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Sic Transit Gloria Mundi: Thus Passes the Glory of the World

Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar outlines how weak U.S. policy in the Middle East has encouraged more aggressive behavior on the part of radical Islamic groups.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower giving orders to American paratroopers in England. (D-Day, June 6, 1944)

General Dwight D. Eisenhower giving orders to American paratroopers in England. (D-Day, June 6, 1944)
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

In October 1993, an American commando force entering the city by helicopter, tried to capture two terrorists in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. The helicopter was shot down by the Somalis, who then killed 18 American soldiers and defiled their bodies. All of this was recorded on camera without fear of enraging the Americans.

Bin Laden, after his mujahedin succeeded in throwing out the Soviets from Afghanistan and accelerating the collapse of the Soviet Union, decided to turn the American weapons against the U.S., the world leader of heresy, permissiveness and materialistic culture. In December 1992, jihadists attacked hotels near the port of Aden where U.S. soldiers were housed. In February 1993, the first attempt to collapse the twin towers was carried out in New York. In August 1998. U.S. embassies in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and Dar as-Salam the capital of Tanzania, were blown up, killing 224 and leaving thousands of wounded. In 2000, al-Qaeda attacked the frigate USS Cole off the coast of Yemen, killing 17 soldiers. On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda organized a series of attacks in the United States on symbols of commerce and government, which caused about 3000 fatalities.

In the aura of the beginning years of the new millenium in which the U.S. was perceived as vulnerable despite its great strength, Islamist terrorists did not hesitate to slaughter American citizens and soldiers on camera, for example, Daniel Pearl in 2002; Nick Berg, Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley in 2004.

As a result of the attacks of September 11, 2001 the United States entered into an all-out war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime of Afghanistan, which sponsored the organization. A blitz war brought about the collapse of the regime and the dismantling of hundreds of al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan. The U.S.-led coalition achieved total control of the entire area of Afghanistan within months, but today – after more than eleven years of Sisyphean fighting, and at the cost of much blood and treasure – the soldiers of the United States and their allies control only about 5 percent of the country’s area. It seems that Afghanistan is about to become the second Vietnam.

Later, an international coalition led by the United States conquered Iraq in 2003, but since then, organizations who adopted the ideology of al-Qaeda, challenged the stability that the U.S. tried to create in Iraq, by carrying out hundreds of attacks that killed thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens. Iran, its eastern neighbor, also entered into the Iraqi turmoil, training, arming and financing Shi’ites who remembered well the American betrayal of March 1991, and between the years 2003 and 2008, caused many American fatalities. American intelligence had innumerable proofs of Iranian involvement in the killing of American soldiers, but the U.S. never ventured to even the account with Iran for this, because of the fear that it would have to open a new front, in addition to those of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Indeed, the greatest American failure to date is Iraq: the president of the United States, George W. Bush, announced on May 1, 2003 – five weeks after the war in Iraq broke out – “Mission Accomplished.” The number of American fatalities was then about 170. After another five years had passed, four thousand five hundred Americans had fallen by the time the war was indeed more or less over, and the Iraqi political system that the Americans created is unstable and fragile. Over all, American taxpayers poured into Iraq more than a trillion (a thousand million) dollars. President Obama, as he promised, withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, and as a result of the American flight, Iraq today is effectively controlled by Iran: Despite the international ban on Iran to export weapons, and on Syria to import them, Iran supplies the murderous regime in Syria with weapons, ammunition and fighters who are air-lifted over the skies of Iraq. The Americans know this and don’t do a thing.

Another American failure, no less important than the failure in Iraq, is the failure to stop the military nuclear program of Iran. We only need remember the Soviet missile crisis in Cuba (1962) to see the difference between then and now: Then, the determination shown by John F. Kennedy caused the Soviets to fold up within two weeks, while today, the softness that the world presents – led by the United States – vis à vis Iran, has enabled the Ayatollah state to progress in their military nuclear program for more than 15 years.

About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.


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One Response to “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi: Thus Passes the Glory of the World”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this excellent summation of the historical failures of American foreign policy. It really is shocking when all the disastrous actions (or inactions) are listed together.

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