Pontificating from my sofa about Syria is not my thing. I know stuff all about it, except I would not want to be fleeing a war-torn country with nothing. Reviewing Port of No Return was an eyeopener in that instance.
But, seriously, some of the comments about Syrian refugees are classic. Apologies to the original commenters, I’ve forgotten who or where they were.
Here is the first:
The Obama approach is the right one – to support and encourage Europe and the Persian Gulf states to take care of their own backyard.
Ah. I should have said, of course, both commenters are American.
OK, let’s look at backyards. I mean America really, really, really looks after its own backyard and keeps out of everyone else’s doesn’t it?
For the record:
List of countries the USA has bombed since the end of World War II
Belgian Congo 1964
Dominican Republic 1965-66
El Salvador 1981-92
Yugoslavia – Serbia 1999
Source: Global Research/Huffington Post
And there is no involvement in the Middle East by America is there? Much.
Here is a link (written in 2001) that looks at US military interventions after 1870. Well worth a read.
A couple of extracts:
The following year, the U.S. deployed forces in the Persian Gulf after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which turned Washington against its former Iraqi ally Saddam Hussein. U.S. supported the Kuwaiti monarchy and the Muslim fundamentalist monarchy in neighboring Saudi Arabia against the secular nationalist Iraq regime. In January 1991, the U.S..and its allies unleashed a massive bombing assault against Iraqi government and military targets, in an intensity beyond the raids of World War II and Vietnam. Up to 200,000 Iraqis were killed in the war and its imemdiate aftermath of rebellion and disease, including many civilians who died in their villages, neighborhoods, and bomb shelters. The U.S. continued economic sanctions that denied health and energy to Iraqi civilians, who died by the hundreds of thousands, according to United Nations agencies. The U.S. also instituted “no-fly zones” and virtually continuous bombing raids, yet Saddam was politically bolstered as he was militarily weakened.
Here we have America intervening in the Persian Gulf States. Exactly the words of the commenter. Europe and the Gulf States should be looking after the aftermath. When America has gone home?
Intervene, Americans, and take the consequences. But don’t wring your hands in total innocence that you haven’t been there, invaded that, and killed civilians. And tell everyone else to look after ‘our’ backyard.
There is a good summary under a heading of ‘Common Themes’.
Here is the final par:
One of the most dangerous ideas of the 20th century was that “people like us” could not commit atrocities against civilians.
- German and Japanese citizens believed it, but their militaries slaughtered millions of people.
- British and French citizens believed it, but their militaries fought brutal colonial wars in Africa and Asia.
- Russian citizens believed it, but their armies murdered civilians in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and elsewhere.
- Israeli citizens believed it, but their army mowed down Palestinians and Lebanese.
- Arabs believed it, but suicide bombers and hijackers targeted U.S. and Israeli civilians.
- U.S. citizens believed it, but their military killed hundreds of thousands in Vietnam, Iraq, and elsewhere.
Every country, every ethnicity, every religion, contains within it the capability for extreme violence. Every group contains a faction that is intolerant of other groups, and actively seeks to exclude or even kill them. War fever tends to encourage the intolerant faction, but the faction only succeeds in its goals if the rest of the group acquiesces or remains silent. The attacks of September 11 were not only a test for U.S. citizens attitudes’ toward minority ethnic/racial groups in their own country, but a test for our relationship with the rest of the world. We must begin not by lashing out at civilians in Muslim countries, but by taking responsibility for our own history and our own actions, and how they have fed the cycle of violence.
Other reading about American intervention:
Here is another American comment:
Yes, when it comes to policing migration I prefer a strong government. Things like controlling the flow of migrants is why we have national governments in the first place. A government can allow people to risk their own lives, but it can’t risk their lives for them.
Thanks for sharing your litany of faith about how you think the world works, essentially that Muslims have no personal responsibility for anything and everything is the fault of evil anglophones and Jews. Touching in its simplicity, really, but I just don’t give a fuck right now.
Bush should not have invaded Iraq? I happen to agree. But I just don’t give a fuck anymore, understand? Keep terrorists out of my country.
Iraq having been invaded, Obama ought not have given Iraqi hegemony to Iran? I agree. But I don’t give a fuck. Keep terrorists out of my country.
Saudi Arabia and Israel don’t want refugees? Maybe they have good reasons. I don’t want them either unless you can prove to me they are not dangerous.
A Sweede shot up a school so that means we shouldn’t care if an Arab we import shoots up a Synagogue or gay bar? What the fuck is wrong with you?
Finland has a wonderful Muslim population? Who the fuck cares? Tell that to the dead people in Paris.
When the refugee crisis started the leaders of the EU laughed off people’s fears about ISIS infiltration. Then Paris gets shot up. The EU leaders are calculating how many of their own citizens can be murdered as collateral damage for the sake of cheap labor. And here you are convincing yourself that they are making the right choice.
One word comes to mind here immediately. Selfish. In the extreme. Arrogant, selfish, racist, and fascist.
Keep terrorists out of my country? Keep America out of the rest of the world might be more appropriate.
But, let’s look at another aspect. Why are European countries that are crammed to the gills in terms of population density, accepting refugees when those with big wide open spaces are equivocating?
Just to put this in context, Gibraltar is the fifth most populated state/territory in the world, with 11,000 people per square kilometre. I’m not sure we’re in a position to accept a few thousand refugees. But I think we have a better argument than America does for refusal.
Netherlands, 1000 per sq km
USA (at position 182 out of 244), 85
That is 85 people per square kilometre. For those of you who like miles, 32.8 per square mile.
and, Australia, 8.07
I had to add the decimal points for the last two as the figures looked so small. In square miles, they both hover around three.
Maybe America might want to take Australia’s previous line? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28189608
Wiki gives some context as to who takes who and ‘pledges’. It’s a good enough broad-brush perspective.
Disclaimer: I have American blogging friends. This post is not directed at them. Rather, at the wagons-in-a-circle mentality. America, if you want to genuinely espouse the role of world leader, it takes more than bombing the shit out of countries far away from you (possibly with oil), and then running home saying the fallout is nothing to do with you.
But here’s Ark with a similar but different take …