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Hey. My name is Caden and I'm from the Chicagoland area.  I'm currently going into my 3rd year at NMU.  I'm a multimedia production major with a double minor in journalism and criminal justice. For as...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

The root of Middle Eastern conflict through a libertarian view

The U.S. has never taken a direct approach to controlling oil in the Middle East, and since the mid-twentieth century, we’ve aimed to keep prices stable and back regimes or groups that support our assets.

In doing this, we have forced the region through many struggles on account of our own best interests. We have disguised our involvement in the Middle East with propaganda such as the  “War on Terror,” but it is important to look at where this all began in order to evaluate where we are now with our foreign policy in this region and why we need change.

The first event that sent our foreign policy in the Middle East down a slippery slope was the strategic overthrow of the democratically-elected Iranian government in 1951.

It was a joint effort by both British and American intelligence agencies that occurred when Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh attempted to nationalize the oil industry due to British oil companies exploiting Iranian resources.

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The magnitude of the aftermath can be described in part of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s comments in 2001. She said that intervention by the U.S. in the internal affairs of Iran was a setback for democratic government. She summarizes that the coup is widely believed to have significantly contributed to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which consequently overthrew the “pro-Western” Shah and replaced the monarchy with an “anti-Western” Islamic Republic.

U.S. government intervention continued throughout the 20th century. For example, in 1973 the United States funded money to Israel during the Yom Kippur War.

The funding shifted the tide of battle in Israel’s favor, resulting in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) leading sanctions and the 1973 Oil Crisis.

In 1979 the United States helped fund and arm Muslim fundamentalists to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. This group later helped form al-Qaeda and was responsible for many international attacks.

After 9/11, the U.S. (including media outlets) immediately claimed the terrorists as freedom haters who simply disliked our country because of the way our society functioned.

However, it is clear that such hatred was driven by decades of western military action in the Middle East.

Michael Scheuer, the senior CIA analyst responsible for tracking Osama bin Laden, wrote that “bin Laden has been precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us. None of the reasons have anything to do with our freedom, liberty and democracy but have everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world.”

He concludes with, “U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success since the early 1990s.”

While terrorism is never justified, the reasons we were attacked cannot simply be summarized by our society’s beliefs or by our freedoms.

Despite these facts and the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. has continued, and even increased, our intervention in Middle Eastern affairs.

The central front of the War on Terror was the 2003 invasion of Iraq in which we [the general public] were told that our military was searching for weapons of mass destruction.

However, many reports have concluded that the Bush administration manipulated evidence in an attempt to justify the invasion before the UN could mandate such actions.

Throughout the War on Terror, the U.S. has increasingly used the force of drones in places like Yemen and Pakistan. According to the New America Foundation, the civilian fatality rate of drone strikes since 2004 is around 32 percent.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai called an end to the drone strikes in 2012 after more than 30 civilian homes were hit.

One of the largest and more recent drone strikes was the October 2015 airstrike on a “Doctors Without Borders” hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan where 42 people were killed. Many of the victims, some doctors, were shot as they attempted to run from the burning building.

On Sept. 11, 2001, former President Bush addressed the nation saying, “We go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.” However, I must ask: Is this what sixty years of defending freedom and promoting peace looks like to the rest of the world?

As humans, it’s time to reevaluate our country’s treatment of a region where we have promoted so much violence and changed  the Arabic course of history to promote our own interests.

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