Stop playing Russian roulette in the Middle East


The United States has a long history of involvement in the Middle East. In 1953, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected leader in Iran and installed the Shah of Iran, who brought with him the Savak — his brutal secret police. Americans have forgotten, but the Iranian people haven’t. Our recent war in Iraq cost 4,500 American and 100,000 Iraqi lives and left the country in shambles. Afghanistan? We don’t know yet — it’s a work in progress.

Our president, although a smooth talker, is sometimes an undisciplined one with rash pronouncements like “Assad must go” and foolish talk of “red lines,” statements that no experienced leader would make. Now President Obama wants to launch a war against Syria. Make no mistake: It would be an attack on a sovereign nation.

Have Obama and his advisors considered possible consequences? What consequences? Iran and Hezbollah have suggested they might attack Israel. Empty threats? Possibly. Maybe not. Our military and their families have suffered enough, and for what? We charge into one country after another whose culture and tradition we know little about. The result? Where is the democracy and freedom our leaders are always talking about?

President Obama is full of moral outrage. But here’s something interesting. After Obama was elected president in 2008, Israel launched operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip. For a month, the defenseless people were bombed and rocketed. The result, according to B’Tselem, an Israeli organization, was 1,385 dead, including 762 noncombatants. Israeli casualties? Nine dead — four by friendly fire. Could it be called a massacre? And not a peep out of President-Elect Obama. Where was his moral outrage then?

Let’s hope the American people, through Congress, will tell the president to stop playing Russian roulette in the Middle East.

Neal Newby


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