Tuesday, November 11, 2008

US involvement in Iraq / Afghanistan from a Torah perspective?

To my female friend in the Israeli army from whom's e-mail I "lifted" the contents of this blog entry as fodder for conversation, I was curious what others would say about the US' involvement in foreign affairs particularly from a Torah perspective, and so I've pasted a snippet of the e-mail below. Please forgive me for my intrusion; I've done my best to edit out any identifying information that can be traced back to you.

Wow, I'm reading what you're writing about your group helping out in Afghanistan and it seems like the excitement level must be through the roof! As an answer to your question, it is widely believed in the US that the Afghanistan culture needs US intervention if the US is ever going to benefit from them and overthrow those who perpetuate terror from being in power. There are a lot of things we need to do that just don't make sense at first, but the thing that first comes to mind is the US' involvement in Afghanistan back in the 1980's through the efforts of Congressman Wilson of TX, and how the US did so much to help the Afghanistans arm themselves to defend themselves against the Soviet invasions, only to cause the emergence of the Taliban and the Muslim extremists who are plaguing the US with fear and terror today. While the benefit of arming the Afghanistans back in the '80s was that we were able to get them to fight our war for us, the end of the story is that we caused the problems we face today by not taking the final needed step of funding schools for the children of Afghanistan who were indoctrinated with hate and disgust for Americans and for western culture in general. By the time that became a necessity, Congress was so fed up with all the money we spent overseas that they just wanted to shut down operations abroad which is exactly what they did.

In short, my understanding is that it is the US' decision to get involved proactively in foreign countries to urge them to adopt western ways of life. We're not doing it because we want them to be like us, but as far as I understand, we're doing all this for peace and so that they won't attack us and cause a world war. My Rav said to me when we first met in a conversation never to underestimate the mind of the Arabs. He said they are far smarter than us, and their indoctrination to an extremist belief system is something to be feared to the utmost degree. He said this back in 2001 before the 9/11 attacks, and being fully aware of the terrorist attacks they have been doing for years within the state of Israel, he told me that it was only a matter of time before they attack Israel's allies, namely us. Thus, your inquiring of me about US efforts that don't necessarily make sense likely have a higher calling where the US is doing things on multiple levels to stop terrorism 1) by fighting it outright, but by 2) building THEIR infrastructure up so that they can learn to be educated and to promote peace in the world. ...it's a different discussion whether or not I think this will work, and Torah has its own opinion of what approach to take with issues such as this one although I never took the time to learn the detailed halachas of war and how to approach and/or to confront enemies of various kinds. Off the top of my head, Rambam has a whole book about it in his Sefer HaYad, Hilchot Milchamot.

No comments: