Iraq: Use The Bush Doctrine to correct the past
The Bush Doctrine. What does it mean? First, the U.S. will no longer play the role of Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” who gets beaten to a pulp before he rises from the canvas to defeat his brutal opponent. Secondly, the heads of state who send terrorists to kill us are no longer “off-limits.” Thirdly, our attacks will be unending until each and every terrorist leader is destroyed.
As Mark Twain liked to say, “Always do right. This will please some people and astonish the rest.” The Bush Doctrine pleased many Americans, displeased the morally and spiritually bankrupt leaders of the “Old Europe,” and astonished virtually everyone else.
When President Bush said, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them,” he included the heads of governments who sponsor terrorism or harbor terrorists. They are no long “King’s X.” Essentially, President Bush adopted what the late, great General Curtis LeMay tried to tell LBJ: “Instead of swatting flies, we need to go after the manure pile.”
Too bad The Bush Doctrine was not in effect in Vietnam. Instead of losing over 58,000 young men and women, our first step would have been to take out Ho Chi Minh, General Giap and the rest of the communist leadership in Hanoi. End of story.
In the wake of 9/11, making the case for preemptive strikes and for decapitating governments or movements that take up arms against us wasn’t difficult. But to find precedent for an open-ended war, former Bush speech writer, David Frum, had to go back to President Roosevelt’s speech of December 8, 1941 when FDR declared, “…we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make certain this form of treachery will never threaten us again.”
But let this observer suggest the addition of a fourth element for The Bush Doctrine. Use it to correct the mistakes of the Treaty of Versailles. In essence, Versailles was a job-security program for the old crowned heads of Europe. Minus, of course, the losers: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey
Versailles also insured “Old Europe’s” colonial empires in the Middle East and Africa got more than their fair share of the oil, gold, diamonds and other natural resources. Ethnicity, language, religion and cultural affinities were ignored.
Decades later, Sir Winston Churchill regretted the way that he, as British Colonial Secretary, drew the map of Iraq. With perfect hindsight, he should have created a separate Kurdistan.
Like Caesar’s Gaul, Iraq needs to be divided administratively into three parts: the Kurdish Autonomous Area, the Shiite Autonomous Area and, for now, the Sunni Triangle. Our Coalition would then become the “honest broker” between the three parts. With the Kurdish Autonomous Area and Shiite Autonomous Area up and running (giving the Coalition the opportunity to concentrate its forces on and subdue the Sunni Triangle), the Sunni Triangle then becomes the supplicant handmaiden of the Kurds, the Shiite majority and the Coalition.
Thus, if the Sunnis want any part of the oil-rich future of the eventual Iraq to come, they must behave like the minority they are and will always be. Otherwise, the Shiite majority and the fierce Kurds may decide to seek retribution for those long years of brutal repression by Saddam and his Sunni kinsmen.
Kurdish autonomy would upset Turkey, Iran and Syria. But who cares? Turkey wouldn’t let our troops pass through to northern Iraq. Both Iran and Syria deserve to have The Bush Doctrine applied to them. Take a number. Wait in line.
Thus far, the forward-looking Bush Doctrine serves us well; however, it also needs the retrospective element of correcting past wrongs. We could start by creating a democratic and tripartite Iraq based on ethnicity and religious homogeneity, not on what made sense to British Petroleum in 1918. What we do won’t be perfect; however, we should not let perfect be the enemy of good.
William Hamilton, a retired military officer, syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two novels about terrorism directed against America.
©2004. William Hamilton.