There is a lot of news from the Middle East about people overthrowing dictatorships to have personal freedom. I applaud this effort and support them at least in emotion and praise. I have heard complaints from commentators that President Obama is not doing more to support these efforts. I disagree with that criticism. We (Americans) had to fight for and earn our freedoms. If the French had come in with superior weapons and force and beat up the British, we would have had a lot of problems. First, we would have had an obligation to support everything French for eternity. Secondly, we would have had a fifth column within the country ready to overthrow our government as a puppet of the French. Third, there would have been a certain segment of our society that would have hated everything French just because they interfered with our sovereignty.

The President should always support, verbally and emotionally, any efforts to advance freedom around the world. That is what this country stands for. Our willingness to help, including the sacrifice of our own blood and treasure, without hope of territorial gain, is what truly sets us apart from the rest of the governments that have ever existed in the world. But getting actively involved is another question. We have tried and failed several times to create new nations in our image. Iraq and Afghanistan are the two most recent examples. Both will eventually emerge as some sort of hybrid of what we think is a free and democratic nation and what the Afghans and Iraqis choose to implement.

Should we be bombing Colonel Gadaffi and his forces? Sure he is a bad man, but who will step in if we knock him down? The people toppling him will be better off without us so that they can choose their own leadership. We may not like what they come up with, but that is part of what freedom is all about, the freedom to make mistakes.

No I am not equating Iraq and Afghanistan to Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Iran, Syria, and Morocco. In the current round of uprisings, it is the people fighting their tyrannical governments. When the people of Iraq and Afghanistan rose up in the 1980’s we did not interfere directly. When Iraq invaded two neighbors, we responded. When they broke every condition of the cease fire, we conquered them and attempted to establish a new, democratic government. When Afghanistan harbored a group that had publicly claimed responsibility for a deadly attack against us, we conquered them and attempted the same nation building.

In the cases of what is going on now, it is internal to each country and should be handled by each country without some bully forcing what decisions are made. Just as I supported President Bush in his decisions with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, I support President Obama in his current actions with regard to the freedom uprisings. I find the verbal cannonade by professional talkers obscene. One group claims that these uprisings are a direct response to a speech President Obama gave in Egypt last year. The other group claims the credit should go to President Bush for establishing democracies in the region. Both accretions are ridiculous. The uprisings are the result a people fed up with governments that have failed the people they are responsible for. They have risen up against the bullies. There was a fabulous headline in the papers this weekend that I feel captures the whole story, “The Walls of Fear have Fallen.”

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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