Late in life (sadly too late I fear) I’ve learned to question the conventional orthodoxy I was raised on by a western liberal education and western media. Yes, I certainly received an excellent education in Minnesota in the 1950s-1960s, and I was encouraged by family and mentors to think for myself. Only through travel and experiencing the “other” firsthand, however, did I really learn to question many preconceived notions that shaped my understanding of the “truth.”
If Americans care at all about the turmoils and regime changes that seem to plague the Middle East, we simplistically chalk it up to “their problems” – “their inability to support stable, democratic governments” – “their backwardness” – “their failures to promote progress despite all of our good intentions and interventions to help.” (Sound familiar?)
I’m now convinced that the editors at the New York Times (Washington Post, etc.), the news managers at CNN (NBC, ABC, etc.), the Big Oil and Arms industry, AND OUR GOVERNMENT have deliberately fostered this skewed worldview among Americans to support (or at least not to oppose) their opportunistic foreign policy agendas.
Decade upon decade of complacency and our unquestioning allegiance to American exceptionalism has neutered the public’s ability to grasp what’s really going on in the Middle East. We remain oblivious to our peril.
We have a chance now to correct our misconceptions. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has written a thorough but digestible history of U.S. interventions and covert actions in the Middle East leading up to the current debacle in Syria. Syria: Another Pipeline War, February 25, 2016 published online at Ecowatch. He connects the dots with names, dates, facts and resources to make this a MUST READ for Americans and anyone else who wishes to grasp the current realities on the ground today.
Many people in the Middle East understand this history all too well, and they view current events through this lens. If Americans don’t wake up and grasp this reality, we’ll pay the price in lost lives, treasure and our own moral compass (to say nothing of the dead and wreckage we leave behind in these countries).
Please suspend your disbelief and read Robert F. Kennedy’s article. Then share it far and wide.