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LeRoy: The Netanyahu applause

From the Left
By Brendan LeRoy

Last year I stumbled upon the Seacoast’s WQSO on 96.7 FM, which features conservative talk radio hosts. When I leave campus the station features Rush Limbaugh, which is on between noon and 3 p.m. Despite the initial negative connotation I had of Limbaugh, I actually was quite surprised how much I ended up liking his programs. His brute style of communicating is at times surprising, such as calling President Obama a “tyrant king” and his administration a regime, and he does make logical right-wing interpretations of current events which I otherwise would never have considered.

In this past week, Rush Limbaugh, along with the conservative base, have made assessments of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Congress. Netanyahu has requested that the United States’ Congress act via military action to cease the Iranian quest for nuclear technology. Limbaugh’s broadcasts this past week have portrayed strong admiration for the Israeli Prime Minister and frustration with the Obama Administration. Currently the United States is engaging in diplomatic talks with the Iranian government to cease their attempt to build nuclear weapons, but Limbaugh believes diplomacy never solves the problem, only military action does. 

We are approaching our fourteenth year of military action in the Middle East and still there has not been sufficient progress in eliminating terrorism. Our actions have been less than satisfactory as we refuse to understand their culture. Western sentiment is not a universal value; the Islamic nations do not wish to absorb the values of the West any more than the West would want to take on the values of Islam. Weak nations have no power to fight the West while the wealthy Saudi Arabia has a monetary incentive to work with the United States to maintain their regional power. Then come Iraq and Iran, two powerful states that held power and rejected the West while threatening the United States’ control over the region’s actions. The United States was able to topple the Iraqi government at the cost of economic stability and thousands of lives where people now fear rogue radicals rather than the iron fist of Saddam Hussein. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu approached a joint session of Congress whose introduction was welcomed with a deafening applause, which reminded me of how North Koreans applaud their Dear Leader. He came to ask the United States to finish the job: eliminate the radical Islamic government of Iran as we did in Iraq. Netanyahu called the government of Iran an organization supporting worldwide terror whose goal is to widen radicalism. The Prime Minister spoke of the danger Iran poses toward the single Israeli State as he compared the Iranian government to the Nazi Party. The leaders of Iran’s government have been quite vocal about their desire to eliminate the Israeli State, much the same as Saddam Hussein spoke prior to his execution. Netanyahu reminded the United States of the danger it faced by the Nazis, saying that as “the Nazis were not just a Jewish problem and Iran is not just a Jewish problem.”

Netanyahu wants America to do in Iran as we did in Iraq, topple a regime which actively speaks against the existence of an Israeli State. The deafening applause by a Republican controlled House of Representatives frightens me. At the end of 2014 we pulled out of Iraq and ended the war. Weeks later the President sent more troops back to Iraq to fight the spread of radicalism which was destabilizing the vacated nation. John Stewart made humor of the situation asking viewers to imagine a Democratic majority calling a joint session of Congress to hear the French President criticize President Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Do you remember when Republicans tried to take ‘French’ out of french fries? 

Perhaps it is pessimism but I see no end to radicalism. We feel the unceasing need to control the Middle East, forcing their millennium old culture to adopt our millennium old culture. This conflict did not start with September 11, 2001, it started with the implementation of the Israeli state, displacing the local Palestinians. For 64 years Israel has slowly claimed greater territory, displacing more Palestinians and revoking their native citizenships while the global community refuses to accept their legitimacy. The Russians and Americans used the Middle East as one giant Risk game board during the Cold War. The existence of oil in the region continues American presence. Why else would America criticize a Russian law banning educating minors that homosexuality is acceptable while relations could not be tighter with Saudi Arabia, which imprisons gays? What hypocrisy!

My “philosophy of religion” instructor, Professor Duane Whittier, described the nuclear ambition of Iran to be a balancing force between the Islamic Republic and the West, same as the arms race during the Cold War. ‘Mutually Assured Destruction,’ he called it. The Iranians may be radicals but they are not idiots. As Professor Whittier says, when both sides possess nuclear weapons it reduces the likelihood of a nuclear attack by either side. Knowing the history of the West and the Islamic Republic, it is not difficult to imagine why Iranians feel compelled to protect themselves.

I do not understand the position Rush Limbaugh takes, criticizing liberals for their hesitation to invade Iran as we did in Iraq. It would not be a bad idea to educate American children of world history rather than 12 years of the American Revolution, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, with the occasional deviation. Regardless of my perception of history, Rush Limbaugh joined the Republican Party and conservatives in support for Netanyahu’s request.

On Feb. 16, I criticized further action in the Middle East following the President’s request for Congressional authorization stopping the spread of ISIS. I remain conflicted how we should address ISIS, especially given that ISIS flourished as a result of the American destabilization of the region. However, I unequivocally reject the notion of invading Iran. As it failed in Iraq it will fail in Iran.

Brendan LeRoy is a junior majoring in linguistics.

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