Why are We Witnessing This Middle East Humanitarian Crisis? Ask the U.S. Government


Why ask the U.S. government? Well, simply because if it were not for aggressive U.S. military operations in the Middle East and the surrounding region spanning decades it is highly probable that we would not be witnessing this mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from their countries, seeking refuge in Europe and Scandinavia. And, as the Middle East is burning the U.S. government continues to throw more fuel on the fire.

Of course these refugees are fleeing to Europe and Scandinavia to escape the bloody civil war raging in that nation; they are under siege from the Assad government, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and the relentless, bombing by the U.S. government and some of its Western allies. So there is plenty of guilt to be shared by these various entities whose collective actions have created this Middle Eastern humanitarian crisis.

Here’s something that I find incomprehensible; why in the world are the U.S. and its allies relentlessly bombing a country that is already devastated?

To try to better understand the underlying factors in this war, let’s look a bit deeper. It’s a fact that, over many decades, the U.S. and its European allies have used their militaries to dominate the nations and people of that region. What we are seeing is the culmination of the process that has been evolving for these many years.

Ever since the 1950’s when President Eisenhower orchestrated the removal of Prime MinisterMohammed Mossadegh of Iran by the CIA there has been a constant, heavy presence of the U.S. military in this region of the world.

Here are the countries from which the vast majority of these refugees are fleeing; Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. Now what’s striking is what these countries specifically have in common. Each has felt the wrath and fury of the U.S. military; each has been on the receiving end of American bombs, Hellfire missiles launched by Reaper or Predator drones, or has been invaded and occupied by U.S. troops.

It’s estimated that, over the last several years, 9 million Syrians have been forced to leave their homes with a large portion going into exile in neighboring countries. More than 300,000 people have sought to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far in 2015; European authorities are struggling to deal with this massive influx of migrants. The International Office of Migration has recorded 2,636 deaths linked to Mediterranean crossings this year.

Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Colin Powell made a statement to the effect that much of this current chaos and havoc can be attributed to the invasion of Iraq by the Bush/Cheney administration in 2003. That’s when up to 4 million Iraqis were driven from their homes and sent into exile in nearby nations. And there is no question but that the Iraq War and the massive destruction of that country gave birth to the monstrous jihadist terrorist group ISIS.

Not long ago the U.S. and its Western allies bombed Libya into submission, its strongman Gaddafi was deposed and killed, and that country was turned into a shambles. Up to 1 million Libyans had to leave their country and migrate to Tunisia, Egypt and Chad, as well as to various European countries.

The Obama administration has been launching drones into Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen for years. It’s been reported that more than 678,000 Somali refugees sought refuge in Kenya by 2009. The people of Yemen also are under siege by the government of Saudi Arabia which has been accused of using U.S. supplied cluster bombs, whose use has been banned by the vast majority of nations in the world.

Now when we consider that the U.S. government must accept a large share of the responsibility for this mass exodus of refugees to other countries, let’s also talk about specific parties in this government, who with various U.S. presidents, have contributed to chaos in the Middle East.

There are the U.S. Congress and the majority of its members who willingly approved the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003; who let themselves be duped into believing that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s and was ready to launch them into America; those same politicians, after it was fully proven that no WMD’s existed and that the evidence used to justify the invasion was totally fabricated, did not rise up and demand that the military operations be ended. They merely watched as Iraq continued to be devastated and the seeds of revenge by a future ISIS were planted.

These politicians continue to watch President Obama issue the orders to launch drones into Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. When is the last time we heard either a Democrat or a Republican demand that this drone campaign be ended because it was doing nothing but creating vast numbers of refugees as well as more and more enemies eager to join ISIS?

And as this government has, once again, initiated the bombing of Iraq to go after ISIS and continues bombing Syria, where are the voices of reason in this Congress who can readily see that these military actions are doing no more than throwing more fuel onto a raging fire?

How many of these current or former government officials fully comprehend that they share the responsibility for what is going on in this region? Do they understand the gravity of what they have done and what they have failed to do; that hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are living in a state of terror and are desperate to find any kind of safe haven to remain alive because of actions they either approved or failed to stop over the years?

We the people of this country must, though it will be painful for many, stop accepting and condoning these totally misguided and unjustified military actions. We can’t remain in this state of denial and continue to believe that no matter what this government does militarily, no matter how wrong it may be, that we must support it because that’s what Americans are supposed to do.

If it’s wrong it’s wrong and it must be stopped. Here are several quotes from Thomas Jefferson, one of the greatest of Americans. He wasn’t against war when it was absolutely necessary and he proved that when he and his fellow founders put their lives on the line many years ago; but he knew the difference between wars of necessity and what he called, “The follies of war.” Here’s what he said about war:

”I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.”

“If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.”

Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.”

Now, considering this increased military action by the Western nations it’s not surprising that we are hearing reports that indicate that Russia is in the process of preparing to deploy military weaponry, but not troops, into Syria to bolster President Assad’s position. If the U.S. leadership had any sense of reason it would understand that if it continues on its current path it will lead to further massive confrontations with Russia.

If logic, reason and rationality ruled, the U.S. would realize that the only way to end this bloodbath is for it to show strong leadership in working with other major powers to discuss this entire crisis situation on a non-stop basis to come up with various ways to bring it under control. These powers must realize the enormity of the crisis and that it has the potential to eventually lead to a massive war such as the world has not seen since World War II.

To be a truly great nation America, that is its government, needs to come to the realization that it can no longer pursue these misguided, overly aggressive military operations around the world and, in particular, the Middle East; that it can no longer justify the massive associated costs that have severely weakened the major foundations of this nation. It’s time to put a stop to this agenda of endless war and destruction and begin the process of rebuilding America.


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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.