Saturday, March 19, 2011

No exit from the House of Mirrors

Let’s face it, the Middle East is a house of mirrors, and American foreign (and military) policy is lost in it.

Worse, there’s no such thing as an exit map from such a place.

Illusion becomes reality.

So we have the Obama administration calling for military action in Libya where the nation’s leader is attacking his own people.

But over in Bahrain and Yemen, where the exact same thing is happening, the administration is virtually silent.

The reason is that the rulers of Bahrain and Yemen are our “allies,” while Col. Muammar Qaddafi is an armed-to-the-teeth nut case.

Never mind that Libya is cross-hatched with ethnic rivalries certain to dictate a patchwork outcome of any outside intervention. It’s the same kind of intractable division we found in Iraq.

In Sunni-controlled Bahrain, the subtext is the Sunni-Shia chasm, our Persian Gulf Naval base, and our oil reliance on the Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia. The Saudi king is now playing ruthless enforcer against Shia protestors in Bahrain. Saudia Arabia, whose king casts billions around like so much loose change, is also a key player in the festering Isaeli-Palestinian stalemate.

In Yemen, the stated concern seems to be a rising Al Qaeda presence. Visions of 9/11. Scary stuff. It all seems a bit facile. But who knows?

Meanwhile, what’s going on in Egypt and Tunisia, where this all began? And what about Iran, the great non-Arab Shia counterweight to Saudi Arabia?

And, last but certainly not least, if we are on the side of democracy, how can we support (and arm) monarchies?

The deeper you are drawn into the halls of the House of Mirrors, the more lost you become.

It may not help us mere morals out of this morass, but if you want to understand our so-called foreign policy, you could do worse than start with oil (and protection of our access to it), multi-national oil companies (read: money and political clout) and a nuclear-armed, PR powered, morally conflicted Israel, which is its own house of mirrors.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Speakng the truth takes a hit as Crowley resigns

The State Department's chief spokesman P.J. Crowley has resigned over fall-out from his criticizing the abhorrent military prison treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks leaker.

Can there be any doubt that he was ordered to resign? If Crowley's resignation wasn't invited by the Administration, why didn't Secretary of State Hillary Clinton simply refuse to accept it?

Note that the BBC calls Crowley's remarks a "gaffe" in its headline. Since when is the truth a "gaffe"? Watch how this story is slanted in the media.

What message is the Obama administration sending public servants who want to level with the American people?

Crowley, who served in the Air Force for 26 years, was clearly not willing to accept the Administration's line that Manning's treatment at the Marine brig at Quantico is acceptable. Manning, who has not yet been tried, reportedly has been ordered to sleep naked in his cell, has been shackled and is in virtual solitary confinement.

Our "commander-in-chief" is clearly taking his orders from a military that, astonishingly, hasn't change its inhumane Abu Ghraib ways.

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