Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Civil War By Any Other Name is Still Civil War

Kofi Annan’s second five-year term as UN Secretary-General will end on December 31, 2006. Since 1997, when he replaced Egypt’s Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt as Secretary General, Kofi Annan has lead the UN through turbulent times. He has nothing to lose now by speaking his mind. Yesterday, while talking to the British Broadcasting Corporation, Annan said Iraq was the toughest issue he had dealt with during his 10 years in office. He said, "we could have stopped the war if weapons inspectors had been given more time.” He agreed when it was suggested that some Iraqis believe life is worse now than it was under Hussein's regime. "I think they are right in the sense of the average Iraqi's life," Annan said. "If I were an average Iraqi obviously I would make the same comparison, that they had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, 'Am I going to see my child again?'” A society needs minimum security and a secure environment for it to get on, he said. Adding, “without security, not much can be done…A few years ago, when we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war. This is much worse.” Annan said he “did everything I could" to stop the war taking place in the first place. He said he was not sure that Iraq could resolve its sectarian strife now without international help. In its report on Annan’s comments to the BBC, UK’s "Guardian Unlimited" said, “Annan gave no statistics but the latest UN report on human rights in Iraq says that 3,000 civilians are dying every month. There is also an accelerating exodus of Iraqis, with some 100,000 leaving each month for the safety of Syria, Jordan, and the Gulf states.” Meanwhile, venerable Helen Thomas who served for 57 years as White House bureau chief for UPI (until Sun Myung Moon bought the wire service in 2000), said in her Hearst Newspaper column on December 1 that the Iraq Study Group won’t “rock the boat”. “This is unfortunate,” she said, “because the dire mess in Iraq demands bold action by the U.S. The real solution is a cakewalk out of Iraq tomorrow. The world would stand in shock and awe. All it takes is courage.” Well, yes…courage. Plus integrity and honesty and a love for the United States of America that surpasses and overrides self-serving ego-driven arrogance. All of which is in short supply in the Bush administration. Oh, and Helen Thomas should have mentioned that we also need a sane president who lives in reality not a delusional sociopath who smirks and fumbles his way around the world in the absurd belief that he looks strong, charismatic and irresistible.

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