Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bush's War: The Verdict Is In and It's Not Good

AltTulsa's been preoccupied in recent days, and that has affected the quantity of our postings. But we have tried to keep up with the ups and downs of U.S. foreign affairs, which is the subject of this entry.

"The Iraq war is over," Salon writer Gary Kamiya declared earlier this month. "The failure of Bush's surge to produce political reconciliation in Iraq, combined with the unsustainable stress on our military and Congress' unwillingness to keep writing checking for $12 billion a month, all point in one direction: withdrawal."

This bleak but unblinking assessment is Kamiya's preface to "ten commandments" the nation should draw from Bush's disastrous misadventure in Iraq.

Some highlights of the foreign policy gospel according to Kamiya:

Commandment I: Thou shalt not launch preventive wars. Kamiya's rationale: "It is immoral and illegal to attack a state that has not attacked you."

Commandment II: Do not exaggerate the threat posed by terrorism. Kamiya's comment: Terrorism is a deplorable tactic used by the less powerful to achieve certain goals…. It can inflict harm, but it does not pose an existential threat to the United States. Declaring war on it is idiotic and self-defeating. Military responses to terrorism kill civilians and breed more terrorists."

Skipping ahead, let's look at Commandment IV: Recognize that all terrorists are not the same. For example: "Al-Qaida, an absolutist movement with a totalitarian religious ideology, in not the same as Hamas or Hezbollah, which are, respectively, a religious national liberation movement and a complex political party/militia/public-works provider."

Commandment IX: Get the media to grow a spine. Kamiya's dead-on commentary: "The America's media's performance in the run-up to the Iraq war was one of the lowest points in its history. Swept up in war fever, the gutless press acted as a quasi-official cheerleader and failed to subject administration claims to elementary due diligence."

Finally, Commandment X: Grow up and join the world. "More than anything else, it was arrogance that led us into this mess," Kamiya concludes. "A little more humility and diplomacy, and a lot less stupid self-righteousness, would go a long way to restoring America's sadly tarnished standing in the world community."

The full article was published on Salon on April 15. A link to the site is on our blogroll. Kamiya's analysis is worth some serious consideration.