Published on Monday, May 27, 2002 by Oregon Live
Our Crazy Foreign Policy
by Harry Lonsdale
United States foreign policy is currently as wrong-headed and imperialistic as at any time in memory.
Let's begin with Israel. Like most Americans, I have been a strong supporter of Israel's right to exist and her need for security throughout her turbulent history. But, for me, that unconditional support began to wane when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began his pre-emptive strikes against Palestinians in the occupied territories several months ago. Pre-emptive strike is a nice-sounding euphemism for act of war.
Let's remember that the occupied territories -- the West Bank and Gaza -- were occupied by Israel as a result of their victory in the 1967 war. Ever since then, there has been a tacit agreement that those territories would revert to a Palestinian homeland, with mutually assured security for both sides.
After 35 years, no Palestinian homeland exists, and Sharon's Likud party recently voted even to deny establishing such a homeland. If Jews are entitled to a homeland, aren't the Palestinians, also?
As the world's superpower, our unconditional support for Israel has skewed the playing field. Even the U.S. Congress recently overwhelmingly pledged U.S. support for Israel, in spite of her cruel and bloody attacks on Palestinian civilians. Knowing he has our support, Sharon is exhibiting an unhealthy arrogance, not even allowing a U.N. inspection team in to inspect an alleged massacre in Jenin. Meanwhile, Israel's 3,500 tanks, dozens of attack helicopters and F-16 fighters compliments of U.S. foreign aid rule the scene, and the killing goes on: 10 Palestinians dead for every Israeli killed by suicide bombers. Except for Israel, not one other nation supports our unconditional support for Israel.
It's time to end this half-century of slaughter on both sides. It's time for Israel, with its vast military superiority to create peace. The surest way, perhaps the only way, for that peace to happen is for the U.S. to announce that it is ceasing all aid to Israel, effective immediately, until a Palestinian state is created.
If our policy toward Israel is wrong, our policy toward Iraq is dire, if not downright criminal. Unless George W. Bush is bluffing, we're talking about taking out Saddam Hussein. Now, taking out Iraq's elected leader is another soft-sounding euphemism for declaring war on that country. On what grounds? Has Iraq attacked us, or even threatened to attack us?
Aren't we doing enough damage to that country and its civilians with our sanctions? At least a dozen nations have, or are believed to have, weapons of mass destruction, and not all of them are friendly towards us. Why Iraq? Is it simply a macho and unjustified continuation of the war that George Bush the Elder started and never finished?
Even in Afghanistan we shot from the hip. The correct procedure, for a country that believes in justice, for the U.S. to follow after 9-11 was to take our case first to the World Court and then to the U.N. Only if those efforts failed would we have been justified to send our military into Afghanistan, assuming we had real evidence that that was where the 9-11 attacks were launched from.
Finally, I ask, where are the U.S. voices of reason?
Where is the outrage against our outrageous and dangerous foreign policy?
Harry Lonsdale is a retired scientist and businessman living in Sisters. In the 1990s he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate three times.
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