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A Rational Approach to Middle East Peace and Islamic Relations

Reader comment on item: When Conservatives Argue about Islam

Submitted by Marci (United States), Jul 9, 2007 at 12:39

It may be that the Middle East may never know peace. History tells us that the Jews have held and lost Jerusalem several times, and that internecine fighting among pre-Muslim and post-Muslim Arabs, Aryans, Hebrews, and a rolling tide of Western invaders have been unceasing since the days of the Pharohs and Babylon. Maybe its the sand, the heat, the water, or the religion. Maybe maladaption is in their genes, though the Europeans, Americans and Asians of the last century put on quite a gore show.

The bottom line is this: Are we (a) going to tame the Middle East, (b) control the Middle East, or (c) co-exist with the Middle East? I argue that, based on the repeatedly failed attempts throughout history, (a) and (b) are fools' play, as ours and Russia's experiences in the latest attempts have shown. Only (c) co-existence is feasible, and preceeding the occupation which began in the wake of the first Gulf War was a successful and relatively peaceful policy.

To wit, the trouble started with our putting troops in the Arab lands. In essence, the Arabs don't want us there, and terrorism against us--rightly or wrongly--tells us ever so plainly that this is so. So why do we stay? Are we any more secure than when we didn't have troops there? We certainly haven't accomplished (a) or (b) since being there, and we've obliterated the co-existence (c) that preceded our presence. There was no good reason to leave troops in Arab lands, despite the "invitation" to do so. We beat back Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and should have left completely. Only the belief that "once conquered, always present"--falsely fortified by our postwar policy with Germany and Japan and Korea--keeps us there. But why Germans and Japanese and Koreans tolerate our military presence in their countries cannot be the rule; in fact, their obeisance defies political logic. We would not tolerate foreign troops in our country. Even Israel does not invite us into their country. Why would we think that the Arabs would submit willingly to that humiliation?

The posting of our troops in Arab lands solves nothing and foments everything, from Kobar Towers to September 11. Our enemy tells us that, and yet we don't listen. Bin Laden's last communication said it all: Get the troops out and he will call a truce. How stubborn do we have to be to not see his point? I argue that--in lieu of taking him at his word (which I believe is good)--history and common sense will bear out that this is a sensible policy. Yes, we would leave with our tails between our legs, but wiser for the experience. We should have learned from Viet Nam, but maybe this second mistaken adventure will bring the point home once and for all. But like Viet Nam, in time the humiliations are forgotten and we end up with friendship delegations and trade. And we have to ask ourselves: what good was brought from the war and death except for the merchants of that war?

The world goes on, with or without us in foreign lands. Let us go back to the geopolitical era when we did not base troops in Arab lands. My hunch--which at this time is as good as the so-called experts in the Pentagon and White House who have made a royal mess of everything--is that it will work wonders. Arabs and Muslims everywhere will jump up and down and declare "Victory!" OK. So be it. But pretty soon they'll be knocking humbly on the door for our foreign aid, our medicines, our inventions and our trade. That will be our victory: Liberty, peace, and prosperity.


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