International

Standing With Egypt

“We’ve waited for this revolution for years…Mona Eltahawy for The Guardian writes. “But here now finally are our children—Generation Facebook—kicking aside the burden of history, determined to show us just how easy it is to tell the dictator it’s time to go.”


photo by Mohammed Abed / AFP-Getty Images

33 Comments

  • But what does this really mean?

    By large majorities, the Egyptian people favor strict Sharia Islam, including execution of those who leave the faith, etc. You can imagine what womens’ rights will be like if the majority gets their way.

    Also most Egyptians have a favorable opinion of Hezbollah, the vicious Iranian cat’s-paw that just took over Lebanon, and which is accumulating tens of thousands of rockets and missiles for another attack on Israel.

    Finally, one must remember that many revolutions in the name of democracy are hijacked by undemocratic forces. Communists were good at this (for example, in Nicaragua), and Al Qutb, founder of Egypt’s Muslim brotherhood modeled his tactics on Lenin’s. The French had a glorious revolution in the late 18th century and got, well, a nightmare. The Palestinians had a democratic election and got their own nighmare – Hamas. Germany once had an election and got Hitler. There are too many cases of one-election democracy – you have one election, and then the bad guys take over.

    In other words, blind support of the a revolution against a tyrant ignores the probability (not possibility, but probability) of an even worse outcome – the people still oppressed, but now by a regime actively hostile to the west.

    The people of Egypt are oppressed under the current regime, and are denied basic human rights. At least, with this regime, the west has some moderating influence. The odds of the people not being even more oppressed by its replacement are, sadly, low.

  • John Moore’s assertions regarding Eqyptians’ views of Hezbollah are, simply put, false: only 30% of Muslims in Egypt have a favorable view of Hezbollah. Two thirds have an unfavorable view. Slightly less than half of MUSLIMS in Egypt even support Hamas. About 9 out of 10 Eqyptians identify as Muslims, so these numbers represent an overwhelming majority, but not the entirety of the population. The numbers on Sharia law are much higher, but Egyptians do not tend to see struggle between modernization and Islam in the same extremes that some in the Middle East do. The reality from our perspective hinges much more on how Egypt positions itself on international issues, whether it’s an authoritarian/kleptocrat like Mubarak or religious authoritarians. It’s also rather hilarious hearing these concerns expressed by anyone who supported Reagan’s heavy arming of jihadists in Afghanistan or Bush’s utterly idiotic war to eliminate an essentially secular, minority tribalist dictator to unify the Persian Gulf under Shiite hegemony, benefitting Tehran, under the banner of “US national security.” One of the dumbest moves in my lifetime by administrations that have engaged in a lot of dumb moves. The reality is that an awful lot of strengthening of religious fundamentalist opposition to the US is rooted in our hysteria over any “left” nationalists. If Mossadegh hadn’t been overthrown by the CIA back in the day, my semi-educated guess – which beats the shit out of the crap being purveyed above – is that Iran would be an example of a modernized, relatively democratic Muslim country and much friendlier to the US. Certainly much of the subsequent trajectory in the Persian Gulf hinges on that episode. Let’s not forget that Reagan gave an explicit directory to militarily and materially assist Saddam, when he was committing his worst war crimes with “WMDs,” making the Gipper a witting accomplice in what we later tried to use as half-baked, tendentious and disingenuous justification for a remarkably foolish invasion. For the US to try to manage the Middle East has been a fool’s errand.

    Moore got more than he deserves in response, but hearing him spout totally false nonsense is annoying at best.

  • I also have to say that it’s interesting that the boneheads who cheered Bush when he glibly proclaimed bringing “freedom” to Iraq – via armed invasion using the blood and treasure of US citizenry – are getting nervous when faced with the obvious issue of what happens when you topple a regime in a complicated political and cultural landscape if it’s the people in that country themselves who are the agents of change. The hubris, joined to aggressive ignorance, is rather stunning. Questions that folks like me got jeered for asking in 2003 – and which turned out to be 100% valid as the Iraq war turned into a civil war, a human tragedy of enormous proportions, displacing millions of Iraqis and creating hundreds of thousands of casualties in the years of chaotic violence, and persists as a political victory mostly for a unified Shiite Persian Gulf, which is historically defensible and certainly a goal of Tehran’s, but not necessarily in our immediate interests and certainly not the supposed goal proclaimed by the idiots of BushCo.

    This stuff becomes laughable – the right is just beyond the reach of reality.

  • Semi-ironically, Mohamed El Baradei appears to be the best hope of unifying a democratizing, pluralistic governing coalition in Cairo, assuming Mubarak falls. HIs having been a persistent target of brickbats from the US hard-Right will probably serve him well – and further the varied interests of small-d democrats in the US, Europe and the Middle East. My guess is he’s already been contacted by Hillary, although he’d be a fool to say so – as would she.

  • I’ve looked at the FOX News website and they appear to have not a single reporter on the ground in Egypt. The NYTs has Anthony Shadid and MSNBC has Richard Engel, both Arabic speakers familiar with the region.

    Nuff said…although I’m sure Prophet Glenn Beck will be getting dispatches electronically via the fillings in his teeth, and he can relay just how George Soros and Woodrow Wilson figure into the picture.

  • Of course we shouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq. Totally idiotic. I’m not going to spend time debating this with you – it’s too fucking obvious BushCo was wrong in just about every assumption that they put forth to lead the nation into war, and frankly I don’t care what people who are so clueless they still defend the war think. Suffice to say that Tehran is VERY happy that we overthrew Saddam and will, as I’ve been saying for years, be the biggest beneficiaries externally of our military’s efforts and sacrifices.

    Anyone who argues that Saddam was a national security threat to the US AND that turning our priorities from Afghanistan to Iraq wasn’t beneficial to al Qaeda and their benefactors is just blowing smoke out of their ass.

  • lol.
    Iraq bad. Afghanistan good. Iraq was a recruiting tool for al Qaeda then…Afghanistan isn’t now.
    Iraq, didn’t provide safe haven and training grounds for al Qaeda…Afghanistan does.

    As far as your comment:
    “Anyone who argues that Saddam was a national security threat……. is just blowing smoke out of their ass”

    Allowme to quote President Clinton.

    “One way or another, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line”.
    President Clinton, Feb. 4th, 1998.

    “If Sadaam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program”.
    President Clinton, Feb 17th 1998.

    According to reg, President Clinton was blowing smoke out his ass.
    I couldn’t disagree more.

  • Please allow me to quote another person who’s opinion holds a little more water with me than reg’s.

    “Iraq is a long way from here, but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face”.
    Secretary of State Madeline Albright
    Feb 18th, 1998

    I don’t think she was blowing smoke out her ass.

  • Oh, and just one more for now. To put to bed the argument of whether or not it was conceivable for us to believe that Iraq/Sadaam had WMD’s.

    President Clinton’s National Securtiy Advisor Sandy Berger, when referring to Sadaam Hussein:
    “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983”.
    Feb. 18th, 1998.

    I don’t think he was blowing smoke out his ass.

    Note that those quotes are prior to 2000.

  • I see that FOX has gotten some kind of correspondent to Cairo, although he seems appropriately clueless and ill-equipped to produce any serious journalism.

  • Lol, serious journalism? Where do you find yours Reg? Does any of it come from people that think differently than you?

  • No. That’s not all I’ve got. lol. I just figured that was enough. Seeing Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright and Sandy Berger quotes that Iraq posed a threat to our national security might keep you from labeling other people who felt the same way insane, clueless or out of touch with reality.

    I mean Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar for christ sake. He had access to classified info.and CIA intelligence reports.
    And you would have us understand that you knew better than he did?

    I member somebody saying something a thread or so ago about somebody constructing a cocoon based on narcissism.

  • Is that all you’ve got?
    Pathetic.

    That’s when you KNOW the person you’re debating has no intelligent rebuttal.
    When they use terms like:
    “insane….out of touch with reality….clueless or pathetic”.

  • So, reg, do you still believe we never should have went to war in Iraq?

    My problem with that comment is twofold:

    1.) It provides zero evidence of actual linkage.

    2.) It implies that the people behind the resistance could not have done so without a US invasion, an invasion I hasten to point out took place nearly eight years ago and is finally starting to point slowly to a better ending, after violence that cost the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis. I don’t think the Tunisians and Egyptians would look to Iraq for a model.

    It is clear what started this. A desperately poor fruit vendor was tired of being humiliated by a possibly corrupt government official and decided to martyr himself by setting himself afire. The rebellion in Tunisia grew from that and the rebellion in Egypt grew from what happened in Tunisia.

    The attempted and unsupported linkage to the Iraq invasion by the right is similar to the unsupported argument that Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War. That argument ignores the contributions of people like Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Károly Grósz, the tens of thousands of Romanians who stood up to Ceauşescu, Andrei Sakharov, Alexander Ginzburg, Eduard Kuzentsov, Anatoly Schransky, the thousands of East Germans who took hammers to the wall and last but not least, Mikhail Gorbachev.

  • All due respect Randy, I don’t play that game. Those quotes came from Bill Clinton and his staff members from a speech he delivered at the Pentagon. Just google “Bill Clinton saying Iraq has weapons of mass destruction”.

    You’ll get all the proof you need that those quotes are in FACT SUPPORTED.
    If you still don’t believe me, Snopes says it’s all true.
    Again, all due respect, I’ll take Snopes word over yours.

    Warm regards
    ATQ

  • Then again, if what you’re saying is that the real reason we went to war in Iraq wasn’t WMD’s…well, that’s another kettle of fish.

  • If the “real reason” presented to the American people for a war isn’t the real reason for the war, how could anyone in good conscience defend it ? I’m amazed by the post-war contortions to justify something that made no sense and, while it clearly opened the door and benefited the Iraqi political class in exile (many in Iran) and over time is yeilding a far better regime than Saddams’, also unleashed horrible violence, gave Islamists enormous regional power withing Iraq and surely can’t be justified as a decision taken thousands of miles away by outsiders, especially when all the evidence points to a political situation that benefits Tehran more than the citizenry that footed the bill and saw their kids sent to fight and die. Madness…

  • I’m not the person pontificating on what “the real reason” might have been. I simply made a reference to ask if that’s what Randy was saying.

    as far as your statement:

    “how could anyone in good conscience defend it?”

    Yeah. What you said. How could anybody who didn’t think we should have went there be ok with being there now? That’s EXACTLY what I’ve been saying. It’s hypocritical for those who believe we should have never went there, for ANY of the reasons they listed, and were so outraged about it, to be OK with it now.

    Myself? I’ve never, ever, said we shouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq. I simply point out how many people have switched their position on it. Outraged no longer. It’s all good now.

    Make no mistake about it, I’m GLAD to have you on board. Welcome to the bandwagon. We’re playing the correct tune IMHO.

  • Of course, the combat aspect of the Iraq war is pretty much done, thanks to BO taking the baton from GWB and running with it. I think BO made a good decision re: Iraq.

    Opinions vary.

  • What I was saying was that the Iraq War had absolutely nothing to do with what’s happening in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt, so your initial statement to reg is irrelevant.

    As for what Clinton, said, there was a simple solution to that issue as well. Inspections would have determined if Saddam had WMD’s, as opposed to a fabricated letter from Italy claiming that Iraq had sought to get uranium from Niger.

  • “Inspections would have determined if Saddam had WMD’s,”

    Inspections?
    “Sadaam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region…. and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process”.
    Nancy Pelosi, Dec. 16, 1998.

    Randy, special attn. to “mockery of the weapons inspection process”.

    And it isn’t just Speaker Pelosi’s opinion that Sadaam thwarted the inspection process. That is well documented.

  • The information age is a bitch for politicians who love to play Monday Morning Quarterback. You see, it gives us the ability to see the plays they called when they didn’t have the benefit of hindsight. It allows us to see their own words, before they were able to play politics with it because two years later a member of opposing party sat in the big chair.

    As soon as the war wasn’t “popular”, and the CIC was from the opposing party, some of the very same politicians who told us that Sadaam had WMD’s and that Iraq was a threat to our national security…. well, then they do a 180 and unequivocally state that Iraq wasn’t then, nor had they ever been a threat to us at all. Then they tell us what a bad idea it was to go to war in Iraq. After they voted for the war.
    And some people fall for that bullshit.
    ROFLMAO.

  • “Sadaam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region…. and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process”.
    Nancy Pelosi, Dec. 16, 1998.

    Yet nothing was found, a fact that nearly eight years later has yet to be refuted after a war in which the US was able to search the country high and low and found nothing.

    Inspections were proceeding in 2002-03and it certainly appears that if they had been allowed to proceed, they would have put an end to the casus belli, which is certainly a compelling reason for Bush rushing to war.

    And it isn’t just Speaker Pelosi’s opinion that Sadaam thwarted the inspection process. That is well documented.

    Yet you have provided no documentation that was taking place in 2002-03. In fact, Hans Blix the chief UN weapons inspector stated the following:

    Asked about the inspections he oversaw between November 2002 and 18 March 2003 – when his team was forced to pull out of Iraq on the eve of the war – he said he was “looking for smoking guns” but did not find any.

    While his team discovered prohibited items such as missiles beyond the permitted range, missile engines and a stash of undeclared documents, he said these were “fragments” and not “very important” in the bigger picture.

    “We carried out about six inspections per day over a long period of time.

    All in all, we carried out about 700 inspections at different 500 sites and, in no case, did we find any weapons of mass destruction.”

    Although Iraq failed to comply with some of its disarmament obligations, he added it “was very hard for them to declare any weapons when they did not have any”. [my emphasis]

    So Nancy Pelosi’s comments in 1998 are contradicted by the facts on the ground in 2002-03 and the fact that N-OT-H-I-N-G has been found.

  • Nope. Never found WMD’s.
    That doesn’t excuse those politicians from their previous statements that he had them. That doesn’t excuse them from their previous statements that Sadaam/Iraq was a security to the other countries in their region, AND US.
    And it doesn’t excuse ALL the lemmings who love to spout the talking points of why we shouldn’t have gone to war.

    When Clinton was President, everybody believed Sadaam was a threat and had WMD’s. Nobody gave a rats ass that we fired a few missiles at them.

    Then Bush got elected. We went to war in Iraq after 9/11. The war became unpopular. Then Bush was a war monger. He lied about the WMD’s to get us into the war. It was a war for oil. etc. etc. The anti-war crowd was highly outraged and protests took place.

    Then Obama is elected President. He doesn’t bring the troops home right away. He finishes the job. He makes a speech about how we have done a wonderful thing in Iraq.
    Nobody is outraged anymore. No more protests take place.
    He puts General “BetrayUs” back in charge. They are doing a surge in Afghanistan. It’s all good now.

    That’s what’s taken place. ALL the fluff and duff and opining and talking points won’t change the facts. ALL the MM Q’bing won’t change it. The fact is, BO has made all the people who were protesting the war and spouting off all the bullshit now look foolish.
    It usually happens when people allow politics to determine their principles for them.

  • Obama opposed the Iraq war from day one.

    I see you evaded the issue as to whether inspections were working. Per Blix, they were. Bush rushed to war, it certainly appears because his casus belli was weakening.

    You also have provided zero linkage between what took place in Iraq and what has been taking place in Egypt and Tunisia.

    So in answer to your question to reg, given the lives lost, given the continued blight on our reputation, the unbudgeted cost (under the Bush administration), the human cost and the increased influence of Iran in the region, I am still certainly opposed to it.

  • “Obama opposed the Iraq war from day one.”

    Until he was elected President. Then he met with the JCOS, was told the score, and decided to continue the operations in Iraq. He didn’t need the anti-war crowd’s vote anymore.

    THEY GOT PLAYED.

    My God man, are you still trying to disconnect from the fact that Obama took the baton from Bush and ran with it?

  • BTW, somebody should explain to Sandy Berger what a WMD is. He said Sadaam used them against his own people 10 times between 1983 and 1998. How could somebody use something they didn’t have?

    National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. Uh huh.

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