ISLAMIC PEACEKEEPERS! How much louder can I shout it, and why haven't I heard this suggestion from anyone in government? The Bush administration's reckless adventure in Iraq is fast approaching the time when it will be beyond our ability to influence events on the ground. Our soldiers are in the crosshairs of every wanna-be jihadist with a weapon and the elected representatives of the Iraqi people refuse to compromise on a coalition government despite the prodding from Dr. Rice to hurry up and get something done before the U.S. mid-term elections.
This is something President Bush could accomplish on his own, without the coaching of his failed policy-makers or his soon to be jailed political advisor. President Bush has assets he could yet bring to bear toward a favorable outcome in Iraq. He has old friends in the Saudi Royal Family; an ally in Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan; a convert in Khadaffi of Libya; a grateful populace in Kuwait; and emerging Arab states like Qatar and the U.A.E. who wish to prove to the U.S. that they are trustworthy enough partners with which to do business. The President could appeal to these nations and leaders personally, or through Secretary Rice, to provide troops to act as peacekeepers while the Iraqis determine their own future.
This would relieve the American military of daily and deadly street patrols and allow them to redeploy to what John Kerry called in a N.Y. Times editorial, "a garrisoned position, over the horizon." Kerry failed to note that U.S. trained Iraqi security forces are not yet capable of suppressing the violence, either against coalition forces or against Iraqi civilians. If the American and British forces were removed from the equation and replaced by Muslim troops, proportionately Sunni and Shia to the Iraqi population, neither Al Qaeda nor home grown Iraqi insurgents would be so zealous to kill them in the name of jihad. The U.S. could prove to the Iraqi people that we have no permanent designs on their country by withdrawing our forces to secured positions and allowing those Arab states that claim to be America's friends, to stand up and prove it and assist us in our time of need.
The time is running out in this endeavor. If the breaking news concerning the Scooter Libby testimony to the grand jury proves to be true, the President is about to become embroiled in a maze of political and legal difficulties that will dominate the remainder of his term, however long that may be. President Clouseau promised to get to the bottom of who was leaking classified information from his administration, but he forgot to get a "lizenze for his minkey," and found the leaker in the mirror. The President claims patriotic amnesia. While mountain biking in Crawford, he heard one too many Toby Keith songs on his iPod and felt justified in trashing the reputations of the sneaky traitors who dared question the true lies that the White House Iraqi Group so meticulously concocted. Jethro's in a heap of trouble this time.
But our soldiers in Iraq can't afford to wait for legislative justice to be meted out to the neo-cons and war planners who's bankrupt ideology put them there, along with the President who said of Iraq that "God told me to strike them, and so I did." Unless God suddenly changed His mind and decided, "Blessed are the warmongers," Bush was probably hearing the voice of God through Dick Cheney. It is now clear that both Cheney and Rumsfeld believe that if Bush the Elder had given Norman Schwartzkoff one more week, he would have been in Baghdad and either captured or killed Saddam. But Poppy Bush wasn't interested in the uncertainty of a long term occupation of Iraq. That's why Bush the Clueless wasn't interested in asking his father's sissy advice and instead claimed council from a "Higher Father." It's tough to argue with schizophrenics or politicians who claim they hear voices.
Everyday the status quo is maintained in Iraq, is one day farther from resolution, and another day of bloodshed. The discredited architects of this conflict are now obligated to extricate us from it. They should, without delay, impose upon the President to call on America's Arab friends, cowboy hat in hand if necessary, to request military assistance in helping to lessen the turmoil in Iraq. It is in the interest of modern Arab states to assist first in ending the slaughter of Muslims by their fellow Muslims; to pacify the home grown insurgency and restrict Al Qaeda targets by limiting the American military presence; and to assist in encouraging the emergence of a representative Iraqi government that could put a check on Iranian ambitions in the region.
The question is, can this macho, posturing administration find the humility to ask for help? Our armed forces have done everything that could possibly have been asked of them and more. The American military cannot impose a political solution on the Iraqis, and their presence is now a flashpoint for Islamic rage. Bush is the first president since Nixon with a daily body count. And though Nixon was elected on a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War, over 20,000 more soldiers died before the "secret plan" was implemented. Will Bush's Urban Cowboy attitude cause him to keep our forces in Iraq beyond the point of their usefulness? A personal appeal for Muslim troops may yet earn Bush his coveted place in history as the man who was brazen enough to alter the Middle East political landscape. Then this President can honor the service of the men and women he placed in danger by returning them safely to their families.