We don't want to go to war. We don't want to be the peacekeepers of the world
An Interactive Editorial
By Hassan El-Najjar and Catherine Blatchford*
While I'll admit America is not perfect, she is the best country in the world. I am no longer surprised that people from the Middle East hate us so much. Some of the editorials on your web site (Some from Americans!) are ridiculous. America is not considering attacks on Iraq because we want to split the oil with Israel that is absurd. I don't pretend to know a lot about world events, (although I now know more than I ever imagined), we aren't the enemy. The Arab nation isn't the enemy either, it is terrorism we are after. I don't support the possibility of an attack on Iraq but I certainly wouldn't mind if Saddam Hussein would go away. We are scared, we lived in relative peace for years, only hearing about tragedies happening hundreds of miles away, not living them. Then we find out our innocent civilians were targeted because Americans are hated around the world. I have one suggestion then, leave us alone. We don't want to go to war, we don't want to be the peacekeepers of the world. Stop being so opinionated of a country you know nothing about except we're big and we're rich and we're powerful. Not our fault, just good leaders and country men living TOGETHER in HARMONY for the most part for the past 250 years. Don't ask for aid, don't ask for military support and don't look to us for advice. Learn from us or leave us alone.
First, would you be better off if you don't know about the other viewpoint. Arabs and Muslims don't hate America, they complain of the biased American foreign policy, particularly siding blindly with Israel in its aggression against the Palestinian people. So, do you want Arabs to stop writing to you to tell you about what the consequences of American foreign policy are on them? Do you prefer not to know?
Second, many editorials published in Al-Jazeerah are written by American Jewish and Christian writers who are more outspoken in their criticism of American foreign policy than Arab and Muslim Americans. Is it OK for Christian and Jewish Americans to criticize their government, but it is not Ok for Arab Americans and Muslim Americans to do so?
Third, the American military presence in Arab oil producing area in the Persian Gulf was a major consequence of the 1991 Gulf War. The oil connection is there. Then, why has Israel assisted the Kurds since the 1960s, much earlier than Saddam came to power? The answer is to weaken Iraq, dismember it if possible, and to have part of its oil. The late Kurdish leader, Mustafa Barzani, announced during his two visits to Israel before he died that he would give oil concessions to Israeli companies when he would achieve Kurdish independence. This is all documented in case you want to know more.**
Fourth, I support your suggestion wholeheartedly about abolishing war as a means to resolve international conflicts. Arabs and Americans will be much better off if they exchange trade, products, visiting scholars, and visiting athletes than exchanging hate, death, and destruction. Join the American peace movement by signing petitions against war. Join anti-war demonstrations advertised on the front page of Al-Jazeerah. It doesn't make you a bad citizen if you criticize your government when it follows a wrong policy. The Bush administration has never claimed or produced evidence that Iraq is associated with terrorism or poses a threat to anybody in the world. After eleven years of sanctions that killed about one and a half million of innocent Iraqi people, Iraq is weak and hungry. It will fall quickly under the US military might.
Fifth, then, why does the Bush administration insist on attacking the weak and hungry country of Iraq? So far three major interacting factors give you the answer. First, expanding Cold War II, which started by Afghanistan. This benefits the military industrial complex, after the enemy of Cold War I, Communism, had disappeared. Cold War I cost the American people $12.8 trillion, from 1946 to 1991.** By launching more wars, against Muslims this time, the military industrial complex will tighten its grip on the US budget again, and for decades to come. Second, the oil industry will be a major beneficiary, as more and more oil-producing countries are conquered. Third, supporters of Israel want to see the US fighting Israel's war against Arabs and Muslims. The Palestinian people have not accepted to be Israel's slave labor force. They have rejected the Israeli military occupation, which has continued since 1967 with full support from the US successive administrations. That support has nothing to do with the intifadha, suicide bombing, or terrorism. It was much earlier than these and it has continued until now after months of no "terror."
Finally, I invite you to read articles of Jewish and Christian Americans, if you have a problem with names of such authors as Muhammed, Ali, or Hassan. On the front page today, you will find names such as Chomsky, Zunes, Ferguson, or Robert Fisk. Read them. We are all in this. We should think with open minds about what is going on. War is not the answer, it causes death, injuries, and destruction to innocent people. It destroys the chances for coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis. It also invites revenge. Peace.
* In interactive editorials, the editor of Al-Jazeerah answers questions and or responds to comments of readers, which are more general than readers' responses to specific articles or issues. It is an effective method of interaction in electronic journalism.
Dr. Hassan El-Najjar is the editor of Al-Jazeerah.
** El-Najjar, Hassan. 2001. "The Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness." Amazone Press.
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.