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Iraq and the Republican and PNAC Miscalculation and Lesson they never seem to learn

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My guess is that most of the two thirds of the American Public who now believe and understand the Iraq war was a mistake do not know the origins of the failed policy. It is important to understand where the policy comes from and which individuals pushed for it for half a decade before its being put into use because the people that gave us Iraq are not finished. Project for a New American Century, or PNAC began writing letters to the Clinton Administration and Republican leaders of congress back in 1997 advocating a military solution to our diplomatic and strategic issues with Iraq. The several dozen position papers, letters to the editors and letters to elected officials that the group wrote just in the period 1997-2000 can be seen here It is important to note the context of these papers. The United States was flying combat patrol missions over 2/3rds of Iraqi airspace twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Under this level of pressure by the worlds most powerful Air Force, PNAC was suggesting that Iraq was a threat that absolutely positively had to be dealt with immediately. Moreover, PNAC floats the suggestion in many articles that the US merely had to show it had the will to use force and the rest of the world, including the Middle East would realize we were serious and start behaving the way we want them to behave.

I wonder what history if any the PNAC folks read to come to that conclusion. Which countries, religions, movements completely knuckled under to invasion from abroad? The PNAC folks failed for the same reason the Bolsheviks failed. The theory sounds nice, but it runs completely contrary to human nature. Humans chafe at attempts to control them. Heck, the community my first wife grew up in had a school principal fired because they thought he was bringing in "Big City" ideas from Long Island to Upstate NY. People do not like being told what to do or how to live by perceived outsiders. Religion and religious fervor not only do not die under attempts at suppression, they THRIVE in such environments. If that were not so, Christianity would have died early on in the Roman Empire. If PNAC had only performed adequate research regarding invasions or occupations of the Middle East, and invasions of other countries and regions throughout history, they could have avoided their erroneous conclusions.

We see in the Middle East the consequences of this error in understanding fundamental parts of human nature. Our invasion of Iraq and toppling of Hussein has had the opposite of PNACs's intended effect. The Middle East is erupting like a super-Volcano. Iraq is in the throes of a civil war, Hezbollah is in the process of taking control of Lebanon and along with Al-Qaeda and Hamas and other radical groups are taking in recruits at a faster rate and in far greater numbers than before our ill advised Iraq venture. The rest of the world sees us as the global bully and people hate bullies.

One would think that this terrible result would chasten PNAC and cause them to rethink their militaristic strategy. Such thoughts would be incorrect. As these two of many articles on the subject by PNAC members make clear: and they still think the best course of action to solve US problems in the Middle East is military action and Republican foreign policy is dominated by PNAC driven neocon thought.

We need a new paradigm of policies in the Middle East. If a new President were taking office tomorrow, my advice to him would be to have a press conference and announce to the world that we made a continuing series of mistakes in our Middle East policies culminating in the disastrous Iraq war. From now on, we will treat all people and countries with respect and forgive past issues. Everyone starts with a blank slate and we will judge them according to their actions from now on. We need to pressure the Israelis and Palestinians to bring a complete solution to the issues facing them to include a Palestinian state in the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza with the exception of the Jewish parts of Jerusalem. As I have said in past articles, the US Military engineering units should be sent to the new Palestinian state to build infrastructure to help it be economically viable and to have good housing. I am not saying these changes would solve all of our issues in the region overnight, but I believe it would deal a blow that would eventually prove fatal to the radical Islamicists. Radical Islam or Islamofacism as some people call it, depend on despair, outrage and anger to recruit new members. Replace despair with hope, outrage with gratitude and anger with kindness and the result is predictable.
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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
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