Middle East & North Africa

Coming Home

Every time I hear the likes of Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, or Senator Lieberman go on about war with Iraq, it reminds me of a history lesson Congress should keep in mind when it begins its debate over Iraq: wars are waged with the bodies of the young, and they always come home.

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Stumbling Blindly Into War

Is the President turning “new age”? Not only has he massaged the United Nations Security Council into a unanimous vote demanding that Iraq accept weapons inspections, but he seems to have embraced guided meditation practices. In his November 7th press conference at the Executive Office Building, President George W. Bush led the audience through a visualization exercise. “Imagine Saddam Hussein with a nuclear weapon,” he said, “Imagine how the Israeli citizens would feel. Imagine how the citizens of Saudi Arabia would feel. Imagine how the world would change, how he could alter diplomacy by the very presence of a nuclear weapons.”

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A War Avoided?

Perhaps a war has been avoided. The United Nations Security Council’s unanimous passage of an historic resolution gives UN weapons inspectors “unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access” to anyone and anywhere in Iraq that their search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) might lead them. The resolution gives Iraq a “final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations.” Resistance is futile. Saddam Hussein has been given seven days to confirm his intention to comply.

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Afghan Women: Enduring American “Freedom”

In January 2002, George W. Bush told us in his State of the Union Address: “The last time we met in this chamber, the mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden from working or going to school. Today women are free .…” Last month, in an October 11th statement, the president again congratulated himself: “We went into Afghanistan to free people, because we believe in freedom. We believe every life counts. Every life matters. So we’re helping people recover from living under years of tyranny and oppression. We’re helping Afghanistan claim its democratic future.”

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Roadmap To Nowhere

The new U.S. “road map” for peace in the Middle East presented by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William J. Burns is no more than a placebo for consumption by both Palestinians and the world community in response to their pressuring Israel for positive movement toward immediately ending the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. It is also perhaps an attempt to somehow justify Bush’s planned road trip to/through Iraq.

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Losing Focus

A year ago, in his address to the nation, President Bush vowed, “I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent” in leading the war against terror. For about five months, it appeared that he intended to carry through on this solemn commitment–the war in Afghanistan was waged with vigor and dispatch, and Al Qaeda was severely damaged. But since January, the president has turned American attention and resources away from Al Qaeda to lead a crusade against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, pushing the anti-terrorism campaign to the sidelines.

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