New American Patriotism - Part 4: Iraq

Foreign policy and military affairs is really what sets Clark head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. General Clark gave a speech in South Carolina yesterday outlining his stategy for dealing with Iraq. The General acknowledges that the US cannot just pack up and leave now that the postwar is killing American soldiers on an almost daily basis. The General explains that we need a clear definition of success: that Iraq become strong enough to sustain itself without significant outside help, but that it does not become so strong that it again threatens its neighbors. This is a carbon copy of our postwar Germany & Japan strategies. Success can only be achieved if Iraq develops a representative form of government to become a model for the rest of the Middle East. If Iraq is permitted to become the next Al Qaeda training camp, then we have not succeeded. How do we succeed? 1. Incorporate more non-US troops; 2. Reconfigure the occupation force in Iraq; 3. Turn civilian control over to Iraqis; and 4. Rebuild our alliances. General Clark, who has first-hand experience as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO - Europe, believes that the Atlantic Charter need to be re-formulated - no member State would be able to veto the US, but the treaty would redefine common threats and require member States to promise to act together as a first choice - not a last one. Instead of going it alone, as Bush has seen fit to do, we can and must get our allies, who share our interests, to also share our challenges. We led the Cold War era not by compulsion, but by convincing our allies. General Clark proposes shifting occupation responsibility from the US to NATO, and to invite Arab nations to join, as well. The reconstruction should be internationalized, and an Iraqi Reconstruction Council should be formed. Finally, we need a greater mix of Special Forces to combat the growing threat to troops on the ground in Iraq, and tighter border controls to prevent infiltration by non-Iraqi jihadists. Iraq belongs to the Iraqis. We must facilitate their success by giving them a stake in their own destiny. "We must be a country that listens, and leads again," Clark said. "A country that is respected, not resented. Not for its military might or material wealth, but for its values and vision; for the greatness of its goals, and for the generosity of its spirit. Respected more than feared, by nations rich and poor, Christian, Jews, and Muslim. A country governed by people with ideals, not radical ideologies. A nation where citizens speak their minds, demand more of their leaders, and serve their country. It's what I call a New American Patriotism."

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