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It appears now that U.S. President George W. Bush has finally come to grips with his policy failures, but instead of withdrawing from Iraq, he is looking to expand the regional conflict, as his recent speech mentioning Syria and Iran clearly indicates. If such an escalation were to ensue, it would change the entire situation not only in Iraq but the entire Middle East and would require no less an effort than that required for World War II — reinstatement of the U.S. military draft.

Undeniably, millions of U.S. soldiers spread over the entire Middle East region, most particularly Iran, would change events on the ground dramatically and possibly with great success, provided that insurgents weren’t supplied by Russia (and/or China), as was the case in Vietnam. That said, it would still require at least 2 million American soldiers after the initial conflict to stabilize the region, trillions of taxpayers’ dollars and a presence stretching over 20 years to secure democratic institutions.

Alternatively both Democratically controlled houses of Congress have been struggling to offer a cohesive alternative to pull America from the brink of defeat, but one solution continues to elude even the most pragmatic politician: dialogue! Not dialogue merely for dialogue’s sake as set out by the Baker-Hamilton Commission but real discourse without simplistic worldviews of right vs. wrong, evil vs. good, us vs. them and rich vs. poor. Within this dialogue, human beings must be accepted as capable of the most horrendous crimes when pushed against a wall — a wall invariably caused by poverty.

joe rankin

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