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Journal of America Team:

 Editor in chief: 
Abdus Sattar Ghazali

 Managing Editor:
Mertze Dahlin   

Senior Editor:
Arthur Scott

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     It’s time to treat Palestinians as human beings

By Mertze Dahlin

We now have our new President-Elect Barack Obama. We are somehow expecting or perhaps hoping that he will be all things for all of us. That was what we had been hearing for the last couple of years. Lately, he has been openly soft on how Israel should be treated, but that was what we have been hearing for the last several years from previous Presidents. Whatever is in their mind while first running for the office is deleted when those who really run our government confront them. Will Obama really be our President who makes all the decisions and actually runs our country, or will he be the yes man as we have experienced for the past eight years. He has emphasized making changes. Perhaps he really does mean change which surely includes the status of the Israeli / Palestine nightmare.

All U.S. Presidents somehow go through a briefing of what is expected of them. They are told that of primary importance is to assure that America stays in the position of Superpower as far as economics and leadership are concerned. Nobody could match the trading superiority of the U.S. After World War II and our “police action” in Korea, we thought then that we were the “king of the hill”. Nobody had such a good economy as we did. The world was purchasing our cars, television was starting to be a fantastic item and oil was cheap. We realized that our economy was so good because all of our factories had been making fantastic profits by supplying the war materials.

 Following that, however, there was no war. It was not economically feasible to simply convert our war production machinery to make peace- time goods. Those factories would have to have a product, and it was too soon to become “high tech”. The President has his own advisors, but he also has pre-assigned advisors, be they lobbyists or part of the administration, that he meets when he is new to the office to give him the “inside” information. During those earlier days, we had the concern that Japan would beat us in the electronics industry.  When we began slipping behind our former enemy, the President learned from those advisors that it would not do for Japan to pass us up on this economic ladder. 

They were making better and cheaper televisions and that developed into computer games and anything electronic. Later on and continuing to these days, it was the automotive industry. We all liked to buy a Toyota or a Honda because it seemed to last forever, and they were not that expensive. Yes the President needed to be concerned about the growth of Japan’s economy, it was certainly rivaling ours. The Administration tried to downplay Japanese products by telling us the Japanese were just using our recycled beer cans to make gadgets for us to buy, and that Americans make the best of anything, but we were having a hard time to compete.

Fortunately, Russia decided to expand and become the new Soviet Union. Now there was a threat to our leadership position because we felt that the Soviet Union may not know where to stop its expansion process and it may become the new Superpower. It was risky to take pre-emptive action against them at that time because we really didn’t know how powerful they were. At the very least, we had to prevent the communists from coming here and taking us over (as the public was told), we had to get ready by going into wartime production because we are now confronted with the new “cold-war”. This enabled us to get back into the position of World leader in production of all kinds of goods, and again we all were living well.

Eventually, the Soviet Union finally saw that it could not keep up such a gigantic country probably because they weren’t producing as much as was hoped. Premier Gorbachev decided to drop the Soviet Union and let each colonial country go its own way and for Russia to become a “Democracy”. Their government was already too big for a country like ours to have much influence over them. For Russia to become a Democracy would still thwart our possibility of controlling them. Democracy sounded good to the American Citizens, but not to the United States Administration. We can handle a King, a Dictator, or any country that has only a small group of people in charge, but we can’t dictate to one that is controlled by Parliamentary Procedure or an out-and-out Democracy. We needed to keep on producing war material, if not for ourselves, perhaps to supply another country, a smaller country than ours.

The business of Communism, (that we had learned to fear and to prepare to defeat) had grown more than we expected. China was also now a big fat Communist Country and probably would expand further. We were told it would create a “domino effect” that will soon take over all of Asia and who knows how much farther. We saw it coming into Vietnam and finally we couldn’t take it any longer and we got “involved”. Yes, our factories were booming and the economy was going right off the shelves. But the price for all that wonderful economic elevation was not in the public’s taste. Many, too many soldiers had died and the American population said that’s enough. This war must end – so it did.       

The administration needed to search around the world in order to find a war to get into. We tried Panama and destroyed a lot of their government but didn’t get much world support. We tried Libya and dropped our bombs, but it didn’t last very long. Pretty soon enough people in America were again deciding that we don’t need war any more.

Early on, we learned that we could do what we wanted to about oil because King Saud had been installed in Arabia and all the Arab tribes could be under the King’s control and we would only have to deal with His Majesty. That seemed to work out quite well and we had the Saudi oil industry where we wanted it plus the King now had profitable oil money. King Saud agrees with whatever we want as regards international politics and oil, because he couldn’t risk the good deal he has with us.  

Iran was the owner of about one third of the Middle East’s oil supplies. A Monarchy system of Government was run by a series of Shahs for many years and the British were profiting enormously from its access to the oil. After the end of World War II, the Iranian people indicated they would like to return to a Constitutional Monarchy that was tried earlier since the country was lacking effective leadership. Mohammad Mossadegh was democratically elected and he instituted a Democracy under the banner of a Constitutional Monarchy. He served as the Prime Minister of Iran. In that capacity he was able to nationalize the oil industry, which made Britain rather unhappy since they owned forty percent of the oil profits, as did America.

In 1953 Mossadegh was removed by a military Coup orchestrated by the American CIA and British M16. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was returned to run the country again as the Shah of Iran. We then regained another of our oil sources. By 1974 Iran was suffering from an alarming inflation rate and the Shah was busy purchasing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American military equipment. This laid the rationale for demanding the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini from exile. He returned to Iran in 1979 and that was the end of the rule of Monarchs. From that day on it was free elections, preservation of the constitution and establishment of the National Unity Government. We continued to purchase oil from Iran but we could no longer control it. It became further complicated by the onset of the war between Iraq and Iran. America then labeled the Ayatollah as a bad guy and recommended that travel to Iran should be discouraged.

Saddam Hussain was the democratically elected President of Iraq. He had a series of successes in modernization of his country due to his involvement with the American CIA and this propelled him to the high office of President. Saddam invaded Iran in 1980 thinking, with his newfound power, he could occupy some of Iran’s land.  He found he could not successfully engage the wave after wave of Iranian troops that confronted him. His only recourse at that time was to use his chemical weapons, which he had previously used against the Kurdish population in the Northern part of Iraq. Finally, the war had to end in a stalemate in which both countries lost over a million lives. Now both countries were practically non-oil producing, yet of interest to the United States.

Now our “modern-day” Presidents have learned from the “behind the scenes” advisors about how India and China are about to pass us up in manufacturing, sales or the economy in general. Among the lessons they learned was that those countries have to purchase oil from the same source as we do, and we have no way of doing anything about it. We discovered a feather in our hat by the name of Israel. We have been nurturing and supplying her for about sixty years now and have a considerable investment in their well being. During this half-century of trying to get control of the Middle East, America has gained only one oil producing country, run by a king somewhat in our control and we yet have Israel from which to base our operations. We cannot afford to let either of them out of our grasp. Every new President of the United States must realize that and therefore not go out on a limb and let “doing the right humanitarian thing” overtake his required Presidential goal.

It was easy to control Saudi Arabia because we were among their main cash customers for their huge oil reserves and they still had their one-man rule. Israel had seemingly nothing to offer us so they had to be supported in another way, i.e., pay for all of their desires and build up their military forces. Of course Israel enjoys that status and to maintain it, they supply their lobbyists to Washington DC on an on-going basis to remind our Legislators of their duty to maintain poor little Israel. Every once in a while, the American public becomes aware of the cost of maintaining this friendship with Israel and to quell our concerns, we are reminded that it is to ensure that the “only” Democracy (as they try to tell us) in the Middle East remains to help protect the freedom of the peace-loving countries.

During this time, our war involvement was dwindling down and it was beginning to affect our economy since there was no more demand for war materials. We must maintain our leadership in this world by not permitting anyone to overtake us. We still needed to figure out how to control the amount of oil going to India and China since their production is dependent on oil to provide the required energy to run things. There is a “ring” of countries surrounding the world’s largest oil supplies and we weren’t having much luck in starting a new war because of the American public’s resistance. As back room administration leaders, including the President, concluded in hushed meetings in the late 1990s, we needed another “Pearl Harbor” to restore the Patriotism of our citizenry and thus “feel good” about retaliation, wherever that may be. That day did arrive on 9/11 and now we could identify the countries we need to control. President Bush identified them as “The Axis of Evil”. That was another step in developing hate for a country scheduled for us to attack.

It was now up to us to take them out one by one starting with the easy ones first, the ones that no longer have any large weapons of war or have been greatly reduced in power due to the earlier invasion by Russia. Each country can then accommodate at least one of our military bases and we can permit them to have a portion of their oil profits but we get to decide where it goes.

Israel however, has some internal problems in that the Palestinians want their homes back. The Palestinians had democratic elections but the outcome didn’t agree with our administration since the elected leader agreed that the homes should be returned. We decided that they were a terrorist group because there was the possibility that we could lose control of Israel. A pacifying attempt was made in 2005 in which Israel evicted the Israeli settlers from Gaza and dismantled many of their homes leaving nothing of any benefit behind. This was to make it look good to the rest of the world as if now the Palestinians could run their own country, at least the Gaza Strip. In reality, this was to get the Israeli Settlers out of Gaza so they wouldn’t be in any danger should Gaza be attacked.  Additionally, since Israel intended to take over Gaza, it would be better to have visible justification to use war equipment on that small parcel of land.

This was accomplished by first denying food, clean water, medicine, fuel oil and electricity to Gaza in which about half of the population is now under the age of 16. The only way they could express their resistance to such a cruel siege going on for the past 18 months was to deploy crude rockets across the apartheid wall of that giant prison into Zionist Israel and hope that someone in this world would take notice of their hopeless plight. (Of course the “official” explanation of these rocket launchings was that the Arabs want to kill the Jews as always. How come they didn’t do that when they used to live together peacefully before the establishment of Israel?). That was just what Israel was looking for so now they can retaliate with their F-16s Fighter Aircraft and strike anywhere in Gaza they wished without fear of hurting their own citizens. It was easy to announce that they are striking at Hamas party locations, which are not located away from other people. The reason they are located in congested areas is because there are simply no open spaces in this densely populated land. That again is their justification for killing so many civilians. It doesn’t matter who the victims are but it remains politically correct to say this is a war against Hamas, not Palestinians. The term “Never Again” as often spoken in relation to the people in the Warsaw Ghetto and the resultant massacre of many Jews certainly has a limited application. It doesn’t apply to Christians and Muslims in Gaza.

Our new President-elect Barack Obama has some tough decisions to make. He can restart our economy by creating jobs here by improving our national infrastructure, as was done seventy- five years ago during the great Depression. He can modernize the requirements keeping them within the technical skills of our modern age. As for the Middle East, he needs to recognize what Lobbyists will be trying to cause him to do. He can have some influence in how Israel is treating the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza. If he is concerned about giving a helping hand to the Muslims, he should be told that the Palestinian Arabs are also Christians. He has undoubtedly been briefed by now about how friendly he should be to the Israelis; he should also know by himself that it’s time to treat the Palestinians as human beings.

Mertze Dahlin is a Silicon Valley resident. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of International Studies and Managing Editor of the Journal of America. He is an American Veteran and a member of Veterans for Peace.