Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dickson Street and the World with Greg and Hoyt

Two excellent editorials in the Times this morning. Greg Harton's column "Is 10 a Win?" describing the compromise Barber Group extended for its Divinity project cutting the height from 15 stories to 10. I have to agree that the new design looks a lot better than the original sketches at 15. The new hotel insures Dickson street businesses and the Square will have folks downtown to spend their money (or at least that's how the theory goes). I would like to see the current proposal approved by the city. Our downtown is worthy of preservation and projects of this sort will enhance its chances of sustaining the revival that has followed the construction of the WAC in the early 90s.

On the global front, HoytPurvis waxes nostalgic over the legacy Fulbright left the nation and the world when former President Clinton accepted the Fulbright award recently. With the swirling devils nipping at the heels of the recklessly inept Bush administration, a determined Fulbright as head of the SFRC would have been a valuable asset(assuming Bush's idiots would be as capable of pragmatism as Nixon or Kissinger regarding the total global picture) as our nation struggles to find its way through the current global crisis without causing a wider conflict to erupt and cost many hundreds of thousands more their lives needlessly. Though Fulbrights' dogged determination to end the Vietnam conflict before much greater damage was inflicted on our nation failed to succeed for nearly a decade (the U.S. withdrew in spring 1975, but began reducing its assets by 1970) as Fulbright's senatorial career ended abruptly(Bumpers defeated Fulbright for the Senate seat).

Clinton at the ceremony:

"In his remarks at the Fulbright Prize event, Clinton referred to his work with former President Bush, at the request of the current president, in the Tsunami relief effort. He noted that in Indonesia, as a result of U.S. assistance after the tsunami, public opinion in that Islamic country has changed dramatically. Approval of the United States went from 36 to 60 percent while approval of Bin Laden went from 58 to 28 percent. They saw the U.S. military "dropping food instead of bombs" and many Americans involved in the relief effort. "

Clearly, the U.S. must maintain the best possible defense within its means, but the judicious use of military resources must be the rule rather than the exception. Weakening our nation needlessly in a misguided military effort that seems more capable of widening into a pan-Arab war that leaves the entire free world in jeopardy of losing their ways of life for years to come is no useful prescription. Fulbright was pro-troops and anti-war when the truth about the circumstances surrounding the Gulf of Tonkin incident were exposed and the historic reality of the civil war which had raged since the end of WW II causing Pres. Eisenhower to send advisers to Vietnam in 1954. The historic reality of the Iraq region was also ignored for an idealistic goal(I have my doubts about any potential ideology other than control of natural resources globally employing our government and its troops in a deadly chess game that threatens the well-being of most of the troops and families of those serving, suffering, and dying in the conflict). Iraq has become a useless slaughter that could have left the maniacally cruel Saddam in power with the only actual offense against the region was to give $400 to Palestinian bombers and killing his own people(in smaller numbers and without a religious fanatic oligarchy controlling the nation ala Iran) to maintain his grip on power. The modern political history of Iraq was quite similar to the former Yugoslavia, where strongman Tito's iron fist held the nation together until the Soviet empire crumbled in the late 1980s(Tito had already died). 10% of the population in Kosovo and Bosnia were NATO/UN troops. That figure has not been remotely approached in Iraq and order has not been preserved and seemingly hundreds die on a monthly basis throughout the nation.

The wielding of our brute force in Iraq may cause a greater blowback than the Soviet-Afghan War aided by U.S. money, arms, and expertise as well as the backing of Arab oil money and Pakistan's ISI and actual ground troops during the Soviet conflict and the ensuing civil war. All that weaponry, death, and destruction, Afghanistan had no chance of successfully building a nation. The fact that our better nature has been displayed in Indonesia with no strings attached and no danger to their way of life has stemmed the tide of approval for Bin Laden in that largely Wahhabi Sunni Muslim(same as Bin Laden and Saudi Arabia) nation. We dropped food, medicine, hospitals, and other aid and two former presidents, Clinton and George H. W. , aided the war for hearts and minds in the Arab world, at least in the SE Asian archipeligo region where war had raged for some time between insurgents and the Indonesian government. Fulbright, Clinton, and Hoyt's approach to winning the wider war sparked on September 11 by the Afghan blowback is a prescription we can all live with(not that any option will work seamlessly). Peace should ever be preferable to war when there most certainly is a better option available. Our options were decidedly curtailed when Bush ordered troops across the Iraqi border in Spring 2003 when a better way to wage a war on terror was still a possibility.

Hopefully, we can begin stemming the tide in other Islamic nations before we have another demagogic president that comes along to exploit a national tragedy to fight a needless war in an important region of the world. More efforts like the disaster relief presented our nation during the tsunami should be a lesson for our policy-makers. Is there a way to prove our humanitarian good side still exists without a tragic event occurring for once? We should promote our best intentions without a nudge from a September 11th or tsunami disaster that might lead to a foolish decision that causes a wider conflict to erupt. We'll be holding our collective breath as a nation for decades just like the Cold War days. Reckless ineptitude in Iraq threatens to destroy the necessary war still being waged in Afghanistan, where all the Saudi money was sent to finance al-Qaeda's global jihadists and the Taliban's new henchmen for the Muslim Utopia.

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