Now we know:
A) That there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
B) There was no al-Qaida in Iraq on 9/11.
C) From 1993 until we attacked in 2003 -- for 10 years -- there was no terrorism by Saddam against the United States.
D) Saddam was not involved in the 9/11 attack on the United States.
E) Mideast people are generally of the Islam religion and tribal in culture. The Islam religion is strong -- those who don't adhere are considered infidels.
F) Mideast countries don't yearn for democracy -- Kuwait, liberated from Saddam, didn't opt for democracy.
G) In "A World Transformed," President "Papa" Bush warned, "We should not march into Baghdad ... turning the whole Arab world against us ... assigning young soldiers ... to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war."
H) We went into Baghdad anyway.
I) As the CIA author of "Imperial Hubris" wrote, "There is nothing that bin Laden could have hoped for more than the invasion and occupation of Iraq."
J) Now we are the infidel. Our invasion has turned Iraq into a shooting gallery and a recruitment center for al-Qaida.
K) The majority of the Iraqi people want us gone.
L) Even with Saddam out, many feel it wasn't worth the lives of 900 killed, 5,000 maimed for life and $200 billion.
M) Now most people of the United States think the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.
We also know that:
A) Terrorism did not start on 9/11. Terrorism has been going on in Northern Ireland for 35 years. Terrorism now persists between India and Pakistan and between the Kurds and the Turks.
B) Terrorism is not a war but a weapon. We don't call World War II the Blitzkrieg War or the Battle of the Light Brigade the Cavalry War.
C) Terrorism against the United States is based on our policy in the Mideast. Osama bin Laden hit us because of our presence in Saudi Arabia and policy in Israel/Palestine.
D) Everyone knows that Israel is a U.S. commitment.
E) We have maintained this commitment for 37 years with an evenhanded policy between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
F) But President Bush changed the policy of negotiations, confirming Israeli settlements, and invading Iraq to secure Israel by democratizing the Mideast.
G) U.S. News & World Report and others keep parroting that terrorists hit us "because of our values" and hate us "because of who we are." Not so! It is our Mideast policy they oppose.
The way to win the "war on terrorism" is to:
1) Seek out al-Qaida and the Taliban and eliminate them.
2) Secure Iraq so that democracy can work.
3) Publicly renounce pre-emptive war.
4) Rather than invasion, use capitalism to spread democracy, which is now working in China.
5) Return to the evenhanded policy of negotiations with Israel and Palestine.
6) Start rebuilding both Israel and Palestine.
Everyone laments our predicament after just one year's occupation of Iraq. Imagine 37 years' occupation of Palestine. Anyone with get up and go has gotten up and gone. Palestine is left with the hopeless and embittered. There is no leadership, hardly anything to lead. But embittered refugees from without lead with terrorism. A Palestinian state must first be built in order to be recognized. It can't be built while homes are bulldozed, settlements extended and walls are constructed. Our hypocrisy is obvious. We hail President Reagan for saying, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," but now we say, "Mr. Sharon, put up this wall." There are 1 million Arabs in Israel's population of 6 million. For years the people of Israel and Palestine were learning to live together. The Arab soccer team just won the national championship of Israel. But the young of Israel and Palestine are now learning to kill together rather than to live together. This is creating terrorists big time, long term.
People the world around respect America for its stand for freedom and individual rights. It's time to stop this wag of people "hating us" and against us "because of our values." It's not our values or people, but our Mideast policy they oppose. We need to return to evenhandedness and active negotiations in the Mideast. Then we can begin to win the "war on terrorism" and regain our moral authority in the world.
Ernest Hollings is South Carolina's senior U.S. senator.
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