Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NIE Report: The President says the media stories regarding the NIE report were leaked and "create confusion in the minds of the American people." He decides to release part of the NIA report but not the whole thing because of "security concerns." Does he think we are absolute morons or just somewhat moronic? There is absolutely NO confusion whatsoever. Months maybe years before parts of that report were ever made public one would have to be hiding under a rock not to see the horrendous blunder of Iraq. It does not take a brain surgeon.

Speaking of hiding under a rock, after the bulldozing of everything this country has meant, that is exactly what I feel like doing. How he, Cheney and his minions sleep at night is beyond me!! LOTS of Xanax I'm sure! This administration train wreck is amazing truly amazing. I can just imagine what the hidden parts must say.

This inept insipid administration has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, treasure and possibly the security of this nation. How Christian they are. I'm sure Jesus would just love them all !

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bravo Bill: Bill Clinton's appearance on the Fox New Chris Wallace interview was a delight. Finally, someone who is articulate and who possesses a razor sharp command of the facts, indeed was directly involved in the facts, could slam home the point that Democrats and others should have been slamming home consistently since September 11, 2001. As our former President said at least he tried to get Bin Laden several times. What did Bush do to achieve that end?

The Clinton administration upon leaving office warned the Bush administration during the very first moments they turned over the reins of power that getting Bin Laden was of paramount importance as was the war on terror. Bush and his administration did nothing. They did nothing to continue to pursue policy to get the perpetrators regarding the USS Cole bombing and they did nothing to pursue or stop Bin Laden and his minions before they committed the 9/11 deadly attack. When President Bush received the Presidential Daily Briefing that said "Bin Laden determined to strike within US" his response was zero.

The criminal acts that this administration has perpetrated are legion. He has initiated a futile Iraq war without end by lying and morphing facts about it to fit his pre 9/11 desire to take Iraq out. He has shredded the Constitution. Worst of all, he has killed thousands in Iraq, demolished a country for nothing and alienated the world. Terrorists within Iraq itself and from foreign nations have flooded that country. Iran, our enemy and soon-to-be a nuclear nation, is now the benefactor supreme of George Bush's badly executed policies. US security agencies today have acknowledged that Iraq has made the war on terror worse and not better.

At last former President Clinton, a person to whom people might listen and whose opinion is respected, stated emphatically what needed to be said for over five years. The things that should have been done immediately when Bush assumed office never were. Let's hope, finally, the American people will understand that and change the balance of power as the buck certainly stops with them!

Monday, September 18, 2006

To Torture or Not to Torture: I often go back and forth like the proverbial tennis ball when attempting to arrive at the truth, as I perceive it. The latest undemocratic response of the Bush administration in its war against terrorism is the undermining of the Geneva Conventions and the implementation of torture as a means of extracting information from captured alleged terrorists. James Carroll in his article in The Globe entitled "Judge, jury, and torturer" makes a good case for the Bush inspired Kafkaesque metamorphosis of our nation because of the Bush administration's advocacy of using possible torture upon captives in his war against terror.

I think Carroll errs, though, when he does not see both sides of this issue in a contemporary historical sense. The treatment of prisoners as mandated by the Geneva Conventions has been a good thing for our country and the world. Torture not only is morally repulsive but it can, indeed, invite torture upon our own soldiers. However, the question of whether to torture or not to torture has to be asked, I think, from a contemporary point of view. Are the Geneva Conventions, as we have known them, relevant to international events today?

There is no question Carroll is right when he says the right of the accused to know the charges levied against him and to have the evidence presented to him is a basic tenet of our Republic and the Geneva Conventions. This doctrine is and has been fundamental to our system of government. It has, I think, made the US a blueprint from which other democracies have formed their procedures as well.

When, however, I think about maintaining those rights today toward captured possible terrorists I can understand the American public's, as Carroll calls it, "vague unease" [emphasis added] about the abridging of those mandates. We are only vaguely uneasy about their abridgement, I think, because we know that the consequences of terrorists actions in our WMD world are so egregious as to possibly warrant their abridgment. If only one terrorist knows about or succeeds in a biological, chemical or worst of all, a nuclear attack we may not be around to contemplate the joys of the Enlightenment inspired rules of evidence.

This issue, therefore, irrespective of political party, must be thought through with the utmost care. As much as I dislike nearly all Bush policy, I can understand in a subliminal synaptic recess of my brain, his firm advocacy of this position regarding possible terrorist interrogation. It is easy to argue about the rights of the accused when one is talking about conventional war. When talking about the possibility of WMD's in the hands of even possible users of those weapons on this country or elsewhere the tennis ball, as I perceive it, is in a different court.

Americans and War: Why are we trying to fit a round peg in a square hole? Why don't we just admit Americans do not hate war. I suspect Americans love war. It's losing we hate. I think Gen. George Patton said that, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. It is why we keep electing presidents who take us to often unnecessary wars and it's why even Democrats do not want to say adamantly the Iraq war was a mistake, pull the troops out.

Democrats are in mortal fear of appearing unmanly or weak saying that we lost yet another war. The loss of Vietnam was about the most our country could bear. Now Being defeated by a bunch of Medieval fanatics in turbans is simply too much to endure. Let's face it, kicking the stuffing out of someone can be fun. Unfortunately, sometimes they kick back. The last just war, WWII, when America was on the side of the angels came to an end. Since then the US has been involved in futile unnecessary escapades all over the globe costing thousands if not millions of lives, billions of bucks and squandered our international prestige. Iraq is the worst venture yet. Bush's minions and the delusional neo-Cons have created a nightmarish quagmire of unprecedented proportions. Really, the Democrats do not have to say a thing, Bush, al are hanging themselves with their own ropes. All the Democrats have to do is stand around and watch!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Pope's Un-Holy War: Doesn’t anyone have anything else to do but scream, write slogans jump up and down protesting what someone says about a belief?

I cannot understand why on earth the Pope would say what he did. I did read the whole text which seemed to say the Pope was advocating religions to be peaceful. He said it, though, by invoking an obscure 13th century Medieval monarch’s indictment of Islam for being violent. Even if the Pope’s words, if one reads them in their entirety, said what he said they said why wouldn’t the Pope, a supposedly bright scholarly fellow, know that those words would be taken out of context and that someone might just go berserk in Cairo or Istanbul. He is after all the Pope not just some guy on a street corner.

It’s just as absurd, too, when Christians picket local theaters for showing certain films or yell and scream about art exhibits. I remember not so long ago I had to walk through Christian picketers to stand in line to see the film The Last Temptation of Christ which I probably never would have seen were it not for the outcry against it. Of course, I will try to refrain from historical descriptions of the Christian crusades, inquisitions, expulsions, and a host of other cruelties the Church has inflicted. I won’t mention too much either about the cruelties during the Protestant Reformation. Nor will I mention too much about contemporary religious supporters of bombings of abortion clinics, murder of its doctors, nor the killing of homosexuals, firebombing gay bars, bombing of the Olympics and, oh yes, the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrated by a Christian Identity follower.

First it was the cartoons now it’s one sentence of a speech. This is the same Middle East where the eminent scholar George W. Bush wants democracy to flourish. I thought in democracies one has to put up with criticism of those thoughts, beliefs, values and opinions which are the most objectionable for some to hear because free speech is one of the most sacrosanct Constitutional protections a democracy is supposed to offer.

Somehow I think Muhammad, Jesus, God and Moses will thrive despite whatever criticism is levied against them. Democracy’s survival, on the other hand, I’m not so sure will.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Who’s like Hitler?: May I scream? I feel like I want to tear my hair out and at my age that is not a good thing to do. The first headline I read on MSNBC is about a statement made by some Turkish official which says: “Turkish official compares Pope to Hitler. Politician joins outcry across Muslim world over pontiff's comments in Islam.” If this were not so serious I would think it was a bad comedy.

How many Hitlers can a world have? Cloning is not a reality yet, I don’t think, is it? So now the Pope is like Hiter, George Bush is like Hitler, Castro is like Hitler, Chavez is like Hitler, all the worlds terrorists are like Hitler, Abimenijad is like Hitler, Kim Il Jung is like Hitler, Hussein is like Hitler, Bin Laden is like Hitler, the Sudanese slaughter is like Hitler and oh yes of course the Israelis always the Israelis whose nation's composition of Jews, perhaps, more than any other group on planet earth, really DID suffer from Hitler -- well so what. Even THEY are like Hitler.

Now I’m screaming: NO ONE IS LIKE HITLER!!!!!! The headlines are insane. People’s stupid utterances are simply that (I’m spelling) S-T-U-P-I-D. This is all just stupid. How many people can be like Hitler? There is no one absolutely no one who was or is like Hitler except Hitler. Hitler was a UNIQUE, I repeat a UNIQUE phenomenon. As bad as most of the aforementioned tyrants are even they are not, were not and can never be Hitler. To say that the Pope, George Bush and Israel are like Hitler is purely inane and ridiculous on the face of it. I am a critic of the Pope and George Bush but I do NOT think they are Hitler.

To wax serious, I believe, by calling everyone Hitler one diminishes the incredibly unique horror that was Hitler. It makes him just another tyrant. I submit he was not just another tyrant. According to Wikipedia the free online encyclopedia source: “Some 62 million people, or 2.5% of the world population, died in the Second World War, though estimates vary greatly - about 25 million soldiers and 37 million civilians. This total includes the estimated 12 million lives lost in the Holocaust.”

Does anyone realize how many people that is? It’s unfathomable. I don’t think anyone can imagine the immensity of that number. There was a film called Paperclips in which students of a mid-Western American town collected 6 million paperclips to show just how huge the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust was. It is a massive collection. Hitler's contribution to world events was unique.

A unique man, Adolph Hitler, who lived on this planet at a unique period of world events singularly made most of that huge number of death possible. No one else is Hitler, no one CAN be Hitler and no one will ever be Hitler. As bad as some human destruction is and as horrific as some rulers are NOTHING duplicates the carnage of WWII and no one alive today is like Hitler was …YET.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

To Hate or Not to Hate: Hate is simply an awful emotion. It is blood pressure pumping, heart pounding, adrenaline producing, anxiety provoking and an uncomfortable emotion to endure. Yet, as much as I try to overrule it I feel it.

Our military decided not to kill one hundred Taliban who were congregating at a cemetery. The Taliban treasure were sitting ducks for our marksmen. Our military refrained from shooting because the Taliban were at a cemetery. The question I and others have is whether our military, who had them in their crosshairs, should have killed them despite the fact that the Taliban were at a cemetery. Surely those Taliban will disperse and many will live to kill us another day.

I loath killing. Despite that fact my overriding feeling was that our military should have killed them and an intense anger that they did not. What is the source of my feeling? Why in this instance could I not put myself in their shoes as human beings, allow the better angels of my nature to prevail, and be glad that our military did not shoot? I could not because I hate the Taliban. I do not even know them individually, of course, but I hate them nonetheless. This bothers me. Why do I hate them? Obviously, the attack on our country on 9/11 has much to do with it. It is, though, I think, even more than that.

I loath ignorance. I loath fundamentalist religions which spring from ignorance and promote it. In my view, it imprisons one’s brain, crushes it and prevents the expansion of thought and cultural advancement. Worse, it wants -- no it demands -- I do that as well. The Taliban are representatives of that. Human beings who have the capacity to question and reason but do not because of religious dogma are an anathema to me. I hate the Taliban for their extreme religious fanaticism which wants to join hands with whatever power structure they can manage to employ and ultimately, like a tornado, control everyone and everything in their path. I loath them because they want to squash my free thought and everyone’s thought who does not believe as they. I progressed from there.

I, admittedly, loath nearly all religious power structures no matter what religion they are most especially if they are of the unquestioning fundamentalist variety. These religions have the dubious distinction of either historically converting people against their will, torturing and eliminating them or imprisoning those who stand in their way for a belief system often steeped in supernatural superstition which is completely arbitrary and scientifically unprovable and rationally absurd in its nature.

By extension, our President, many of his supporters and certainly the Christian fundamentalists he relies on for his support are cut from the same mind numbing cloth. Christian fundamentalism along with other orthodoxies in this country, in my opinion, have been responsible for the closing of the American mind, putting a regressive administration in office, squashing science and employing a crusade-like mentality catapulting us and the world into perpetual war. Religious fundamentalism, I believe, has always kept humanity from seeking and achieving its greatest potential, kept man quagmired in superstition and has been responsible for more deaths than the lives it professes to save.

I fear unbridled religion. The Taliban are surely representatives of that but so is the administration's fundamentalist minions we live under. I wish I could turn the proverbial other cheek but I am scared. Disturbingly the hatred of fanaticism and violence it begets is there. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the nuclear bomb quoted from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita when he said "Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds." Surely, I do not want to become as those I abhor. Hatred, all hatred and its offspring death springs from fear. They fear me and I fear them. It’s that simple.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thoughts of 9/11 after five years. I again saw news which showed the entirety of 9/11 in real time. I tried to give it some thought. Who could do such a thing and why? What is the etiology of it all?

I keep remembering an aunt of mine who, many years ago, used to discuss with me the larger questions of life. We continuously had discussions about the Holocaust. The Holocaust always has been, since I was ten years old, the yardstick I would use to measure most other areas of academic study. It shaped nearly everything about me. When I discussed it with my aunt she would always utter the phrase “man’s inhumanity toward man.” That was the reason behind all the cruelty as she saw it. I was ten years old and did not quite understand what that meant. As an adult I wondered how that could be the simple explanation for such a catastrophic event. Of course, when I became more sophisticated, I began to understand the Holocaust in a broader light. I understood it from an economic, political, psychological, historical, religious and philosophical perspective to name a few areas of study. Yet, my aunt’s phrase, “man’s inhumanity toward man” always struck a chord.

As I grew older, the Holocaust became so much more and yet when I look at it again the music of my brain kept replaying that song: “man’s inhumanity toward man.” It is that cavalier ability that some men (and women too) possess which can overrule their capacity to put themselves in another’s place, to actually gain satisfaction from the infliction of hurt to another man’s body and their inability to think or even to care what it would feel like if someone tried to hurt or kill them. The explanation of it goes beyond, I think, any historical, psychological, philosophical or other explanation.

The answer to me lies in our species’ and our brain’s emergence from our reptilian origin to our mammalian present. Layers upon layers upon layers encompassing millions upon millions of years have brought man from the sea to the surface. Our nature has behind it eons of biological and cultural development. We still are part sea dweller, part reptile, part primitive mammal and part man. All are in us. Everything that is in all of those species is in man as well. As I see it, different men have different parts in different quantities of all of that.

My aunt’s phrase “man’s inhumanity toward man” has meaning to me but so do the phrases: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man" said by Rabbi Hillel (ca. 50 BCE-10 CE), "Do to others as you would have them do unto to you" said by Jesus in the Gospels and "Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you" said by Muhammad (c. 571 – 632 CE) in the Farewell Sermon.

The truth is all men are parts of all phrases. How could the ovens of Auschwitz have been built by intelligent men and how could planes be crashed into huge buildings by thinking religious men? Didn't one ever think what the other fellow would feel? Didn't anyone have the empathy for the other person? No one is immune from the perpetration of inhumanity. Does anyone think what it must feel like to be at the receiving end of a huge bomb or a nuclear blast? Some did and do. Some did not and do not. Some have the ability to walk in another’s shoes. Some do not. What is the difference between those who do have that ability and those who do not?

I have a friend who literally cannot even kill a fly. She scoops it up, if she can get it, brings it to the door and lets it out. Perhaps that empathetic part of her brain is larger than another part that stops her from killing even an insect let alone a human being. Clearly, there are different types of men and clearly we do not have the totality of answers as to the why of 9/11. The answers probably do encompass the many studious complexities of life but one thing I still know, the discussion must encompass the phrase man’s inhumanity to man as well.

Friday, September 08, 2006

U.S. Government Conspiracy and 9/11: The allegations of some that there was a U.S. Government conspiracy which perpetrated 9/11 is a completely absurd notion. I loath conspiracy theorists. Most are ridiculously inane, illogical, and utterly immovable when they get the conspiracy bug in their head. For every spectacular event such as Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, the suicide of Marilyn Monroe, the Oklahoma City bombing, 1993 bombing of World Trade Center, and now 9/11 there are crackpots everywhere who think there is some well organized cabalistic governmental conspiracy lurking and plotting in the background who have their act so together that they could perpetrate a huge event such as 9/11 without a hitch and without someone spilling the beans. It has been my experience that it is hard enough to get a group together to organize a night at the theater or keep a secret for ten minutes let alone the government's unerring perpetration of a crime so huge as to bring down buildings of that immensity killing thousands. I do not think even George Bush with his Machiavellian crew would stoop to THAT kind of murder and THAT kind of treason against a country we all love. Anyone can say anything. The proof, however, is in the evidence and in this case there is absolutely NONE!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

FDR and anti-Semitism revisited. Some criticize FDR for not saving the Jews of Europe. FDR's sins of omission continue to be a problem for me even though he remains one of my most ardent heroes. Nothing, however, is black and white especially in politics. One has to view it, I think, as a balancing act. It is wonderful to be idealistic. Surely in hindsight FDR might have done more for the Jews. When one matures, though, I think, one sees compromise and practicalities must be employed sometimes in order to get half of what one wants. It's nice to be idealistic but it doesn't often work especially in the world of political reality.

Nearly everyone in that era probably fell into the anti-Semitic category. I am not saying it is right but it is the way it was and perhaps even still is to some degree. Recently, transcripts of Truman emerged showing in black and white some explicit anti-Semitic remarks he made BUT he supported the establishment of Israel. Nixon is renown for his anti-Semitism in his private rants but he supported Israel too and probably saved Israel during the Yom Kippur War by supplying it with ammunition. Even Billy Graham needed to apologize for his anti-Semitic remarks he made in a visit to the oval office. That was WASP America since our country's inception.

FDR, in my opinion, was probably less anti-Semitic than many others of his generation but felt he could not to go to world war over Jews. He thought it would never be acquiesced to by the American electorate. He wanted to save Europe (and Jews by proxy) and the US from Nazism and THAT was his larger goal. Perhaps the horrific fate of European Jewry was not entirely known even in the upper echelons of power. If he guessed wrong where that was concerned so be it. If he were alive today perhaps he would even admit he erred. He guessed right, in my opinion, in many other ways including little more than saving our country and the world.

As much as the decision regarding the ship the St. Louis and later not bombing the tracks of Auschwitz, are odious to all Jews and even to so many others, I'll still take Roosevelt's articulate brilliance any day over what we have now. The Jews of Europe were doomed. Europe itself had a chance IF we could prevail upon our people, who had a subliminal current of anti-Semitism running through their veins and were notoriously isolationist after WWI, to engage in that effort and then stick it out. Roosevelt, in his pragmatism, hoped that if they saw the larger picture they would. Morally his decision or lack of it regarding Jews is unpalatable BUT politically perhaps it was expedient as HE saw it. I have read a historian perhaps Doris Kearns Goodwin (I forget whom), who said Roosevelt did not have an anti-Semitic bone in his body. He appointed, among others, a Jew, Henry Morgenthau, to the Sec. of the Treasury and Roosevelt made speeches decrying Nazi anti-Semitism.

Since we cannot rewrite history we can, on balance, I think, look at FDR in totality and not just for what he did or did not do for the Jews. I am thankful for the many fruits we still enjoy because of him. I still consider him one of the greatest, most articulate, most charismatic and humane Presidents who has ever occupied that office.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A case for change--A political rant: How the upcoming Congressional elections cannot be a slam dunk for the Democrats I will never understand. This Republican Congress by acquiescing to this Bush presidency has presided over the most corrupt and deceitful era the horrors of which will be felt for generations to come. This Republican Administration and Republican Congress have cost thousands of lives and billions in treasure. The catastrophe that is Iraq, to Middle East politics to the debacle of Katrina, our port porousness, dearth of comprehensive border security, environmental policies or lack of them, prohibition of stem cell research, and court packing have led to a murderous, treasonous administration which has lied to the American people and cost us dearly. I have been a lover and student of history all my life but I can never remember being so revolted and frightened by my country than I am at this moment.
Pork belly politics, abound. The giving of outrageously expensive contracts to inept crony companies such as Cheney’s Halliburton, secrete oil meetings with oil magnates, testifying of oil big wigs without having to be under oath (the baseball players had to testify under oath but not the oil executives), dubious contractual procedures awarded not to the lowest bidder but to the biggest Republican contributor and bridges to nowhere in Alaska have been the hallmark of this Republican Congress and administration. This Congress has been fraught with corruption and moneyed thugs. Republicans are supposed to save us money instead they cost us and lined their own pockets. Our deficit is horrendous. We are in hawk to our adversaries and we are hated around the world. We think we are safe? We cannot run a country this way.

The usurpation of power by the executive with the acquiescence of Congress is mind numbing. Wire tapping, imprisonment without charges and spying are the heirlooms of this administration. The lack of oversight of this Congress is staggering. This Republican Congress and Republican president have been the least compromising and the most deceitful I have ever known and perhaps one of the worst administrations that have ever existed in our history. Indictments surrounding Jack Abramoff have been abundant which have involve congressmen such as former Speaker Tom DeLay, Bob Ney and the jailing of Randy Duke Cunningham. More indictments should come or at least should have come.

Bribery and treason have been the rule instead of the exception. It has cost us big money.
Our president is inept, uncurious, does not read, is uncompromising, lies, and nods to the treason that has existed among Cheney, Rove, Armitage and others in his administration. 9/11 happened on no one else’s watch but his and his response was inept. Memos abounded warning him of 9/11 and he did nothing. He took us to war against a country that was not the country which threatened us. He has utterly destabilized the Middle East and worst of all empowered Iran. He did the opposite of what he said he was going to do and so far after five years he has allowed Bin Laden to walk.

This Republican Congress and Republican party which is supposed to bring a culture of life has brought nothing but death and destruction. Unless our president gets Parkisons, cancer, ALS, or paralyzed he does not care one iota about providing those medical advances that could help someone. He along with the Republican controlled Congress have cut spending for rehabilitation of our horrifically wounded servicemen as well. When will the American public wake up? Republicans do NOT I repeat DO NOT care about you. They care about big corporations, the elite, those with millions and billions and care about themselves. They have WASTED our money.

The Democrats SHOULD take Congress decidedly. But, the Republicans, never forget, steal elections. When the president was wired during his second debate that should have told everybody the nature of the man. They will, I am sure, steal elections again.

Bush is as much a Christian as Kim Il Jung. He cares about himself, he cares about his moneyed cronies that put him there. He does not care about the majority of Americans. He simply lets you THINK he does. That phrase I so often hear from Shakespeare (the book I have no doubt Bush has read), “The fault deal Brutus is not in the stars it is in ourselves.” If Republicans keep the Congress then our country is beyond repentance and we have only ourselves to blame. Perhaps we feel so much more secure now that two people of the same gender who love each other cannot make it legal. Or maybe we feel secure that our most horrific diseases will not be cured by a few cells in a petrie dish. Maybe we feel secure that those cells which could have cured us now will be thrown out. Maybe we don’t care about the earth warming and our glaciers melting. Maybe we simply do not care about anything. I think some do care though.

This country is desperate for wise, intelligent, articulate, brilliant leadership and it has none. We need someone who understands history especially of Iraq and the Middle East to sagaciously carve out an intelligent foreign policy. If we had that we would reap the benefit dramatically but we don’t. The people are duped by Republican superficialities.

If there is a God I am sure in some other universe these people will pay for their lies, their cruelties their treason, death and suffering they have inflicted on so many. Until then we need to kick them out of office and fast!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Diplomacy and force. I do not want to give the erroneous impression that I do not favor diplomacy among nation states to resolve problems. I most decidedly do. However, there is no question that our country must maintain a strong defense because there are those powers, no matter how we conduct ourselves, which would want to attack and ultimately destroy us. It is, I believe, the nature of man.

I also though believe, we must, because we are witness to the utter failure of contemporary US foreign policy, begin anew. We need to change US foreign policy to scrupulously monitor and ever so judiciously employ the use of force. Force should be used exclusively where we are directly and maliciously attacked by a foreign power whether it be a nation state or a rogue group. That would mean that our entrance into Afghanistan, in my opinion, was warranted. Without it costing the US grossly in manpower, money and munitions in Iraq, we could have concentrated entirely on Afghanistan which really was the umbilical cord of terrorism and the nexus for Al-Quaeda. We could have, as we did, remove the Taliban and effect a surgical strike to take out the perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri which we have astonishingly yet to do. At the same time we would have been able to monitor strictly the politics and behavior of Iraq. Now, we are quagmired. We are damned if we leave and damned if we don't. I believe as Peter Galbraith I think has suggested, the only avenue left for Iraq would be to divide it into three -- Kurds, Sunni and Shia. The US then should step aside.

If that ever succeeds, there must be an attempt over decades to redo US foreign policy so that we remain strong but gentle. Countries must begin to know we will be there for humanitarian good but if attacked we will respond. It is clear to me that unilaterialism to effect Middle East democracy is a disastrous neo-conservative pipedream and failure. We cannot be the supreme inseminator of democracy throughout the world. Nor should we be.

We need more than a "coalition of the willing." We need nations -- even nations who generally are not on our side -- to be on our side because not to do so would be too disadvantageous. Through economics we can help many. With bombs we help none. The cause in Iraq was not just. It was an error of biblical proportions and we will be paying its price, I think, for generations to come. I believe though we can reverse that error slowly over time so that a new New Deal will emerge not only for our country but for people around the world as well.
If they could they would: I respond to Professor Zinn's Op Ed "War is not a solution for terrorism," in the September 2, 2006 edition of the Globe. Professor Zinn and I have had email exchanges on this issue. He remains one of the most influential professors of history I encountered. I agree, I do not feel safer since 9/11. I, too, shudder to think of how many bombs our country has "inevitably" dropped on innocents in many theaters of war. Professor Zinn, though, still has not answered my inevitable concern. I call it the if they could they would concern. I do not understand how Professor Zinn can view the human species and think that American might is the cause of most of the ills the modern world confronts. What if we were a country which nary dropped a bomb on anyone or developed weaponry to do so? Does Professor Zinn think that either the Soviet Union and its sphere during the Cold War or the violent Arab world today would be passive toward the west? Given the violent proclivities of man and his quest for power, I do not think so. Some bomb throwers, some nefarious nation states or some religious fanatics somewhere if they thought they could they would visit upon the west utter destruction. What would we do then? Diplomacy is wonderful and I'm always an advocate of it when possible but it does nothing if our populous, in the interim, lies on a tarmac of dust.