There has been a lot of verbal sabre rattling from Iran saying they want to preemptively attack Israel because Israel poses a threat to Iran's budding nuclear facilities. And guess what "model" they are citing as an excuse to attack Israel? GW Bush's preemptive strike against Iraq model, that's what.  After all, GW Bush and the GOP have established "preemptive strikes" as a way of dealing with terrorists, even if the country they attack has no terrorists.

Iran has a valid reason, according the Bush Preemptive Strike Doctrine, or "BPSD", for wanting to attack Israel. Israel has stated that they want to attack Iran's atomic capability. Since Iran would consider that to be an act of terrorism by Israel, then Iran has every right to preemptively strike Israel to defend themselves, according to the BPSD. Since Iran would be following in the same insane footsteps of GW Bush, and the GOP, how can republicans denounce Iran? They can't, and continue to justify their preemptive strike against Iraq, a country that posed a zero threat to the United States and a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks.

Both Iran and Israel have long range, three stage intercontinental ballistic missile systems, ICBMs, in which they could deliver deadly warheads at each other.  But since Israel has more than a hundred nuclear missiles and Iran has zero nuclear warheads, Iran has a reason to feel very threatened, especially since Israel has already threatened to use force against Iran to stop any perceived nuclear weapons program.  Any military strikes between Israel and Iran would require that missiles pass through the airspace of Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan Lebanon, and Turkey.  Such attacks could immerse the entire Middle East in a massive war, especially if an Israeli ICBM armed with a nuclear warhead went astray and killed millions of people in any of the countries between Iran and Israel.

President Bush, and those who control his every word and move, have unopened a horrendous can of worms that will lead to very dire consequences in the future. Using the Bush/GOP preemptive solutions to terrorism opens up the door for any country to attack any other country if they feel threatened, or more importantly, if they can manufacture a reason for a preemptive attack, as the Bush Regime did against Iraq.

We can thank President GW Bush and the GOP for creating a world that is more unstable and dangerous than it ever has been since the height of the Cold War.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower said "The only way to save the world is through diplomacy."  Our country has plummeted a long way since President Eisenhower made his very wise statement.  Now we have a 'leader' in the White House whose level of diplomatic expertise can be summed up in three words, "Bring em on!".

We need a person in the White House with wisdom, intellect, and vision, not a person who is limited to infantile sound bites designed to provoke the illiterate masses into supporting a war that never had to be fought.  With a person with the stature and experience of Senator John Kerry in the White House we could be winning the peace, instead of losing the war.  And be assured, we are losing the war.

Preemptive strikes against sovereign countries used to be violations of international law.  But no longer.  Not since the leader of the most powerful nation on earth has declared that he alone can initiate preemptive, unilateral attacks on any country he chooses.

Americans must be reminded that we are living in a new era where cultural differences are becoming increasingly important, in part in reaction to globalization. Further, they must be reminded that public diplomacy can develop international dialogues on these issues and at the very least help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts that lead to terrorism.

The average American believes that Iraq is populated with a homogeneous society.  But that is not the case.  There are three different factions in Iraq.  The Kurds in the northern areas of Iraq represent almost 20 percent of the population.  The Shias in the southern areas of Iraq represent 60 percent of the population.  The last twenty percent, which make up forces of resistance to the American occupation in Iraq, consist of Islamic militants who are easily crossing the porous Iraq borders, and the Shiites who are indigenous to Iraq.

The entire country of Iraq has become a smorgasbord for insurgents to wreak havoc.  The largest group of insurgents are primarily young male Shiites who are easily recruited because they see a future as a dismal continuation of poverty and oppression.  The typical insurgent has no hope for the future.  And when they see innocent Iraqis, or members of their own families, being killed or mutilated they are easily recruited by insurgent leaders, such as Muqtada al-Sadr, into his Mahdi army.

The current Bush policy of killing people to achieve the peace is preposterous.  Under such a policy it will be impossible to unite the many segments of the Iraqi population into a peaceful coalition.  Until we can respect the values of others, who have values different from ours, we will never achieve peace in Iraq.  The world cannot be viewed as a battlefield in which we use our military as solutions to problems.  American policy makers must begin to realize that respecting cultural differences is paramount to achieving successful and lasting results.  Instead of holding a gun with a hair-trigger at others, we need a public diplomacy which is sensitive to others, to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts that breed more and more terrorism.

The United States, under several presidents, has often failed miserably on diplomatic fronts because it propped up and supported ruthless dictators who oppressed and persecuted their people.  That formula is one of disaster because the more the people are oppressed the more they feel helpless.  And from their helplessness and persecution at the hands of dictators propped up by failed US foreign policy, the more they want to strike back at those who are responsible for their plight.  And because the United States has sided with ruthless dictators, like Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and the Shah of Iran, the people in those countries began to hate the US and Americans for being responsible for their oppression.  Since most of the US's failed foreign policy decisions were made for the benefit of American corporations, the people in the oppressed countries had even more reasons to hate the US.

The notion that the insurgents in Iraq, or even members of Al Quaeda hate our "freedom" is preposterous.  They hate the United States because of the long history of abuse by US corporations who have always sided with dictators in order to make trillions of dollars.  If those corporations had any social consciousness they would have forced the leaders of oil-rich countries to share the wealth with their people.  How would you feel if the United States resources were being sold out from under your feet for the benefit of only the ruling class in the country, and foreign corporations?  How would you feel if you and your families were threatened and murdered by a dictator in the United States?   If you lived a life of total poverty and loss of all hope you would begin to resent the leaders in Washington, DC and the foreign corporations who were making trillions off of the resources in the United States.  I am sure, under that scenario, that you wouldn't just sit back and do nothing.  You would want to strike back at those who were oppressing and murdering you and your family.

We haven't learned much in the past 75 years of siding with cold-blooded dictators, over the best interests of the people, specifically in the Middle East.  American oil corporations have been acting as coconspirators with despots and dictators, against the people in their countries, all in the name of oil.  In most of the Middle East countries there are only two classes of people.   The first made up of a handful of the extremely wealthy class, and the other made up of millions of people living in total poverty.  And those who are mired in a lifetime of complete poverty have no hope.  And when people have no hope they learn to strike back at those who are responsible for their plight.  And even though they are poor, they know that the United States is partially responsible for their poverty.  And from poverty and lack of hope comes terrorism.

No one should be surprised at the level of resistance the United States is facing in Iraq.  The resistance will not only continue, it will increase as time goes on.  There will be no end to the war in Iraq because as long as huge factions of Iraqis know who is responsible for propping up people like Saddam Hussein against them they will continue to speak out and act out against the United States.  These people know it was the US who supported Saddam Hussein with money and weapons in the 1980s. And they know that those weapons were used to kill tens of thousands of their people.

During Ronald Reagan's presidency, Saddam Hussein was given the resources to acquire and use sarin, mustard, and VX nerve gasses against the Kurds in northern Iraq.   Thousands of Kurds were murdered on March 16, 1988 and August 25, 1988, during Ronald Reagan's presidency.  More than 4000 Kurdish villages were bulldozed.  More than a half million Kurds were killed from 1981 and 1988. Another half million additional Kurds suffered from lingering afflictions or died horrific deaths because of exposure to potent chemical and possibly biological weapons.  But the Reagan administration did nothing to stop the slaughter.  Neither did GHW Bush's administration after he was elected in 1988. Donald Rumsfeld, a special envoy of Ronald Reagan in his first presidential term, met with Saddam Hussein in 1983.  Rumsfeld is pictured warmly shaking the hand of Saddam.  International relations make strange bedfellows indeed.

Both President Reagan, and the first President Bush, were friends of Saddam Hussein, until Saddam invaded Kuwait, that is.  Then, even though it was well known that Saddam Hussein killed an untold number of his own people, the first President Bush failed to capture or kill Saddam during the first Gulf War.  There were no protests or outcries from members of President GHW Bush's republican party to kill or capture Saddam for his abuses against his fellow man.  They knew that Saddam Hussein was a mass murderer.  But it took twelve years after the first Gulf War for republicans to start to speak out for the oppressed Iraqis.  And they only spoke out after Bush's war went sour and no weapons of mass destruction were found.  When WMDs were not found republicans started to try to justify the Iraq War as a humanitarian war to free the Iraqi people from a dictator.  The current Bush regime hasn't said a word about weapons of mass destruction in more than a year.

Republicans are curiously silent with regard to other totalitarian regimes on the planet.  They aren't speaking out for the oppressed people in China, North Korea, or even Cuba.  Using Bush's preemptive strike doctrine why aren't Bush and the GOP demanding that Fidel Castro step down, and if he doesn't, invade Cuba? After all, Cuba is only ninety miles away from our borders.  Both China and North Korea have nuclear weapons.  They actually pose a threat to the United States. So why isn't Bush unilaterally declaring war against them?  Oh well, consistency is not a trait you would find in a typical republican.

We are at a juncture where there is a great number of people in the United States who are for preemptive attacks to achieve a desired resolution to a problem, and a great number of people who embrace diplomacy as an alternate to war.  The coming election will be a contest between these two forces.  If people choose war to solve problems for a short term perceived gain, they will vote for President Bush.  If they desire complex diplomatic solutions to problems for long term gains, they will vote for Senator John Kerry.  The presidential election is decided by a host of different issues, but I feel that the most important issue in this election cycle is safety of our citizens.  And future safety of our country depends on solving problems diplomatically, and not by war, after war, after war.  Any fool can go to war, but it takes someone with intelligence, wisdom and restraint to keep the peace.

We need to keep lines of communication open between countries.  That is the key to being able to achieve diplomatic solutions, rather than wars.  Americans need to be convinced that we are living in a new era of globalization where understanding cultural differences is crucial to successful resolutions.  If we do not constantly work for peace, we will always become mired in war.

Copyright 2004, Larry S. Rolirad, All Rights Reserved Distribution is encouraged by the author, Larry S. Rolirad, as long as he is given credit.