Letter: A new act in the Middle East tragedy | AspenTimes.com

Letter: A new act in the Middle East tragedy

Part 3? Obama’s “300” and Bush’s 300,000 do not equal $3 at the pump.

With the latest move in Iraq, America continues to prop up the status quo laid out by the Bush I and Bush II terms: Protect and control Middle Eastern oil.

Obama’s 300 “advisers” in Iraq are 300 too many. Even if 300 non-combat advisers are called a “symbolic” gesture, it is the wrong symbol.

Ideally, the symbol of America is of transparent democracy, not opaque dealings with opaque foreign powers. We are advancement, not backwardness. Yet here we are, returning to 1991, 2002 and 480 B.C. for military-inspired action. The bobbleheads trust in a mythical G.I. Joe?

After trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the ground and thousands in the ground, how can the U.S. government not understand this? The layers of intrigue in Iraq and the greater Middle East conflict are beyond the abilities of the U.S. to accurately assess, much less control. If the majority government of Iraq cannot predict and control events in its own country, how can we? Third times the charm?

Have we now somehow identified the “300 Spartans” in our military ranks that will give the “terrorists” their Thermopylae? Glory aside, ancient history suggests that even the 300 best are not enough, and recent history suggests that neither are 300,000.

America’s Middle East foreign policy has too long revolved around the idea of “We need the petrol, and they need the dollar.”

How about something more than reset buttons, which simply reboot tired, outdated machinery?

The U.S. government protection of the fossil-fuel industry is Fannie Mae with a gun — and the oil bubble is now decades old. The fossil-energy market would collapse quickly without America spending 18 percent of its annual defense budget directly on the protection of fossil-fuel assets — and that’s not counting our Bush I and II wars. Without stable international financing secured and subsidized by America’s defense spending, big oil would be financially unsustainable and bust like Parachute’s Black Sunday.

In lands more foreign than Parachute, a principled and practical basis suggests that non-treatied military involvement should be restricted to a clear and present danger to public American institutions. This does not include guarding assets of privately held oil and gas companies or the crony governments they deal with.

Strategically, the instability of Iraq, Ukraine and you-name-it proves that we need alternative-energy sources that don’t fund tyrants. By our military involvement, our government is picking the energy-supplier winners overseas — and we lose environmentally and financially at home (yes, even Aspen is the poorer for it).

For those concerned about the destiny of Middle East residents, and not just the destination of the oil, consider that the demise of big oil might lead to big building — such as that in Dubai. If we shut off the flow of petrodollars, those oil tyrants will need to join the international business community on civil terms. As these leadership elements now need to only control the supply of raw resources to ensure their power, it follows that these afflicted societies exist in a raw, uncontrolled state.

Why do we involve ourselves with the bombing of those who bomb for the advantage of those who also would bomb? As Dubai as proved, Middle Eastern countries can supply the world with tourism experiences, not just oil.

So long as the oil flows, so shall the blood. Let us not dictate the flow of either but rather the flow of ideas and civil relations. Let us buy more baths in the Burj Khalifa and fewer bloodbaths in Baghdad. Let’s make a new act, Part I: our allies as builders, not bullies or bombers.

Doug Mytty