Read this remarkable
guest post, which is actually a guest plea, on Juan Cole’s blog. Read. It.
This is the message we want to bring to the American Jewish community: Let
us try another way. In the eyes of many, the key to this conflict lies in
the US. Your support is invaluable just as the lack of it is disastrous. Israel
is now refusing to negotiate with Syria, the reason being that Washington
wants it so. My question is: What do you want?
We want Israelis to comprehend the full scale of the oppression inherent
to the Israeli occupation, and we want the Palestinians to know that behind
the occupation there are humans, who are also suffering. We want both sides
to understand the price of violence. Our message is simple: Peace is possible.
The only way to reach peace is through dialogue and negotiations, and the
only solution is a two state solution — an end the occupation, in keeping
with UN resolutions.
People often say “but you’re just a few good people. The majority feels
differently.” But this is not the case. First of all, we’re not
good people. Indeed, until not long ago, we were very bad. As soldiers we
killed and maimed, we bombed and tortured. Our Palestinian counterparts stabbed,
and shot and planted bombs, killing and maiming as they went.
But we’ve changed. We understood that power has limits and that violence
can only lead to more violence; that non-violence is better, as both a tactic
and as way of life. Like us there are many more “bad” people who
might change, who will change, if they’re given just a bit of hope.
Some people are pushing the notion that the way to solve Iraq is through the
Israeli – Palestinian conflict. If that was ever true, and I seriously doubt
it was considering Messrs. Bush, Cheney and Rummy were always hell bent for battle, it absolutely isn’t true today. Iraq is on boil and will be set on high
until the Iraqis make peace with one another. Peace is decades away whether
we stay or redeploy. We’ve unleashed over a thousand years of hatred and bitterness
in this region, while botching the job in the process. It’s way beyond us now. Perhaps if we’d never gone into Iraq we could have solved the Middle East crisis
and Iraq could have been contained, with Saddam eventually forced into asylum
somewhere, maybe Saudi Arabia. But Mr. Bush and the cowardice of our Congress made
sure that wouldn’t come to pass.
However, after Mr. Olmert’s fiasco in Lebanon last year, someone else has to
stand up and butt in. Maybe Combatants
for Peace can do just that, because they’ve been in the middle of the violence and
know what has been wrought. There’s little to lose by letting them take the lead,
because Olmert’s government has lost all credibility it ever had. Bibi is far worse, if you ask me. However, will anyone allow them in?
All this makes me more concerned about the ’08 presidential race than ever. The winner could change the world forever and it could go either way
depending on our choice. It keeps me up at night.
Yglesias pointed something out today on Hillary Clinton that I’ve said out loud, only I’ve taken it one step further. The truth is that since Clinton is a woman she has a reflexive and automatic political protection gene that will not allow her to say outright that she made a “mistake” on Iraq, or at least that’s some consultant’s way of thinking, I believe. A woman who admits a national security and military “mistake” supposedly won’t make the grade. That reasoning is why she voted for the war in the first place, in my humble opinion, no matter all the spin she’s turning out today. Voting against the war would have made her look weak or anti-war, again, according to someone around her giving her advice. A female commander in chief must be a hawk, which for some reason, to HRC, means pro Iraq war. This concerns me because I’ve been against the Iraq war from the start and never made an argument that was weak or I couldn’t back up and I’m, well, just me. War is not just some word or pr game to spin, though you wouldn’t know it after the last few years we’ve all endured.
The real question is whether we want to go through another election cycle dominated by the question of whether or not the Democratic nominee is a flip-flopper. As a flip-flopper myself, I can hardly maintain that flip-flopping on Iraq is the greatest sin in the world. But if you’re going to flip-flop then, I think, you’re better off just saying (Ã la John Edwards) that in light of events you’ve changed your mind.
A reflexive desire to appear tough was, pretty clearly, a major factor in the mistakes of the past . . . I’d like to see a president who’s over that. …
For me it’s not the “flip-flopping.” It’s the built in obstinance to be transparent and candid, which clearly Clinton has got and I believe a big part of it is the woman thing. I’ve seen all sorts of stories recently touting her changing language. Every one I read makes me yawn. Her language hasn’t really changed. I’ve talked and written about it ad nauseam, but she’s been moving at glacial speed on her Iraq vote ever since Take Back America in June 2006 when she was booed. Her latest talking point is that if she knew then what she knows now, etc. Clinton will never go any further, though the press is poised and ready to move her when even one single word changes, regardless of whether it’s an actual shift in position or not. Short of standing up and saying she was wrong, like Edwards, or being against the war from the beginning like Obama, Clinton remains welded to a position that will make her less like a woman and more like what she believes any man would say. This fundamental insecurity to trust her judgment as a leader, minus the posturing, is troubling, though I understand it’s a judgment I cannot prove. It just seems so obvious, because she made a fundamental mistake in voting for the Iraq war. Why can’t she admit it? In my opinion, it’s nothing short of a character flaw.
Who we elect in ’08 could change the world, especially if you expand our Iraq challenges to the greater Middle East. We must be vigilant and be willing to walk away from anyone who postures for an expanded war in the Middle East. Walk softly and carry a big stick is a start, but that stick sure as hell better be on safety. Unfortunately, if you’re simply playing a role and want to appear tough, I’m not sure you can realize the danger of a bunch of guns loaded, cocked and ready in a place as volatile as the Middle East. Just as Mr. Bush.