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America needs a foreign policy about-face

July 25, 2004|by Dan Wallace

As the presidential election draws near, polls reveal that the war in Iraq is not the primary concern among voters. As literally a matter of life and death for those young Americans serving there, this is an unfortunate response. The following are a list of reasons why this war was unjustified and why Bush should be held accountable.

1) The reasons for going to war were suspect from the beginning. Although at one time 70 percent of Americans believed in a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam, none has ever been established. Bush finally admitted this - after the invasion. Also, with no Air Force or Navy to speak of, and a weak military history, Iraq posed no serious threat to the region or to the U.S.

2) This administration's policy of pre-emptive strike is arguably the most dangerous in our history. First, the primary justification for this action (weapons of mass destruction) has proven unfounded. This kind of gross error, resulting in thousands of American and innocent Iraqi casualties, goes way beyond any kind of apology. Not that Bush, unsurprisingly, has offered any.


3) Bush's decision to disregard the United Nations opposition to the war. Although it has its shortcomings, the UN remains one of the primary means for any kind of global discourse and unity. Bush's go-it-alone mentality threatened this institution's relevance. Shamefully, he learned his error the hard way. Six months after dismissing that organization he was back seeking, or should I say begging, for help in Iraq.

4) Bush's belief that warfare can end terrorism. Keep in mind that 9/11 was carried out by a small number of very determined men. Our current policy of retaliating against entire nations only ensures that many innocent people will be killed, furthering the terrorist belief that Americans are uncaring.

5) Bush's supposed claim to being a reborn Christian notwithstanding, there is no justification for warfare in that religion. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, preached nonviolence.

He bade his followers to love their enemies and to turn their cheek if it be struck.

When captured by the Romans he did them no harm, and asked their forgiveness after being brutally tortured. He gave His life rather than take a life - that was his response to terrorism. How people who consider themselves to be Christian justify this, or any other war, is beyond me.

The following statement by a politician best captures the proper Christian view: "This right to life cannot be granted or denied by government because it does not come from government, it comes from the creator of life." Astoundingly those words were spoken by George W. Bush. Although these words were spoken in reference to abortion, why wouldn't they apply to all mankind? Go figure.

So what should our country do in the face of terrorist threats? Well, as there have been no further strikes on the continental U.S. since 9/11, our security measures appear to be working. With respect to other nations, a sense of history - of learning from past mistakes - should offer some insight. As it was our own CIA that made the rise of Saddam possible, supporting the Baath Party's coup in 1963, perhaps we would do well to take George Washington's advice of not getting ensnared in foreign entanglements and treating all nations alike.

Or look to the lessons offered by WWI and WW II. John Maynard Keynes' widely held belief that the punitive Treaty of Versailles concluding WWI made possible the rise of Hitler seems validated by the completely different result following WWII. By helping to rebuild Germany and Japan the cycle of violence was stopped and both of these countries are now our allies. The moral seems clear - if you give, you receive good things; as you sow, so shall you reap. I would gladly have had the billions we are spending to rebuild Iraq go to aid any of the poor nations of that area. We wouldn't have to give nearly as much if we omitted the war-and-destruction part of our foreign policy.

Oh yes, there is one other thing Americans can do to thwart terrorism: vote George W. Bush out of office.

Dan Wallace is a resident of Williamsport.

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