The Four Corners
Putting it all together from all ends of the globe and political spectrum, then delivering it to your desktop wrapped up in a pretty but not dainty bow.
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Friday, March 14, 2003
The Israel-Palestine "Conflict," remember that? You know, the ongoing infadada that has led to the deaths of hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians alike since about oh...1948, off and on? Despite its deep religiosity, the Bush Administration seems committed to forgetting about the Holy Lands. In the name of doing all things holy to Republicans (doing the exact opposite of what Clinton would have done), the Bushies have ignored this enormous world problem that the international community sees as a crisis which only deep U.S. involvement will fix.
Why? Because no other group has credibility with both sides, except maybe the British who have royally screwed up every place they colonized or gotten involved with, except maybe America (India/Pakistan? Yep. The Middle East? Diddo. Africa? Same story.).
Bush and his born again ideologs have ironically ignored helping bring peace to the troubled region because of their religious beliefs. Ever wonder why Conservatives are so Pro-Israel? Well its because they believe that the Jews need to be in charge of the holy lands for the second coming of Jesus at the end of the world. Of course, Jews will then have to convert or burn in hell, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.
What the Bushies just barely realized, however, is that their Neo-Con fantasy of taking out Saddam Hussein would be much more popular (as well as the U.S. in general) if they were to adequately address the Palestinian issue. In fact, our lack of condemnation of misguided acts of Israeli retribution, and our overall lack of involvement in the situation is prime fodder for Al-Qaeda recruiters and other terrorist networks.
Postponing their "Roadmap to Peace" until after we squash Iraq however, is yet another foreign policy blunder for the Bush Administration, who have been alienating allies left and right.
In fact, they have bungled foreign policy ever since they stepped into office via their brazen attitude and approach more than the actual substance, although that wasn't so hot either. By dismissing international treaties (Kyoto, ABM, and ICC, just to name the biggies), without even paying lip service to our allies or offering timely, realistic alternatives, we pissed our friends off before we even asked them a favor.
So it's no wonder Bush is the most unpopular leader in the world (except, of course, in the U.S. where he enjoys approval ratings around the mid-50s). His actions and statement have led more people around the globe to see him just as foreign cartoonists do, a Cowboy. If this Lone Ranger somehow still believes that he can get a posse together to go whoop Hussein, he is sadly mistaken.
From Secretary Powell's testimony before congress yesterday, it appears that the Administration has given up on the U.N. and now risk making PM Tony Blair even more vulnerable at home. After already trying to wreak NATO to protect Turkey from Saddam, they now seem set on ticking off their very last friend in the world, Great Brittan. Good going!
Poor Blair has stuck his neck out for Bush despite disapproval from his electorate, and he hasn't gotten much in return. A quarter of the UK's army is in harm's way and the US doesn't even follow through with the U.N.?
Thursday, March 13, 2003
It looks like General Wesley Clark, Ret. (former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe during NATO's war in Kosovo) is running for (Vice) President. This week, he has had not one but two profiles/articles in the Washington Post (here and here) and now he has even gotten a nice profile in Business Week. Of course, I am not the first or the most inside scoop on this. I just have a gut feeling that most people who are just common retired Generals don't suddenly get a press blitz like this with the words "for President" mentioned so often in such a short time span.
Of course, I am not mentioning his fall meeting with money men in NYC, January meetings with the chairman of the DNC, his meetings with DLC money men, or his trips to NH and IA where he gave speeches, let alone is Meet the Press debut on February 16th.
Don't get me wrong, I am excited. I've read his book, and read up all I can about him, good and bad. Still, he is the best chance the Democrats have of beating a war-time President. Unlike the Senators or other wannabes, he doesn't carry a long Washington or New York trail of baggage or record of votes. All he has is one successful but controveral war under his belt as General.
Combined with Kerry, you have lots of purple hearts and Bronze stars (since the Senator threw someone else's medals over the wall) to go up against draft-doggers Bush and Cheney. Further, you have a guy who has been in charge of a sucessful modern war, dealt with the press (abeit unsuccessfully), been in wars, been a Rodes Scholar, graduated first in his class at West Point, and is from the important sometimes swing state of Arkansas.
Welcome to my blog. This format allows writers to tell the world their opinions on everything from world affairs to the local Denny's but I will trend more towards the former. If you would like to respond to any of my daily comments e-mail me, but make sure you don't write me about a home mortgage or penis enlargement because I will think it is spam.
Now, on with today's topic de jour: Iraq-naphobia. Despite the fact that 50-60 plus percent of Americans think there is a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq, there is none. Sorry Secretary Powell.
Everyone prefaces their opposition to Iraq by saying, "Saddam is no saint, but..." While it is true that more weapons of mass destruction were destroyed through the first inspections regime than the first Gulf War, this is only because Saddam's idiot brother (I say idiot because he went BACK to Iraq, only to get murdered) told us all about where they were. So far, we have gotten all the phony help we can get from Saddam.
Iraq's whole strategy seems to be based around the one that Slobodan Milosevic took to NATO leading up to the Kosovo war-- delay disguised as progress. The idea is, if you give your vastly more powerful opponent the bare minimum or part of what they asked for, it will undermine support for the operation to ultimately get results and remove the dictator from power.
Regardless of the fact that he murdered tens of thousands of Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis since coming to power in the 1960s, we still have a legitimate case to remove him from power under U.N. auspices for repeatedly violating the organization's resolutions.
We all know Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Pearle, et al have about as much respect for the U.N. as Hussein does, but that still doesn't mean they are greater threats to world peace than the dictator in Iraq.
If the French are successful in their misguided attempt to reign in the United States' Hyperpower actions, we still have to go in anyway. Why? Because with 250 thousand troops surrounding Iraq, we can't just pull back and say, "just kidding" without vastly undermining our credibility worldwide. Plus, their needs to be ramifications for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, unless we really need the office space in New York for other things
While my colleague may be right that there is not compelling evidence that Iraq is an imminent threat to the world or U.S. (especially compared to North Korea), he fails to take into account that he has spoken out too late. We already had the election-timed vote in Congress and the President has already placed 250 thousand troops in harms way in preparation for war. We reached the point of no return in October or December, if not the moment Bush took office. Unless Saddam is assassinated, overthrown, or has a brain transplant, he is NEVER going to destroy all his bad weapons or stop terrorizing the people of Iraq.
Just like the Taliban, they never directly threatened us until Al Queda used them as a training ground for its attacks on the U.S. in 1998 and 2001, Iraq is not an direct threat to us. But his regime is a direct threat to our ideals and the potential of him selling WMD or Nukes to Middle Eastern terrorist groups (Hamas et al) is not worth stalling over.
Of course, if we were to go after and change the regimes of every country that was against our ideals we would be invading most of the Middle East, most of Africa and, a lot of Asia (especially China). This is obviously not a good idea. I am sure the Bush Administration honestly hopes that reforming Iraq will set off a wave of democratization in the Middle East, but I am not holding my breath.