A Reminder of Cause and Effect for the Refugee Crisis
A belated Earth Day Message—Part 3
by Thea Halo
One of the most ludicrous consequences of the dire circumstances millions around the world find themselves in, is the outrage of wealthy Western nations that have their borders bombarded by refugees searching for safety and a better life. Do any of the leaders or inhabitants of those wealthy nations believe in, or understand cause and effect? Do any ask themselves why they allowed or participated in the bombing of other nations? Do any ask why they allow or acquiesce to conditions that incite violence in parts of the world, such as the years of sanctions after the 1990 bombing of Iraq that caused the death of half a million Iraqi children? Do they understand that the callous remarks of then US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, might cause rage and animosity when she calmly claimed on National TV—and broadcast to the world—that the deaths of those half million Iraqi children “was worth it”?1 Would any Western Nation take such a callous statement about the death of half a million of their own children in stride?
Did the nations that took part in, or acquiesced to the bombing and destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia believe that would mean the citizens of those countries would be happy to have their lives, homes, and countries destroyed, and they and their children would be content to sleep in a field somewhere and eat grass? In some nations, even grass is unavailable. And do they believe that starving and/or struggling against violence in Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere, with no change in sight would mean those citizens would be willing to simply give up while knowing there is a better life outside their own borders? When US legislators and the public decry the influx of ‘migrants,’—who should more accurately be referred to as refugees—do they ever ask why violent dictators are being propped up by the US in Latin America?
What did these leaders think would happen when cities and countries were destroyed? Or is it that they didn’t think past the moment? If these leaders are ignorant enough to allow the destruction of other countries, wouldn’t it be cheaper to quickly repair the damage to insure that citizens of those countries are not forced to flee to their countries to seek a safer life… countries that not only don’t want them, but decry the influx of refugees, as if the reason for the influx is some unforeseeable virus that has somehow developed from nowhere? In other words, wouldn’t it be more equitable to create an atmosphere in poorer and/or broken nations that make their citizens happy to stay in their own communities? Does it really take a rocket scientist to understand cause and effect—to understand that when a head of state is murdered and the country bombed, waring factions and/or criminals will often take over to fill the vacuum, which in turn often drives the population to flee for their lives?
These refugees didn’t spring from the earth. They sprang from the policies of those Western Nations that destroyed their homes, their countries, their infrastructures, and their lives. Afghanistan was attacked allegedly because the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden without first given proof of culpability. Bin Laden was later found in Pakistan. Iraq was attacked allegedly to rid the country of Saddam Hussein while conjuring up fake stories of Al-Qaeda, and weapons of mass destruction. Libya was attacked allegedly because of the policies of Muammar Gaddafi, who inherited one of the poorest nations2 in Africa and turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation, with a total adult literacy rate of 89.5% from 2008-2012.3 A release of Hillary Clinton’s emails “has revealed evidence that NATO’s plot to overthrow Gaddafi was fueled by first their desire to quash the gold-backed African currency, [that Gaddafi was sponsoring] and second the Libyan oil reserves.”4 Libya is now a failed state. Syria was attacked allegedly because of the policies of Bashar Hafez al-Assad. However, Assad’s Syria, although far from perfect, was the last secular state in the Middle East, and one of the countries the U.S. sent suspects to for U.S.’s deplorable rendition program after 9/11.5 Even more revealing: “Just as in Libya, … Mrs. Clinton championed the strategy of arming Islamist “rebels,” the Syrian “rebels” who ultimately received weapons included the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and ISIS.”6
The fighting in Syria caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and sent millions of Syrians fleeing their broken homes and their broken lives. The accusation that chemical weapons were used by Assad on his own people seems absurd, since Assad was not only winning the war at the time, he was warned about crossing Obama’s ‘red line,’ the one thing that would cause the US to invade.
Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, reported that “the Obama Administration falsely blamed the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for the sarin gas attack that Obama was trying to use as an excuse to invade Syria; … Hersh pointed to a report from British intelligence saying that the sarin that was used didn’t come from Assad’s stockpiles.” In an interview with Alternet.org “Hersh was asked about the then-US-Secretary-of-State’s [Hillary Clinton] role in the Benghazi Libya US consulate’s operation to collect weapons from Libyan stockpiles and send them through Turkey into Syria for a set-up sarin-gas attack, to be blamed on Assad in order to ‘justify’ the US invading Syria.”7
Conflicting reports on the number of deaths, and speculation as to who was responsible, should also give us pause. “The US claims that Sarin nerve gas killed more than 1,400 people in the attack last month that triggered Mr Obama’s call for military action to punish and degrade the Assad regime. British intelligence said that at least 350 people died in the attack, which was ‘highly likely’ to have been carried out by Assad.”8 9
The fact that Obama chose not to enforce his ‘red line’ threat after chemical weapons were used in Syria, suggests that Obama knew something the rest of us did not know. And perhaps, at the last moment, Obama decided he didn’t want to further tarnish his pre-election anti-war legacy by being responsible for yet another failed state.
So let’s not pretend that these Middle Eastern countries were destroyed for righteous reasons. Would any of the leaders of those Western nations, including the US, that took part in, or acquiesced to the bombings, honestly claim that it would be righteous to bomb a home in their own country, while the whole family was still inside the home, because the parent was a tyrant? Is that really the way one saves a family, or the population of a nation from a tyrant, by killing them and destroying their homes, towns, and infrastructure? And how is starving 22 million innocent civilians in Yemen, and bombing their towns and schools, and a school bus full of children righteous?10 Would any of these Western nations acquiesce to these deplorable acts in their own countries, or acquiesce to another nation interfering in their elections—as the US has done in Latin America—to put despots in charge, despots whose policies make the population run for their lives?
Julian Borger wrote in The Guardian: “The United States interventions in Central America have ranged from creating and arming right-wing death squads to propping up some of history’s most bloody dictatorships. The United States has over and over again put its ideals before the lives and well-being of the various peoples living throughout Central America, and because of that, much of the history of Central America has been that of violence, civil wars, and revolts.”11 12
Concerning the influx of refugees, how many countries must Western nations destroy before they realize that they have made their own beds, then they refuse to lie in them?
As British Somali poet Warsan Shire wrote in her perfect poem called ‘Home’: “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”13
- May 12, 1996. Madeleine Albright. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM0uvgHKZe8
- Garikai Chengu, Libya: From Africa’s Richest State Under Gaddafi, to Failed State After NATO Intervention. Global Research , October 19, 2014. https://www.globalresearch.ca/libya-from-africas-richest-state-under-gaddafi-to-failed-state-after-nato-intervention/5408740
- Unicef. https://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/laj_statistics.html
- Sheep Media, Hillary Emails Reveal NATO Killed Gaddafi to Stop Libyan Creation of Gold-Backed Currency. Global Research, June 13, 2017. https://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-emails-reveal-nato-killed-gaddafi-to-stop-libyan-creation-of-gold-backed-currency/5594742
- Mehdi Hasan, Syria has made a curious transition from US ally to violator of human rights, The Guardian, February 12, 2012. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/19/syria-us-ally-human-rights
- Andrew C. McCarthy, Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Debacle: Arming Jihadists in Libya . . . and Syria, The National Review, August 2, 2016. https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/08/hillary-clinton-wikileaks-benghazi-scandal-arm-syrian-rebels-al-qaeda-isis-libya-turkey/
- Eric Zuesse, Hillary Clinton approved delivering Libya’s sarin gas to Syrian rebels: Seymour Hersh, Global Research, May 01, 2016. Strategic Culture Foundation 28 April 2016. https://freeukrainenow.org/2016/05/01/hillary-clinton-approved-delivering-libyas-sarin-gas-to-syrian-rebels-seymour-hersh/
- Sarin gas used in Syria massacre – evidence against Assad growing all the time, says David Cameron. Evening Standard, September 5, 2013. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/sarin-gas-used-in-syria-massacre-evidence-against-assad-growing-all-the-time-says-david-cameron-8800569.html
- Robert Parry, Consortium News, Was Turkey Behind Syria Sarin Attack? First published on April 6, 2014. https://consortiumnews.com/2015/09/16/was-turkey-behind-syria-sarin-attack-2/
- Moustafa Bayoumi, US bombs are killing children in Yemen. Does anybody care? The Guardian, 25 Aug 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/25/us-bombs-yemen-children-humanitarian-disaster
- Website by Jason Rukavina (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Cyril Cordor (email@example.com) for American Culture 213: Intro to Latina/o Studies, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
- Julian Borger, The Guardian, Fleeing a hell the US helped create: why Central Americans journey north. December 19, 2018.