Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why would somebody throw away perfectly good shoes?

There is so much on the economic front right now. Or at least there seems to be. In the end it is the same crap on a different flavor of toast. Nobody with any ability to change things seems to A) know what needs to be changed, and B) know how to use policy to influence that change. We have pressing issues that need addressed now, and a lame duck legislative process that seeks only to pass the responsibility buck to the incoming incompetents. If you want endless takes on why’s, who’s, and when’s this situation, turn into the 24 hour news cycle that seems to never stop having “breaking news”. For at least this post I am going to turn to something that was highly reported, but severely overlooked this week in the news media. The waste of good energy to throw good shoes in a country where that resource is scarce.

So George Bush attempts to take a victory lap around the Middle East. The problem is that is kind of like Abraham Lincoln taking a victory lap around the south. Hey, he “won” the war. He freed a bunch of people from their oppressive chains. I bet the locals are going to welcome him with open arms. My guess is that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t do a victory tour in the south even today. The same sensibility should have been observed by GW. But if he had that kind of sensibility, we wouldn’t have been in this situation to begin with.

However, the fact that George Bush is a moron is hardly a fresh new perspective. The question asked but never answered this week, or for that fact, since the beginning of time, is “why can’t we bring peace to the Middle East?” At the end of every president’s time they try to find something to make their legacy. The Middle East, and especially the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict has emerged as the elusive “Holy Grail” of presidential legacies. Yet all return only to ring their hands and say, “why can’t we figure this out!”

The answer is a matter of perspective. We in the west will never solve the Rubik’s Cube Middle Eastern peace because we don’t define it the same way they do. As a matter of fact, we don’t define anything the same way they do.

Some thought exercises? England, France , Germany , Spain , and even and especially the US , when you think of “what kind country is ‘X’ country?” your answer is bound to be different. When “X” is replaced with any of these countries, you might think, “modern”, “democratic”, “free”, “capitalist”, and a plethora of other words. One thing that would might show up, but low on that list is “Christian”. We just don’t identify ourselves with our spiritual leadership. THAT is where we loose the perspective on the Middle Eastern status. Another quick thought to emphasize that point. If some foreign country invaded the US, there wouldn’t be an “evangelical region”, a “catholic region”, or “the Baptist triangle”. They would meet Americans. It wouldn’t even matter if the invading force were fellow Christians; we would kill them without prejudice.

In the west our emphasis on having a separation of church and state is only rivaled and equaled by the Islamic countries’ (See that, an identity in their spirituality.) desire to regulate through their religion. We in the west value materials and tangible life. We believe in country over God, patriotism over religion, and we have more faith and allegiance in our political leaders then we do our rabbis, priests, and preachers. Weather and which is wrong or right is not the point of this article. It is just “the facts Jack.”


In the east, and many of the “3rd world” communities around the world, a completely different flow of order exists. Where in the west we have a top down system of rules, the rugged loose fitting communities of the areas we identify as the most “problematic” are made up of communities that enforce laws from the bottom up. Our federal laws supersede our state laws. Our state laws supersede our city laws. Our city laws supersede laws laid down by our parents and our family leaders. This is 180 degrees different then a place like Afghanistan where tribal leaders hold more weight then national icons. In places like these spiritual leaders set interpret and set rules for the “family”. The state and local governments negotiate with the tribal leaders to form coalitions. The federal government seems only able to perform such activities as provide aid and step in to solve disputes between clans. Their inherent allegiances to their own tribes and spiritual ideologies often form conflicts of interest.

In the 1920’s Great Britain forced 3 major regions to become one country and called it Iraq. In the late 40’s the west paved the way for Israel to become a festering splinter in the side of the whole Middle East. History, especially recent history, is littered with the horrendous result of the west trying to force its moral perspective on the east. Since they are not a very unified culture, they are usually easily divided and corrupted.

Because we are a stable, rooted, “here and now” driven individuals, there is now way we, our politicians, and certainly not our soldiers can understand a flexible, nomadic, afterlife driven mentality. This is why no president can or will ever achieving that most prized of legacies. They don’t understand the complexity of what they seek, let alone a realistic plan to attain it. In the end our concern for their peace is driven solely by our own selfish need to have a stable and rooted entity to buy oil from.

So if GW wants to know why he is dodging shoes from the people he “liberated” this is it. These people didn’t want “liberating”. At least not all of them. If you had given them the choice of living under the oppressive rule of Saddam Hussein or having their friends, family, and countrymen murdered on a daily basis, many would choose to love under the oppression. Which they really didn’t find all that oppressive to begin with. Besides, Saddam would have been able to oppress them if the US hadn’t given him money, weapons, and training to begin with.

2 comments:

AnarchyJack said...

Your history of Iraq is correct. However, that history of three separate ethnic groups (Kurds, Arabs and Turks) also involves a complex mix of rivaling theological cultures. It was like trying to make meatloaf with cuts of steak, salmon and duck, without grinding any of the meat. It made a mess and, sadly, only Sadaam Hussein had the political will to toss the most "hard to manage" parts of Iraq into a meat grinder--both literally and figuratively. And the U.S. didn't seem to mind, as long as it meant cheap oil. As you will recall, that all changed with the advent of Kuwait and the resulting conflict.

I have a slightly different perspective on Muntather al-Zaidi's shoe toss.

Let me know what you think.

Lord of Logic said...

AngryJack,

I agree. I had pointed this out in a few different post back near the beginning of this exercise. The English chick that was the keystone to the whole creation of Iraq eventually killed herself after seeing the catastrophe she had arranged.

I not only remember that Saddam not only instigated the US aggression by invading Kuwait and threatening the region, but that he also got the US to back down partly because he threatened to light every one of his own fields on fire. "Whoa Saddam, let's not do anything rash. You know we need that we need your oil to survive."

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