Jeff Gibbs is a writer and filmmaker living in Michigan.
I call on President Barack Obama to immediately, publicly tell Hosni Mubarak he has to step down NOW. I call on Obama to tell Egypt that all military aid is suspended until all violence toward protestors is stopped, Mubarak leaves, and new leadership is in place.
There is absolutely no logic, no safety, and no morality is doing otherwise. Yes it is dangerous to meddle in the affairs of other nations. But for Christ's sake those are OUR tanks and planes and guns; OUR goons Mubarak bought and paid for with OUR money; it's OUR tear gas and possibly bullets screaming into non-violent men and women.
I am imagining Obama hopes to skate through this without ever having to say "Mubarak must go now." But I can't imagine anything but a bitter, bad taste in hundreds of millions of Arab mouths that when push came to shove we couldn't say their oppressor must go when it really mattered.
And if an allegedly liberal Democrat president can't tell a dictator to go, when will the U.S. ever stand against a despot, a murderous repressive thug? It is also a source of great shame and consternation to witness a parade of Democrats, former state department officials, and left-leaning pundits vacillate on calling for Mubarak's ousters.
"We can't be seeing as taking sides," said Mara Liason of "liberal" NPR on FOX News.
Taking sides? Mubarak has OUR tanks and fighter jets buzzing around his own people. The police are hurling OUR tear gas canisters at the pro-democracy forces. We've already taken sides—the wrong side.
"Who wouldn't make that trade-off?" Daschle wondered on MSNBC this morning citing all the good giving billions in weapons and torture money to Mubarak has gotten us. No moral person would make that trade-off, that's who. The people you are repressing, torturing, imprisoning and killing would not make that trade-off.
Would Daschle be willing to have himself starved, beaten, tear-gassed, imprisoned and tortured for someone's else's alleged "security"? And who are we to fund the oppression of 80,000,000 people and then say it has "worth it"? We should be begging forgiveness.
The whole idea that propping up dictators make us safer is laughable. Enabling evildoers who take away THEIR freedoms is one reason people hate us enough to blow themselves up in order to harm us, not because of OUR freedoms.
A recent op-ed in the New York Times asserts the Twin Towers might still be standing if we had not propped up a murderous, torturous dictator with tanks, weapons and tear gas. Al Qaeda might never have existed. Osama bin Laden might be Saudi, but real brains of the outfit was the Egyptian Ayman Al-Zawahiri. A dictator bought and paid for the by US imprisoned and tortured his political opponents like the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Zawahiri, which then lead to them lashing out at us and resulted in 3,000 of our citizens dying and us being dragged us into two deadly, costly wars.
Yes, supporting the dictator really made us safer.
Pundits have also been crying, "Oh, we can't let our allies know that we so quickly turn unloyal." Are you kidding me? What allies? Dictators? No sane leader would be threatened by the U.S. telling a man repressing, torturing and even murdering his own people he has to leave now. Only other evil repressive despots would be upset.
I mean what values are we fighting for? Didn't we bomb an entire nation half-way back to the stone-age to get rid of a dictator? Didn't we just sacrifice several thousand of our own young men and women to end a despotic regime and promote "democracy."
And now our President can't say "the dictator must go" because he is OUR dictator?
Even more chilling, it ought to give us all pause if—in a politician's or state department official's opinion—supporting those who beat, imprison, torture and kill opponents and the media is "worth it" for stability and security. What does that tells us about what is going to happen here when things get rough? What is already happening we don't know about under the ruse of "security" and "stability"?"
Noam Chomsky calls this the most incredible democratic uprising he has ever seen. We are either an Empire that represses people for our own purposes and acts shocked when there is blowback, or a beacon of freedom and democracy. The only path to prosperity, goodness, and safety is to unequivocally support people who have absolutely nothing risking their lives, and telling the man killing, beating and repressing them he has to go.
President Obama, side with people risking and giving their lives for democracy. President Obama, show the Arab world they count just as much as other, more white, more Christian people, by telling Mubarak he has go now.
THAT is the true path to peace, stability, prosperity, and being on the side of democracy, self-determination, and all the values we allegedly stand for.
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