Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Middle East Simplified (Kinda)

Tomorrow is September 11. I am a proud American citizen, born and raised here, I'm from a military family with a grandfather who lived and died a proud member of the United States Army and was a WWII veteran, I have three uncles who were all either in the National Guard or Army Reserves, and a cousin who is proud and serving member of the Navy. Go USA!

I was very young when 9/11 happened and I, as well as many other people I'm sure, aren't exactly sure how or why it happened, or rather what led to it. I don't think there will ever be a real explanation or justification for so many innocent lives to be taken and it was truly a tragedy. 

I'm going to try, I may not succeed, but I'm going to try to explain what led up to 9/11.

Just a general disclaimer; I'm no Middle Eastern expert. I must say I have had some very excellent teachers (shout out to Mr.Ellis and Mrs. Politis) whom I feel have given me the ability to grasp and understand what's going on in the Middle East, and the world for that matter, but I'm neither a college professor nor a text book. I will try my absolute best to give a simple layout for an extremely complicated situation. If you are interested in this type of stuff I highly recommend reading The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. He's a phenomenal writer and a native Afghani and he really humanizes what's happening over there and explains it all really well without it being boring or confusing. 

All this stuff is still so relevant to today and what's happening right now but it's a lot of information and it's hard to keep up. 

Okay so let me try to break this down...

There was a TON  of stuff leading up to 1979 (Western hatred and whatnot) but those are for another day, today, we'll start here:

---> = arrows

1979: Soviets invade Afghanistan trying to spread communist gov. --> we back Islamic insurgents (called the mujahideen) who resist Soviets (we don't want communist to spread, so we give them training and guns) --> war goes on for about 9 years, by 1990s Soviets Leave (Russian 'Vietnam War' just to give a reference) -----> Russians say "don't go there, don't do it" *Afghanistan called the Graveyard of Empires*

Soon the wheels start turning and the U.S. realizes hmmmm.... Afghanistan might be a threat to the us... so.... we train Iran and give them guns and just let them kinda go at it 

P.S. Iran and Afghanistan don't like each other

*The U.S. doesn't actually physically give anyone guns/ weapons, we give them money for whatever it is that they may need in a time of war .... (guns) *

-Parts of Afghanistan chaotic and lawless -> Enter the Taliban, strict Muslim extremist who take power PLOT TWIST  (the Taliban was previously the mujahideen)

Yes we trained them. And gave them weapons. Kinda. 

The Taliban did things such as:
-treat women TERRIBLY 
-public floggings and executions for no real reason
-forced to wear burqa (the face and body covering) because "the face of a women is a   source of corruption" for men not related to them. riiiiight.
-no education, forced to go to underground schools with death as the outcome if caught
-arranged marriages by force
They did many other absolutely terrible things to women, you may Google them at will
-hatred of Western anything 

^All of this was/is an extreme attempt not to lose their culture

Enter Bin Laden (who btw is Saudi Arabian NOT Afghani), he comes to Afghanistan and creates Al Qaida

Taliban = regional

Al Qaida = global

Yes, there's a difference. 

What are they: Muslim radical extremists. Technically the Taliban is a "political movement" and Al Qaida is a "militant Islamist organization" but I mean... lets be real here. 

Fast forward...

9/11/2001 --> U.S. invades Afghanistan (trying to dismantle Al Quadea and ipso facto Bin Laden) --> The War In Afghanistan (those details are for another time)

SIDE NOTE *completely unrelated to what I was previously talking about*:

Obama: I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. HALLELUJAH. Open ended wars are just not good for us as a nation right now, especially right on the heels of the last war we were in... Obama really cleared up a lot and made it clear that his goal is NOT war, overall I think it was a great speech.


As I watch the analysis of Obama’s Syrian Speech on CNN, all I can think is ;I'm really getting tired of these Republicans. Newt Gingrich is just making himself look stupid, he needs to just be quiet.

Let me just rant about Republicans/ Congress for a minute...

Okay Republicans, we get it. You didn't vote for Obama; you don't like Obama. Okay that's great, I didn't vote for him either, I'm not even old enough to vote. As a complete third party who can make an un-bias observation I must say; Republicans need to move on and get over it. Whether they like it or not he's here and he's going to be here. They're putting what's best for their party over what's best for the country, but isn't their party's goal supposed to be doing what’s best for the country? They need to straighten out their priorities. When your party's goal is making the President of the United States, regardless of who he is, the man who was voted to his office by the people of this great nation, a "one term president", who exactly is being helped? He won office not once, but twice so I believe the country (certainly not all of it but the majority) has spoken.

So Congress... What's their approval rating these days, 9%? Focus on what's best for the country. That should be goal number one, point blank, no questions asked. Nobody should even have to tell them that, that should be common sense. Regardless of who's from what party, there needs to be term limits! Okay give the congressmen/congresswomen their shot, go ahead, but once they act up, like they've BEEN acting up, there needs to be a way to get rid of them. Congress is accomplishing nothing. The rest of the world is moving on and progressing and, if it were up to Congress, America would just be at a standstill. We would be eight years behind everyone else because for two presidential terms they couldn't do anything but bicker like a bunch of middle school girls. It's disgraceful, it really is.

People risk everything to come here. They give up all their possessions, and possibly never see their families again to come here and have the opportunities we have, to have their shot and to give their kids a shot at the "American Dream". At my high school there are two janitors who emigrated here from Russia. In Russia they were nuclear physicists and now in America they’re janitors cleaning up after rich upper-middle class kids. That’s quite a career change. People sacrifice a lot to come to America and I think Congress doesn't realize this because if they did they would treat their positions with respect and would genuinely want to make our country better. 

If they want to have some kind of Republicans vs. Democrat thing they can lace up their sneakers and go out on the White House lawn and have at it in a game of flag football. Maybe that would finally squash this constant need to be better or have more power than the other party. I don't know about them but I learned cooperation and teamwork in the first grade.

To quote Mr.Steve, a retired teacher and now part time carpenter and full time nature lover: "America is the greatest nation in the world, you don't see anyone trying to sneak into China."

And with that, goodnight.

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