Friday, November 02, 2007

Blood in Baghdad

The spectre of bomb explosions, shootings, terrorist attacks, deaths, killings, destruction continues to repeat itself in Iraq. Increase in either the numbers or spread of US military forces will not correct the situation. It’s sad the cradle of Mesopotamian civilization, also the land from where Caliphs reigned, has been brought to this pass. To blame George Bush or Saddam Hussein is to inflate the power of individuals over historical processes.

Madeline Albright, former US Secretary of State, while noting that the US invasion of Iraq was misplaced makes a sublime comment worth pondering over. She writes ‘while our troops face death every day, the least the President can do is to face the truth’.

Ms. Albright claims that if President Bush admits the pre-war criticism of military intervention in Iraq was right, countries in Europe, Arab world and elsewhere will come forward to assist in ensuring peace and stability in Iraq as continued anarchy in that country could lead to chaos elsewhere. This could reduce the pressure on US troops as also limit American casualties. She cites the example of the Balkans where the US, EU and UN aided by international opinion was able to convert a war-torn region in to a zone of peace.

Ms.Albright who understands the divisive nature of politics and society in Iraq suggests that the only workable option here as in similar situations elsewhere is to develop a political power sharing arrangement that recognizes majority rule while protecting minority rights. This is not simple; it requires a psychological transformation that prepares people to compete for power peacefully instead of plotting how to survive amidst anarchy.

Ms.Albright as Secretary of State justified the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Kuwait war forgtting such sanctions cause hardship only to the innocent and the poor who were in no way responsible for Saddam Hussein's excesses. But being away from the centres of power and decision making for a few years, and spending time to reflect and ponder in the light of experience, she suggests a sensible exit for the United States while ensuring peace in Iraq.

Hoping her ideas will have many listeners!