Cameron, who is back to form over at Way Off Bass, has a fairly decent sampling of current Middle East blogging. Cam spends way more time than I do going after the more thoughtful (or, at least, thought provoking) commentaries out on the 'sphere, so I don't have to.
Generally speaking, I am not a war blogger. Two things about me are pretty much all you need to know concerning my feelings about the Middle East today:
1. I absolutely believe that the Middle East generally represents the worst of extremist thinking, and therefore we can expect conflict there to continue pretty much until one race or religion has virtually wiped out all others. (When I was called to serve a mission in Central America, Dad snorted and said something about revolution being the national sport down there. He hadn't seen nothin' yet.)
2. I can support the idea of a war against terrorism, especially since terrorism has decided to attack us on our own shores. We spent an entire Cold War making sure we were protected from the Big Bad Commies, only to have lives destroyed on American soil by crazed Islamic extremists who learned how to use our own lifestyles and systems against us.
Since these two thoughts are basically conjoined twins, and since we have continually demonstrated that we in this country are more interested in fighting amongst ourselves than in prosecuting a war against a dangerous idealism, I also don't expect this "problem" to be resolved within my lifetime.
One might argue that I lived to see the fall of the Soviet Union, and that we therefore Won the Cold War.
I might argue in return that we have not won the Cold War; that the Cold War does, in fact, still exist and that we have lost our focus on such loose cannons as North Korea, China, and of course Cuba. Oh, they turn our heads from time to time. North Korea gets a little testosterone in a bottle and starts test firing badly designed rockets to make everyone nervous for a few weeks. Then everyone calms down and re-focuses on something More Important - something like Cindy Sheehan and her Mushroom Induced Jihad Against Bush. Before long, North Korea gleefully rubs its collective hands and plans its next test firing which will then remind us that there's still at least one nut job out there who does not thump a Q'uran but who nevertheless still wants to eradicate us.
So tell me again how we "won" the Cold War. And then explain to me how appeasement is ever going to resolve anything in the Middle East.
Here's the bottom line: Israel and Lebanon should by now have amply demonstrated that, American presence or not, fighting will continue in the Middle East. (And don't give me all that "moral equivalency" nonsense about Israel using American made war materiel. You really think we're the only game in town that Israel would buy from?) Iran and Iraq had been at each other's throats long before we ever established a "No-Fly Zone." Syria has been a breeding ground for terrorists of all stripes for decades; Jihadists, Sinn Fein, you name it.
Imagine for a moment that the more liberal elements of our nation get their way. Yippee, Murtha and Kerry have their moral mandate. Even if we pulled completely out of that region and said to the infant Iraqi government "fare thee well," does this solve anything? Not yet? Oh, that's right... we still need to cut off all ties with Israel. Ok, fine. We have Murtha-Kerryites running things now, that shouldn't be a problem. Sorry, Israel, you're on your own now. Does this mean that bin Laden will release another bunker tape, finally proclaiming that the Jihad against American imperialists is finally over?
Or will we all profess shock when the next bomb goes off in a major U.S. city, even after we did everything that bin Laden and Hezbollah ever wanted? I mean, hey, we still have all those Jews living in the United States. We still haven't done enough to satisfy Osama.
Appeasement: Recreational pharmaceutical of the new millenium.