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Jul-08-2008 10:44printcomments

Beyond Troop Withdrawal: Planning Ahead for Peace

Just as Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day, the same must be said for Baghdad and Kabul. But start we must!

The image of the Afghan hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the "Lion of Panjshir", is posted all over this country. He led the defeat of the Soviet Union as a commander of the Mujahadeen forces during the 1980's. Photo by Tim King Salem-News.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - Having just returned from beautiful Puget Sound and the Seabeck Conference on Social Justice and Peace, I am even more aware that pro-peace progressives do not accept troop withdrawal as a "panacea for peace".

In point of fact, this represents merely Step #1. If we simply pull out and do nothing more, we are committing the counterpart of President Bush's shock-and-awe-and- leave-them-in the lurch strategy. We are practicing simplistic naivete. It is true that Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds have their deep-rooted differences, but peaceful resolution is an imperative option. That is no less important than that of promoting a peaceful multicultural American society.

From what I gleaned from attendees, here are several tangible steps we can pursue:

1. Shared Diplomacy: Actively having the UN and the Arab League take part. This may include peacekeeping.

2. Koranic Scholar Role: Using the text of the Koran to spread conflict resolution principles to public officials throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, including the police.

3. Job Development Centers: Retrofitting existing army bases into job training sites geared to rebuilding the eroded infrastructure of each country.

4. Green Initiative: Have solar power and like techniques interwoven into future projects, using the Greenburg, KS model as one rebuilt after a devastating tornado struck. 5. Cultural Interchange: Apply Fulbright-style schooling in Europe and the US for scholars of the Mideast. Help us to appreciate their music, art and literature as well.

Just as Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day, the same must be said for Baghdad and Kabul. But start we must!

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Ernesto Hernadez, MSW July 9, 2008 12:26 pm (Pacific time)

Bigger and more urgent problems at hand. With the La Raza twins scheduled to speak at the National Council of La Raza this Saturday, I devoted my afternoon today to telling the truth about “The Race.” I’ve debated these points before, but they are worth repeating as McCain, Obama, and the press whitewash “The Race’s” , [aka La Raza] open-borders radicalism. Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics reports that a new La Raza/The Race preschool has opened up in Seattle–subsidized with tax dollars. Meanwhile, San Diego has gone ahead and passed its mayoral-backed resolution declaring La Raza/The Race Day. Those who protested the decision were slammed as…racists. 15 things you should know about “The Race

sts July 8, 2008 6:32 pm (Pacific time)

I disagree with this author 100 million percent. We need to leave. As Ron Paul said, we walked in, we can walk out. The logic of this author makes me know the federal government intervening in the public school system worked. The basics of the nature and charateristics of the middle eastern people are not understood. Thus, failure is bound to happen. Quit trying to force OUR policy on others, when OUR policy is not working either. We walked in, we can walk out. South Vietnam is doing just fine thank you very much. EVERYONE knows this war was started on lies, propaganda, and greed. The Iraqi people know this. Please, author of this article. Read some history. I am a patriot, do you think that if you make schools, or new programs, or invite the UN to teach me I am going to change my mind? I wont, neither will the people of the middle east. It saddens me that you dont understand the true feeling that comes from a persons heart, and think you can change that to fit YOUR concensus of what the world should be

Henry Ruark July 8, 2008 4:47 pm (Pacific time)

To All: No possible way to spell out "victory" in this desperate example of snatch-the-oil game. IF we let it lapse still further from moral-stand now demanded, via attack on Iran, we will have earned precisely what will, in all probability, follow very rapidly: The "Big Boom" which millions will hear as their last-audible sound; followed by the "rain of ashes and cinders" we know is a certainty. After that, nothing else much will matter, ever again.. even if some few survive to seek whatever solace may still be possible, wherever, under whatever conditons-then. Human relationships depend on dialog, for peaceful purposes; they are far too often circumvented, prevented, and even deadly-denied, when some seek selfish, malign advantage built on sadly overwhelming dollar-worshiping culture, denying any other natural determination of any more-normal economic relationship. See original Adam Smith on "the invisible hand" for what that can, should and must now become.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.