Previous posts in this discussion:
Post"Let Allah Sort It Out" (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 08/29/14 2:15 am)
My gratitude goes to Massoud Malek for his passionate post of 27 August. I also share his frustration and disappointment that our religious and political leaders have given us a world that is increasingly in chronic armed conflict at the regional and national level.
Further, and closer to Massoud's world, it is a terrible shame that Islam has developed the violent Sunni/Shiite split. (My friend Soraya Sephapour-Ulrich, who used to enlighten this Forum with her wisdom about the Middle East, used to argue with me about its strategic importance.) This religious division is turning out to be by far the greatest tyranny perpetrated on Islamic peoples.
After summarizing a few of the countless massacres that humans have done on other humans for inexcusable reasons, Massoud wrote: "Tor, an almost Deist-Humanist, makes us believe with his countless posts that he is a friend of all victims of tyranny. Then suddenly, he tells us bluntly that the lives of Iraqi Shiites, Iranians, and Syrians have no value." That is a totally wrong accusation. The lives of all these people are as valuable as my own. Also, I am well acquainted with the great contributions many have made to mankind over the ages. However, God forbid if we ever have civil war in the US, I would not expect or want foreign countries to come here and help me fight any tyrants.
I strongly share Massoud's frustration with the rampant hypocrisy of people of every group, particularly their political and religious leaders. But that does not mean that I am willing to invest my personal or my country's resources to attack who I perceive to be the tyrants in every war going on all over the world. Believe it or not, there must be priorities, and the world is not as black and white as Massoud seem to think. Also, more armed aggression even to defend the long list of wronged peoples is not the only solution; it is just adding to the devastation of our world.
Massoud put direct questions and statements to me, and I reply to each separately:
"Are all Iranians (including myself) and Syrians our enemies? ... How could we accept the extermination of that many people? Wouldn't this extermination be an unimaginable tragedy?" Most societies are made of peaceful people, who just want to enjoy life, watch their families grow, and hurt no one. When internal and/or external factors create armed struggle, the innocent will suffer while the armed groups fight. Massoud indulges in severe exaggeration when he asks about the extermination of the Syrian and Iranian peoples. Yes, that would be an enormous tragedy, but it is imaginary only. Please, let's get real.
Massoud: "Once again, I urge President Obama to spend more than two billion dollars, if necessary, to drop bombs on IS terrorists in Iraq and Syria, because I believe that genocide is caused by silence." Obama is already bombing IS and stepping up coordinated attacks with the Syrian, Iranian, Iraq/Shia, and Kurd forces. That is good enough; and also it is time for all, including Islamic peoples, to learn to take care of themselves and mind their own business, so we Americans can learn once again to do the same. Americans urgently need the 2 billion dollars that Massoud wants to give to war manufacturers to help improve the USA.
Massoud: "I believe that Stalin, Mao, and the Turkish Army should have been stopped by any means necessary. The West should have wasted bullets to stop the genocide in Rwanda. I have been to the Killing Fields in Cambodia, and walked over the bones of victims of Pol Pot." I applaud Massoud's idealism and the great poems he shared with us, but we live in the real world. The USA, even immediately after WWII at the peak of its relative power in the world, did not have unlimited resources, boundless self-righteousness and willingness for more war.
Attacking the USSR and China would have been insanity and would have made all the problems of the Vietnam war look like a picnic. I agree that more strongly interfering in the Armenian and Rwanda genocides would have been more justifiable. Interfering in Cambodia against Pol Pot, no matter the merit, would have been nearly impossible politically, since the USA was spent emotionally, politically, and economically.
Indeed, I am "a friend of all victims of tyranny" anywhere in the Universe. However, there are many forms of tyranny and it is a matter of priorities. The number one priority is to make sure that our own USA is not going under in the future by wasting resources fighting other people's wars and problems. If so, tyrants will truly run rampant. Only war profiteers will benefit from that. Presently we have enormous internal problems which must be urgently addressed. So I am sorry, but we all must learn to be be personally responsible and fight for democracy, rule of law, freedom, in our own lives and societies. Depending on other people for help is not freedom.
JE comments: Excellent points, Tor. Your comment that "no one would benefit except the war profiteers" brings to mind our reading assignment for this weekend: Eisenhower's 1961 "Military-Industrial Complex" speech. Here, once again, is the link:
I'm sorry to say that Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich resigned from WAIS a few years ago. I do keep in occasional touch with her, however, and continue to wish her the best.