Christmas in the Middle East

Posted 12.11.14

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | American sources estimate that their wars against Iraq and Afghanistan have cost roughly four trillion dollars -- so far. That is an immense amount of money, making these wars the most expensive in history -- not only among the least successful. Why that is the case, and where all this money has gone are hard to uncover -- they're deliberately well-concealed.

And now Canada is following in those steps, thanks to Mr. Harper's desire to leave a legacy of something, and, since his ambitions for a resource economy have collapsed, being a war lord, of sorts, seems his best option, as far as he and his advisors can figure.

But this is the Christmas season, and, being a Christian holiday, we might contemplate how Canada's and the Americans' behaviour reflects our Christian values. First, forget Christ's "turn the other cheek" advice; nobody with a large arms industry wants that. So much for showing the world our Christian values -- how aerial bombing is different from Jihadist violence will be difficult for most of the world to distinguish (since they lack our corporate media's explanations for these things).

Helping our neighbours, not beating them into submission, was one principle my generation learned early in life. Helping others is a Christian virtue, not a moral weakness. We do still help others -- the Ebola outbreak is an example. Canada has sent over several loads of rubber gloves and other equipment, not to mention new drugs which, curiously, are yet to be tested. Canada's is nowhere near the contribution of a country like tiny Cuba, for example, but at least we are acknowledging some Christian charity. Besides, we don't want Ebola to spread to our shores.

Helping others? The tinder-box issue in the Middle East, and elsewhere, is its millions of unemployed young men. Aimless, without education and skills, blocked from loans or investments, they are prime soil for Jihadist hatred. They provide the unending pool of recruits for suicide bombers and ISIS fighters. Couldn't we "help others", specifically those in this pool of frustration and depression?

Take that four trillion dollars: how many duty-free manufacturing zones could have been set up across the Middle East, offering jobs to those young men? Offering them a better life, not to mention a route to marriage and a family -- plus a mortgage, a car loan, etc, -- the things which tie us to our economies, not making us want to bomb the upper class. We (the US "allies") could have not bombed those countries to bits, not destroyed infrastructure and economies, not destroyed schools and hospitals, not destroyed families. We could have built factories -- and then purchased their production. It worked for China.

And we would have incorporated all those frustrated and desperate young men and women into the so-called global economy. Isn't that what the global economy means? Seems like a Christian thing to do, even a smart and a sound financial program to undertake, doesn't it?


Copyright © 2014 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/12.14