Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Fear Itself…

When FDR said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” he could have been summing up what faces Americans today. The TV news networks are all pushing interviews with Senators and Congressmen (mostly Republicans) who tell us that the Christmas Eve flight bombing attempt, the shutting down of our Yemen Embassy (apparently not abandoned by cut off from any visitors), the killing of CIA people in Afghanistan and other events and rumors of events are reasons not to close Gitmo and to increase military presence in…gosh, how many countries?…Yemen and other spots.

After watching all of the Adam Curtis documentary, The Power of Nightmares, that I put up yesterday on Under The LobsterScope it is clear that we are being sold nightmares to get us all riled up over uncountable numbers of Al Q’aeda operatives (of which there are probably very few.)

If we can avoid succumbing to fear and realize that these are political moves to keep us in our middle-class constraints, perhaps we can focus back on curing what’s wrong with our economy, our health care system, and so many other things.

We need to GET OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST. Period. We cannot afford to be the world’s bodyguard and we must realize that not everyone wants to be like us. If the do, they will pull it off themselves in an overwhelming manner (it’s about to happen in Iran without any of our help… just watch.)


  1. The selling of fear is nothing new.  It fuels the gun control debate, it fuels our debate on health care, on vaccines, on banking policy, even on fishing rights.

    Middle East policy is not as simple as get out.  We have obligations to more than just Israel–and our obligations and ties to Israel in no small part fuels a portion of the folks who want to instill fear in us, and the portion of the leadership here who want to appear friendly to a regime peopled with folks that they wouldn’t allow their daughters to marry.

    In part, the mess we’re in today in the Middle East has a great deal to do with the sins of our past coming to back upon us. In Iraq, from Iran, from Israel, from Palestine, from Afghanistan, and even in Yemen.  Just as much as policy in Somalia impacts us today.  

    Abdicating responsibility is not the same thing as washing our hands of it. We leave the Middle East, others will move in, and with motives just as dirty and tufted eared. The question is, can we guide policy in a responsible fashion that will repair the harm that we’ve done, and repair the good will that we’ve squandered?

    Simply leaving will only embolden and put our allies in a far worse way.  Our leaving will result in more than a few lives lost–and if we know that, and still leave, how responsible does that make us?  How can we repair our relations with the Afghans who watched us leave them without any assistance once before, and led to the seizure of the country to the Taliban?  How can we repair relations with Iraq–once the most literate of Middle Eastern nations?  How can we protect our own interests thousands of miles away?  

    If we do leave, then that leaves corporate interests to hire more mercenaries to protect their interests.  The rise of these private merc forces like Blackwater and others is possibly the most disturbing trend behind the Fundamentalist arming of the Middle East.

    I am far from happy with our invasion of Iraq. It was not only unnecessary, it was downright criminal, but we ARE there, and we owe it to the people to leave them with a stable government that can stand on its own and determine its own fate. We owe more to the Afghan people who we abandoned once before, and then tore down their government after we left them to fend for themselves in the wake of the Soviet occupation.  

    I am heartened by the stronger line that Washington is taking with Israel–because the hardliners in Israel cannot be unaccountable for the strife that they’ve caused with policies that have created more waves of Fundamentalists and extremists.  I can understand the drive to secure their tiny nation, but in the end, the line that Israel has taken has given the Saudis and others in the region a convenient scapegoat to trot out, and it is an anchor on any peace measures floating free.

    We have vital interests in the Middle East, and the drive to Isolationism is one that is economic suicide, and will only create security nightmares beyond belief in the future.  I understand where the desire to be rid of these obligations and responsibilities and ties come from, but to abandon them is, simply put, doom.  Doom for our economy. Doom for our security interests. Doom for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, who will be killed in the ensuing chaos. Doom for thousands of our own people when the dust settles and folks sort out who is going to get even with the US first.  

  2. and become a neutral, like Sweden, we will still be a target because of past wrongs and the possibility of our future interference in other countries.

    That’s if we go full isolationist. There’s no chance that is going to happen. We won’t be leaving the Korean Peninsula anytime soon. Not with the current state of North Korean affairs. We won’t be free from our entanglements in Iraq for a long time to come. People talk about the Middle-East, but I have always thought of it as the Persian Gulf area. Forget about the sand and the brown people that live there and you are still left with one of the world’s most important waterways. Our navy rules the seas. We aren’t about to give that up, no matter who is in control of our government.

    Let’s face it. We’ve grabbed the tar baby. There is no easy way to get free.

    I’m a Jeffersonian. I hate foreign entanglements. I am a BHL. I hate killing civilians in foreign countries. For that matter, I’m not too fond of killing insurgents, either. Not without damn good cause. I’m against killing and I’m especially against my government doing that killing. I’m against the death penalty, as well. All of that is to no avail. That’s not how the modern world works, if it ever did.

    We are an empire, whether we like it or not. So are a lot of other countries. It kind of reminds me of the 16th and 17th Centuries. We have far-flung interests that can’t be simply walked away from without penalty.

    When the Soviet Union dissolved a lot of people started talking about a Pax Americana. I always envisioned something like the Pax Britannica period in the 19th Century. We were supposed to spread our commercial interests and the rule of common law. I share those goals with the neo-cons. Unfortunately, I disagree completely with their means of achieving those goals.

  3. creamer

    we seem to be stuck with it. And I find it to be a contradiction, as even as I resent it, I recognize the stability it gives the world around me and the economic benifits.

    I do think we need to reduce our footprint in the Arab world as it just inflames the resentment towards us. We need to stay engaged, and as Hubie said fix what we broke, but has new energy sources become available our national security intrest in the region will drop. And in the end its about our security as much as it is nation building or being the “world’s bodyguard”.

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