Let's not dissemble this truism; the U.S. position vis-Ã-vis the dictators in the Arab world has been one of pure hypocrisy.
We have supported these tyrants in the name of "stability" and the "war on terrorism", but it has been a policy that has contributed mightily to the oppression of the people in those countries (which is a betrayal of our own revolutionary past and our fight against tyranny as well as exacerbating the Islamic terrorism being used against us).
It has been amazing that the people who are in revolt against the dictators and their regimes haven't linked the U.S. with the tyranny they have been forced to live under.
Their rebellions have been non sectarian, grass roots and non ideological in every country they have occurred and completely unrelated to fundamentalist, jihadist terrorism. That last fact would seem to expose and make our policy in the "war on terrorism" while initiating wars in the Muslim world obsolete and absurd.
The irony is there has been little if any mention in the media (at least to this observer) of our wars and the "war on terrorism" possibly because they have had nothing to do with these Arab rebellions.
Yet it is a topic of urgent need. The closest form of mentioning anything in this regard has come from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who said in effect, "Any new secretary of defense who advises a president to engage in land wars with vast armies in foreign lands needs to have his head examined".
The fact is our entire policy of pre-emptive war and occupation and the whole "war on terrorism" is a ruse, an unnecessary and a cruel invention concocted by neo-conservatives and cold war warriors who were itching to replace the defunct Soviet Union with an enemy we must oppose in a fight to the death (as we now see in our endless "war on terrorism"). It was and is a fantasy perpetrated by them and foisted on the American people.
The terrorist attacks on 9/11 became their "casus belli" cause for that endless war and is the real, but unfortunate legacy of that fateful day.
But in light of the unfolding democratic "awakening" in much of the Arab world can there not be serious discussions deep in the bowels of the White House of the absurdity of our continuing to fight our wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen as well as Iraq?
Gates' comments allude to the insanity of fighting these wars (even if he put it in the context of new misadventures).
From here it seems the U.S. resembles (in its ability to end its wars) a giant ship at sea that takes an excruciatingly long time to reverse course.
Like the Viet Nam quagmire we seem stuck, committed to the unwinnable yet unwilling and unable to face reality. It is a ongoing obscenity.