Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 3 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds   


By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Message Alfred Krass
By Alfred Krass

"If the U.S. fails in Iraq," Robert Gates warned as he was sworn in as Secretary of Defense, "it will haunt us for decades."

I don't know whether you mean that as a way to close off discussion, Mr. Secretary, but your comment really made me think. Is it possible, I asked myself, that if we leave Iraq without anything even approaching a victory, that it would have an impact on generations of Presidents, Congresses, and even Secretaries of Defense?

Is it possible that the U.S., having failed at imposing its will on a third-rate power, will, for the remainder of the century, decide to approach difficult situations using non-military options? What a wonderful outcome! If we were haunted by the specter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dying in the war, in civil strife, or as the result of "collateral damage," ( joining the half million children who former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said probably died in the previous decade as a result of sanctions), that would seem, to say the least, appropriate.

Now you've got me on a roll, Mr. Secretary. If we were haunted by failure in Iraq, might that possibly mean that we would in the future abide by the promise we made when we signed the Charter of the United Nations, that we would not launch an aggressive war anymore? Might it mean that we would regard warfare as something which can legally only be entered into by decision of the Security Council? That would indeed be salutary.

If, as we try unsuccessfully to sleep, we are haunted, might we in our sleeplessness rue the outright lies the Administration told-among them the shameful accusations that even as "nice" a general as Colin Powell made before the United Nations about Iraqi WMDs-and resolve to follow the commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor?"

I can't stop! When, over the decades to come, we bite our fingernails as horrible specters assault our memory, might we look back on all the treaties the U.S. broke or signed out of in the past six years-- and the efforts at building international institutions of law and arms reduction that we opted out of-- and decide we're not going to do that anymore? Might we-in order to keep those specters far from our consciences-decide to follow a policy of international cooperation and good neighborliness? Might we return to the international negotiations for a biological weapons convention? Might we return to international agreements on ABMs? And, while we're at it, might we ratify the International Covenant on the Rights of the Child and have another look-see at the Kyoto Treaty and the International Court of Criminal Justice?

It will take all those steps and more, I fear, before we can settle the worst ghost of all, the one that asks the painful question, "How could a nation that had the sympathy of the whole world after September 11 become the most-hated nation on the planet two years later?" That specter makes me shudder the most.

Alfred Krass is Coordinator of the Coalition for Peace Action in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, Pennsylvania.
Rate It | View Ratings

Alfred Krass Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Al Krass coordinates the work of the Coalition for Peace Action in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. A formed United Church of Christ minister, he lives in Levittown PA.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

A Modern Day Amos

"Mix It Up"-- applied to religions

Grange Fairgoers "Vote" To ReAllocate Federal Spending


What to do when the candidates won't answer your questions

Don't Get Too Excited about Specter

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend