July 13, 2012
Many of the Inside-the-Beltway pundits are not whistling past the Egyptian graveyard, perhaps, but they are whistling past the Pyramids.
They are placing great hopes in the Egyptian military. And they're placing our money in the pockets of the Egyptian generals, too. $1.2 billion every year for the past thirty years has gone to bribe the Egyptian military to stay in line. Under Hosni Mubarak, staying in line meant not invading, or threatening to invade Israel. And not hosting Islamist extremists who might spur more terrorism against the U.S. and the West.
Since the fall of Mubarak, the Egyptian military has been a bulwark, we are told, against Islamist extremism. Except, of course, when they are Islamist extremists. The liberal Christian Science Monitor reported last fall that Egyptian armored personnel carriers had plowed into Coptic Christians peacefully protesting in Cairo. Twenty-four Christians were killed by the weapons we American taxpayers supplied to the Egyptian military. Has there been any action taken against the killers? Ask the Sphinx. Coptic spokesmen in the U.S. say the standard figure of 8 million Christians in Egypt is itself Islamist propaganda. They claim 18 million adherents. If so, that is twice as many Christians to be endangered by the new regime in Cairo.
The Mideast Jordan Times carries an interesting story about the uneasy relationship between newly installed President Mohammed Morsi and the Egyptian military. Morsi is the Muslim Brotherhood's successful candidate for president. This would be the same Muslim Brotherhood that pledged not to field a candidate for president. Morsi is in a struggle with the Egyptian military because the generals dissolved the newly elected parliament. Parliamentary elections yielded an Islamist majority, including the Muslim Brotherhood bloc as its largest faction. This is the same Muslim Brotherhood that said it would not field candidates for the parliament.
President Obama has just invited Mohammed Morsi to visit the U.S. Why not? After all, President Obama visited Morsi's home base--Al Azhar University--in June 2009. That center of Muslim Brotherhood radicalism was the place Mr. Obama chose to offer his olive branch to what he termed the "Muslim world." Can anyone imagine the row if this self-proclaimed Christian leader had addressed a speech to Christendom? He'd have been accused of being a Crusader (that's a bad thing among Islamists). Despite its reputation as a scorpions' nest of Islamist activity, the president chose Al Azhar to signal a turnabout in U.S. policy toward Muslim majority countries.
Turnabout there has surely been. Since Mr. Obama's entry into office, Christians have been slaughtered throughout the Bloody Crescent with hardly a peep from the U.S. State Department or the White House. Nigerian human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe recently reported that more Christians have been killed by Islamist Boko Haram than NATO troops have been killed in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled Iraq. They've fled into Syria, of all places. Operation Iraqi Freedom has not protected them. In fact, their lot has been made much worse since the Bush administration toppled Saddam Hussein and allowed, in fact, required a new Iraqi constitution containing a repugnancy clause. State Department advisers insisted upon this clause. It says that notwithstanding anything else in the new constitution, nothing shall be done by the Iraq government that is "repugnant" to Islam. Well, among the things repugnant to Islam is saying "Jesus is Lord." That will get you killed.
It did get a young Tunisian Christian killed. Recently, Egyptian TV showed the horror of a young convert from Islam to Christianity being beheaded. The Egyptian new anchor, to his credit, cried out: "Is this what we want here?" And he asked the anguished question: "How will these people govern?"
Sadly, the answers are in the broadcast. Yes, it is what the Egyptian voters want in Egypt. Fully 84% of Egyptians have told pollsters that apostates from Islam should be killed. They just voted for it. How will the new Islamists govern? By publicly cutting off the heads of their opponents. Simple enough.
Morsi has publicly called for repudiating the 30-year Treaty with Israel. Morsi's Islamist cohorts are publicly calling for the destruction of Egypt's Sphinx and Pyramids. And yet, there are credulous Americans who place their trust in Egypt's military.
Check out that photograph in the Jordan Times. Look at the ridiculous gold braid on that military academy graduate. Watch the Egyptian military goose-stepping on parade. (I offer this as a simple rule-of-thumb: wherever the military goose-steps, the regime is bad. Nazi Germany, USSR, North Korea, Iran, and now Egypt.)
But remember the war record of this Egyptian military. They were pounded by the much smaller Israeli Army in every war since 1948. They celebrate their greatest achievement as a military in their sneak attack on Israel in 1973. They launched that attack on Yom Kippur, the opening of Jews' High Holy Days. The reason the Egyptian military was defeated then, too. But it considers that war their best showing simply because in 1973, their soldiers fought and did not run away.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wrote about the tens of thousands of Egyptian prisoners he captured in one of Israel's many wars.
The officers threw away their gold epaulets and all indicators of rank. To separate the sheep (enlisted) from the goats (officers), Sharon ordered his prisoners to pull down their pants. Officers, he knew, wore fine silk underpants. Enlisted grunts had to make do with coarse, cheap, scratchy cotton drawers. Sharon marched the defeated Egyptian army, minus their pants, home to Cairo.
The Egyptian military does not always run away. When they plow their armored vehicles into unarmed Christians, they don't run away. And they don't get disciplined, either.
Our pundits who look to the Egyptian military to restrain Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist backers are not unlike those very credulous folks who thought the German army would restrain that ridiculous new Chancellor with the toothbrush mustache. Within a year, Hitler had brought the German high command to heel. Mohammed Morsi will put a ring in his generals' noses.
The Muslim Brotherhood is not an offshoot of Nazism, but it arose in the same era and its founders viewed Hitler's Judenhass--hatred of the Jews--as a spiritual bond between their movements. Nazism collapsed under Allied and Soviet bombardment. The Muslim Brotherhood survived World War II and has now triumphed in the Arab world's largest country. The Christians there and throughout the Mideast are in the gravest jeopardy.
Should U.S. taxpayers subsidize this new regime? Should we continue to pay for their gold braid?