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Peace on earth, just as soon as we win this war

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Message Ron Fullwood
Straight ahead, knock em dead
Pack your kit, choose your own hypocrite"
--Mose Allison

At the same time that George Bush was delivering his cynical homily from inside his White House bubble on how to bring peace to the Middle East, the most defining example of his ability and resolve in that endeavor in war-torn Iraq was raging out of control. Even as the escalated U.S. forces he's relying on to create 'room' for the beleaguered Iraqi regime to achieve some sort of ameliorating political reconciliation between the warring factions, pressed forward with fresh assaults against resistant Iraqis in the Sunni province of Anbar, Bush spoke of standing "on the side of peace in the Middle East."

"The conflict in Gaza and the West Bank today is a struggle between extremists and moderates," Bush told Arab and Israeli listeners. "And these are not the only places where the forces of radicalism and violence threaten freedom and peace . . . the struggle is playing out in Iraq," he said, with "al Qaeda, insurgents, and militia, trying to defy the will of the Iraqis."

In some alternate universe where the U.S. hadn't invaded and occupied and overthrown the government of an Arab nation; hadn't waged bloody assaults against the citizens of that Arab nation for almost five years; wasn't a staunch ally and active supplier of Israel in their own recent assault against another Mideast nation; Bush's counsel on 'commitments' to peace and on 'creating conditions' for peace would carry the gravitas and influence that our democracy has inspired in the past in its international partnerships which endured for decades prior to this administration's blundering unilateralism.

As in Iraq, Bush regards the international community as mere subjects; to accept or reject his assumed dominance over the rest of the world by virtue of his demonstrated willingness to use our nation's defenses as a bludgeon against whoever who would resist his strident military advances across their sovereign borders. Indeed, a participant at a gathering yesterday of Republican congressional staffers and White House aides that Bush graced with a 'surprise visit,' told the AP today that Bush has "no confidence in the U.N. to salvage Iraq if the U.S. withdraws."

That's not at all surprising from the president who had shunned the U.N. Security Council's final judgment on Iraq inspections; drove out the U.N. inspectors; and completely disregarded the opinion of the head of the very source of the international sanctions and resolutions he claimed to be defending with his invasion, that his action was illegal under international law, until he needed the U.N. to codify and legitimize his plundered Iraqi gains.

The example that the U.S. provides the Mideast under Bush is of a zealous and warmongering nation in which the appointment of Colin Powell as Secretary of State, our nation's top diplomat - the general who's army's collateral killing of Iraqi innocents mirrored the indiscriminate violence of the 'enemy' he sought to neutralize - was a discouraging message for those in the region who had hoped the U.S. hunger to divide the region militarily had waned with the end of the first Gulf War.

Bush's seemingly unsolicited prescription for the Palestinians and the Israelis came with a predictable rhetorical appeal for 'moderate' Arab states and Israel to hold a regional conference to hash out their differences. Problem is, the most effective, peaceful resolution to the conflicts with Israel would come from those countries that the U.S. considers 'extreme' -- like Syria and Iran -- and from active agents of the opposition violence -- like Hamas; not from countries with which they are already allied.

The same problem of Bush's misdirected diplomacy exists in Iraq, if, in fact, the administration intends for this sudden, new Mideast initiative to have any influence at all on their most pressing, influential, regional obligation. Arab states which the administration (and their republican supporters) would rely on to assume responsibility for achieving or maintaining stability in Iraq in the wake of a U.S. exit -- like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or Egypt -- have no interest at all in attracting the same catastrophic, violent resistance that's become the standard response to every arrogant imprint our nation imposes on their region.

If there is to be any chance of Iraq benefiting from regional help in providing the 'conditions' for peaceful reconciliation and for the establishment of some sort of functioning representational government, Bush will need to abandon his campaign to isolate and undermine the peaceful intentions of Iraq's immediate neighbors, Iran and Syria -- as both adjacent countries continue to work around the Bush administration's self-serving objections -- to further the extensive economic and security agreements they have already forged and established with the new Iraqi government.

As the Bush administration casts al-Qaeda as the most pernicious instigator in Iraq's civil war, there is the paradox of America's own aggravating influence. Our military forces' continued and escalating offensive presence in Iraq has fostered and encouraged these violent expressions of liberty and self-determination which our occupation disregards as mere threats to our consolidation of power.

Clearly, there can be no positive influence from the United States in achieving any notion of peace in the Middle East while this administration is actively building on their escalating state of war with the region's inhabitants. It's the U.S. who's in desperate need of a mediator to dissuade Bush from his trampling and destruction of the region's territory and humanity. He lectures about "extremists" who "stand on the side of peace in the Middle East," as if Syrians, Iranians, and Iraqis as well, were the outsiders in their own land; and not the U.S. with his own bloody carpetbagging.

It's their land, their territory; not ours. Bush shouldn't be surprised if the subject of a regional conference, if it ever actually materializes, centers less on how to dislodge the likes of al-Qaeda from their homeland, than on how to effectively evict their marauding American occupiers.
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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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