Foreign policy meets critical eye

Foreign policy meets critical eye

by Dave Morain

During a time of foreign conflict, it is easy for us to become so wrapped up in our quest to do the “right” thing we often end up pushing too far.

Take World War II for example. The United States became so engrossed in national security that we rounded up more than a hundred thousand Japanese-Americans with little or no explanation and placed them in internment camps in the Western United States.

Fear can drive people to irrational and hasty actions. Such is the case today in the Middle East.

Since Sept. 11, pressure has been placed upon politicians to act swiftly in our response to terrorism. Since then, we have been thrown headlong into a “War on Terrorism” with our long-term goal being to ultimately eradicate terrorists and their actions.

While this is a noble cause, it is also foolish. It is not feasible to stamp out terrorism the world over. To fathom doing so would require us to have information on every person, where they are, and what they are associated with. This Orwellian vision is a perfect example of why terrorists wish to strike out at Americans in the first place: we overextend ourselves.

Our conflict in Afghanistan is warranted due to the need to locate and question Osama bin-Laden and his Al-Qaeda forces. While we are justified in intercepting those who would immediately threaten the lives of Americans, this does not give us the right to do away with others whose actions, whether previous or current, do not agree with American doctrine.

I am specifically speaking of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. There are many who believe we should have done away with him during the Gulf War, or at least shortly after. They think that his potential to harm the United States is reason enough to take him out of power using whatever means are necessary.

These people get so wrapped up in getting rid of Hussein that they do not consider the alternatives to having him in power. They do not realize that he has two maniacal sons, both whom have extensive records of extreme violence. His eldest son, Udai, has risen to the head of many business organizations through his ruthless and sometimes homicidal behavior. He even shot his uncle in the leg at a wedding because he annoyed him. If Saddam is taken out of power, is this the kind of leader we want to ascend to pilot Iraq in these turbulent times?

The other area where the United States needs to be more careful is in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the past few weeks, Israel has become increasingly aggressive in its military actions. They have stationed tanks and soldiers in parts of the West Bank where they have no business being in accordance with the 1993 Oslo peace accords. Israeli soldiers in their quest to exterminate the so-called “terrorist presence” have killed many Palestinian civilians. Many have speculated that this is simply an excuse for Israel to extend its control of the disputed areas of territory.

In recent years, there has been constant violence inherent from both sides. However, why does Israel only now try to increase it presence? The United States is Israel’s trump card. They are using our involvement with Afghanistan as an excuse to push further into Palestinian controlled area; in essence, using our war against a Muslim state in their favor.

Right now we need to use caution when dealing with Iraq and Israel. Do we really want to stretch our forces to another front in Iraq? Should we stand by and watch while Israel uses us as a blind to attack Palestinian civilians?

We need to exert our influence to stop more violence in the Middle East. The war in Afghanistan is already proving bloody enough.