Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three stubborn decades

...there's no other way to describe America's failure to recognize the folly of Middle East entanglements:
On this day (in 1983), a suicide bomber drives a truck filled with 2,000 pounds of explosives into a U.S. Marine Corps barracks at the Beirut International Airport. The explosion killed 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers. A few minutes after that bomb went off, a second bomber drove into the basement of the nearby French paratroopers' barracks, killing 58 more people. Four months after the bombing, American forces left Lebanon without retaliating.

Translation: at the cost of nearly 250 American lives, we accomplished... what?  Certainly not the end of sectarian violence in Lebanon.  There WAS one beneficiary, however: Hezbollah, which gained street cred as the group who could get things done, including getting Uncle Sam to leave.

And so the law of unintended consequences began its extended engagement in that part of the world.  Pit Iraq against Iran?  Great... until Saddam tries to grab Kuwait.  Eject him from Kuwait but leave Saddam in power?  He looks like the guy who can survive the worst America's 'coalition' can throw at him.  Go back after 9/11 to finish him off?  Get bogged down in a nasty guerilla war with more sectarian complexity than Vietnam ever dreamed of.  Aid in the overthrow of Qadaffi and Mubarak?  Reap the reward of radical Islamists rising to power in Libya and Egypt.

What will it take for America to seek true energy independence so that we can extricate ourselves from this regional asylum and let the inmates fight each other for a while?

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