RANGER AGAINST WAR: No Nation Left Behind <

Saturday, August 26, 2006

No Nation Left Behind

George W. was elected on a Republican platform that repudiated Clinton's nation-building approach in the Balkans. In effect, Mr. Bush made a tacit agreement with the voters in 2000 that U.S. foreign policy would not embrace nation building. Fast forward 2006, and see an American voter delivered of a new approach to world affairs: No Nation left Behind.

In fact, now we're even involved in rebuilding Lebanon for some unfathomable reason. Why is the U.S. responsible for helping to finace that mess? In effect, Hezbollah starts an unprovoked, unjustified shoot-em-up--something the Bush crowd understands--and then, following cease-fire, the U.S. agrees to help fund rebuilding efforts.

Doesn't this seem to be financial support of a terrorist movement? U.S. fiscal policy is rewarding their blatantly illegal military style action against Israel. In effect, both sides in this conflict are being financed by U.S. taxpayer largesse.

And please don't tell me that the poor Lebanese are victims of Hezbollah, when the Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora comes out after the fighting and publicly thanks Hezbollah for helping to protect the interests of the Lebanese state. (Siniora expressed "gratitude" to Hezbollah and their leader Nasrallah for "sacrificing their lives for their country"; I guess sacrifice is in the eyes of the beholder.) If they are victims, it is in the same sense that the American taxpayer is the victim of the current administration.

It reminds me of a sport I partcipate in--Cowboy Action Shooting. In this sport, you shoot targets on a range in "scenarios"--carefully constructed units, usually scenes taken from popular movies. After you've "shot your round", the targets are pulled back up for the next shooter in the "posse" to try his hand at it. Each shooter hopes that he can benefit by learning from the previous shooters in a given scenario. So it seems in the Middle East. The U.S. is on standby to give everyone a chance at learning the shooting game. Knock the targets down, and we will help pull them back up, so you can have a go on the firing line another day.

Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, et al, are part of a larger puzzle. Unfortunately, present U.S. policy addresses the puzzle in a fragmentary way, missing the gestalt.

Terrorism is a multidimensional phenomenon, a fact ignored by our national leadership. Terrorism is political, religious, economic, philosophical, sociological, psychological and military in nature. Unfortunately, the only facet addressed by the U.S. seems to be the military aspect, since it's just too damn complicated otherwise. Let's keep it simple--sound-byte -digestible--and maybe it will go away.

The entire Middle East is obviously a quagmire, and is such for the same reasons that have us so bogged down with the question of Terrorism. U.S. policy always seems to address the wrong issues, neglecting key events.

Poet Rudyard Kipling wrote of Afghanistan 100 years ago: "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier" (from The Young British Soldier). That's a man who apprehended the, shall we say, indomitable nature of the people in that region. Current administration does not burden itself with such ancient history, but it does so at the peril of our country's security.



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