Barack, I wouldn't put this in a published opinion piece but I don't know how else to get to you. I know you get a million emails a day read by interns. I wasted lots of time doing this with Kerry in 2004 (giving advice, he didn't listen) but I can't help myself. Your foreign policy is good, but take good care.
The last time you rocked the boat you said we should get Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Of course, the liberals took that to mean bombing, and that's not what I meant in the column I wrote where you basically got your idea (I like to think! Ha Ha!) I said the focus of the war on terror must be pulled from Iraq to where it belongs. Usually that would mean where the enemy, uh, really is.
We know we're the best thing to happen to Al Qaeda in Iraq since sliced bread (pocket bread?) because if we weren't there, they couldn't be there. The Iraqis would kick them out. As you and I understand and George Bush's supporters don't, they aren't all the same, they can tell each other apart, and they can expel people that don't belong in the 'hood like a bad smell. That's why we can't, as Bush guys say, "just turn it all into a friggin parking lot." Nice guys.
You can have a muscular foreign policy without being militaristic. You can apologize without surrendering. You can use that line if you want, Barack.
When we get out of Iraq and really go after Al Qaeda in the Pakistani mountains (another thing Bush guys don't know is geography, Pakistan is not in Iraq), we're not going to use a lot of bombs, which has made us hated in the Third World. Bombs are filthy, vile things. They make no distinction between man and child, combatant and civilian. And when you don't want to bomb, what you need is lots of men on the ground. I'll go. Bin Laden attacked my country, and I wouldn't be American if I didn't want a piece of this.
I'm an old man. All my life I thought the worst crime was that young men go to wars, before they've lived their lives, while old men stay home. I always thought it should be exactly the opposite.
We need to go in like men, village to village, asking for the man who attacked us and giving apologies to the Muslim world. Yes, we are sorry about that man Bush. But he is gone now. We know he was after your region's oil, but we are not. This is a new beginning for the world.
Mr. President, er, Barack, your Worldwide Summit on Peace and Security will include our admission of many wrongs, going back to our overthrow of that saintly man Dr. Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran in 1953, the CIA's idea, which gave the Iranians 20 years of torture and suffering under the U.S. backed Shah of Iran. We will pressure our Middle East allies to grant democracy to their peoples, the same as we did the Russian government during the Cold War. Consistently, as a foreign policy priority, at the top of the news. Not a little lip service in Saudi after they've just rounded up a few hundred dissidents.
But these negotiations will always include - we will insist - the right to go after those who attacked us on 9/11.
I don't think bin Laden can hold out much longer, especially after his best friend Bush stops handing him one gift from heaven after another. First the invasion of Iraq (that's what the CIA's Michael Scheuer called it, a "gift"), now these permanent bases in Iraq Bush is trying to ram through in a signing statement. Every time the young jihadis get kind of disgusted with bin Laden, because of his cutting off heads and stuff, George Bush goes and does something to pull his chestnuts out of the fire. Just as bin Laden is isolated in the world in the Pak mountains, Bush invades Iraq. Just as the Sunni tribal councils are making a little headway in Iraq, he pokes them all in the eye with permanent bases around the oils fields. To show the jihadis that the Americans really are there to steal the oil. So they are forced to the conclusion that, as big an a**hole as bin Laden is, he's all they've got.
This is a political war for hearts and minds more than Vietnam ever was. Their only ammunition is ideology. And those American actions that feed into that ideology, and give it the ring of truth.
So no bombing Pakistan, Barack. Tell them that's not what you had in mind, else those far-left anti-imperialist types will make your life hell. But of course, a lot of them are imperialists too. You can't drive a gas-burning car and not be a little bit of one.
The author does not and has never owned an automobile.