In considering whether it's worth the lives of young Americans and $2 billion a week of our national treasure to be in Iraq and Afghanistan, please name for me a single nation in the Middle East, except Israel, that is democratized. You won't because you can't.
As someone who spent 22 years of my life in the military I believe I've earned the right to criticize our nation's foreign policy efforts. Having lived and worked in the Middle East I also believe I have a better than average insight into our future prospects in trying to aid and assist in promoting a democracy anywhere in the region.
In my previous blog entries, "Foreign Entanglements" and "George Bush, the Dems Best Friend", I argue against our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan; that the best we can hope for in Iraq and Afghanistan is an authoritarian theocracy that is more honest than the previous one. I would also argue that our presence in the Middle East does absolutely nothing to assure our national security.
The first thing the Western mind must grasp is that the Muslim culture is not conducive to a democracy. The most prominent consideration in the Muslim mind is the religion itself; follow the teachings of Mohammad, pray five times a day, follow the Koran's guidelines on the treatment of women, fast for the month of Ramadan, etc. (the pillars of Islam). The very idea that the "freedom of the individual" goes against the tenets of their religion!
So how is it that, after a decade of fighting, after a decade of spending over a trillion dollars, after a decade of seeing the new emergent leaders of both Iraq and Afghanistan as corrupt as any we've seen, after a decade of the populace of both countries feeling no trust in their leaders, after a decade of seeing our troops coming home dead or maimed, are we still there?
If one wishes to argue the national security issue, I would say let's bring our troops home and deploy some of them to beef up security at our airports and harbors and put a several thousand of them at our southern border to stop the illegal invasion. Sealing our borders would do more to augment our security posture than anything we can accomplish in the Middle East. It would also do a great deal to reduce the costs of feeding, educating, medicating and incarcerating 30 million people who don't belong here.
Should we need to respond to another terrorist attack in the future, we have staging areas all over the region that is more than capable of responding to a domestic attack and doing great damage to any terrorist organization. We don't need to keep 200,000 troops in the Middle East in a vain effort to "nation-build".
Finally, we must recognize that the Muslim culture is diametrically opposed to our western values; we can never impose "peace" where no peace is possible. This is well evidenced in our 60-year effort to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Enough is Enough. Bring our boys home, concentrate on our own domestic security, allocate those hundreds of billions of dollars spent on Middle East war-fighting toward our own domestic needs.
God Bless America....and let the "rest of them" sort it all out!