By Kevin Lee Opinion Editor
A couple of weeks ago, the world received the news that one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil refineries was attacked with a drone. This attack was claimed by the Houthis, a Shia tribe in Yemen with Iranian backing at war with a Saudi-backed Yemeni government. Due to the scale of the attack and the financialand military backers of the assailants, tensions between Iran and American allies in the Middle East have increased. Fears of yet another US war in the Middle East erupted again.
An alleged Iranian bombing of a Saudi oil refinery, while alarming, is not reason enough for the US to send more troops to die in the Middle East. Forget for a second that the US funded the mujahideen when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Beyond that, American involvement in the Middle East has not been one of freedom and bravery. Trillions of dollars wasted, thousands of soldiers coming home in coffins, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, killed. Since before any of the current student body could walk or talk, this is the bloody legacy in the Middle East and South Asia. A push for war with Iran doubles down on that legacy: it provides intellectual and political ammunition for the Iranians, and by extension, their proxies (the Houthis, as well as Syrian dictator Assad, the Lebanese Islamist party Hizbullah, and Palestinian militants Hamas) to deem us irredeemable. It pushes Sunni terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Daesh, temporarily to Iran’s side due to mutual dislike for the United States. A push for war against a country that never directly attacked the United States isn’t smart foreign policy; it isn’t in the interest of national security; it isn’t in the best interests of American troops or US tax dollars; it is bellicose, gratuitous, and weakens diplomatic efforts in the region.
But even if one accepts the assertion above but still argues that we must defend the Saudis because they are allies, I pose the question, are they really? Consider France kidnapping a journalist in a consulate general while he was on personal business, hacking his limbs with a bone saw, and leaving him to bleed to death. Consider Germany locking up protesters fighting for the right to drive a car. Consider the British kidnapping
the Irish Taoiseach and forcing him to resign while being held hostage in Britain. Consider Japan buying American weapons and using them to drop bombs on innocent children. Consider Korea blowing up water treatment plants and causing famine and a cholera outbreak in a foreign country using US money and weapons. Consider a group of terrorists running a plane into national monuments and having Italy provide money and weapons to these terrorists. Replace a couple of names, and this is exactly what Saudi Arabia has done. So I pose the question, what does the US owe Saudi Arabia? Why should American troops have to risk their lives to support a dictator in his quest for further power? Why should American taxpayer money go to killing Iranian civilians at the whim of a tyrant and war criminal in the Middle East?
The push for war with Iran must be condemned: it does not make the US safer; it does not stabilize the region; it is fundamentally anti-American to send troops to die for a tyrant that does not share American values.