Christopher Lee

Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan – each proving we should never have got involved

 12th September 2012

The American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, has been killed  by Libyan Islamist militia  who stormed the US consulate building in  Benghazi yesterday . Three other American officials have died as a  result of the assault  by the Islamists hit the compound with gunfire  and grenades and then torched it.
The attack came after an internet trailer for an American film about  the Prophet Mohammed. The Islamists did not like the movie.
And the show was not big box-office in Egypt .  But in the capital  Cairo,  the protesters took their riot into the US Embassy  but didn’t  feel the need to shoot up the compound nor kill anyone, not yet anyway. When she heard about the killing in Benghazi, US Secretary of State  Clinton rightly said she was “heartbroken by this terrible loss”.
Then, to cover the response as she was expected to, added “The United  States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious  beliefs of others. But let me be clear: There is never any
justification for violent acts of this kind.”
Of course that’s exactly right Ms Clinton but let’s not pretend you  did not see it coming.
The movie was, apparently, repeat apparently, made in California by an  America who is said to be anti Islamist.  Most people are when this  sort of thing goes on.  But the man, allegedly called Sam Bacile  teamed up with an Egyptian Copt to  make and promote the budget movie, put it on YouTube with an Arabic  translation.
Fans of the movie say it was all about Free Speech. The thousands  that gathered outside the US embassy in Cairo and the guys who tore  down and burned the American flag flying then at half mast to  commemorate 9/11  saw their protest as part of the envelope of so-called Free Speech.
This year, the US will give Egypt about $12 billion in aid. The US  also took a major part * on-passing Intelligence Reports to the NATO  bombing let’s-whack-Libya team and operating drone attacks including  the one that destroyed the convoy carrying a fleeing Gaddafi –  in  helping the Libyan rebellion “succeed”. Meanwhile, the Americans are keeping their heads down over Iraqi  demands on the US ally Turkey to send home Iraq’s vice-president Tariq  al-Hashemi who has, in abstentia, been sentenced to death in Baghdad.  Hashemi is a Sunni.  Iraq’s Shia Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is
insisting Turkey sends him back.
Why no call for reconciliation and justice from the White House? For  the same reason that Washington appears to have sympathized with those  who didn’t like the movie: as an earlier Clinton might have said It’s  The Election Stupid.

In Afghanistan, Taliban see themselves on a roll.  They continue &  successfully carry on killing US troops and want to show inside  eighteen months that they’re chasing the US forces (and the NATO  collation with them) out of Afghanistan.  Forget the RUSI report on a more diplomatic Taliban.   The guys who matter don’t wear suits.  The guys who matter are the guys in the bush.  These are the ones who will follow  Mullah Omah into administration not the Mercedes-driving ex-people.   Any student of what happened post-Soviet occupation or even, post  Lancaster House Rhodesian settlement know this. Shrouds left in the bush mean power.

What all this shows is that George W Bush should never have got the US  and Allies involved in Iraq and Afghanistan because once they decided  to go home (with a little help from their friends the US electorate)  they would get the idea that they had achieved nothing other than find  themselves hated throughout large parts of the most important region
on the globe. Obama tried a low key involvement in Libya, but there’s no way even he  can control the power of YouTube and the rest of the social network.

The hell of it all is that there is not a single place in the world  that doesn’t have a view about US and Alliance involvement in other  people’s problems.  Other people’s instability and destabilizing  events are seen as part of the global war on terror.  They are not,  but that’s the way they are seen by increasingly incompetent  Intelligence analyses in the major Western capitals. Staying out of  other people’s troubles may make good short-term sense.  But it
doesn’t handle prejudice at home and in other minds.

If Romney wins, he’ll understand just how baseless are his speeches  about making America strong again.

America is not strong when a couple of prejudicial guys in California  can get the US ambassador killed in a place most Americans had never  heard of until last year  and in truth, still don’t know where it is.

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