Somewhere on A1A...

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

An explanation I like about the origins of the use of that Hebrew word came to mind this morning. In ancient times when common folks spoke Aramaic, yet the Holy Language of prayer was Hebrew, they relied on the priests or rabbis to read the prayers. (has anything really changed?) The non-Hebrew speaking public participated in prayer by saying, “Amen" when the reading was finished. It can be loosely translated as "so be it" or by, “What he said!" This morning Thomas Friedman got a "what he said" out of me with the description of his gut feelings about war with Iraq. Especially:

My main criticism of President Bush is that he has failed to acknowledge how unusual this war of choice is — for both Americans and the world — and therefore hasn't offered the bold policies that have to go with it. Instead, the president has hyped the threat and asserted that this is a war of no choice, then combined it all with his worst pre-9/11 business as usual: budget-busting tax cuts, indifference to global environmental concerns, a gas-guzzling energy policy, neglect of the Arab-Israeli peace process and bullying diplomacy.

And this brings me to my last gut feeling: despite all the noise, a majority of decent people in the world still hunger for a compromise that forces Saddam to comply, or be exposed, and does not weaken America.

So, Mr. President, before you shake the dice on a legitimate but audacious war, please, shake the dice just once on some courageous diplomacy. Pick up where Woodrow Wilson left off: fly to Paris, bring the leaders of France, Russia, China and Britain together, along with the chairman of the Arab League summit, and offer them any reasonable amount of time for more inspections — if they will agree on specific disarmament benchmarks Saddam has to meet and support an automatic U.N. authorization of force if he doesn't. If France still snubs you, the world will see that you are the one trying to preserve collective security, while France only wants to make mischief. That will be very important to the legitimacy of any war.
If, however, the President knows of an imminent threat from Iraq and the terrorists it supports, then he should make it known to the world and act without delay.


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