Friday, October 27, 2006
A Modest Proposal
By SAUL LANDAU and FARRAH HASSEN
""Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan," President John F. Kennedy said as he accepted blame for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. I, too, accept blame, for invading Iraq and compounding that error by not formulating a coherent Middle East policy aimed at stabilizing the region. I selected advisers I felt comfortable with, but not those who gave me sound counsel.
They told me to say in my 2002 State of the Union Address that Iraq, Iran and North Korea were an "axis of evil." This phrase now haunts me. My policies have not defeated evil. I could say 'give 'em time.' But I understand that I have built a dangerous "axis of uncertainty." North Korea has probably tested a nuclear weapon. I must ask myself: did my hard line policy lead to that dreaded event?
In my arrogant mode, I would have dismissed those good for nothing Ba'athist stooges! (giggles) But upon reflection and a series of consultations with the Lord, I see it did not make sense to threaten Syria with more sanctions, order it like a naughty child to stop supporting Hamas and Hezbollah. Darn, we even sent that Canadian-Syrian fella, Maher Arrar, to get tortured there in Damascus just as I was criticizing Syria for violating human rights. I offer my apologies to Mr. Arrar.
I want to say I'm sorry for what Condi said when she referred to the war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah as part of the 'birth pangs of a new Middle East.' Even some of my old drinking buddies got uncomfortable with that one.
Admitting mistakes is one thing; making peace is another. After we withdraw our forces and bases from Iraq, which we must do before more American blood gets spilled, I will face the Syria-Israel, Israel-Palestine issue. American and Iraqi epidemiologists reported on October 11 that 655,000 Iraqis have died since March 2003. Add to that almost 3,000 Americans and maybe 20,000 wounded and some walking wounded. I made a terrible mistake. May God forgive me.
I know I said repeatedly we won't cut and run. But you men out there understand that kind of macho talk. The facts are clear. Iraq is a dead end for us. I only hope Iraqis can put Humpty Dumpty together again after I pushed him off the wall. I ask for their forgiveness as well.
I have not forgotten the plight of the Palestinians. I admit Iraq has distracted me from focusing on my promise of U.S. support for a viable, contiguous, independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 war borders. Palestinians and Israelis living side by side with Israel! Hey, that sounds good. Jerusalem's status, the return of Palestinian refugees, who gets how much water heck, these big problems will get negotiated as well, not swept under the table like the 1993 Oslo Accords did.
In fact, I'm sending Condi back to the Middle East next week to talk to all the affected parties -- not just our reliable guys in Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia like the last time (what good that did!), but to the leader of Hamas and the Syrians. Hamas must recognize Israel, as I've said all along. But the U.S. must also recognize Hamas, since those guys did win a free and fair election -- exactly what I've been calling for in the Middle East. It doesn't mean we have to agree with them, though."
Read Bush's Greatest Speech Ever, Here