The Bush war plan (the "Road Map" to peace) in the Middle East has let the "genie" out of the bottle. Forces that were once restrained by diplomacy and the projection of American force have been set in motion and now seek their own resolution. The wonderful neocon plan to remake the region by force has weakened America's ability to shape the outcome of the ongoing conflict, but it has not yet taken this capability from us. For the sake of maintaining a semblance of control and influence in the unfolding conflagration, America must come down on the side of peace, instead of fomenting the destabilizing conflict.
The Soviets (that's right, I didn't say "Russians") are acting as a stabilizing force for the region with their moves to expand their protection of Syria and to defend their rights to deal with the Iranians. If not for open Soviet backing for these two black-listed regimes in their confrontation with the United States, it is very likely that things may have been resolved forcibly by now. By the same line of reasoning, if not for the successful resistance against American military power in Iraq, we would now be living in a post-Iraqi/Iranian world, as citizens of the "New World Order". The natural flow of weaponry into the region, to those wanting them, is a big part of the problem, to those seeking the path to peace in the region.
The counter-flow of advanced American weapons to Israel and the Sunni Arab states is meant to serve as a stabilizing counter-force, but the truth about how those weapons will be used is that they are simply fuel for the fire. American designs on Iran promise to see those weapons used in the service of our foreign policy goals, yet some of them are destined to be used against American troops, at some point. The strategy of past presidents, to flood the region with weapons that are very tempting to use, is causing American troops to be murdered with the weapons that we have supplied. When Bush orders our pilots into Iran (Lebanon and Syria) the dogfights will be between American-made jets, using American-made missiles.
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When new Soviet-supplied missiles, which were sent to counter US threats, come into play over Syria and Iran, then these American deaths by Russian arms will also count as deaths caused by Bush. When the final tally is in, all of the deaths from the war on terrorism (at least since the war left Afghanistan for Iraq) will have been caused by Bush. The responsibility of the peace-makers, who wish to repair what Bush has done, must be to stop and reverse Bush policies, in a manner which lowers the death rate, instead of increasing it. This will require that America's power stop advancing on Bush's road map to destruction and turn back the tide that we have unleashed.
The war plan must be countered by a peace plan. The crisis with Iran can be resolved instantly, by taking the military option "off the table," if only on a temporary trial basis. We are the driving force in this crisis. Negotiations to remove the nuclear threat from the region (using guarantees of retaliatory US nuclear power against any nuclear aggressors) can resolve the security remedies over nuclear weapons and "rogue states" that is being sought by Israel and Iran. If the Iranian issues are resolved, then Iraq could also be resolved in a manner consistent with security and with a goal of restoring human rights to all of the people of Iraq. The Iraqi experiment with democracy can be kept alive by bringing in Iraq's neighbors, just like the Iraq Study Group recommended. The Bush war plan has been to do the opposite of those recommendations, looking for the resultant regional destabilization that was warned about in that report.
Once Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, as well as the Iranians, begin to openly support their respective allies in Iraq, then at least half of American forces can withdraw from the country. The remaining forces could then be moved to the Kurdish region, in cooperation with the government of Turkey. Turkey could help provide the extra troops needed in Sunni Iraq to counter superior numbers of Iranian Shiite forces. Sweeping up the residual Al Qaida in Iraq jihadis could be done by a combination of new coalition forces, a coalition of all sides. American disarming of PPK insurgents in Kurdestan would satisfy Turkish security needs.
The salvaging of democracy in the Middle East requires that American diplomacy come down on the side of those Muslim peoples who have chosen the path of democratic change, even if they are "Islamists." The road map has brought Islamists to power throughout the region; it has also pushed these Islamists towards further radicalization. If these people freely voted on an Islamist democracy, then US policy should be to work with the governments that they democratically create. Instead of causing military pressure on these countries, we should use our power to help them alleviate the economic and military misery that drives their rage.
The remaining conflicts in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Lebanon and Palestine must be dealt with on an individual basis, instead of by Bush's shotgun approach. The application of American air power in a scattershot approach only inflames the individual wars that are growing there. Pakistan and its Al Qaida problem (Al Qaida: defined as the Sunni terrorist network) can only be resolved democratically on a local level by free men, freely repelling the terrorists among them. The rising Pakistani Taliban were in the process of responding to Al Qaida punitive attacks meant to force their conformity by forcing the mostly Uzbeki terrorists out of the Waziri region, when Musharref attacked the Islamists at the Red Mosque at Bush's urging. The immediate infusion of emergency economic aid to the war and earthquake devastated Western Provinces, coupled with an embrace of free elections in Pakistan, will go a long way toward shoring-up this nuclear Islamic democracy.
International peace-keeping intervention in the Arab-Israeli conflicts in Lebanon and Palestine can resolve the security issues of all parties, if Israel will only give-up its militant expansionist policies toward creating "Greater Israel" in those countries. If the human rights of the Palestinians can be restored (giving them some form of "right of return," like that demanded by Israel), then the security problems of the internationally-mandated territories of both Palestine and Israel can be guaranteed. If the Arab League nations fulfill their commitments to the Palestinian people, then the disruptive Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon can be closed.
The key to Bush's dream of a free democratic Middle East is to get Bush out of the picture entirely, at least on a planning and controlling level. If Bush wants to save his fragile legacy, then he can stop listening to Cheney and the neocons and turn his remaining time in office towards undoing the awful things he has caused. If he will only turn away from the evil planner's ideas about conquering the world to create a New World Order by American force, then he can lay the foundations for a real "new world," one that honors the human rights of everyone. If he would only seek a world order based on reason, instead of the indiscriminate use of force, then freedom and justice might be enshrined as inalienable rights for every human, for all time.
Bush must be made to realize that when he said that "those who are not with us are against us," Cheney and all the neocons were on the side of those who were against freedom and democracy. Like Pogo so eloquently said, "we have met the enemy and he is us."
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