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War and peace
On the first anniversary of the Iraq war we find ourselves in a situation where it appears that terrorist outrages are defying containment. The malady acts like a cancer that has metastasized and surfaces in unexpected and disparate parts of the system.
Our preoccupation with the Iraq war has eclipsed, or at least pushed into the background, the conflicts that do not directly involve the U.S. military. That is not particularly surprising since we, as a nation, feel with devastating force the tragic loss of American lives.
Unfortunately, the election year has unleashed some bitter rhetoric which, by applying the infallible faculty of 20-20 hindsight, has diverted public attention from serious examination of some hard choices that could significantly impact our war on terror.
Our electronic media is having a heyday showing the devastation caused by a suicide bomber who detonates an explosive-filled vehicle to wipe out a police station. The reporting of these atrocities rarely asks what kind of motivation would entice the driver to blow himself to bits.
Obviously the people willing to sacrifice their own lives are fanatically focused on some cause that drives them to this extreme. It doesn't amount to rocket science to appreciate that the daily diet on Arab television of Israeli incursions into the West Bank or Gaza, resulting in collateral damage in the form of a two-year-old Palestinian girl killed in the crossfire, inflames Islamist passions.
Our roadmap for a peaceful solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is lying in tatters and both sides seem content to continue the killing; an eye for an eye as the Bible says.
The Israelis, like the 15th century Chinese, are intent on walling their enemy out. From a military point of view that may make some sense, but a siege mentality is not conductive to a vibrant culture and leads eventually to a further decay of the quality of life in Israel.
It is high time to think outside the box (or wall) in our dealings with Sharon and Arafat. Certainly both peoples are weary from this ongoing conflict and want and need a chance to raise their children in an atmosphere where there is hope for a better life.
International efforts to achieve statehood for the Palestinians looked promising during Rabin's tenure as prime minister, but with his assassination the pathway appears strewn with boulders. Rather than a two-state solution, it is now time to consider in what form a single state could take to contain both peoples.
It would make for some interesting debates in the Knesset! No doubt there would be two official languages, possibly two national flags and an integrated police force.
Eretz Israel would still be a Jewish homeland, but no longer preoccupied with keeping Palestinians out. Tourism holds the promise of a thriving economy, provided the guns fall silent.
Who knows, it might even convince the suicide bombers in Iraq that fanaticism has lost its charm.
for U.S. Congress