Thursday, March 18, 2004
Op-Ed Columnist: Axis of Appeasement

Thomas Friedman has some good points here. However, he gets it wrong at this point:
Unless President Bush dispenses with his discredited argument for the war — W.M.D. — no one will hear or listen to what I believe was always the only right argument for the war and is now the only rationale left: to depose the genocidal Saddam regime in order to partner with the Iraqi people to build a decent government in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world — because it is the pathologies and humiliations produced by Arab misgovernance that are the root causes of terrorism and Muslim extremism.

The question that many people have been asking is, "why Iraq?" Every one around here knows that I have been a supporter of Israel, and her right to exist. However, I see it as a just question when people ask, "why did not Bush adopt Palestine as the place to set up an ideal democracy?" Given the fact that Palestine is one of the most sentimental issues in the Muslim world, would it not have been a much stronger statement had Bush gotten Israel to vacate the occupied territories, and set up a democracy there, under the aegis of the United Nations?

Given the fact that, for some time now, USA has been the only vocal supporter of Israel, this would have forced other governments to co-operate, and accept the reality of Israel, in order to move forward with the creation of a new state for the Palestinians. Why did not the Bush administration land its troops in Nablus and Bethlehem, instead of Basra and Baghdad?

Given the bad blood between the Bush family and Saddam, and the oil grab allegations, many, including a majority in the Islamic world, suspect the motive behind the war.

Unless these questions are properly answered, the war on terror will not be a cooperative exercise.

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