Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Changing Places Changing Faces

Perhaps I haven’t paid sufficient attention recently, but it seems the Bush administration has settled on three ways to answer any critics and any criticism: create a commission to study, discuss, and write a report that hopefully is quickly relegated to the closet shelf; smear the messenger and if possible the message; and fire those who don’t toe the line.

All three options have been in play this week.

Every president appoints what might be termed the “stable of staple advisory or review boards and commissions. These can be statutory groups such as the Social Security Advisory Board. Or they can be “experts” asked to pool their collective knowledge and make recommendations or propose future alternative courses of action. In the Defense arena, this type of long-range study of a particular problem falls to the Defense Science Board and Defense Policy Board.

COMMISSIONS> Then there are the special high profile boards and commissions that Congress will mandate or the White House will rush to create to score a political point (“we care enough, not like those other folks”). These usually are in response to a scandal or a serious lapse in judgment or some other failure that causes a “groundswell: for an investigation.

I have the impression that these types of special enquires are becoming more numerous. This, if true, suggests an administration unexpectedly on the defensive, unsure of where the next problem will emerge to provide new grist for the congressional investigative mill. Moreover, the leaders of these “outside” commissions seem to be more aggressive in pushing for action to implement their remedial recommendations. The White House can always “just say no,” but so long as the Democrats control Congress, they can always hold hearings and issue subpoenas requiring political appointees not covered by “executive privilege” to appear and testify – thereby stringing out the media attention on the original failure.

Such is the latest commission -- President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors -- a nnounced today to be co-chaired by former Kansas Senator Bob Dole and former Clinton administration Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala. They, along with seven more to be named next week, are to examine the Defense Department and Veterans Administration medical facilities, staffing, resources, and administrative policies and procedures for evaluating disability levels and for transitioning back to civilian life individuals wounded or otherwise injured while on active duty. The fact that the commission was announced today but only two of nine commissioners named suggests the “Walter Reed” scandal caught the White House flat—footed.

SMEAR. Coincidentally, the jury in the obstruction of justice trial of L. “Scooter” Libby returned a guilty verdict on four of five charges. Here the “smear the messenger” backfired on the White House. Beyond Ambassador Wilson, however, it now seems that an attempt is underway to undermine Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction who has been highly critical of the way U.S. companies have acted in Iraq and the fraud and waste indemic in reconstruction spending.

FIRING: This tactic was employed in the simultaneous firing of eight federal prosecutors. The administration maintains it was for cause – i.e., poor or substandard performance. Turns out that that claim might be valid in only one case at most. Of course, these gentlemen are political appointees and serve at the president’s pleasure. Still, it would be nice for the administration to not mix SMEAR tactics with what is a blatant act of political retaliation because these prosecutors didn’t go after alleged corruption by members of the “other” party.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A needed requirement a Covenant for Middle East Peace

( The call for a Pan-Arab Force )

The reality in the Middle East is – horrendous.
Lawlessness abounds. Consider the American frontier
in the 1800s. Setting: the city of Dodge, KS, which
was ruled by the gun. Human life was cheap,
self-interest and personal gain the motive.

International organizations have failed.
Nation-states have failed. Prior artificial checks
and balances have failed. The strong prevail. Might
makes right. The interests of the small and the weak
are overlooked. The Middle East gave birth to many of
the world’s earliest civilizations and cultures, and
was the setting for the religious origins of
monotheism; however, no matter how old or noble a
society, in division, there is weakness.

It is time for a new regional responsibility which can
be the only answer to the present dilemma on the Arab
peninsula. Look at Iraq: sides can argue till the
cows come home about fault, blame and motive, the fact
remains that everything has failed, including the
media and self-centered governments that are directly
and indirectly involved, and vacillating international
organizations. Iraq should have been and still should
be solely an Arab matter, not the business of an
American or coalition of nations from outside the
Middle East.

The only legitimate or practical geopolitical
organization, which so happens to be headquartered in
the region, ( Cairo, Egypt )is the League of Arab
States. It should empower itself to become a greater
regional authority, unlike, for example, the U.N.
Stupidity Council, fashioned in the image of a
toothless, clawless old lion, which has only the roar.
An empowered Arab League could counter a
growing Iranian or Persian threat of intrusion into
the Arab sphere or a wandering Israeli excursion and
it would be a greater counter weight to European and
American military projection for the purposes of
economic, manipulation and exploitation. I believe a
good practical example would be the American Monroe
Doctrine, which in its conception was established or
enacted to repel foreign colonial intrusion into the
American hemisphere.

The mindset of Arab brotherhood and unity should move
beyond a mere myth or slogan into a modern
geopolitical reality beyond the concept or point of
the charter mentioning collective security. It is my
suggestion that since we are returning to a grimmer
reality of an era of force, the only practical
solution is to bring forth a lion with not only a
roar, but both teeth and claws.

I would like to suggest a new regional security
organization: in a sense, a new Arab Legion, a
military entity with a new concern for air defense,
coastal protection. This force could lessen an Israeli
threat and and growing
Persian/Iranian potential. I would recommend no less
than 500,000 troops in number, which could be expanded
to a more practical number as soon as it can be
accomplished. These suggestions are not given in the
vein of being anti-Israeli, anti-Iranian, or even
anti-Western, but more importantly are offered to
implement a balance of power and to fill the strategic
void in the region to establish a greater regional
stability. I believe that if a single modern Arab
military organization were to be established, it would
fill this vacuum of insecurity.

These lesser military organizations, whether militias
or militant organizations such as Hamaas, Hezbollah,
Islamic Jihad, just to name a few of the primary
groups, would no longer have a practical material
purpose, but rather experience a course of evolution
into political and cultural entities, etc. In
conclusion, I believe that if a nuclear force were to
be announced as a future goal. Just the mere thought
and effort of
establishing a nuclear arm to this new force would
secure a new path toward regional compromise on a more
reasonable course of either parity or disarmament.
Hopefully we would see the latter, in the form of a
nuclear-free zone from North Africa to the western
Pakistani frontier. Palestine's, status along with
Israel under or within NATO would need to be worked
out the natural course of growth would be Israel
within NATO.
Palestine within the League of Arab States? One
suggestion could be neutrality or neutral zones void
of forces. With the exception of air defense, or
coastal,and border security units etc. Which could be
strictly observed and limited in numbers.

The past can not be changed however the future need
not be replicated. Recent events, such as Lebanon,
Iraq, and Palestestine's on going struggle of
occupation. If The Arab League of States were to form
an Arab Corps
to protect vital points in the Arab sphere the region
would be made less inviting to outside opportunists,
which in actuality would, lessen the likelehood for
future conflict.

( Coalition transfer of Iraqi security and training )

Given the political stale mate in the gulf region over
Iraq and its occupation by American and coalition
forces and the counter by various factions internal
and external insurgents/fighters both religious and
political there is a possible mechanism for altering
this quagmire.

Shortly after the coming installment of the new
coalition government this mechanism should be
implemented. The process would be carried out by
Coalition forces having a phased withdrawal by various
numbers being equaled by an introduction of local Arab
forces into Iraq. For example, 20,000-50,000 troops
being withdrawn by American forces, that being matched
by the introduction of local regional Arab forces into
the American role over an agreed time frame to the
point where there would be no longer any American or
allied forces in Iraq. This process would be best
negotiated through the Arab league and regional
powers; Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other gulf
states. This would bring greater coorperation amongst
the Arab peoples and it would accelerate political
normalization within Iraq and the region. Deployment
of troops would be determined by tactical officers.
The process when completed would be a true test of the
newly erected Iraqi infrastructure and political frame
work. In concluding the process it would give the
Iraqi people the opportunity to demonstrate a new
collective national resolve and fulfillment of their
aspiration. This would allow the American people to
begin to have closure over this very contentious time.

( Counter Pressure Measures for Middle East Peace)
Pressures are truly rising in the Middle East. The
stakes are very high, yet the international community
lacks the political maturity to meet these issues with
real solutions, even though the risks in not doing so,
more than likely will result in a war, economic or
ecological crisis or all three. The stakes are too
high to ignore the situation. If it is not addressed,
there will be catastrophic reverberations.

The answer should be the establishment of a
nuclear-free zone from north Africa to the western
Pakistani frontier with the inclusion of Israel under
a NATO umbrella of protection and eventual
incorporation as a full partner. There should be an
inventory taken of the nuclear assets of the Israeli
program. Command and control should be dually managed
by both Israeli and NATO personnel until the arsenal
is scaled down to point 0. A verifiable regional
cooperation treaty on such matters should be created.

( The Israeli-Palestinian Covenant for Peace )

After giving this much thought, and after examining
this complex issue from all conceivable angles, these
are my conclusions and suggestions. Given the recent
warming in relations and voting in the Israeli
Parliament or Knesset toward the eventual withdrawal
of forces from the occupied territories, there are
issues that would further the peace process. The
primary concern of the Israelis is security, given the
recent negative vote in the world court at The Hague
on the Israeli security fence.

There is a counter to that position. In areas where
the wall has been erected, the acts of violence and
bombing have shown a dramatic reduction in
occurrences. The Israelis should be allowed to
complete the security wall, and in exchange, the
Palestinians should be allowed to have a secure
overland egress similar to a walled expressway
connecting the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. I would
like to recommend that the Gaza Strips access point
should begin at Bayt, continuing through Israel, and
ending at Idriah on the West Bank. The access could be
segmented into sections of underground tunnels and
walled, above-ground overpasses, much like our modern
day freeways. The walls denying visibility will offer
greater security and ease on both sides of the issue.
The segments of underground tunnels and above ground
over passes will give variation so this project will
not physically or topographically sever Israel into
portions, North and South, but rather become only
slight interruptions. This would also heighten mutual
security for both states. The length of segments from
tunnel to raised, walled highway could be determined
by the concerned parties, technical, military and
political, etc.

This plan would not entirely disrupt the overall land
expanse from border to border of the Gaza Strip to the
West Bank. The distance from Bayt Gaza to Idriah on
the West Bank is approximately twenty-five miles or
forty kilometers. Professional advisors must give
qualified opinions and decisions, which should be
based on sound judgment for all the parties' benefit.
This would be the beginning of meeting physical
realities in a practical way.

NATO should be brought in as a security umbrella over
Israel and Palestine? Depressurizing the Golan
Heights, which Israel presently occupies. If NATO
forces were to be placed along the Lebanese and Syrian
frontiers after an Israeli pullout, then the Golan
Heights could be overseen by a regional super-national
water and irrigation authority, preferably chaired by
a neutral nation such as Finland, or Sweden, etc. The
majority of land area could be considered a land
reserve or trust, as this is a primary water source as
well a strategic military vantage. Water resourses
should be a matter of equal access for all peoples of
the region. When new regional water projects are
constructed the costs and benefits should be shared.

Given the
turbulent past and the contention between the three
major area religions, the future of Jerusalem should
be decided by referendum, sponsored by the UN General
Assembly, and to ensure fairness, international
observers should be on the ground to oversee the vote.
The heart of the issue is sovereignty, who shall
govern, and how Jerusalem shall be ruled. All sides
want to control and possess Jerusalem; the matter
should be decided by the ballot. One option for the
residents would be dual citizenship based on native
culture, either Palestinian or Israeli. Both peoples
want Jerusalem as their capital; Jerusalem itself
could become a confederated municipality of both
Israel and Palestine with a unique status. Its
governmental structure could also be dually managed.
Perhaps Jerusalem's populace could choose independence
and opt for full membership in the UN General Assembly
as an international municipality as a city-state,
similar to other small nations and entities.

NATO could be a stabilizing force politically as well
as militarily. Given the apprehensions of the
numerically superior Arabs and the advanced and highly
capable Israeli IDF, NATO's inclusion of Israel and
Palestine? This would stabilize both the internal and
external insecurities. Palestine may elect to meld
into combined Arab military organization,if this
emerges as a priority for the League of Arab States in
the near future. Due to the geographical proximity of
these two states, their economies and security are
interdependent. Great care will have to be given on
these points. A prime example of two former
adversaries becoming equal partners in NATO has been
demonstrated by two other Mediterranean powers Turkey,
and Greece, as they both have proven to be strong
contributors to the NATO mission. If NATO were to come
in, and conduct an inventory of the nuclear facility
in the Negev Desert at Dimona and at other military
facilities in Israel as an enitial task. Secondly by
becoming a full partner in the day-to-day management,
command, and control there, it would greatly lessen
Pan-Arab anxieties in the area. Thirdly this would
lead to disarmament on all (WMDs) weapons of mass
destruction. It would demonstrate Israel's regional
goodwill and would eliminate the argument for the
nuclear option regionally. These tools can be phased
in over a merged time table of 15 months as the first
goal to employ these measures. The second or mid point
at three and one half years. The final stage with a
target date of seven years until the objectives of the
plan would be reached and concluded.
This expanse of time would be gradual enough to allow
for adjustments and acclimation to the coming changes.
This could have a far-reaching effect in countering
increasing militarism in Southwest Asia. It could also
lead to a greater international peace and a new
direction for NATO. I believe lives can be saved and
enriched. Our origins are from a common root and our
destinies will be shared, as we are members of the
same extended family of man, and are children of the
one true God!

Thank you for your consideration.


Craig Scott Aberle Tel-(763)428-3988
P.O. Box #49 Dayton, MN 55327, USA.
PS. Please respond to these concepts.
Although my occupation is primarily in labor, I am an
amateur enthusiast and student of various kindred
antiquarian subjects such as Heraldry, Vexillology,
World History, Genealogy, Ethnography, Ethno History,
Biblical Historical Geography, Cultural Geography, and
Political Science, These subjects have captured my
interest for over twenty-five years.


8:19 PM  

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