Free Article Review On US Intervention In The Middle East

Published: 2021-06-22 00:29:43
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Category: Government, Politics, United States

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In the op-ed piece "A Festival of Lies," Thomas Friedman of the New York Times raises some interesting points about the military intervention of the United States in the Middle East. Responding to other pieces noting the lack of effectiveness in the US interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and others so far, Friedman thinks that we need to reevaluate the reasons why we are there. "What the Middle East needs most from America today are modern schools and hard truths, and we haven't found a way to offer either" (Friedman, 2012). Instead of legitimately offering humanitarian aid, we often place ourselves in interventionary modes in order to gain oil that these countries possess. In essence, he argues that the Arab world is deeply flawed, with sectarian violence and tribal tensions that we cannot fix with our fundamentalism fuelled by oil. They have to want to "be fixed" before we can offer that to them. The US intervention in the Middle East is a bad idea on both fronts - we cannot offer services that they do not want or know how to use, nor should we give them weapons.
This attitude is a strange one to contrast with Americans' ability or desire to grant these rights to their own citizens. Al-Jazeera's article on the political outrage happening in America today points to several aspects of American government that are just as totalitarian and oppressive as those Friedman describes overseas. The Occupy Wall Street movement being used as an example, class warfare and outrage is brewing in the United States, but the movement was crushed under the bootheel of riot police with body armor, tear gas, rubber bullets and the like. This attitude of American politics somewhat agrees with Friedman's perspective, in that America has no business dictating policy in the Middle East, but this perspective comes through their point that America has a tough enough time granting freedoms to its own citizens.
Contrasting with these views is the op-ed piece by John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham, who call for continued military support and efforts in Afghanistan. Evoking September 11, 2001, the authors state that "What happens in Afghanistan directly affects our safety here at home" (McCain et al., 2012). Abandoning the state is implied to have similar, disastrous consequences for our national security. Our military must remain in Afghanistan, otherwise it gives the Taliban and al-Qaeda more political ammunition to strike back at the US years down the road, claim the authors. Compared to Friedman's view, these senators and members of the Armed Forced Committee believe wholeheartedly that military action should remain in Afghanistan, due to the veiled threat of retaliation should we leave. Instead, they think we should wait until some indeterminate date in which very vague goals are reached.
Al-Ahram (2012) wrote an editorial on the return of six Americans out of Cairo by the demands of the American government after a tense standoff between the US and Egypt. It is argued in the piece that the US government strong-armed Egypt to release them without going through the proper channels, even though their crimes were legitimate and worthy of investigation. Operating as suspicious NGOs, the foreigners being detained were then spirited away on US military planes after America demanded them back. The author of the article takes the perspective that this move was a "barefaced encroachment on Egypt's sovereignty," circumventing the Egyptian justice system just because it involved their citizens. This is in like with Al-Jazeera's contention that the American government uses force to get what they want regardless of what is desired by others. Kristof (2012) argues that the coming US conflagration with Iran is not a tightly-fought debate as the rest of the news media is arguing. Instead, American officials state off the record that the American government believes it this is a bad idea to invade Iran, sharing Friedman's perspective that sending military forces overseas to the Arab world is an overwhelming mistake.
Further evidence of this viewpoint comes from The Associated Press (2012), who noted that the families of the Afghans killed in a mindless shooting spree conducted by an American soldier are being paid $50,000 apiece as compensation. This is viewed as an ill-fitting compensation for the loss of family members to senseless murder, when they would rather see the killer brought to justice. However, this lack of political finesse is another reason why American should not intervene in the Middle East.
The similarities and differences between each of these articles are very clear once you see the perspectives from which they come. The McCain et al. piece, the sole piece of truly pro-American intervention editorial in the paper, comes from the perspective of a US military official wanting to carry out their continued mission. Al-Jazeera and Al-Ahram have decidedly pro-Arab sensibilities, and view America with skepticism, particularly as it pertains to their own culture. The New York Times pieces come from a cynical insider perspective that still sees US intervention is wrong, but has the ability to look at that viewpoint from the inside.
Works Cited
Associated Press. "US compensation for Afghanistan shooting spree. The Guardian. 25 March
2012. .
"Debacle of the NGOs." Al-Ahram. 8-14 March 2012.

Friedman, Thomas L. "A Festival of Lies." New York Times Sunday Review. 24 March 2012.
.
Kristof, Nicholas D. "The False Debate About Attacking Iran." The New York Times Sunday
Review. 24 March 2012. .
McCain, John, Lieberman, Joseph I., & Graham, Lindsey. "Sustaining success in Afghanistan."
Washington Post. .
Stoehr, John. "The myth of freedom in the land of the free." Al-Jazeera. 22 March 2012.
.

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