The vast majority of the western world has learned its history and formed its opinions of the Middle East from a book of fables, the Bible and Hollywood movies. You see, Charlton Heston really isn’t Moses and Elizabeth Taylor isn’t Cleopatra. And the illustrations in our picture Bibles growing-up as kids of Arab men, looking more white than brown, with long beards, flowing robes, and living in silk tents with camels in the desert isn’t the whole story.
We, Anglo-Christians, manufactured this history because of Jesus and for the last 100 years or so Americans have tried to mold a region and a people into a vision that we created, a vision that is false and a fantasy. Towns, cities, community, and commerce have been a reality of the Middle East long before the idea of an America was even a dream. We, the Western world, treated the Middle East like they are some backwoods, bum fucks, living in the hills of the Smoky Mountains. That without us, our smarts, our religion, our democracy, they would just be eating sand and herding goats. Obviously, the Middle East, for the most part, has progressed a little beyond that, check out the skyline of Dubai for instance, but Americans simply can’t let go of those images or the need to be thanked for bringing them into the 21st Century.
I am not a Middle East expert, but I have spent a considerable amount of time reading about the history and the conflicts, particularly the American conflicts. What I have concluded is this, our “issues” in the Middle East can be boiled down to two matters, oil, and Israel. Everything else is ignorance and noise on our part.
The oil rush in the Middle East began in the early 1920’s and 30’s thanks to Henry Ford. The United States and Great Britain staked claims, literally this is your country, and this is ours, bringing workers, technology and greed to a world that had happily existed without our intrusions, our values, and our religious beliefs for centuries. As Americans are known to do, we raped and pillaged the resources paying pennies on the dollars to sultans, kings and tribal leaders making them wealthy while the everyday common Omar and his family got nothing. Unfortunately, mister common Omar became a problem and continues to be a problem even today.
Israel became a point of conflict in the 1940’s and 50’s when the Christian world decided they were going to take it upon themselves and enforce God’s edict to Abraham that “Unto thy seed have I given this land”. The problem with this “transaction” was and continues to be that Abraham’s “Seed” includes both the Jews and the Muslims and to a lesser extent the Christians, but that tidbit of history didn’t fit in the Judeo-Christian narrative then or today.
What we, Americans, have done is support the Jews supposed rights to Israel and eliminated and erased any rights the Muslims have or had all in the name of Jesus. The Evangelical thinking is, and continues to be without a nation of Israel how or where will Jesus return?
We have spent 20 years and billions of dollars in Afghanistan defending what? According to Lindsey Graham 9/11. He contends that the blood we have shed and the dollars we have expended are to avenge and prevent another 9/11 from occurring. I think if we all dug a little deeper into the reelection bank accounts of war hawks like Graham, we would find out why endless, unwinnable wars are so important to them. Campaign contributions from the manufactures of guns, tanks, and bombers.
Graham has never had a solution nor offered a way out of the war in Afghanistan, but doesn’t he sound righteous on Fox News throwing everyone else under the bus? To date, 2,300 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and over 20,000 have been injured. For what, so we can Americanize the Afghan people? Introduce them to Jesus, McDonalds, and Walmart?
It is well past the time that we quit forcing our values, or politics and our religion down the throats of others. 9/11 happened because mister Omar wanted to get our attention. He wanted us to know that he has had enough of our continued support and bloody defense of Israel and that the Persian Gulf War was not our war to fight. It is high time we acknowledge his concerns.