, in order to raise their standards of civil liberties to our own, we would be roundly condemned as "imperialists". Our country is not perfect; none is. But the alternative offered by our enemies was the inept, inhuman dictatorship of the Taliban, stooges of Al Q'ida.

Where's the beef?!

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