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Havin' Cake and Eatin' it Too?

There's a huge disagreement between those who want to see a change in policy and those who think Iraq is merely being 'mismanaged.'
 
 
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Bipartisan: Two opposing parties working in cooperation toward a common policy objective.

President Bush used it in a sentence the day after the mid-term GOP thumpin'. "I've reassured the House and Senate leaders that I intend to work with the new Congress in a bipartisan way to address issues confronting this country," the Prez said. "The message yesterday was clear: The American people want their leaders in Washington to set aside partisan differences, conduct ourselves in an ethical manner, and work together..."

Then to show us all just how much he's into the "bipartisan" thing, he renominates John "I-Hate-the-U.N." Bolton to be our U.N. representative and replaces Donald "We'll-Be-Greeted-as-Liberators" Rumsfeld with Robert Gates, whose record of politicizing intelligence is worthy of, well, Rumsfeld.

So while the president is showing every indication of putting old foreign policy ideas into new wineskins, the Donkey Party is still hee-hawing over the election. The only party leader making any sense is Congressman Murtha, who is calling for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

That's probably because Murtha understands the U.S. occupation has NO legitimacy in the eyes of the very people we're supposed to be "liberating." And that's something not all the Middle-East gas-guzzling SUV-owners, with "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers, are going to change. In other words, there's nothing we can do to improve the "security problem" in Iraq . U.S. troops in Iraq are the security problem.

Just ask yourself. How would I feel if foreign soldiers occupied my town, kicked in my door one night because "insurgents" had fired a weapon in the area, and just for safe measure they take all the males in the house to a detention facility known for its expertise in stacking naked tortured bodies on top of one another, the video of which will eventually be posted on YouTube?

The Dems won and there's going to be a "bipartisan" change of course?

OK, well, see if you still think that after doing a little experiment: Try to find a difference between the views of Israeli hawks and those of Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi and the guy running for chairmanship of the House International Relations Committee, Tom Lantos. Check out the speech Pelosi gave at the May 2005 policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who've been hootin' and hollerin' for "regime change" in Iran. And just Google "Tom Lantos" and "Israel " and see what pops up.

Israel 's air war against Hezbollah in Lebanon was supposed to be practice for a possible joint U.S.-Israeli preemptive strike against Iran's alleged nuclear bomb-making facilities. Throw in the uncritical support of Israeli hawks from Pelosi, Lantos and other Democrats and a question arises: When we're talking about changing foreign policy course in Iraq, are we also talking about changing the foreign policy course across the Middle East?

The rationale Israeli hawks used to go after Hezbollah is the same rationale they're using to whip up hysteria over Iran. And it's the same rationale that led us into Iraq.

So, it's waaay too oversimplified to talk about the mid-term elections as a referendum on Bush's Iraq policy. Sure, there were people who voted anti-Bush and who, like me, were opposed to invading Iraq from the get-go. But there were also lots of voters who just recently came around to the anti-this-war position -- not because they understand there's NO military solution to guerrilla insurgencies, short of genocide, but because it seems like we're not "making progress."

There's a huge disagreement between those who want to see a change in policy and those who think Iraq is merely being "mismanaged;" that if someone gets in there and runs things right (maybe the Democrats?), we can have our war-cake and eat it, too.

Never mind the red-state/blue-state, liberal/conservative mind-trap. The question is: do we keep trying for a global U.S. empire, where "regime change" policies are as common as kidnappings in Iraq, or do we re-join the international community?

Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff reporter and a syndicated columnist.

 
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