United for Peace and
- Please join us -- Silent Peace Vigils on Friday Afternoons 5-5:30
- Rain or Shine, let your silence be heard!
- Pro-peace or Anti-war messages only, please.
- No personal nor political bashing.
- Join those who share your concerns and take a stand for your convictions.
- Signs are provided.
- Meet across the street from the Post Office on College Street in Macon, Georgia.
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Macon-PEACE - Archives :
- photos 3-30-07
10-27-06 a b
9-15-06 9-8-06 9-1-06
We have been grossly ignorant of history
As evidence of further hypocrisy and incompetence mounts for the Bush administration, it is important to grasp the significance of a very sensible move by the president: Sending the secretary of state to the conference on the future of Iraq.
Why should this shift by the president be considered worthwhile? To answer requires a review of the war in Iraq. Before the war I wrote to you and the president imploring that we heed the advice of inspectors who had found no WMDs. The potency of nerve gas stores had dissipated at least a dozen years earlier. Saddam Hussein had no involvement in 9/11, and there are many despots worse than he.
Our dependency on foreign oil has kept us silent regarding the fact that the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. Iraqis did care enough about democracy to vote, but their primary allegiance is to faith and tribe. In spite of our efforts, electric power remains below prewar levels. Estimates have placed the percentage of international terrorists at less than 10 percent of combatants in Iraq.
The vast majority of insurgents are from two groups: (1) Iraqis who do not want us there, not unlike the way good ol' boys in Georgia would drive out any occupying army, and (2) Sunnis and Shiites embroiled in an age-old civil war. An unprecedented number of generals have spoken against the war, and recently a military poll revealed that a majority of our troops no longer believe in the mission. Last, if Gen. Petraeus is the very best at this type of war, why have we not heard of him before now?
In this context the merit of our seeking a heretofore maligned diplomatic solution becomes clear. I celebrate the president's decision to take part in the Iraq conference. There is no doubt that our valiant troops can reduce violence in areas of Iraq temporarily. But when we leave an area, the roaches scurry back. This analogy holds for our entire involvement in Iraq. We have been grossly ignorant of history to believe we could implant our ways in Iraq and leave.
Likewise, it has been naive to believe we could control the influence on Iraq from its neighbors by threatening them. We will not be there forever, but a glance at a map reveals that Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will be. Our only chance to have a lasting impact on Iraq will be through efforts to create a long-term plan for the region. We must recognize that those nations - like it or not - will shape the future in the Middle East for good or ill. If we can assist them in negotiating an agreement (perhaps partitioning Iraq and its oil revenues as the Kurds are already doing), that is likely to be the best we can hope for.
Eradicating al-Qaida continues to be the real goal for all of us. Great Britain and Pakistan demonstrated the best approach toward al-Qaida a few months ago when they shared intelligence from careful police work. Suspected terrorists were arrested without violence and without an army. My belief that this is the best approach is based on our experience with terrorists which indicates that they tend to band together in small cells of 20 or fewer members throughout the world.
Roby M. Kerr is a resident of Macon.
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