Click here to go to Opinions You Should Have at tomburka.com. TITLE: Great Minds 3 AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 2/26/2003 08:54:00 PM ----- BODY: Chas Freeman, in The New York Times writes:
The last war with Iraq greatly enhanced American prestige and influence. The irony is that this war with Iraq, intended by its proponents to consolidate United States hegemony, may erode and undermine it. Even if things go well, it could yield weakened American alliances and influence, a more anemic presence overseas, a diminished capacity to project power, fewer options and allies in the Middle East, and an increased threat of terrorism. From here, it looks like a bad bet against long odds.
-------- TITLE: Bush Destroys American Advances of Past 60 Years, Embraces Colonialism: From Bully Pulpit to Bullying Pulpit AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 2/26/2003 12:55:00 PM ----- BODY: This Washington Post article about the alienation of "old Arab friends" is really about how, with the Iraq war, Bush is turning back half a century of American leadership in world affairs in democracy, international relations, and fairness. The view of one pro-American Arab shows how the rest of the world now sees us:
The United States wants to partition Iraq, he argues in slow, deliberate tones, and covets the world's second-largest oil reserves. An invasion, he says, serves only Israel and a clique within the Bush administration "whose ignorance is matched only by their greed." A preemptive war, whose very premise he believes defies international law, signals the rebirth of colonialism and imperialism that seemed finished generations ago.
The coming war is seen as a repudiation of the most democratic and great American ideals of self-determination informed by a respect, above all, of individual rights. America is throwing away the principles on which this country was founded in favor of a colonialist, power hungry stance, where the American superpower extends its tendrils everywhere and forces its will upon the rest of the weak world. This shift in America's place in the world -- from the embodiment and protector of democratic ideals and freedoms to that of bullying titan intent on serving only its own interests -- is the most dangerous makeover in American's history. America now serves as a countermodel for what is right -- locking up people without due process, paritioning the lands of others, threatening members of the U.N. to support the new world order "or else. We spent years trying to increase the credibility and utility of the U.N. as a governing body and conduit of international law, and witrh one fell swoop, we're wiping that out. How can we urge others to follow U.N. resolutions if we don't see them as necessary or binding? How can we complain that Saddam Hussein is in defiance of U.N. resolutions when we, at the same time, say that we don't feel the need to follow them ourselves? Many see this war as the first "Arab-American war." We cannot and should not follow the script which bin Laden wrote when he strategized his conquest of Americans. Bin Laden obviously sought to provoke the U.S. into reacting to 9/11 with the use of force, and in Bush, he has a mighty ally. Bush is destablilizing the world's most dangerous regions -- the Middle East, Pakistan and India -- and helping bin Laden to divide the world into Moslems and non-Moslems, moving us all toward a great clash of civilizations. Bush embodies the worst that America ever has been or ever could be. The millions of protestors are just the tip of the iceberg. These are our friends urging against an unjust course of action. They are now our friends, protesting peacefully. They will become our enemies, fighting against us for what is right. --------