I had a strange moment today. I was watching a video on CNN of an army mom who surprises her kids with a an unexpected reunion. The usual narrative here is that the mom/dad is deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq with accompanying imagery of a smiling soldier in U.S. military uniform in their place of deployment. This is followed by a live shot of that soldier in the same uniform, hugging his/her kids. All very moving. After all, whatever one’s thoughts about the U.S.’ imperialistic and capitalist wars abroad, the soldiers are in their minds doing something noble or trying to earn a paycheck for their children-all very understandable. Those that directly blame soldiers on the ground for U.S. policies are stupid. These are basically good people-they’ve been brainwashed or are under duress due to poverty or financial needs or dream of careers in a huge bureaucracy that can be potentially very lucrative.Of course this does not exclude the right of people in far off lands where such soldiers are deployed to defend themselves- but that is neither here nor there and is of no concern of ours. As Muslims living in America, we have to understand that the common American people, whether they be U.S. soldiers or anyone else are average people like anywhere else in the world. To be bitter or angry at such individuals is pure foolishness. If anything, they should be treated with sympathy and love. They are usually hard working, kind hearted and love their families. Of course, their government is savaging Muslims worldwide in the name of ‘freedom,’ and is busy repressing Muslim and non-Muslim dissidents in the U.S., but one cannot blame anyone at the lower rungs of government for that anymore than one can blame a U.S. DEA agent for the government’s oppressive war on drugs.
However, something was very different about this particular montage. I was half listening, half watching while working on an assignment, when suddenly the following sentence hit my ear drums: “Their mom, army tech sergeant Natalie Campbell has been deployed in Beirut Lebanon for six months.” I sat up. ‘What?!’ was the first thing that came to my mind. I quickly looked up U.S. army deployments to Beirut, and came across this April 2, 2014 press release of a speech that the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon gave during a hand over ceremony of “176 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees) and 300 M-60 Machine Gun units to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). ” (source: http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/pr_040214.html).
So, apparently, the U.S. govt. does have dealings with the Lebanese government. Interesting. The speech that ambassador gave included the fact that the U.S. has given over $1 billion in aid to the Lebanese army since 2005.
There. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Tech Sargent Natalie Campbell was probably posted as part of a mission supporting the training of Lebanese troops. I wonder what my Zionist friends (I use the term “friends” loosely of course) would feel about the U.S. government supporting a military whose government includes members of Hizbollah or at least supporters of Hizbollah in its cabinet. No doubt, the U.S. aid is probably intended as leverage with which to lessen Hizbollah’s influence in Lebanon. To which I say to the U.S. government: good luck with that.
Getting back to Sargent Natalie Campbell, there was still one thing that struck me as odd in her heart warming story of reunion with her long suffering children. It was a sentence that one of her daughters said (a girl of at least 16 or 17). Ashley Campbell was asked by the reporter whether she was worried for her mom and she replied: “All the time.” When asked why, she responds: “cause all the bombings…” at this point, she is cut off because the reporter says “turn around,” and we witness a heart warming reunion. After hugging her mom, Ashley smiles and says “she’s safe now.”
The question I have is, where is Natalie Campbell deployed in Lebanon that children are worried for her safety? Keep in mind that Lebanon is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It was back in the 80s, but it has been largely peaceful in the last decade or so. Unfortunately, due to the infiltration of Lebanon by Saudi-U.S.-Israeli funded and helped takfeeree agents in neighboring Syria, car bombings in Southern Beirut (Hizbollah stronghold) have occurred. Place like Tripoli have also seen an uptick in violence due to the Lebanese army’s efforts to eject Saudi inspired takfeeree forces. But, a U.S. army soldier deployed to help with training and transfer of military equipment should be no where near the Syrian border or in Tripoli and certainly not in South Lebanon. Then why the danger?
Where is she deployed that she be in such danger that her children constantly worry about her? If she were deployed in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia would she be in constant danger? Of course not. Those are hardly war zones. Of course, U.S. soldiers have to follow protocol in such countries due to understandably hostile locals, but countries like Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are not war zones. In addition. the one picture the news report showed of Natalie Campbell while deployed was not in uniform. She was wearing a hijab and civilian clothes and had a broad grin on her face. The photo shows her amidst civilians milling around on what looks like a sea-side pier of some sorts. Hardly a dangerous place.
So, again, where’s the danger? If she were deployed near the Syrian-Lebanese border, or in Tripoli or some other place that has the chances of bombs going off or close quarter combat she would be in danger. But if she is, the questions arises: what are U.S. soldiers doing in such situations in Lebanon? Does the Lebanese govt. know of their deployment to combat theaters? Keep in mind that children, spouses and siblings of deployed soldiers often have access to tidbits of information that though not classified, can certainly point to a wider picture that raises questions and could potentially point to classified U.S. activity in foreign countries. That’s a nice way of saying Uncle Sam is engaged in a covert war. Of course, we realize that all of this is pure speculation, but the obvious fear that these children had for their mother is puzzling. What has she told them in telephone conversations? What do they and she know that we don’t? Why is a simple deployment to Lebanon with training of Lebanese soldiers on secure Lebanese military bases so worrying for them? And, what is the U.S. military and CIA really doing in Lebanon? Last but not least, why has the U.S. government dumped a useless $1 billion in Lebanon (I say useless because U.S. influence in Lebanon is next to zero) when people are suffering State side? When will the U.S. capitalist elites relinquish their imperialistic ambitions abroad in order to help the suffering American middle class at home?
This is an interesting story that deserves some follow up and more details. A little bit of investigative journalism may be needed. We’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, add Lebanon to a list of over 105 countries where the U.S. military has a presence. It is, keep in mind, the largest deployment of a military on a global scale in the history of mankind. Talk about empires.
You can see the news report of the reunion here. The CNN video referenced in this post can be found on CNN.com.