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“It's time to stand up - not to cheer, but to fight back.”
--Senator Russ Feingold, On Executive Power. (Daily Kos, 2006-02-02)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

How many failures will the American voter endure before they realize we need vastly different leadership?

As we approach the midterm elections it appears the total failures of American foreign and defense policy under the Bush reign needs to be brought to the constant attention of the voters. Hopefully we will not again resort, as a party to personal attacks that have become so wide spread the last few years.

This headline from today is only one of many pro-active and passive failures that have made us less secure at home and allowed the people who want to harm freedom loving people the world over experience a wholesale loss of peace and security under an America ruled by Bush.

Iraqi premier criticizes U.S. attack


Iraq's prime minister sharply criticized a U.S.-Iraqi attack Monday on a Shiite militia stronghold in Baghdad, breaking with his American partners on security tactics as the United States launches a major operation to secure the capital. more

Meanwhile now that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has recently held free elections for the first time in over 40 years and America has been AWOL from providing real assistance in the voting preparation and in the counting process. Now the results are in question because the ability to even count the results is seriously outdated.


Observers: Disorder plagues Congo count

KINSHASA, Congo - An unmarked ballot wafts in the breeze. Congolese election workers doze. Pieces of concrete weigh down stacks of vote tally sheets, keeping them from blowing away. A week after Congo's presidential elections unfolded in relative peace, experts say the disorder and chaos that has long hobbled the Central African country is creeping into the tallying — raising questions about the fairness of the outcome. more

Senator Feingold has always done so well at developing policy ideas that demonstrates his belief that people really do matter. We all need to work to be sure the voters understand that the total failure of America diplomacy in the DR Congo, Iraq and Lebanon has all contributed to make us less secure and at risk from those who would harm freedom loving people the world over.

At the midterm elections - Vote for change with a purpose - The Progressive way - vote to assist freedom-loving people at home and the world over.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Perhaps from all the death and destruction hope can be built but only with new leadership.

Today there were 2 articles from the Jerusalem Post and one from the Washington Post that could in fact mark the beginning of the end of the Bush ill-conceived "war on terror". We need to resolve to spend as much to develop “strategies for peace” as we do “strategies of war”.

In Israel, Questions About the Conflict

"After an extraordinary national surge of unanimity during the first days of the conflict, public support is starting to fray, with some of the nation's most influential voices criticizing political leaders and Israel Defense Forces generals for military strategies they say have failed to protect Israeli citizens." More

Analysis: Victory from the jaws of defeat?

For many Israelis, this was a weekend of stocktaking. The first wave of reservists arrived home for short leaves and supplied their families and friends with better reports than any newspaper can give. The impression was mixed.

"I'm still shocked by the amount of screw-ups I've seen at every possible level," was the verdict of one veteran company commander. More

Security and Defense: Marching backward?

IDF officers are beginning to come to terms with the fact that they may walk away from this war without a major victory. "Prepare for the possibility that we may not win," was how one senior officer put it this week. More


Then there was the news from Iraq this week:

U.S. General Says Iraq Could Slide Into a Civil War

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 — The commander of American forces in the Middle East bluntly warned a Senate committee on Thursday that sectarian violence in Iraq, especially in the capital, Baghdad, had grown so severe that the nation could slide toward civil war. The commander, Gen. John P. Abizaid, also acknowledged that since the security situation remained so unstable, significant reductions in American forces were unlikely before the end of this year. More


How can any of this be good news you may ask? The answer of course lies in the ability of we the people to re-order the priorities of the Bush "war on Terror". How many failures of the "shock and awe" strategy do we have to endure before we really look for new leadership to develop new foreign policy strategies that are based on the premise that if people are not really valued then the strategies that are used, especially military strategies, will always fall far short of the intended result and always at the loss of too many innocent civilians. The issue in both the Lebanon and Iraq conflicts is not if one country has the right to defend itself from a viable threat from another country or group of terrorists. The question that has to be asked is has the country in question done absolutely every thing within its power to ensure these situations do not boil over into armed conflict. In our case we American have to ask it we have developed a diplomatic effort to objectively address the underlying issues of the conflict.

As we now know, US foreign policy under Rice, Rumsfield and Bush is an absolute and utter failure and our direction is basically and fatally flawed. As a country, we in the US must also accept full and complete responsibility of any other country that borrows the game plan for the execution of our "War on Terror" that results in the needless loss of life that we have witnessed in Lebanon and Iraq. As a country we Americans have totally forgotten the words of another American General – Eisenhower. He foretold exactly what would happen with unbridled militarism. Our real American leaders like Senator Feingold, have taken on the fight Eisenhower started in 1961 when he left office. Any country who relies exclusively on the military option will spell the beginning of the end of a free democracy. We in America have now begun to witness the wholesale loss of our freedoms. How much more are we willing to tolerate? We need solutions and we need real diplomats especially in the positions of Secretary of State and Defense. We all hold the ideas for the solutions if only we will listen.

Some possible solutions for American foreign policy in the region that would go a long way toward solving the current difficult situation are listed below. This is not a complete list, by any means, but any one of these ideas are a small step in the right direction for ending the present exclusive use of the military in both Lebanon and Iraq to solve the problems of people. The road is not easy and now the road is very long but we in America need to start the long trip of a thousand miles one step at a time.

This suggestion comes from the Tikkun community of Rabbi Lerner

“As the Tikkun Community has outlined in the past, the terms of that settlement should include:

1. Permanent boundaries for both states that roughly resemble the pre-67 borders, with some border adjustments mutually agreed to along lines developed in the Geneva Accord (Israel incorporating some of the border settlements into Israel, in exchange for Israel giving equal amounts and quality of land to the Palestinian State).

2. Sharing of Jerusalem and its holy sites, with each side entitled to establish their national capital in Jerusalem, Israel to have control over the Jewish and Armenian quarters plus the Wall and adjacent territory, and Palestine to have control over the Temple Mount with its mosques.

3. All states participating in the International Conference would dedicate at least .1% of their GDP toward an international fund for reparations for Palestinians who lost property, employment or homes in the period 1947-1967, and to Jews who fled from Arab states in the same period (however, reparations will not be paid to any Arab or Jewish family with current gross assets of more than $5 million dollars).

4. A joint Israel/Palestine/International Community police force will be set up to enforce border security for both sides. The U.S. and Nato will enter into a mutual security pact for both parties guaranteeing that each side will be protected by the U.S. and Nato from any assault by the other or by any assault from any other country in the world.

5. Creation of an Atonement and Reconciliation Commission which will unveil all records of both sides, bring to light all violations of human rights on both sides, bring formal charges against those who do not confess their involvement in those violations and testify to the details, and supervise a newly created peace curriculum for all schools and universities aimed at teaching reconciliation and non-violence in action and communication. The explicit goal of this Commission will be to foster the conditions for a reconciliation of the heart and a new understanding on the part of both peoples that each side has been cruel and insensitive, and need to repent, and that both sides have a legitimate narrative that needs to be understood and accepted as a legitimate viewpoint by the other side.”

This suggestion comes from Professor Prof. Eugène Richard Sensenig-Dabbous, MA PhD LibanLink DiversityCentre - MENA Bureau Lebanon

1) Israel must be aware that the world is watching. NGOs and civil society in general should prepare to put pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the relevant human rights bodies to try both Hizbollah and the State of Israel for the crimes they have committed over the last few weeks.

2) Lebanon will be receiving huge amounts of international aid to rebuild the country. Following the 16 year Lebanese Civil War, between 1/3 and 50% of the aid received from abroad for reconstruction went into the coffers of corrupt war lords, corporate bosses and religious fanatics. Thus, foreign funding helped lay the foundation in the 1990s for the crisis we now have.

The solutions are not as difficult as our war President leads us to believe because Mr. Bush and his team have told us in word and deed that they are only interested in the war option. We the people must do all we can to encourage leaders like Senator Feingold to speak out and give out suggestions a voice.

We the people hold the keys to peace in our minds, all we must do is give them a voice before any more people have to die for a failed war strategy. Peace will work if we give it a chance. I thought we had learned that lesson many years ago in Vietnam.

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