Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Managing Calm vs Root Causes

Last week, in response to a reporter’s question about what happened to America’s clout in the Mideast as the Israel/Lebanon war continues unabated, George Bush gave the following response:

Bush: It’s an interesting period because instead of having foreign policies based upon trying to create a sense of stability, we have a foreign policy that addresses the root causes of violence and instability. For awhile, American foreign policy was just, let’s hope everything is calm — manage calm. But beneath the surface brewed a lot of resentment and anger that was manifested on September the 11th.

So apparently in Bush’s world view, our invasion of Iraq and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon are designed to address the root causes of resentment and anger of Islamic terrorists. That “managing calm” thing that Clinton tried to do only created a “sense of stability”. He should have been dropping bombs and occupying countries.

Man, if only we had realized this earlier. All that love that Muslims are now directing toward us because of our hard work on root causes could have been ours years earlier. :)

For the record, I am all for addressing root causes. But raining violence down upon entire countries is quite the opposite of addressing root causes, unless your goal is to solve the problem by killing everyone who opposes you.

Maybe Bush should actually try to understand why they hate us. Hint: it isn't because we love freedom. Here's a slice of a speech given by Osama bin Laden in Oct 2004. He may be full of it, but this is how he recruits people. Root causes indeed.

The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorized and displaced.

I couldn't forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.

The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn't include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn't respond.

In those difficult moments many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.

And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.


KFingtree said...

Being an open minded person; I have paid attention and listened to heads of states and so called leaders through these years. When comparing soundbites,reasonings,statements etc. of George W Bush and Osama Bin Laden, I have often painfully found that Osama's words have a validity and a purpose that GW's fail to trump. It's a sad testimony to realize this reality. Mabye were not the good guys after all, it certainly can be argued from their perspective legitimately.

Brownie said...

"All that love that Muslims are now directing toward us because of our hard work on root causes could have been ours years earlier."

It *has* been ours throughout the years. Arab/Muslim hatred of the west did not start when Dubya came into office. Think back, and you should realize they hated us well before the Lebanon civil war.

The roots of their hatred begin with the British Empire when it ruled the middle east, in almost its entirety, at the beginning of the 20th century. They tried desperately to gain Hitler's favor during WWII, though he declined to help them, so they could get out from under British rule. And eventually they did acheive home rule as the colonial powers of the UK crumbled in the post-war era.

Then they found they had a new enemy: Israel. Their hatred of the Jews is matched only by the likes of Hitler and Eichman. And countries like Iran, Syria, Afghanistan (under the Taliban) and organizations like Hezbollah, Fatah and the PLO, have all publicly sworn to destroy the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Haven't THEY suffered enough? Was the Holocaust not enough? If anyone has the understandable right to HATE it's the Jews. Yet they do not wage wars of agression. Theirs are wars of self defense. Israel has, since it's birth (accomplished through UN charter) suffered through unprovoked wars (the '48 war, the six day war of '67, the Yom Kippur war in '73, etc.) waged by countries bent on their complete annihilation.

And through all of this, Israel has had no greater ally than the US. If there is a root cause, I believe it is this. The fanatics wish to finish Hitler's work and destroy the Jewish race once and forever. And the US refuses to discontinue its support of Israel in the face of this race hatred.

So why have the Arabs had to suffer through so much over the years? Well, frankly they're picking on the wrong kid. Israel does not wish to rule the middle east or destroy every Muslim or Arab (despite the fact the inverse is true). But they are, in my opinion, morally justified to fight back. And they are fighting for their very existence, not oil profits or overseas "interests", so if they fight back with the intent to win, no matter the cost to the enemy, then I will not blame them. If innocents die at Isreali hands in these wars of self-defense, then I would blame those who started the war, not those who are lucky to have survived the 1940's.

Let me quote the man: "He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword."
Now Joshua (or Jesus if you like, which was not his name, rather a English mistranslation, Thanks to King James) said this, I believe, to urge Peter not to become wrathful or full of hatred for those he knew were leading him to his death. It's a lesson the radical Muslims would be well to learn: set aside your wrath and hatred and just live.

I heard an interesting idea the other day, and it brought a lot of this into sharp focus. It goes something like this...

What do you think would happen to Israel if they simply layed down all their arms and became complete and utter pacifists? They would be innihilated.
What do you think would happen if the radical Arab Muslims suddenly layed down all their arms and became pacifists? We would have peace.

It seems a little simplistic. But to be honest, I think that is exactly what would happen.

Root causes? One need look no farther then the boundries of one's own heart. If one plants the seeds of hatred, so shall it be reaped.


Anonymous said...

Nice history lesson Mr. Staley. Quite impressive brownie! To much information, I prefer the dubya approach, it's so much easier to understand than all of that snobbish blah blah blog one up, one up, one up 'n' stuff. Give me those classic history making simple diplomacy comments like; "Bring em' on". They have a managing calm about them with substance/alcohol abuse root causes.

KFingtreenotanonymous said...

I just had a history making dubya moment myself, I failed to apply my name to the guest comment........hehehehehehehe

Dan S said...

KFing, you are treading on some mighty dangerous waters, in trying to understand our enemies. Shame on you for being such a traitor.

Brownie, the middle east conflict all goes back to Europeans and Americans giving away land that wasn't theirs. That's what makes it so intractable. If only Palenstinians didn't want their land back, then yes, there would be peace.

I think at this point, most people would be happy if Israel went back to their 1967 borders. They have built a big dividing wall that is basically a land grab, and which prevents palenstians even the basic rights of movement. No peace can come from a situation like that.

But, I freely admit I have no easy answers here. Only that violence begets violence begets violence begets violence begets violence.

Brownie said...

"If only Palenstinians didn't want their land back, then yes, there would be peace."

I think it goes much deeper than this (see above tome). I think it's no longer about land, it's just plain old hatred now.

If everyone in history who'd had land taken from them was today continually trying to get it back via force of arms, then the entire world would be aflame (coming soon to a theatre near you).


Dan S said...

You seem to be rather cavalier about legitimate claims of people stealing land. They may or may not have hated them before, but that doesn't justify their land being stolen from them.

Anonymous said...

Hummmm. Root causes or blaming the victim? By your logic women who are raped should be held accountable for their "actions" if for example they are raped for wearing a seductive outfit. Furthermore, you do your fellow human a great disservice by imagining they lose their moral capacity when they are wronged. I unfairly lost my home once; I also unfairly lost my job b/c of a predatory boss. Does that justify my killing people?

Dan S said...

I'm not following your logic. I'm making the point that disproportionate violence, or really any violence, does not address root causes, it just continues the cycle of violence. I am in no way condoning the use of violence as a solution to problems, just pointing out that the existence of Hezbollah is not a root cause, and it is wrong and counterproductive for Israel to bomb the entire country of Lebanon in response to 2 kidnapped soldiers.

How is that blaming the victim?

Brownie said...

Supposedly we live in a world where we are to live by law. On the world stage, the closest thing we have to this is the U.N., which GAVE that land to Isreal, it was not "stolen".

Think too about the Louisana Purchase, the Gasden Purchase, the Alaskan Purchase. Where, it can be said. that from the native American point of view, that the land was stolen. From the US gov't POV, it was legally acquired. Who's to say what is truly stolen, or righteously acquired? You? Me? Them?

My own opinion is that that land cannot be owned at all, rather it is the gift of God to humanity, so that we have a place to live. This is not unlike the POV of the native Americans, who had no concept of land ownership. So, whoever "owns" the land is really irrelevant. No one "owns" it. But if those radical/militant Arabs and Muslims who call themselves Palestinians wanted to, they could live in peace and prosperity quite easily (as hundreds of thousands of their brethern already do) inside the borders of the country of Israel. But apparently this is not what they want (peace and prosperity), it seems rather that prefer, war, hatred, division, violence, and the continuation of 1940's Jewish genocide.

They don't have much moral authority to do what they are doing, if you ask me (you didn't).