By Jim Shipley
Shipley speaks 

A centuries old war


Why are we involved in a 12-centuries-old war? Shiites and Sunnis have been at it since the death of Mohamed. I have written before about “Sykes-Picot” the agreement that whacked up the Middle East between England and France during WWI and how their placement of dictators and kings (mostly Sunni) in the countries they “invented” brought some stability; albeit with horrible human rights abuses to the people of those so-called countries.

So, George Bush broke the covenant, the Arab Spring has become a winter of death and destruction. Let’s face facts. The U.N, the U.S. and all the king’s men cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again.

The current evil of choice is ISIL or ISIS or whatever name you choose. Do they create a viable threat to the U.S.? Is their air force capable of long range bombing? Oh. They don’t have an air force. What about naval power to cut off sea lanes? Oh. They don’t have a navy.

To date they have killed a total of four Americans. Horribly, yes. But four. That is a slow Tuesday afternoon in Chicago. Do they pose the threat of some individual acts of violence in the U.S.? Probably, but only in some isolated cases. Meanwhile, put a count on the thousands of Muslims they have killed in the Middle East. The toll of gunfire in our cities is so much larger that it dwarfs any homegrown terrorist toll on us.

Truth is there is only one country of interest to us that ISIS and the other mad Shiite and Sunni bombers threaten: Israel. Israel has a front seat to all the terror. Israel has lost more citizens to Palestinians armed with scissors and kitchen knives in one month than all the Americans killed by other terrorists since 2001.

The only true democracy in the Middle East is the one under real threat. A multi-cultural haven in all that madness. There are those, including unfortunately, some Jews who dare to call Israel “an apartheid state.” An “apartheid state” that has Arab members of its parliament. An “apartheid state” that has Bedouin Arab soldiers in its armed forces. An “apartheid state” that grants its Arab citizens the right to vote.

True, there are economic and social differences—but mostly because Israel grants its Arab citizens the right to have their own schools with their own language. What do you suppose the Republicans in our Congress would do if we funded an entire educational system in Spanish?

The Settler “Movement” has the potential, as do any group of ultra-religious zealots, to present a clear and present danger to the very principles declared in the founding of the Third Jewish Commonwealth. But they have a place in the debate as do the segregationists that still exist in our own system.

One has to look no farther than our own Primary voting system to see how a healthy exchange of ideas and principles creates the heat and excitement that may actually get us out of our chairs and vote this time in more than token numbers.

But, let’s get back to the “threat” of a massive terrorist attack on our shores. The mere thought of it sends the military-industrial complex in paroxysms of joy and anticipation. The tank plant in Lima, Ohio, gets a new lease on life even though the army doesn’t want the damn things. Stocks of Boeing and Lockheed and Northrop climb despite the market doldrums.

Drum beaters like John McCain cannot contain their enthusiasm for building the kind of armaments that are meant for a war with Russia or China. I really don’t believe the people of any of the three nations are up for that (except again for a few Yahoos, who will always be with us).

No, I am not Pollyanna. I believe that radical Islam is real and would love to see the U.S. collapse of its own weight. That is not going to happen.

A number of years ago, I worked with a business where one partner was a Lebanese Maronite Christian. His partner was an Orthodox Jew. One evening the Lebanese partner who fought in the first Lebanese war was railing against the Muslims who were trying to dominate his country and the horrible things allowed under an interpretation of their religion.

The Orthodox Jew replied “look, Sam—my religion, if you read it literally at one time also did terrible things. We stoned people to death; we massacred people perceived to be our enemies. We grew out of that. You Christians burned people at the stake. You wiped out entire Jewish communities on your way to slaughter Moslems who had conquered Jerusalem. You grew out of that to become a religion of peace. Islam is 1200 years younger than the Jews. Give them time.”

Sam answered: “Frankly? I don’t think we have time.” So, there it is.


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