A plea for clarity | VailDaily.com

A plea for clarity

John Kerry delivered a moving acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention last week. Unfortunately, though, he failed to provide Americans with a context in which to frame his theme to redirect America geopolitically, to wit:Henry Kissinger once asked Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai his thoughts about the 1789 French Revolution. Chou responded, “It’s too soon to tell.” A bit facetious perhaps, but Chou’s message was that only time brings perspective to world events. Imagination is essential when examining geopolitics because the word changes radically every 20 years or so. Think of the differences between 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980 and 2000.When the Cold War dominated the international scene, few conceived of Islamic militants flying 757s into the World Trade Center. If history holds true to form, in 20 years the world will be vastly different from what any of us now imagine. So sans the bromides of last Thursdays’ speech, let’s bring the world’s geopolitical scene into focus. The Islamic Jihad did not begin with the destruction of the World Trade Center. It began with the toppling of the shah of Iran in 1979. Since then every secular leader in the Arab-Muslin world has been a target of assassination. This led to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, the murder of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, and the multiple assassination attempts on the lives of King Hussein of Jordan, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and President Musharraf in Pakistan. The Islamic Jihad has four goals: 1) remove secular leadership in the 21 nations of the world that have Muslim majorities and replace them with theocratic rulers; 2) acquire weapons of mass destruction; 3) eliminate American influence in the region; and 4) destroy Israel. The time has come for even the war’s most zealous critics to accept these 21st century realities and to recognize the fact that just because George Bush understands this, it doesn’t make them untrue! The president took his case for war to the U.N., but it was a futile errand due to conflicting interests, primarily with France. But the president had to act to protect our nation. He did not take a poll or play politics with the war. He acted because he understands that if we are not successful in defeating militant Islamic fundamentalists, our unborn grandchildren will pay a ghastly price.After the Gulf War, U.N. inspectors discovered that Saddam was much closer to developing nuclear capability than any of the world’s foreign intelligence agencies had predicted. Framed within that context, had there been even the most remote possibility that WMDs could directly or indirectly be used against the United States, any administration would have been derelict not to respond immediately.The removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was right thing to do by any standard, and George Bush made good-faith assumptions and conclusions consistent with those of every foreign intelligence agency on earth and the leaders of both political parties.In retrospect, the intelligence received from multiple sources has proven faulty. But acting upon erroneous information believed to be accurate is not lying. Yet those whose hatred of George Bush transcends logic continue to obfuscate that issue.The 9/11 commission found no direct linkage between Saddam and the events of 9/11, but those who insist that there were NO links between Saddam and terror organizations are dissembling. The report confirmed associations between Saddam and Hamas, al Qaeda and other terror organizations dating back over 10 years. The war’s detractors should read the entire 9/11 report instead of the 12 lines highlighted by The New York Times. Middle East expert Tom Friedman said it best, “We had to tilt the playing field so democracy had a chance in the Middle East.” We must respect those who don’t understand that Iraq is but one aspect of the larger war against militant Islam. So, too, we must respect those who cannot reconcile pre-emptive war. But those who use this war as a divisive political issue during a period of national crisis deserve only our disdain. Since 9/11 Sens. Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden, as well as other leading Democrats, have articulated that the battlefields of this war are as much methods as places. Why then, with a national audience, didn’t Sen. Kerry enlighten us regarding the complexities of the war and provide just a few details of how he would defend our nation and enlist the support of “our allies”?(Last Sunday George Stephanopoulos interviewed Sen. Kerry and asked him what he would do differently in Iraq. The senator responded by saying that had a plan but would not disclose it publicly until after the election. So I ask, does he have a “secret plan” or was his speech just more political pandering?)Sen. Kerry is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and should be conversant in the complexities of the world we live in. He could have questioned the effectiveness of the administration’s policies in Iraq and still told America that the reasons for the war are separate issues from the way it’s been prosecuted. But he didn’t make that distinction clear. Why not? Since prosecuting the war against militant Islam are the issues Sen. Kerry has chosen to frame his patriotic and geopolitical credentials, he should have made clear three irrefutable facts: 1) militant Islamic fundamentalists are not about to declare a truce; 2) political reform in the Middle East is the surest way to defeat militant Islam; and 3) we remain too close in historical context to draw valid conclusions about Iraq at this time. I believe Americans would have welcomed clarity and specificity on these matters. But based upon the senator’s speech, I doubt he’ll be any clearer in the future.Butch Mazzuca of Singletree writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz68@earthlink.net

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