Vail Valley Voices: War, what is it good for?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Wars and ethnic confrontations are an important part of global history and have greatly impacted the current geopolitical landscape.
Since the evolution (or intelligent design) of man, we have fought with each other for food, land, status and sexual dominance.
Today, we continue to fight. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the global community to agree about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in any given skirmish.
The Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla is a prime example that pits the United States and Israel against the rest of the world.
History is chock full of famous confrontations. Looking back, it’s easy to identify who the villains were in some situations.
Hitler and his Nazi regime killed 6 million innocent Jews and attacked a number of independent states. The Allies were lauded for defeating Germany in World War II.
Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and threatened the stability of the Middle East in the early 1990s. George Bush I created a huge alliance that thwarted Hussein that most Arabs appreciated.
All this leads to a discussion about the role of the United States in many far-off places since the last world war.
Afghanistan and Iraq are perfect examples of U.S. intervention and corresponding accusations of aggression and imperialism by other nations. Given the universal objections heard from so many, are America’s actions in the Middle East justified?
Is our national security really at stake? Should we be nation building? And, most important, what will happen when we exit Afghanistan and Iraq? The answer is clear in my mind. Extremists will create chaos, and both countries will experience a long period of anarchy as warring factions vie for power.
Sadly, this will only subside if a powerful, despotic leader gains control and brutally governs the people (similar to Saddam).
Religious fanatics will only serve to exacerbate the situation.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban will create havoc with any efforts to build a government.
In Iraq, Shia and Sunni will begin to slaughter each other in the name of Allah after the US pulls out, as they have for the past 1,000 years. I’m dumbfounded that so many in Washington are in favor of this folly. There’s no way the situation will moderate.
In the end, the thousands of American lives and casualties will be lamented and forever be on the conscience of those who wanted to extend these conflicts.
Afghanistan and Iraq are only the beginning of the odyssey confronting America. The people of Islam will become more aggressive over time inspired by radical religious doctrine.
The holy war has only just begun.
The United States will be targeted often in the future.
In the West, life has greater value than in many other places. Less fortunate people who are dirt poor and have been marginalized by repressive religious and cultural regimes look forward to the afterlife.
The importance of their life on Earth wanes from birth, and so they volunteer to conduct suicide missions. It will be very difficult to devise a plan to stem the increase in future confrontation.
And, without a doubt, the United States can no longer afford to be a peacekeeper for the entire world. Our presence temporarily diverts the venom and hatred of the warring parties, who often have many religious and cultural affiliations.
Generally, the United States interferes, the warring parties turn on us, we leave, and the original combatants resume their fight.
It’s time for America to become more isolationist. We need to fortify our borders from illegal immigrants and terrorists. We should spend less money on the security of other countries and more at home.
For years, our allies have given us the privilege of paying for their security. This must stop! Maybe sometime in the future, the most bellicose will grow weary of fighting, but probably not during my lifetime.
Sal Bommarito is a novelist and frequent visitor to Vail over the past 20 years.