Friday, July 18, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Ukraine is back in the news, and with a vengeance.  In what can only be seen as a very strange event, a Malaysian passenger airline on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed yesterday in the war zone of eastern Ukraine, killing all aboard.  Initial reports indicate that it exploded in mid-air, spreading debris over a number of miles.

Initial speculation is that an anti-aircraft missile fired by Ukraine separatists fighting the current Ukrainian government may have brought the plane down.  Again, speculation is that since the separatists wouldn't have any motivation to fire upon an international passenger airliner, it was accidentally targeted by the separatist militias who thought they were actually firing on a Ukrainian military plane, something they had been doing recently.

Obviously, this is a horrible tragedy in anyone's book.  An increasingly vicious civil war in Ukraine has been waging for months, with the rebels in the area closest to the Russian border being aided indirectly and somewhat surreptitiously by the Russian government, while the Ukrainian government is being aided quite directly by the United States and its allies.

It would nice of course if all sides would wait until sufficient evidence surfaced as to both the actual circumstances of the crash, as well as any responsibility for the tragedy, before spinning the event for strategic and political purposes.  But that would be asking too much from warring parties (including the US), wouldn't it.  Of course it would.

In fact, in the initial hours or even days, one can't know for sure whether it was even a missile that caused the crash, or perhaps a bomb planted onboard, or a suicide bomber, or even a plane malfunction of some kind.  The plane wreakage is in a war zone, precluding any kind of immediate inspection, let alone sufficient investigation.  So all we really have are some bare facts, like the plane crashed and everyone onboard died, and many, many families around the world are grieving the loss of their loved ones.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Middle East: A Fool's Errand

So the Middle East is getting ready to blow. And the hawks (by which I mean virtually the entire foreign policy establishment really, of both political parties, along with their corporate media megaphones) want to get MORE militarily involved, just as we've begun to make headway in backing out the door after decades of boots on the ground and planes in the air.

ISIS executing Iraqi soldiers
When are we ever going to learn? We have spent trillions of dollars over the last 30+ years trying to control and/or mold the Middle East into our image, and it's all been for naught. Hundreds of thousands of people there have been killed by our bullets and bombs (not to speak of their own homicidal and fratricidal conflicts) and millions uprooted, made refugees, or lives ruined. And for what?

The only beneficiaries of our involvement in the Middle East has been the military-industrial complex of the US and its allies, and those who benefit from the financial profits made there. Oh, and a few princely and fabulously wealthy elites in places like Saudi Arabia.  And 'greater' Israel, of course. Everyone else has been losers, including you and me.

Our own country continues to regress into severe economic problems and physical, human, and cultural degradation, and yet Washington is so preoccupation with trying to solve the problems of the entire world that our leaders can't even see what lies right in front of them.

Yes, we can't know what's going to happen there in the Middle East. But our military intervention has been a complete disaster in the past. So why do we insist on thinking that continuing on that course is a good idea? It's not. And while all the foreign policy busy bodies in Washington can't seem to think of anything else productive to do, the majority of the American people see this very clearly.

So, sure, let's be involved diplomatically and in efforts at reconciliation between warring groups and nations.  But to do much more than that, especially on the military front, is to be on a fool's errand.