The Shadow of Iraq

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Iraq War Views: 3266

A great shadow was cast over last week's Presidential Debate. The shadow loomed over not only both candidates, but the national security of our nation. This shadow has clouded the views of both Senator Kerry and President Bush, and it is not only most unfortunate, but outright dangerous: it is the shadow of Iraq. 

Throughout the debate, which was supposed to discuss foreign policy, the focus was almost entirely on Iraq: the pre-war intelligence and the disastrous fallout from the war itself. Yet, something was glaringly missing from the discussion: the festering crisis in the Middle East. At around the same time as the debate, Israeli tanks and soldiers entered into the Northern Gaza Strip in an effort to, according to the Israelis, end Qassam rocket attacks against Israel. Since the operation began, more than 60 Palestinians were killed, many of them civilians, along with Israeli soldiers. 

Yet, as the Baltimore Sun editorialized on October 4, "Not a question. Not a comment. Not a reference. Not a word" about the war between Israelis and Palestinians came up. I was utterly surprised that veteran PBS anchor Jim Leherer did not ask even one question about the Middle East Crisis. Could it be that the shadow of Iraq has clouded his vision as well? 

The fact that the war in Iraq has taken America's focus off of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is yet another reason why it was wrong. More than anything else, the daily suffering of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation is the main source of anti-American rage in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It is the decimator of American credibility and a major barrier to better American-Muslim understanding. Senator Kerry called for better outreach to the Muslim world. Yet, such outreach may be utterly futile if America fails to once again be an honest broker for peace in the Holy Land. 

And it does not seem that things will change anytime soon. As America continues to sink in the quicksand of Iraq, more innocent Palestinian and Israeli life is lost. As America continues to get lost in the fog of war, the hope for a lasting peace in the Middle East continues to fade. As America continues to wander in the desert of the Iraq war, the Holy Land continues to be poisoned by the blood of innocents. While I do not advocate abandoning the Iraq campaign--however foolish, wrong-headed, and illegal going to war in Iraq was--America cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the horrible events right next door. 

Every day, the shadow of Iraq looms large. It clouds everyone's perception of the United States across the globe. Many Arabs and Muslims around the world are suspicious at best of America because of the shadow of Iraq. Time-honored alliances have been severely strained because of the shadow of Iraq. America's credibility and moral authority have been horribly compromised by the shadow of Iraq. Shadows can be great things: they can offer cooling shade in the heat of the summer sun. But the Shadow of Iraq is one such shade America can do without.

Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago physician and writer. He is author of "Why I Love the Ten Commandments," published in the book Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (Rodale Press), winner of the prestigious Wilbur Award for 2003 Best Religion Book of the Year by the Religion Communicators Council.

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Iraq War
Views: 3266

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Older Comments:
We have heard about many kingdoms,empires etc. This is American's time, may be, their end too. "One should always do unto others what he/she would like others to do unto them". I rest my case. May Alhighty help those being cheated.

The time has come and there is no return.

War is going to on untill the Muslims rule.

Allah has promised Victoey to those close to him.

? who might that be..........


Speaking of shadows, during the Vice Presidential Debate, Senator John Edwards had the poor taste to mention he had been staying at the King David Hotel when he learned of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. The King David Hotel - for those with selective memory loss - was the site of a bombing and shooting incident in which two of Israel's prime ministers played a part in the murders of 91 Britons, Arabs and others - including, I would imagine, some 17 "Jewish collaborators".

Sound familiar? No doubt the neocons would like us to believe that the attack was completely different from what is presently occurring in Iraq. First of all, I would imagine, the majority of people being murdered in Iraq are Muslim. Second, the bombing and shootings at the King David Hotel were an integral part of the never-ending war on terror. Third, the bombings, shootings and beheadings in Iraq are an unfortunate outgrowth of emasculating Iraq's own security forces, in the interests of regional peace. Fourth, according to quite a number of neocons, the mayhem afflicting Iraq is actually good - because it keeps the terrorists "occupied" somewhere else - terrorizing (other) Muslims. Fifth, as the neocons put it, freedom is messy.

And now the neocons seem poised to return to the party from whence they came. Have they no shame? If not, I bid them good riddance. May those who seek a just peace for others attain it for themselves.

Middle East Crisis!! For Americans, what middle east crisis!! Israel/Palestine are too far away from US; this dispute does not affect Americans and their lives; hence, for them, there is no middle east crisis; I hope muslims understand that; that is why, no muslim has been able to change the policy of any US Administration. Middle East may be a powder keg readily to explode; for americans, so what; for americans, let it explode there, as long as the explosion does not reach America.

As far as Iraq is concerned, Americans don't seem to be concerned; the death rate of soldiers is extremely small (an average of 2 soldiers a day; hell, we kill 136 persons per day on our highways in auto accidents).

On Iraq, there is little or no difference between Kerry and Bush. SO A VOTE FOR KERRY WILL BE A VOTE FOR BUSH. The occupant of the White House may change, but the policies will stay the same.

Muslims, stop crying. Grow up; understand the politics. Read the history of empires (muslim and non-muslim); you will find, the policies of the imperial powers have stayed the same for the last 2000 years. What muslims gave to non-muslims over a period of 1000 years, now muslims are on the receveing end; it is that simple.