Monday, January 08, 2007

Growing Need for Diplomacy in Middle East

It appears that Bush is going forward with his phony troop surge. I say phony because we have had troop increases several times in almost four years now. I say phony because the British do not appear to be joining us in a troop surge and their numbers are far below what they once were. I say phony because this is not about Bush having a solution but only two things: more publicity designed to turn public opinion around and a cynical attempt to fumble Iraq into the hands of the next president. A troop surge also buys Bush more time to drag us into another war, this one possibly with Iran.

There are consequences to Bush's incompetence. The failure to engage in negotiations in the Middle East has not only led to a major drift in our foreign policy but we are now faced with the unthinkable from those who aren't any better than our president in clear thinking; Truthout carries the story from The Sunday Times:
Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear "bunker-busters", according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open "tunnels" into the targets. "Mini-nukes" would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

"As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished," said one of the sources.

Breaking the nuclear taboo of the last sixty-one years for the sake of a preemptive strike is a bad idea. It does not matter if Israel does it or the United States does it. In either case, it will further damage our foreign policy and our reputation as the leader of the free world.

The Israelis are clearly doing their best to influence our foreign policy. Apparently the Saudis are pretty much doing the same thing. It is proper for the Israelis and Saudis to express their concerns but the Bush Administration has things backwards if we decide to follow their lead instead of leading ourselves. The many blunders of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld require that we repair our foreign policy before we dig a hole so deep we will regret it for decades to come. On all sides, the dead in Iraq have many angry cousins. It will do no good to behave like a colonial power and create more angry cousins in Iraq as well as Iran. It is time for talk.

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