The Bush administration has announced some millions of dollars of military aid to Saudi Arabia and Egypt — presumably to avoid being accused of favoring Israel with our simultaneous announcement of expanded military aid there:

But one wonders at the seeming reflex continuation of policies supporting repressive regimes initiated during the cold war and now being carried on allegedly to counter ‘terrorist’ regimes.  Needless to say, arming tyrants is a dangerous game — lest we forget from whence bin Laden and 15 of the 9/11 hijackers came!  What could be more hypocritical than claiming that we are supporting democracy in the Middle East when we are in fact now giving military aid to several of the more repressive anti-democratic regimes there.

I don’t imagine that there are many informed people in the Middle East and elsewhere that cannot figure the contradiction.  Needless to say, it is precisely such support that induces terrorists to do their thing in opposition to our support of oppression in their countries.  Lest we forget, Saddam Hussein was Bush I’s and Rumsfeld’s’ pal back when — and probably some of the neocons are now wishing that we had not taken him out.  Of the roughly 25 million Iraqis about 4 million are either external or internal refugees at the moment, roughly 15% or eight million are suffering extreme deprivation according to a recent Oxfam report:

Democracy in Iraq?  With the suffering that we are inflicting, it looks as though our military moves there are more likely to support terrorist recruiting drives and resulting attacks on us and ours.  Iraq’s latest hero, the captain of its victorious soccer team, has just spoken out — U.S. get out of Iraq!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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