Tuesday, April 8, 2008

War v Diplomacy

My apologies for yesterday’s gaffe in calling Secretary of Defense Gates Ambassador Gates. The Ambassador I meant to refer to was Ryan Crocker, but I must have had a senior moment and switched their names. I didn’t miss the intent, though. Either will serve as an echo of Patraeus’ testimony.

It appears that testimony will begin today, and I’ll stand by yesterday’s predictions of content, too. There’s no way that Patraeus will testify to anything that would make his leadership look ineffective. Who would?

Unfortunately, there is also no doubt that his testimony will espouse the continuation of the war at high levels of American involvement – in other words at the continued price of about 40 young American lives a month.

I wouldn’t demean the value of Iraqi lives, either, but the fact is that whether or not American troops remain in Iraq, Iraqis will continue to fight their sectarian battles and kill one another in the process.

There is NO Al Qaida-in-Iraq effort to take over and operate the government of that country in a manner supportive of Osama bin Laden’s platform of world terrorism. There is no sign whatsoever that Iraq would pose any kind of threat to us even if we left it totally unstable. There is also no sign that the originally stated purpose for the surge – advancing the stability of the Iraqi government – has been met in any way.

On the other hand, the country that has the most influence over the future of Iraq is Iran. The Iraqi government has already met with the Iranians. Once left to its own devices Iraq doubtlessly would accept a lot of help from Iran in trying to make itself whole and adopt a great deal of Iran’s ideology. That alliance will deepen and would put most of the Middle East’s oil under the control of entities largely hostile to the U.S.

The big question is what the U.S. can do to stabilize the situation. i.e. Whether to open diplomatic relations with Iran or to continue to confront them about nuclear development in that country and possibly even invade in an attempt to unseat the present government.

Of the three, it will come as no surprise that I most abhor the last. We should all know by now that war is not a positively effective diplomatic option. Its ramifications outweigh any possible positive outcomes unless, as rarely happens, victory is complete and rebuilding is benign. Hostility begets hostility.

Continued confrontation about nuclear development doesn’t promise much either. Confrontation is an effective tool only when the confronter possesses sure proof of transgression on the part of the confronted party. We don’t have such proof, so the most probable outcome is continued escalation of anger as each side holds to its position.

The kind of open discussion made possible by diplomatic effort is much more likely to lead to an understanding of each side’s position, and such understanding is the only avenue to compromise and adjustments in position.

It seems like a no-brainer to me. Should we talk to them or shoot them? There is only one real choice there for anyone who isn’t paranoid. And what does that say about the American world view?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls - http://www.myspace.com/paralegal_eagle

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