To Those Always Wrong About the Middle East and Who Never Lose A Gram of Arrogance or A Moment of Sleep Over the Tragedies They Create
By Barry Rubin
On the occasion of your supporting Palestinian unilateral independence despite the dangers this presents for Israel while simultaneously criticizing Israel for not giving massive concessions in exchange for nothing. On the occasion of the world groveling before Mahmoud Abbas, a ruler of a mere one million people who is in partnership with an explicity genocidal terrorist group, is dependent on Western handouts, refuses to negotiate or compromise, and has cancelled elections at a time when democracy is supposedly the big thing in the Middle East.
On the occasion of your ignoring the fact that Turkey is ruled by an Islamist party engaged in massive repression and the transformation of the country into a dictatorship, holding that regime up as a model for other Muslim-majority states as it arrests dissidents on a massive scale and keeps them under lock and key while threatening war with Israel. The U.S. government chooses this regime as its co-director in the most important new international counter-terrorist initiative and as its manager of the political transition in Syria.
On the occasion of your whitewashing revolutionary Islamism and glorifying anti-Western forces that will yield a harvest of bloodshed and misery in future.
And most of all on the occasion of your ridiculing, censoring, or ignoring far more accurate assessments of the situation.
Here’s the record
You were wrong about Iran’s revolution.
You were wrong about Saddam not invading Iran.
You were wrong about Saddam becoming moderate and wrong about him invading Kuwait.
You were wrong about the 1990s peace process (me, too, but I learned real fast in 2000).
You were wrong about the unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon.
You were wrong about the promise that you’d support Israel if it took risks for peace and then things got bad.
You were wrong about the rise of a stealth Islamist regime in Turkey.
You were wrong about Islamist terrorists attacking America (ridiculing the idea before September 11)
You were wrong about Iran’s nuclear program (during the initial years, you said it wasn’t happening when Israel was warning about it).
You were wrong about letting Hamas participate in the Palestinian election even though it didn’t qualify.
You were wrong in thinking Fatah would win the Palestinian election.
You were wrong in not supporting moderate force in Lebanon and strenuously opposing the power of the Iran-Syria-Hizballah alliance there.
You were wrong in encouraging or even participating in a massive campaign of slander against Israel.
You were wrong in encouraging or even participating in a massive campaign of slander against the United States.
You were wrong about the Egyptian revolution.
You were wrong about Turkey's regime acting as a radical Islamist power.
You were wrong about Iran again (engagement).
You were wrong about Syria (being winnable from Iran).
You were wrong about Lebanon (not being taken over by Iran, Syria, Hizballah).
You were wrong about Obama (sorry, I only get 800 words total here).
You were wrong about Israel, (a country you never understand).
You were wrong about Islamism (understanding what it’s all about—revolution, not hurt feelings).
You were wrong about Pakistan (helping in a war against terrorism when it sponsors terrorism).
You were wrong about Obama’s policy in the Middle East making America popular there.
You were wrong about flattering Islamists into becoming moderate.
You were wrong about the whole settlement freeze mess (including the wrong claim that it would win moderate gestures from the Arab world).
You were wrong about throwing a tantrum regarding east Jerusalem construction which you’d already agreed was okay to continue.
You were wrong in not throwing a tantrum about the Turkish regime’s sponsoring terrorists on the Gaza flotilla, sabotaging sanctions on Iran, and creating a virtual state of war with Israel.
You were wrong in opening the door to the Taliban in Afghan politics.
You were wrong in opening the door to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian politics (saying the United States had no objection to its being in government without anyone even asking).
You were wrong about thinking that your moving away from Israel would make Arabs and Muslims more moderate and pro-American.
You were wrong to waste almost a year by not dealing with the Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence strategy.
You were wrong in sabotaging any possibility of America becoming more energy independence.
You were wrong in not pressuring the Palestinian Authority to negotiate seriously with Israel.
You were wrong in not giving Israel strong support when it has faced broken agreements, a massive terrorist onslaught, and the rejection of peace in response to its concessions.
That’s just a partial list.
And now you want Israel to risk its future existence on the basis of your advice, leaving aside also the fact that you’ve never confessed error, rethought the basis of these mistakes, and then formed an alternative policy and worldview?
You dare to suggest that you know better the interests of Israel and how it will survive than its people, voters, and leaders? And yet you are ignorant about Israel itself, its experiences in the last two decades, and the situation it faces!
Then your smug media, your arrogant false experts, call us dummies and ridicule our arguments—acts and arguments you don’t dare to confront directly in serious debate? We’re supposed to be impressed? Persuaded? Ashamed? Americans in general and Jews in particular are supposed to ignore the people who have actually lived the experience, know the facts, fought the wars, and taken the risks?
And besides, what about the people of Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran who are horrified by their current governments yet who can expect no real help or understanding from you. How about Saudi Arabia and Jordan, whose strategic plight you ignore. How about the people of Egypt and very possibly Libya and Tunisia who may be facing a tidal wave of repression, economic disaster, and shattered hopes partly due to your mistakes?
The answer is, “No, thanks.”
All I can add is, Take it away, Bob Dylan:
“I just want you to know
I can see through your masks….
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy….
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher….”
--Bob Dylan, “Masters of War”