Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

President Bush Needs a Time Out

Posted by vmsalama on October 25, 2007

a rather provocative blog that I wrote for PostGlobal – Washington Post.  I understand that diplomacy is often easier said than done, but in the case of Iran, I think we need to move beyond the days of the Islamic Revolution and weigh the benefits of reaching out to Iran.  All I’m saying is if we stop alienating people and start talking to them, maybe – JUST MAYBE – we won’t need to toy with notions such as “World War III.”  Check out Newsweek’s Cover Story this week – Where Jihad Lives Now.
by Vivian Salama

PostGlobal (washington post)

If I were a school teacher, and little George Bush made a comment in class about World War III with Iran – particularly given the current political climate – I would tell him to put his head down on his desk and take a time out.

IS HE SERIOUS? Pakistan, our so-called partner in the “War on Terrorism” is a breeding ground for radicalism and President Bush is making outrageous references to an Iranian instigated World War III?

This is just another catch phrase we can add to the pot of simmering war slogans and provocative accusations, along with “War on Terror” and “Axis of Evil.” It carves in stone the do’s and don’ts of diplomacy and leaves no leeway for reconciliation.

President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad will only capitalize on this type of rhetoric. To use an old Vietnam War slogan, Ahmedinejad is winning the “hearts and minds” of those across the Muslim world with his anti-West, anti-Israel speech – something that many of the Sunni regimes have failed to do given their pro-West stances and, in the cases of Egypt and Jordan, treaties with Israel. Sticks and stones from the West WILL break bones, but they will not solve a thing.

How about some diplomacy for a change?

I am no fan of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, but can we really compare him to Adolph Hitler who was behind the death of at least six million people? Every administration needs its token “bad guy.” This administration has had a few. Despite his faults, Ahmedinejad does not measure up to the dreadful legacy of Hitler. The Iranian president is just a figurehead, not a major decision maker in Iran.

It is poor form (not to mention poor diplomacy) to toss around threats of war. As Americans are coming to learn, war is ugly. It should always be a last resort, not a basis of intimidation. Has President Bush considered the consequences of such a comment? While I am no combat expert, I do have an understanding of Iran’s geography. A war in Iran’s dry midlands and rugged exterior would make Iraq look like a picnic.

Should America participate in this hypothetical war, how would it fund such a war project? Does America have the resources or man power to attack yet another country? Is bombing people into submission the political order of the day?

I can’t imagine why any leader would rattle an already war-fatigued America with this kind of rhetoric. I can only assume that the chances of seeing another war during the current US administration are slim given that there is just about a year left on the clock. My question is why is the Bush Administration diverting attention to countries like Iran while turning a blind eye to allied regimes that may only be fueling the fires of fundamentalism?

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