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Foreign Correspondent
by international syndicated columnist & broadcaster Eric Margolis


Copyright: Eric S. Margolis, 2004

8 November 2004

NEW YORK- George Bush's narrow victory over dull, uninspiring John Kerry was a well-deserved personal triumph for the president. But it would not have happened without brilliant Republican strategist Karl Rove, who managed a remarkable win for Bush in spite of failing to prevent 9/11, two failing wars abroad, a weak economy, and monster budget deficits.

From what New Yorkers call `fly-over country,' rural Protestant fundamentalists rose up in a jihad to vote for `moral issues,' providing Bush with the margin of victory. They somehow ignoring the fact that Bush could not tell the truth about Iraq and lied the US into a ghastly war.

The president must now resume dealing with the problems of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the real, if overstated, threat from violent anti-American groups, aka the `war on terrorism.'

Bush again vowed to `win' the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. By which he means staging elections producing pliable pro-American regimes. Such as recent Afghan elections, where the US-installed figurehead, Hamid Karzi, to no surprise, won a landslide. But this election impressed only Americans.

The Afghan vote, hailed by the White House and US media as `Afghanistan's first-ever elections,' was, in reality, a déjà vu of rigged elections held in 1986 and 1987 by the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan. These votes `elected' the Kremlin's puppet ruler, Najibullah. Karzai was `elected' in identical fashion: real opposition parties declared `terrorists' and banned, ballots rigged, and warlords massively bribed.

Afghanistan's faux election is to be the model for US-run elections in Iraq next January. While the White House will proclaim the Iraqi vote a victory for democracy, the exercise will rightly be seen in Iraq and across the Mideast as a fraud. The winner is already known: Iraq's US-installed figurehead ruler, Iyad Allawi.

Phony elections that exclude from power Iraq's and Afghanistan's main ethnic or religious groups, that install hated minorities or stooges, and from which nationalist parties and figures opposed to foreign occupation are banned, guarantee continued violence and instability.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, costing a least US $6.5 billion monthly, are, at best stalemated; at worst, lost. The aim of war is to achieve political goals. Both interventions have failed on the strategic level since US political goals have not been realized in either nation. The regimes that claim to rule Iraq and Afghanistan rely totally on foreign bayonets to keep them in power. Once US and other foreign troops leave, this little Vichy regimes will quickly collapse.

Bush must decide to continue these hugely expensive, debilitating wars that cannot be won in the political or military sense, or find some face-saving way out.

The president must deal with terrorism. Killing Osama bin Laden will not eliminate the anti-American hatred surging across the Muslim World, where the US is facing a spreading insurgency against its political and economic domination. Americans have yet to understand this fact.

Military responses to threats against the US are certainly in order, but there will be no end to the so-called war on terrorism until political solutions are found to its leading causes.

President Bush has shown plenty of stick in his first term. Now, he needs to offer some carrot. Freed in his second term from having to appease supporters of Greater Israel and their Protestant fundamentalist allies, Bush now has a splendid opportunity to resolve the basic cause of anti-American terrorism: Palestine - as Britain's PM Tony Blair rightly noted this week.

By imposing a just peace on Israel and Palestinians, Bush could eliminate the primary incubator of anti-US hatred across the Muslim and non-Muslim World. Step two: pull US troops out of no-win wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - particularly after horrifying charges made by reputable US and British academic analysts that US forces have killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians since 2003, most of them civilians.

Step three: foster real democracy in the Muslim World. This means reforming US-backed authoritarian, anti-democratic regimes in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, and Pakistan.

That is how President Bush can help minimize terrorism, strengthen world order, and regain the worldwide admiration, respect, and support for America that was lost during his first awkward, bellicose term.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2004

Note to readers on current books:

  • I heartily recommend `Imperial Hubris,' a brilliant summary by `Anonymous,' CIA's chief bin Laden analyst of the reasons behind terror attacks on the west, and about the nature of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. The best book to date on the subject, and one that contradicts conventional wisdom and gives the lie to the media's distorted view of events. A must read. My highest rating.

  • For those who enjoy history and intrigue, I also strong recommend `The Serpent and the Moon,' by Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, the unofficial historian of the British Royal Family. This book presents the fascinating saga of the famed rivalry between Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers during the French Renaissance. Princess Michael's book is a magnificent tapestry that evokes the splendor of that era, and also a blazing page-turner filled with unforgettable anecdotes and bizarre behavior. It is also a touching love story between Diane and King Henri II, a man nineteen years her junior. This is the third of Princess Michael's books I've read, and I am craving more.

To read previous columns by Mr. Margolis: Click here

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    Eric Margolis
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