With us or against us.
If we take a look at three countries that are in the news and tied to the “WarOnTerror™”, there are some very interesting contrasts between “Country A”, “Country B” and “Country C” and it really creates another stark example of the farce of our foreign policy, and the damage that has been done to our reputation. Oh yeah, and the extreme danger that these reckless decisions and actions have put our country, the Middle East and parts of Asia in.
So, I figured that I would take a look at these three countries and do a little write up on each, just to see how “with us” or “against us” they really are – and to shed some light on the precarious situation that we have put ourselves in.
Country A had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. In fact, this country pretty much hated Saddam, hates al Qaeda and wanted to help the US after the attacks when it came to Afghanistan. This reaching out after 9/11 was one of three separate occasions that an offer was made to have some level of diplomatic dialogue after a long period of no relations whatsoever. Country A also helped the US with respect to rounding up some suspected terrorists, and helped with logistical issues when we took military action against Afghanistan. This country has a long history with the United States, including some times when relations were pretty good.
This country has a fairly progressive population that has decent promise in terms of furthering relations in the future and shaping the future of the country’s political direction. In fact, it elected a President – who served as recently as 2005 (in elections that are more Democratic than in either Country B or Country C) who pushed for more social freedoms, over the objections of the more conservative religious leaders. Of course, this President was ridiculed as not having any power over the religious leaders in the country.
Partially as a result of the US rebuffing any calls for diplomacy, a confrontational President was elected, and whose confrontational rhetoric was also rebuffed by the former moderate President. Now, of course, this confrontational President (whose words are frequently “clarified” or contradicted by the same religious leaders) is labeled as too dangerous and has too much power. This is despite his losing the support of many people who voted for him, the religious leaders and a waning influence on the local political scene. He is not in control of the country’s armed forces and while he isn’t a figurehead, his actual power is far exceeded by the perceived power that he has (despite insinuations that his predecessor not having any power).
This country has no nuclear weapons, and by all accounts will not have any (if at all) for at least 3-5 years. This country has no reason to attack the US, and certainly is not a threat to our economy or security. Despite this country not having similar interests or goals as the US, it is unlikely that Country A would seek to inflame or incite any global conflict. This country can be a major player in the global economy and has decent relations with a number of other countries with strong economies or potentially strong and complimentary sectors of the economy.
George W. Bush – 11/21/2001: We fight the terrorists and we fight all of those who give them aid. America has a message for the nations of the world: If you harbor terrorists, you are terrorists. If you train or arm a terrorist, you are a terrorist. If you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you're a terrorist, and you will be held accountable by the United States and our friends.
Which brings us to Country B
Country B also has a long relationship with the United States, although it is more of one that is based on convenience for the US. We have alternately shunned and supported this country, although we have also supported its “enemies”. Country B was one of only three countries who recognized the Taliban as legitimate before abruptly changing its mind after 9/11.
Country B’s leader seized power in a coup, and has, at times, suspended the Constitution, held positions as President and leader of the country’s military, looked the other way as terrorists set up in his country. Country B had no ties to Saddam or to 9/11, however, it has been sympathetic to extremists that have caused death and destruction within the country – including against political leaders. On the other hand, there were ties between the country and the Taliban in the months leading up to 9/11.
Country B’s population is not sympathetic to the United States; rather it is fairly hostile or apathetic at best. Not only does the Taliban and al Qaeda have large membership in the country, but many of its citizens in certain regions had been harboring them and therefore letting them roam free – recently, its leader was less popular than bin Laden according to polls. Last year, Country B’s leader said that he wouldn’t go after bin Laden if bin Laden agreed to live a peaceful citizen.
Country B also has nuclear weapons, and was dangerously close to a nuclear conflict with its neighbor a few years ago. The high level official in Country B’s government who was responsible for its nuclear weapons program sold nuclear secrets to a number of other countries, and is basically a free citizen (not totally but certainly not being punished). Most recently, it was uncovered that Country B’s leader really has no interest in cracking down on extremists and terrorist groups and was accused last year of looking the other way while the Taliban and al Qaeda were launching attacks over its border against US and NATO troops.
George W. Bush - November 6, 2001: "Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity," he said. "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror."
The case of Country C is a bit more complex, yet still important to discuss. Country C is where bin Laden came from, and where much of his family is now. It is also the country where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from. Country C really has no military to speak of, and its human rights record is more than a bit spotty, with both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch having numerous and repeated concerns.
Most of the “foreign fighters” in Iraq come from Country C, and while it has no nuclear weapons program (or probably any ambitions), its record on terrorism is far from clean. The population is akin to a welfare state, with a huge dichotomy between the ruling family/class and the vast majority of the population. This leads to concerns about the population being sympathetic to extremism and extremist causes.
Last year, it was reported that a number of very wealthy citizens were funneling money to the Sunni insurgents in Iraq, including money used for shoulder rocket launchers used against our troops and helicopters. Country C’s leaders are aware of this, but have done little if anything to stop it from continuing.
Also late last year, it was reported that Cheney was warned that if the US were to withdraw from Iraq, it would side with the Sunni insurgents. Shortly thereafter, the US started to side with Sunnis against Shiites (also who conveniently were more aligned with Country A) – and amazingly the US even started to arm the same Sunni insurgents that were fighting against and killing our troops.
Country C also has a number of “charities” that have been linked to suspected terrorist groups but it has been slow to crack down on them as well.
Now, it would seem as though Country A would be the least of our troubles, with Country B being the one to keep our eye on the most, and Country C as a “thorn in our side”. Yet, as I am sure you figured out by now, Country A is Iran and is public enemy number one, despite no evidence that they are a threat to us. Of course, Iran isn’t the most innocent or pure of nations by a long shot, but it clearly is way down on the list of “threats to our national security”.
Country B (Pakistan) has been making the US look the damn fool time and time again, whether it is intentional or not, but clearly would represent the biggest potential disaster as it already harbors terrorists, has a military dictator who just suspended the Constitution and has nuclear weapons.
Country C (Saudi Arabia) has all of the ties to the Bush family and is hardly the “model of democracy”. Of course, the threats and blackmail related to our staying in Iraq and the funding of those same insurgents who were killing our troops gets little notice as compared to Iran’s purported and specious ties to weapons that are used against our troops in Iraq.
It’s no wonder that the world is in the shape it is in, and that the US is the laughingstock.