Tuesday, March 20, 2007

'A reviled PM looks to history to vindicate his war gamble'

Has a ring about it don't you think? This article is about Blair, but it could be about Howard or Bush.

Now we are being served a cocktail of spin in terms of the 'surge', and a lot of hand wringing about 'small successes' in the 'war on terror' - leather jackets and hard hats in the war zone, glad handing the troops, homilies on staying the course in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have seen it all before. Even the most credulous of voters must be waking up to the fact that the three amigos have been responsible for the greatest foreign policy foul up since the Vietnam War. Relying on manipulated intelligence and a compromised media, they appear to have betrayed the interests of their own people in order to achieve poorly conceived strategic gains in the Middle East. None of those gains have been realized. On the contrary, the security situation in the Middle East has deteriorated markedly as a direct result of the Iraq invasion and occupation. The human tragedy of the Iraq refugee situation is just one of the disastrous consequences of this strategy being played out in the region. Bush, Blair & Howard have done little to address this humanitarian crisis.

Instead of finding the backbone to front their 'mistakes', we will be served a diet of weasel words and self-justification by these failed leaders.

Howard is now going to ramp up the disinformation machine on the 'war on terror' to try to claw back his fading electoral support. We can expect a barrage of spin on how well it's all going, and how disastrous it would be if we stopped occupying these countries militarily. It is nonsense of course.

There are much wiser strategies to pursue, involving the hard yards of international diplomacy and adequately resourced & sensibly targeted development cooperation, including debt relief, in-country & third country training, humanitarian assistance, social infrastructure and governance support. A massive multilateral effort is needed to facilitate reconciliation between the warring parties in Iraq and Afghanistan and to resource adequately the provision of a peace dividend.

Peace has to be in the interest of all the antagonists. This will require international and national actors reaching out to compromise across ethnic, religious and political divides. Extremist postures can only be drowned out and marginalized by re-taking the middle ground of politics and through concerted & sustained efforts to find lasting solutions to poverty, disempowerment and alienation.

Methinks we won't get anywhere near this scenario with the amigos in power.

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