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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/17/15

Why Are We Witnessing This Middle East Humanitarian Crisis? Ask the U.S. Government

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Message Michael Payne

Why ask the U.S. government? Well, simply because if it were not for aggressive U.S. military operations in the Middle East and the surrounding region spanning decades it is highly probable that we would not be witnessing this mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from their countries, seeking refuge in Europe and Scandinavia. And, as the Middle East is burning the U.S. government continues to throw more fuel on the fire.

Of course these refugees are fleeing to Europe and Scandinavia to escape the bloody civil war raging in that nation; they are under siege from the Assad government, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and the relentless, bombing by the U.S. government and some of its Western allies. So there is plenty of guilt to be shared by these various entities whose collective actions have created this Middle Eastern humanitarian crisis.

Here's something that I find incomprehensible; why in the world are the U.S. and its allies relentlessly bombing a country that is already devastated?

To try to better understand the underlying factors in this war, let's look a bit deeper. It's a fact that, over many decades, the U.S. and its European allies have used their militaries to dominate the nations and people of that region. What we are seeing is the culmination of the process that has been evolving for these many years.

Ever since the 1950's when President Eisenhower orchestrated the removal of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran by the CIA there has been a constant, heavy presence of the U.S. military in this region of the world.

Here are the countries from which the vast majority of these refugees are fleeing; Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. Now what's striking is what these countries specifically have in common. Each has felt the wrath and fury of the U.S. military; each has been on the receiving end of American bombs, hellfire missiles launched by Reaper or Predator drones, or has been invaded and occupied by U.S. troops.

It's estimated that, over the last several years, 9 million Syrians have been forced to leave their homes with a large portion going into exile in neighboring countries. More than 300,000 people have sought to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far in 2015; European authorities are struggling to deal with this massive influx of migrants. The International Office of Migration has recorded 2,636 deaths linked to Mediterranean crossings this year.

Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Colin Powell made a statement to the effect that much of this current chaos and havoc can be attributed to the invasion of Iraq by the Bush/Cheney administration in 2003. That's when up to 4 million Iraqis were driven from their homes and sent into exile in nearby nations. And there is no question but that the Iraq War and the massive destruction of that country gave birth to the monstrous jihadist terrorist group ISIS.

Not long ago the U.S. and its Western allies bombed Libya into submission, its strongman Ghaddafi was deposed and killed, and that country was turned into a shambles. Up to 1 million Libyans had to leave their country and migrate to Tunisia, Egypt and Chad, as well as to various European countries.

The Obama administration has been launching drones into Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen for years. It's been reported that more than 678,000 Somali refugees sought refuge in Kenya by 2009. The people of Yemen also are under siege by the government of Saudi Arabia which has been accused of using U.S. supplied cluster bombs, whose use has been banned by the vast majority of nations in the world.

Now when we consider that the U.S. government must accept a large share of the responsibility for this mass exodus of refugees to other countries, let's also talk about specific parties in this government, who with various U.S. presidents, have contributed to chaos in the Middle East.

There is the U.S. Congress and the majority of its members who willingly approved the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003; who let themselves be duped into believing that Saddam Hussein had WMD's and was ready to launch them into America; those same politicians, after it was fully proven that no WMD's existed and that the evidence used to justify the invasion was totally fabricated, did not rise up and demand that the military operations be ended. They merely watched as Iraq continued to be devastated and the seeds of revenge by a future ISIS were planted.

These politicians continue to watch President Obama issue the orders to launch drones into Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. When is the last time we heard either a Democrat or a Republican demand that this drone campaign be ended because it was doing nothing but creating vast numbers of refugees as well as more and more enemies eager to join ISIS?

And as this government has, once again, initiated the bombing of Iraq to go after ISIS and continues bombing Syria, where are the voices of reason in this Congress who can readily see that these military actions are doing no more than throwing more fuel onto a raging fire?

How many of these current or former government officials fully comprehend that they share the responsibility for what is going on in this region? Do they understand the gravity of what they have done and what they have failed to do; that hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are living in a state of terror and are desperate to find any kind of safe haven to remain alive because of actions they either approved or failed to stop over the years?

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