For the last few weeks I have been defending the President’s stand of non-intervention in the political upheavals of the Arab world. I have applauded him as he has stood by and allowed the people of each country work out their problems on their own, even though there has been much violence. It cannot be the job of the United States to look at each conflict around the world, determine who is “right” and then act as enforcer, police, bully, what ever term you want to use. I understand when we retaliate against an attack or come to the aid of an ally, but I do not see the reason to get into what can be considered a family squabble, but at the least is a civil war.

If we just look at the last 50 years (to get by WWII, and be in the historical time frame that most of us can still remember) there have been numerous wars, events and terrible occurrences around the world some of which the United States became involved in and some that we remained hands off. I am only selecting a few, there are many that I just do not have the space to address. First let’s look at intervention. First in the list would be Vietnam. We started off supporting our ally, France, then our ally South Vietnam. Although I may not like how it was managed, I can at least understand our involvement. Next came Haiti, six separate times. These were all humanitarian effort to oust dictators. Our aim was well meant, but obviously we failed as Haiti remains one of the poorest, most oppressed countries in the world. Panama and Grenada were targets of President Reagan in the 1980s. Why? Basically we did not like the people in charge. If that is the criteria for military intervention, then during the same time period we should have attacked the Soviet Union, France and Argentina. We didn’t, but was that just because we could push around the smaller countries?

Somalia and Yugoslavia were the targets of President Clinton. Both of these were humanitarian in a way. We went in to kill those people who were killing people we decided were innocent. They may have been, but being that judge is a dangerous position to put ourselves. To be fair, President G.H.W. Bush started the Somalia effort. Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan I discussed in previous articles. In Iraq, an ally (Saudi Arabia) asked for help after Kuwait had been conquered, then the second round was because Iraq violated every part of the cease fire agreement (all of that noise about weapons of mass destruction doesn’t matter). Afghanistan supported and harbored a group that publicly claimed responsibility for attacking us. And now we are bombing Libya. Again I ask why?

If we look at the conflicts that we avoided, I am sure to rankle some people. President Carter avoided involvement in Nicaragua. As a result, a pro-American regime was ousted from power. I still think it was the correct choice. Presidents Clinton and G.W. Bush avoided Angola, Sudan, Uganda and more in Central Africa. True these were horrible situations with barbaric murders and tortures, but by my (selfish) criteria, not our problem. And right now, we are standing by for Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. So I ask a third time, why are we getting involved in Libya?

President Obama can claim to be supporting the community of nations in enforcing the United Nations Resolution. There are plenty of resolutions that we have not supported. He could also claim to be trying to get oil prices down for the common man, but I think he will avoid that since he accused President Bush of fighting in Iraq for oil. Besides, if he really wanted oil prices to go down, he would allow drilling here in the United States, both on land an off shore. I really cannot figure this out. I was glad when he stood by and allowed Egypt to work out its problems. I thought that he was following the same path here. But suddenly, when Gadaffi started to win, the UN and our president decided to step in and be part of the problem. My hope now is that few if any Americans parish during this struggle, and that the United States does not become the focal point of hate for the new leadership that will emerge through out the Arab world as a result of these recent rebellions.

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

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