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Muslims have to stand up and be counted.

Reader comment on item: Hugging Iraq's Leaders
in response to reader comment: Indifference Kills

Submitted by Pat (United States), May 4, 2006 at 17:45

The Middle East has a long history of dictatorial rule. The West might be able to change things, but the US by itself is not the West. There are other countries with their own interests in the Middle East and a reason to want to keep the current setup intact and they are blocking us at every turn.

Our experience in Iraq is clear evidence that the US cannot do it alone. During the nineties we were maintaining no-fly zones in the north and south. The sanctions regime was routinely violated and the UN did nothing to stop it. In the mid-nineties the Oil-for-Food progam was set up to allow Iraq to buy food and other necessities. Only after the war did we obtain evidence that that program was also being undermined by China, Russia and France, to name a few. The UN itself was compromised. The US taxpayer was taken to the cleaners.

You didn't say exactly when the pictures of Tarawa were published, but today we don't have the option of holding back news. War is seen in real time, courtesy of the internet and cable news. There are competing news outlets with different points of view and every one of them will make sure its version gets told.

In this era of the nation-state there is nothing the US can do by itself without violating international law. We are not even allowed to protect our own borders, lest we interfere with the rights of people to move freely. Until we are attacked again on a massive scale or until we take actions that should have been taken immediately after 9/11, such as banning all private travel to the US by all Muslims anywhere in the world as long as Usama bin Laden remains at large, the rest of the world will be content to sit back and watch us founder. Thanks to the global trade regime, most of our allies have decided that tolerating tyranny is worth it, or at least that fighting it is not worth the trouble. Spain is a perfect example of the latter. Most consider the US a hothead that wants to impose its values on others. Peace at any price is their motto. The US will be expected to assume the risks and our so-called allies will expect to reap the benefits.

Look at Iran. Iran is being aided by NPT signatories like Russia and China. If there is no NPT violation, why is any of it secret? Given that the US will always be held to a different standard, I would let Tehran know the consequences of a nuclear attack on the US or any other nation and then just sit back and let them go nuclear, since the EU, the UN and the IAEA obviously see nothing to raise a fuss about. Indifference doesn't mean we are not watching. It simply means we defend ourselves first and foremost. We have the right of self-preservation. To me, part of that is keeping Muslims from entering the US for an indeterminate period. Some will say that only a small number of Muslims are fighting us and they don't represent mainstream Islam, but that ignores the fact that Usama and others couldn't function without the acquiescence of "good" Muslims. Right now, a "good" Muslim has information about Usama's or Zarqawi's whereabouts and is keeping his mouth shut. Until the "good" Muslims decide to take charge or until we exact a price from them for tolerating terrorism, there is nothing the US alone can do about the problems of the Muslim world.

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