Sunday, July 22, 2007

Replanting the Olive Branch

In the thoughtful article in WaPo today "Why Do They Hate Us," by Pakistan writer, Mohsin Hamid.... who has spent almost half of his life in an America he believes has unlimited potential for good.... he confronts the Muslim hate for the U.S. today, and the healing path forward.

Hamid proposes the cause for the hatred. "Simply because America has - often for what seemed good reasons at the time - intervened to shape the destinies of other countries and then, as a nation, walked away."

It adds a knowledgeable voice to the argument that we can't just "walk away" from Iraq.... an idea the GOP falsely accuses the Democrats of proposing.

And, he reinforces the only sane solution, that we must find a way to safely withdraw our troops from the middle of the Mad Max, generations-old tribal conflict that our presence is only aggravating, but, without "abandoning" the country.

If ever there was a "Mission Impossible," this is it. A dizzying moral and geopolitical tightrope to successfully navigate.

Aside from the bloody cost and havoc for Iraqis, this misbegotten war is decimating our military, taking the focus away from stopping terrorist attacks in our own vulnerable country, and draining our Treasury of funds desperately needed for our own domestic well being.

The Cheney-Bush neocons stampeded us into this post-9/11 war for their own ends.... to secure an oil supply for the U.S., establish military bases in Iraq, and enhance Israel's security.... all of which have not succeeded. Indeed, it has had an opposite, and exceedingly disastrous, result.

Which brings me to another astute observation in Hamid's article, the solution for stopping future foreign misadventures by agenda-driven leaders of our government.

"Americans need to educate themselves, from elementary school onward, about what their country has done abroad. And they need to play a more active role in ensuring that what the United States does abroad is not merely in keeping with a foreign policy elite's sense of realpolitik but also with the American public's own sense of American values."

Values.... lately, a very over-used political sloganeering word, we need to reacquaint ourselves with its true meaning.

Hamid concludes, "The challenge that the United States faces today boils down to a choice. It can insist on its primacy as a superpower, or it can accept the universality of its values. If it chooses the former, it will heighten the resentment of foreigners and increase the likelihood of visiting disaster on distant populations - and vice versa. If it chooses the latter, it will discover something it appears to have forgotten: that the world is full of potential allies."

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