Last week, the Iraq Study Group issued a set of 79 recommendations for President Bush to improve the disaster in Iraq and to prevent regional conflict in the Middle East. One of the key points it brought up was while restoring internal stability is needed, it will not be possible without outside help.
The risk of regional destabilization is very real. With a continuing stalemate in the Middle East peace process and the potential for miscalculation by Iran over the nuclear question, the dangers for the whole region look greater than any other know to our generation.
It is time for our president to act in ways he has previously refused. Our national unity, worldwide credibility and hopes for a peaceful future are at stake. We need to remember that peace cannot always be accomplished by force, especially in the Middle East. I think history can tell us that forcing people to accept us and follow the way we live has not worked very well.
Adopting different tactics to stabilize the region, diffuse terrorism and solidify the United States’ global standing is way over due and I think implementing the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations is a great start.
We need to realize that we cannot turn things around in Iraq without involving the entire region. Iraq’s neighbors are not being used at all. In fact, they are being misused. Iran would be foolish to risk the emergence of a new dictatorship in Iraq, even if is ruled by Shiites.
We need to help Iraqi create a decentralized Iraq government, free of influence from outside. While we may not always agree with the direction the Iraqis want to go, we need to support their democratic decision by providing the means and protection necessary to stop ethnic cleansing.
This administration should adopt some version of the military plan. With the new secretary of defense starting in a week, we are off to a good start. The group’s proposed “New Diplomatic Offensive” would bring us a Middle East that would be very different from what we see today.
“The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict and regional instability. There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush’s June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel’s right to exist), and Syria,” states the report. We fail to realize the case for all of the tensions and problems in the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We must support a two-state solution and not punish Palestinians for they way they vote
It is time for us to correct our mistakes in Iraq and the Middle East and take the recommendation seriously to resolve the problems that we have caused. Let’s get help from Iraq’s neighbors to resolve the problem and bring our troops home as soon as possible.