It’s no secret that the Middle East is a complete mess right now. While the region has never been a beacon of stability or even safety, the current chaos that’s going on right now might be some of the worst any of us will ever see in our lifetimes. Who would have ever thought Americans would actually say that Iraq was better off under the rule Saddam Hussein? Sadly, that’s been the sentiment expressed by many lately.
Then again, we should have really expected this. History shows us that you can’t force generations of people to change or adopt a way of thinking simply because you tell them to. Especially in areas of the world that have never experienced democracy. Not only that, but the Middle East is mostly driven by people who are highly devoted to Islam, a religion that’s not exactly a beacon of freedom and democracy. The risk you always run when you give hyper religious people a choice is that they’re going to choose based upon religious beliefs, which often opens the door for religious radicals to seize control. And that’s essentially what’s happening now.
But the truth is, what’s going on in the Middle East is far more complex than most people can even imagine. We can go back to 1953 when U.S. and British forces drove out the democratically-elected leader of Iran, to the Iran/Iraq war, to the failed Soviet invasion of Afghanistan… the list goes on and on. Literally for decades various portions of the Middle East have been in some state of disarray or turmoil.
That’s a point Jon Stewart brilliantly made Tuesday night in one of the best segments from The Daily Show host I’ve seen in a while.
It would be nearly impossible for me to transcribe everything, but I think a great summary of what Stewart’s point was throughout the segment can be best summed up by what he called “America in the Middle East: Learning Curves Are For P*ssies” – a jab at the fact that it seems we never learn from our past mistakes as it relates to the Middle East.
For example, we continue to insist on arming certain groups of “rebels,” despite the fact that the lone example the CIA (yes, the people arming the rebels to begin with) has cited as a “success” story was when we armed “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan in the 1980’s… which later became the Taliban.
In fact, as Stewart pointed out, President Obama specifically sought out data from the CIA concerning whether or not arming rebels could be successful and they essentially told him history tell us that it’s a terrible idea and it never works.
But despite all of that, and the fact that the CIA has the stats to show that arming rebels is never a good idea, that’s still the “plan” supported by almost every Republican politician who can get in front of a camera. Hell, even some Democrats have supported the idea as well.
All of this led Stewart to conclude the segment in epic form where he went into amazing detail from how we armed Saddam during the 80’s; only to fight him in the 90’s and the 2000’s; to how ISIS is now comprised of many of Saddam’s Ba’athist party members; and now we’re actually working alongside Iran – to defeat some of the very same people we supported against Iran back in the 80’s.
Though when you hear Stewart outline all of this absurdity so perfectly, it really makes you realize just how ridiculous all of it is.
Watch the segment below via Comedy Central:
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