I will admit I knew very little about the Middle East until 9/11 and even then I knew only enough to get the geography and so forth. That is until I met JM, who is a dear friend and a very well known anthropologist/archaeologist who specializes in pre-Biblical civilizations of the middle east.
Once I met her I made it my business to read more, pay more attention to the news and to learn what I could about countries like Syria and Yemen, if only so I knew something about places she goes to regularly.
She is about to go to Syria - although this news makes it seem unlikely. When we spoke this weekend she was waiting on her VISA to come through, that seems increasingly doubtful now.
I have very mixed feelings about our response to the "crisis" in the middle east. I think 9/11 was a terrible tragedy and those responsible should be prosecuted in the international court or at the US level.
I do however have issues with the War in Iraq and I certainly have issues with cross boarder raids into other nations, like Syria.
The terrorists who struck on 9/11 feel and believe and I think if you listen to their rhetoric, they passionately state they are engaged in a holy war. They feel their religion and ideology is on the line. I happen to disagree and I think millions of other people disagree - but they truly feel convicted that it is true.
How is our entering another sovereign nation any different. Even if we are following the "bad guys" - please explain to me how it is different. We broke any number of international laws and for what? The terrorists on 9/11 broke those same laws and well then some - but the premises was the same. Each act shows a blatant disregard for international law and sovereignty.
The War in Iraq is wrong and needs to end. The raid into Syria is/was wrong and it needs to end. We should apologize for not honoring their sovereignty.
We need to bring our troops home and focus on what we can control, mainly our borders and who gets into our country and making sure we are well educated and competitive labor force. We are wasting countless resources by trying to police the world and frankly we are not doing that great of a job at that either. The loses in "Goodwill" column are immeasurable by my estimation.
Power and respect come in many forms and I would humbly submit - for at least the last 8 years we have been slowly diminishing both.