Sunday, August 18, 2013


Checking the news each day  from Egypt I would say to myself “It can’t get any worse”, but it always did.

There are many reasons for this tragic state of affairs, but one factor is U-S foreign policy, and in that you and I are culpable. We, and our country, have blood on our hands.

For years the U-S has supported an “even handed” approach in the Middle for Israel, support for Arab states, too—a policy I support. Israel gets more foreign aid from us than any nation; Egypt is second—about $2 Billion a year. (That would pave a lot of roads, help build a lot of schools, support many health programs throughout America, but I think foreign aid is a defensible policy).

Less so in Egypt in recent years than before.  Too much of our aid goes to military weapons, since Egypt has sworn off  attacking Israel.  Too much of that goes to the military  caste, including fraud and kickbacks galore. Most people don’t realize Egypt’s military owns about a third of the civilian economy—(plants and factories and the like), with the “profits” going not to the “general fund” but back to the military. This makes them the single most powerful group in the land.

U-S policy has not helped, over the years, to democratize Egypt---so when Mubarak was overthrown, the U-S  (and a lot of us) hoped for a new day. It didn’t work out that way. The military continued to pull the strings, and when the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi won the first ever democratic election, and then screwed up his ruling, the military pounced. Despite our  law to the contrary, the U-S declared this coup was not a coup---which it was--- hoping the military would  see the light. Again, it didn’t work out that way.  Secretary of State John Kerry, himself a veteran and opponent of ‘Nam,  where the U-S supported another military dictatorship, declared it “wasn’t a military takeover.” Wrong again..and with each U-S decision, flouting our own laws and traditions, the body count rose in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said.

It rose in large part because the military is using weapons we paid for, supplied and built for Egypt’s defense against its own people. See those sand-colored APCs—armored personnel carriers..lined up along Cairo streets? I know them well; I helped break the story when the U-S sank hundreds of millions into an old plant in West Virginia to make them for the war in Vietnam, where they became the troops’ vehicle of choice.

Our policy, well meaning or not, has failed. Our government has ignored our own laws; its attempts to get the military to end its repressive measures has failed….and the body count goes higher and higher. (And Egypt is a simple matter compared to Syria)!

In a democratic country we elect the people who make our laws (and ignore them), who set our foreign policy—for good or ill. And when our officials fail us, we the people are also responsible.

Uncle Sam has blood on his hands..and so do every one of us.

I'm just sayin'...

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