What former administration can boast of such an unmitigated series of disasters? I can't think of any. The Bush administration has managed to alienate America not only to Arabs and Muslims, but it has mismanaged our international relations so badly that many of our allies are no longer standing at our side. Where in the world can we with any credibility point to any situation that is better now than it was in 2000, or even since 9/11? We have been set on a course of nation destruction, not nation building.
There is no easy solution for the many mistakes made by this administration, but we must start to deal with the complex problems our leaders have created. And unraveling this Gordian knot of miscalculations, missteps and misadventures is not the work of a month or of a year, but of perhaps of an entire generation. We must start with taking back the Senate and House of Representatives so that we can put the brake on any future disastrous efforts of this administration to further embroil us in international quagmires that make the solution to the complex problems more difficult to resolve.
That is why I am running for Congress and why I ask for your support. Not only for myself but for Fighting Dems, vets and non-vets, across the country to take back the helm of our ship of state and put us back on course to find placid waters out of harm's way from the storms we find ourselves in at present.
Here are some of the aims I would support as the representative of the people of Arizona's 8th Congressional District as a lifelong Democrat.
- In Iraq, bring the troops home as quickly as possible. We need to reposition our forces out of Iraq, create a quick reaction force stationed nearby to deal with crises that will arise, and we need to emphasize the use of diplomacy over the use of force.
- Recognize that we should never have put ourselves in the position of nation-building, but now that we have destroyed the previous governmental structure, we should shift responsibility for assisting the Iraqis from the Defense Department to the State Department, an agency far better equipped to deal with these tasks
- Regain the trust of other nations with a goal of at least returning to the state of confidence and good will that existed immediately after 9/11
- Work within the United Nations and NATO to build alliances to deal with continuing challenges in the Middle East, especially the immediate problem of how to deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability
- Insist on the separation of powers and the responsibility of Congress for declarations of war. Congress must never again give the President blanket authority to go to do what he deems necessary and then be required to allocate funds to support troops that the President has sent to war.
I said before on an interview what I believe the crux of our Middle East problem to be and reprint what I said here again. And it is not just the Middle East that we speak of, but our environment and quality of life as well. Some of the following can be found in that interview, slightly misphrased.
We need to get off petroleum. How can I make my world a better place? We can start by trying to get this nation aware that we can have a better society without oil. Once you realize that, then you start seeing all the connections between national security, foreign policy, war and oil. Many of our problems over the past 40 years are connected to this one factor.
I honestly believe that if we would have followed what Jimmy Carter started, there would never have been all this military activity in the Middle East. He realized back then that our dependence on the region's oil was a national security issue. But then, Reagan moved into the White House, and gave us a shift toward corporate controlled America, and oil companies gained considerable political influence. The genesis of all our security problems now is based on our need to sustain our economy with oil.
At the heart of the Middle East problem, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, we have to reach out to Hamas in direct talks in the correct conditions and recognize they are the elected government of Palestine. Hamas must renounce terrorism so that we can deal with them, because they are going to make deals with Iran, Syria and Russia. We are pushing them toward the more fundamentalist side. The same is true of Hezbollah, but we do have to stop having a double standard. In Iraq we have not succeeded in disarming the militias, even those who have fought with our troops, and now they are part of the government there. Disarming Hezbollah is not an isolated case, but is true in Iraq and in Palestine as well. Dealing with these groups through negotiations within the governmental structure of the countries rather than through force is the only course left to us. Israel tried in 2001-2002 and in the recent Israel-Lebanon War to come down with an iron fist. In both cases they failed.
And certainly with respect to Iran, force is not the way to go. Bombing their nuclear facilities is only going to make matters worse. We need to fix the damage caused by the 'Axis of Evil' line from the President's State of the Union address. Military action would have only limited effect on stopping their plans. We have to have better dialogue with the Iranian. Just 6 years ago, we had made some progress toward to more liberal Iranian state, and that's gone now and we have alienated some of the reformers there. Iran should not be allowed nukes, but neither should Egypt, Israel, or Pakistan.
I support the following:
- The use of diplomacy in dealing with any moves toward nuclear proliferation
- Working with the United Nations to find a non-military solution to a supposed nuclear threat from Iran
- Ensuring that any intelligence information about Iran's nuclear capacity is thoroughly documented and accurate
- Assistance to Iran in developing non-nuclear energy resources so they will have little justification for developing nuclear energy capability that might be transferable to weaponry
- A nuclear attack, which would unquestionably be a step into a world of global hostility where the rule of the last 50 years is thrown out the window
- The use of other kinds of weapons to attack targets that are buried deeply and impervious to attack because of the reported depth and hardness of the shelters. Any attack would injure Iranian civilians and offer little or no chance of military success
- Attempts to intimidate Iran that just impel that nation to further hostilities in fear of attack
That the Middle East is a morass is an understatement. And it will be hard to put Humpty Dumpty back together again after the mess the Bush administration has made in its dealings with the region. What we need, of course, is a new course for America. One that I would help steer if I am elected to the House of Representatives.