Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 412, April 8, 2007

"We are a part of the natural world"


Iraq, Iran, and All That Jazz
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

I wish the news would stop covering the Middle East.

Let me rephrase that: I wish there were nothing about the Middle East for the news to cover. But since there is, I wish they wouldn't. I could be done with it.

Don't take this statement as the least bit racist. It's not meant as a slight on the people who live in the region. It's just that I happen not to be one of those people. And I'm tired of hearing about the people who are.

Nothing good about the Middle East ever makes it on American news broadcasts. I'm sure there are good things happening in Middle Eastern countries, but none of it is worth reporting, and most of us wouldn't care anyway.

Just once, I would like to hear a network news anchor come on and say, "Actually, things went pretty well in the Middle East today." Instead, the only positive stories we ever hear are the thoroughly boring ones about Middle Eastern women overcoming adversity. The rest is all nuclear programs and car bombs.

The only car bombs I want to hear about anymore are the kind that involve drinking Guinness.

I don't know what it is about the Middle East—maybe it's the water; maybe it's the oil—but something about it causes human beings to do and say stupid things.

Take the latest story coming out of Iran, where a group of British soldiers are currently being held captive. The decision to capture these soldiers may have been the least sensible move in the history of government. Does Iran honestly not understand there are people who want to drop bombs on their country? Is the dropping of bombs what Iranians would somehow prefer?

Here was a chance for Iran to prove they were reasonable. Somehow, they reasoned against it. God only knows where this may lead.

Then there's the current Iraq conversation. News shows and Congress are spending countless hours discussing "what to do" about Iraq. Basically, I can boil the whole debate down into three options: (1) some variation of "stay the course;" (2) an immediate pullout; or (3) a phased troop withdrawal. Unfortunately, the only thing not being discussed is also the only thing that could actually protect American interests, which is: (4) build a time machine.

It doesn't matter when or how we leave Iraq, because the fact will always remain that we went there. "You broke it, you bought it" doesn't apply in this situation. You can't just leave when the thing you broke was a country.

I realize Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, but that bad guy used to be our friend. Not only did he pose little to no threat to the United States, but we probably could have achieved anything we still hope to achieve in that region by simply realigning ourselves with him. No one wants to discuss this.

Until people start talking about the Middle East in terms that reflect the reality—i.e., "We're damned if we do and damned if we don't"—I would prefer not talking about the Middle East at all. Let's discuss something constructive instead, like how the Anna Nicole Smith story is finally looking like it might possibly die down sometime a few months from now. I am totally stoked about this.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at

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