Sunday, August 10, 2014

Suppose the Shoe Was on the Other Foot?



There is a terrible movement of very violent and blood thirsty men in the Middle East.

The above sentence could have been written and would have been true in practically every era of recorded history, so I suppose I should be more specific. This particular flavor of barbarism goes by the name of ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They have come out of nowhere, multiplied like crabgrass, and now control large swaths of desert and cities formerly controlled by the two countries that now make up their name. Along the way, ISIS has demonstrated a blood thirst that rivals that of Sadam Hussein, a fondness for prepubescent girls that rivals Muammar Gaddafi, proving that old adage about being careful about what one wishes for. Perhaps before we decided to remove these two gentlemen from power, we should have had a clearer idea of who might replace them.

So now that ISIS has filled the leadership void in Iraq with 7th century Islam, calls have come for the United States to “do something” to help the people fleeing the terror and destruction, some of whom are Christians. My Facebook wall has been filled with accusations of a Christian genocide, with the accompanying accusation that Obama is indifferent to Christian suffering. Over the weekend the President made the decision to drop humanitarian supplies and authorized “limited air-strikes” against the advancing hordes. Here we go again.

Once again it falls to America to police the world. It is somehow our job to enforce the rules of civilization on the uncivilized. For this we will be mocked, ridiculed and hated by virtually everyone.

I am aware of the arguments on all sides of the “America as world policeman” debate and I have great respect for those who disagree with my conclusions. But shouldn’t the question of getting involved in every dust-up on the planet at the very least come down to protecting American interests? Shouldn’t actual Americans have to be attacked before we charge in with fighter jets? Shouldn’t some American somewhere have to be in clear and present danger before we pull the trigger? The reason I ask this is because there is a conflict raging out of control this very minute that involves the deaths of scores of Americans. The bloodshed is unrelenting. Over the past 36 months, over 1,100 Americans have perished, over 130 of them children under the age of 16. The conflict shows no signs of letting up. Despite the tragic loss of life, the United States government has done nothing to stop the slaughter of its own people. No delegation has been sent to negotiate a cease fire. President Obama has authorized no intervention, not even economic sanctions. As far I can see, no effort has been made to stop the indiscriminate killing of American citizens. Instead, the City of Chicago has been left to fend for itself.

How would we feel if Russia was the world’s policeman? Vladimir Putin, after long discussions with his generals decides that he can no longer stand idly by and watch innocent people gunned down in the streets of a great American city. He authorizes a daring commando raid on the Southside of Chicago to restore order. Crack Russian troops begin patrolling Chicago communities hunting down the ruthlessly violent drug dealers who have long terrorized the windy city. Putin assures the American people that his country is not interested in territorial gains, and promises to leave the city as soon as the Chicago police force is purged of graft and properly trained.

Would we resent the Russians for such a humanitarian intervention? If I know the citizens of Chicago, their resentment would take the form of guerilla warfare against the invading army of a foreign country who had the nerve to stick their big fat Russian noses in our business.
Now you know how the Iraqis feel.