In this excerpt from The Syrian Andrew recognizes that he has been, like most of his fellow Americans, complacent and ignorant about what his government is doing around the world in his name.
Andrew sat in the chair near the window and looked up. There they were: the unchanged, unchangeable stars. Tonight they felt like his only anchor in an otherwise dangerous and complex place he was only beginning to understand. He knew he was naïve about the world in general and about his own government’s role in it. Until now, he’d lived his life as a smug, complacent American content in his profession, with the many rewards and benefits it gave him. Satisfied with what he read in newspapers and heard from politicians, he had closed his eyes to what was happening in the world around him. It was easy. None of it directly affected him. He had no family members in the armed forces. His country’s wars were in a part of the world he never thought he’d need or want to know or ever care about. He never asked what his government did, nor did he question the motives of powerful people who wielded influence over his political leaders. The system was rigged. It had been that way for decades. It never bothered him, until now.
At the time, he had questioned why his government went into Iraq and Afghanistan—why a leader who had been their ally for years had suddenly become the enemy and vilified by the mass media. Necessary regime change was the explanation. He did not understand that meant all-out war in Iraq and the destruction of that country, the mass murder of innocent civilians and the looting and destruction of a country’s cultural heritage.
The U.S. was a staunch ally of Israel. He had no reason to ever question that alliance. His parents had donated money to The Israel Fund to plant trees in that tiny nation right after its founding in 1948. He was taught that Israel was a democracy in a sea of hostile Arab countries hell-bent on its destruction. That it was the Arabs who were the trouble-makers with no integrity, not the Israelis. Now, after what he had learned, Andrew was no longer sure how he felt about his government’s destructive role in the Arab world and its support for Israel. He was full of questions about that country’s multiple invasions in Lebanon and his government’s decisions to take down Saddam Hussein. What was really behind such actions? It was not the weapons of mass destruction—everyone now knew that to be a lie. What about Syria? Was it true that the U.S. and its allies had decided that Syria should be dismantled, destroyed and put in the hands of a puppet amenable to U.S. dictates? Isn’t that what they had tried unsuccessfully to do in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya? It is not true that such actions, if repeated often enough, will eventually erode the global mechanism that strives to maintain stability and security through a balance of power based on legitimacy and responsible behavior? And if that’s lost, what’s left but a few powerful nations and wealthy individuals ruling and determining policy for their own greedy wants?
This book is available for purchase here.