Thursday, February 17, 2011

Egypt and the Middle East Prove This Whole World’s Gone Crazy

If the chaos in Egypt and the Middle East proves anything, it’s that the world is one huge mess.

Since it’s all far too much to deal with individually without sending you into a 10-page, repetitive coma, here’s the breakdown:
  • Despite President Mubarak stepping down and the military taking over for an alleged short time, protests are continuing in Egypt.
  • Libya is having difficulty joining the growing list of revolutionary actions in the Middle East. Activists there tried to get things going via Facebook, but government security forces are currently staging an effective kibosh on that effort, arresting 14 people in connection with the “crime.”
  • Tunisia, Jordan and Iran have staged their own copycat protests. What will come of them is still left to be seen.
  • Bahrain has now gotten national attention for its uprising, as at least two protestors have died thanks to the actions of riot police.
Sadly, on that last one, I have no idea whose side to take in the issue, considering the lack of freedom in the larger region, the volatility of some of these protests, and what happened to Lara Logan in Egypt, the place that started it all…

For those of you who didn’t hear, Lara Logan, a CBS news correspondent was beaten and sexually assaulted in Cairo last week… by protestors.

With that said, the various governments haven’t been exactly peachy to our media members over there either. Logan – so far the worst American casualty – is just one of a growing number of U.S. reporters who have been abused by one side of the Middle East’s political mayhem or the other.

ABC News correspondent Miguel Marquez was beaten with billy clubs by Bahrainian government forces; his colleague Christiane Amanpour, along with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, got slapped around in Egypt, I believe by protestors; Fox News’ Greg Palkot and Olaf Wiig were rounded up and roughed up by Egyptian military police; and ABC reported that another four of its employees were carjacked by Egyptian protestors who threatened to behead them.

Egypt’s Factions Are Looking Ugly

Based on the evidence so far, it seems especially difficult to take sides in Egypt, when the very people who are demanding consideration are apparently too willing to violate other people’s rights in fairly grotesque ways.

I’m all for the oppressed – as far too many men and women are in the Middle East – rising up and claiming their own. But Egypt is showing early signs of trading one kind of tyranny for another, much like Iran did decades ago.

If they refuse to respect rules of common decency, they’ll be hard pressed to successfully demand the same from others.

Idiot American Politics Thrust onto Egyptian Scene

That doesn’t seem to matter to certain press members, however, who are bound and determined to show the protests in a positive light… and then connect President Obama to that glowing ray of hope and freedom.

From the physical evidence of our people being abused by both sides to more peaceful – and accurate – statements made by Egyptians on the street, it’s easy to conclude that the country doesn’t feel very fond of anything American right now, including its president.

Yet CNN’s Nic Robertson somehow concluded that Egyptian “protestors are very supportive of having Obama on their side”after conducting face-to-face interviews with locals who say just the opposite!

Adding to the madness, as usual, former President Carter is vouching for the whole situation over there, saying that he’s sure everything will turn out all right. Reassuring, right? So, too, is his opinion that:

“… the Muslim Brotherhood [a powerful minority force in Egypt that has ties to Hezbollah and declared during the early days of the protests that Israel had to go, as if it already had control of the political reigns] is not anything to be afraid of in the upcoming political situation and the evolution I see as most likely. They will be subsumed in the overwhelming demonstration of desire for freedom and true democracy.”

It’s nice to hear a man with such a strong track record of success and competency comfort us, isn’t it? (Might as well start picking out an Ahmadinejad type for Egypt now.)

Thanks for Getting Rid of Saddam. Now Here’s the Bill.

Finally, in London, there’s Rafid Ahmed Alwan, an Iraqi man who the AP reports was crucial in “build[ing] a case for war in Iraq,” says his testimony was all a lie. And he doesn’t regret it a bit:

“I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that.”

A reasonably intelligent person should be able to glean from those two simple sentences that:
  • The U.S. was deliberately given faulty information.
  • It came from an Iraqi citizen.
  • Saddam Hussein was perceived to be a horrible enough leader that lying and helping to start a war was worth it.

Yet now the Iraqi government – which wouldn’t be in place if it weren’t for billions (and the Washington Post claims trillions) of U.S. dollars, hundreds of lives and countless hours of effort – is demanding an apology and $1 billion in compensation for changing Baghdad into “a camp in an ugly and destructive way.”

Worse yet, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Obama pays him back. And as for that apology, well… that’s practically guaranteed.

Like I said, the world has gone completely and totally nuts.

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