Monday, March 31, 2008

In order to achieve real peace, war may be necessary at times

I found a very interesting article on the "Daily Mirror", a Sri Lankan media outlet. The article is about the escalation in fighting between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, an insurgent group that is seeking the creation of an independent state and has employed many tactics that have been copied by other extremist organizations around the world. Anyway, there is a big debate in Sri Lanka and among the international community over whether or not a full-scale offensive by government forces to crush the rebel movement is the best option, or if a true peace agreement combined with aggressive diplomacy would be a better road to take. Well, the government and the LTTE have already made up their minds, and have engaged in fierce fighting in the north in recent weeks, along with the LTTE's continued use of bombings and ambushes. The thing is though, much of this was happening even when both sides had signed onto a peace treaty.

When I read it, I couldn't help but think of the debate here in the United States over foreign policy. How often do politicians exchange views over whether or not we should engage Iran and Syria, or demand we withdraw from Iraq even before the insurgency has been defeated. Perhaps the USA has more in common with a tiny island-nation in the Indian Ocean than we might think. The big difference though, is that Sri Lanka's leaders are debating the next step as the fighting rages in their own backyard. Imagine if our leaders were debating the war on terrorism while it was taking place on our homeland and American cities were under siege from mortar shelling, gunfire, and suicide bombers like Sri Lanka has been dealing with for decades.

In my opinion, war is sometimes necessary to succeed in making the world a safer place in the long run, although a complex war like the one in Sri Lanka might be more difficult to address. Decisions like removing Saddam Hussein and the Taliban from power and intervening in Bosnia are certainly critical to achieving peace. No matter how hot the debate gets, sitting back and allowing someone like Saddam Hussein to massacre his own people is far from achieving "peace", and withdrawing from Iraq early would be the same.

Diplomacy is the best option available if the two sides actually want peace. For example, conflicts like the one in Northern Ireland have been resolved by doing so. Israelis and Palestinians seem to want peace, and have been holding talks even as terror groups like Hamas do everything possible to sabotage them. In the end, that conflict will have to be resolved through dialogue, and I believe that both sides understand that given the horrendous suffering the 60-year conflict has caused.

At the same time, we cannot be nieve and live in a fantasy world. Proposals like the one being suggested by Pakistan's new Prime Minister to "engage" with the Taliban (yes, the same Taliban that has been gleefully massacring Pakistanis with nail bombs, assassinating the country's leaders, and setting it on a path of death and destruction) will only lead to failure.

Peace is a difficult road and there is no single solution to acheiving it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dancing for genocide

Found this in the New York Times:

The heavy fighting that broke out last week as Iraqi security forces tried to oust Shiite militias from Basra is reverberating on the presidential campaign trail and posing new challenges and opportunities to the candidates, particularly Senator John McCain .

The fierce fighting — and the threat that it could undo a long-term truce that has greatly helped to reduce the level of violence in Iraq — thrust the war back into the headlines and the public consciousness just as it had been receding behind a tide of economic concerns.

How cute. As the Iraqis finally take a stand against the Iranian axis of terror that has wrapped southern Iraq in a death grip, we have none other than the biased media once again beating the drums of failure. But wait, it gets worse:
The Democrats, who are calling for phased troop withdrawals, are beginning to point to the fighting in Basra as evidence that the American troop buildup has failed to provide stability and political reconciliation — particularly if the fighting leads one militia, the Mahdi Army , to pull out of its cease-fire; that could lead to a new spate of sectarian violence across the country. Some are saying the fighting strengthens their case for troop withdrawals.

Is anyone willing to look past their own personal politics anymore? Do we really have to go back on this road again? Please people, go back to debating issues like about the vicious campaign ads, but please don't drag innocent people into this. This is a time where we should be supporting the Iraqis' decision to route out these terrorists and criminal elements that are loaded with Iranian cash and weapons. This is not about right and left...its not about George W. Bush, and its not about the presidential election. Instead, its about our moral values and the difference between right and wrong. For the sake of preventing the slaughter of innocent people, let's finish the job and not make the same mistakes we did with Basra in 1991, when we abandoned the Iraqi Shiites and left them at the hands of the Republican Guard.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Culture battles

In South Thailand, where the Muslim World meets the primarily Buddhist realm of Southeast Asia, the cultural differences have amounted to conflict, war, and bloodshed. Unlike the Middle East and Central Asia, where homicidal fanatics have justified their actions by hijacking the religion of Islam and are using it to accomplish a political agenda, this conflict seems to be happening because of religious issues that are not understood among the opposing sides, and unfortunately, the failure to do so has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.

On a daily basis, its not uncommon for South Thailand to experience multiple shootings, bombings, or other extremist attacks. Some target security forces, others target schools and religious institutions.

Volunteer Assistance:

The failure to reach an understanding in South Thailand makes it that much harder to try and provide aid to the many people who are suffering due to the violence. For example, Northern Thailand, which is considered to be very peaceful, has numerous community development projects taking place where the locals and international volunteers are working together. If the religious differences in Southern Thailand could be addressed by the local people and the international community, the same action could be taken there as well.

On a personal note, I should add that Thailand is at the top of my list for countries to volunteer in next year, in addition to Tanzania.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Democrat infighting and Iran's antics: Which will be a bigger factor?

These last few weeks, Senator John Mccain has had the opportunity to prove to voters that he is the best choice for president. Indeed, while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been destroying one another in the civil war that is threatening to split the Democratic Apart, Mccain has been traveling overseas, pledging support to our allies, and actively raising money on the campaign trail. Recent Gallup Polls have placed Mccain several points ahead of both Obama and Clinton, especially on Iraq. All the while, he has been facing very little resistance as the left and the democratic party focus their fury on one another.

Still, there are outside forces that can threaten the outcome of the election more than Jeremiah Wright's tirades, Bill Richardson being labeled "Judas", and Bill Clinton being compared to Joseph McCarthy, all of which the democrats have inflicted on themselves with a ferocity that rivals the attacks on President Bush. There are far more threatening challenges out there, and one of them could very well be the Islamic Republic of Iran.

From the BBC:

The most senior US general in Iraq has said he has evidence that Iran was behind Sunday's bombardment of Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.
Gen David Petraeus told the BBC he thought Tehran had trained, equipped and funded insurgents who fired the barrage of mortars and rockets.

He said Iran was adding what he described as "lethal accelerants" to a very combustible mix

Isn't that just lovely? Once again, now that Iraq has set itself on the right track, Iran has decided that it does not like that idea. As disturbing as it is to suggest, Iran does have the ability to influence the US Presidential election by activating one, perhaps two, Mahdi Army splinter cells in places like Baghdad and southern Iraq. On Friday, the cease-fire declared by Muqtada Al-Sadr was threatened as Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen battle it out in the southern city of Basra. If you watch the morning news, you will likely get the impression that the fighting is nothing more than internal instability among Iraq's factions, which could be precisely what the Mullahs in Tehran and their surrogate fighters want.

The idea of a terrorist-state influencing who the leader of the free world will be is enough to unnerve any good American. But why would the Iranians want to do that? Well, for one thing, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have called for a withdrawal from Iraq and face-to-face meeting with Iran's leaders. They have also labeled Bush's policies as the main reason for Iran's actions across the Middle East, even though Iran has been destabilizing the region with a vast network of terror cells for decades, long before President Bush ever stepped into the Oval Office. With that, an Obama or Clinton administration with a perceived weakness on foreign policy would give Iran the opportunity to dominate the region and increase its standing on the world stage.

Replenishing a shortage of villains:

So what do the terrorists do when they're infrastructure has been destroyed and the people of Iraq have turned against them? Basically, they import some more terrorists, and Iran, Syria, and other countries export death to Iraq's cities. As I write this, I can't help but think of it as a hotline...1-800-Henchmen (remember, DieHard last year?). Well, I think that sums it up pretty good. It's almost humorous to picture Mookie Al-Sadr and the other insurgent groups getting on the phone with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his puppet masters in Tehran to order more thugs, criminals, and murderers over the border. The truth is, that might not be that far off from how it works.

The difference though, is that this is very real. It not only threatens the innocent people caught in the middle of this in Iraq and elsewhere, but the broader world as well. Unfortunately, America and our allies overseas are divided like never before, and the people who want to make the world a more dangerous place are working overtime to exploit that.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Looking for the good in the world

The news has just crossed the wires that the U.S. death toll in Iraq has hit 4,000. To many though, this will not be a time to reflect on their sacrifice...instead it will be a chance to spin this into some kind of propaganda to use solely for political purposes, whether its the antiwar left, the isolationist right, or Al-Qaeda's media wing, Al-Sahab. The fact that we have reached a point like that is shameful.

However, instead of just counting the deaths of soldiers and Iraqis, I would like to talk about what is really happening in Iraq. Something that the majority of Americans are not hearing about because its just not as important to the Nightly News as the latest body count.

This is from the Los Angeles Times:

The comeback of Fallouja, the site of two major battles between Marines and insurgents in 2004, surprises even the most optimistic U.S. planners.

"It continues to outpace all expectations," said Navy Capt. John Dal Santo, part of a State Department-funded effort called the Provincial Reconstruction Team for Fallouja.

City Council leader Sheik Hamed Ahmed said that he was pleased with the city's progress but that he needed more generators for his neighborhood. Ahmed's three predecessors were assassinated by insurgents, but he has refused to back down.

"Fallouja is alive again," he said.

Restaurants, bakeries, photo shops, tire stores, Internet cafes, a body-building studio and other businesses line the avenues and side streets. BMWs share lanes with donkey carts on congested thoroughfares.

It's amazing, isn't it? A region that was once written off as a lost cause has managed to rise up against the evil that is political terrorism. Less than a year and a half ago, things looked very different, yet the Iraqi people managed to turn the situation around.

The article continues:

There have been soccer tournaments and art contests. And there are plans for a soft-drink bottling plant.

"Fallouja has gone through a metamorphosis -- these people want their lives back," said Lt. Col. Christopher Dowling, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. "Fallouja has its soul back."
Several hundred Marines live side by side with Iraqi police officers in outposts across the city. In five months, Dowling's Marines have carried out 7,000 patrols in the city and its suburbs without suffering a fatality or major injury.

This is just one of the many success stories that are happening in Iraq. Instead of looking for the news that will divide a country that was once unified and bring about more devastation, maybe we should find the stories that will help make the world a better place.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

When the facts tell a different story...

On Tuesday, when speaking in Amman, Jordan, Senator John Mccain came under attack for suggesting that Al-Qaeda militants are working with Iran in their effort to bring about instability to Iraq. Sure enough, the critics came out swinging, saying that Iran and Al-Qaeda could never work together because Iran is a Shiite theocracy and Al-Qaeda adheres to a radical Sunni Muslim ideology. But then again, Iran's actions across the Middle East indicate it is a lot more interested in achieving power and influence as opposed to preserving a Shiite system of beliefs. For one thing, Iran is the primary supporter of Hamas, a terrorist group that "adheres" to the Sunni denomination of Islam. Hmmmmm...why would Iran, which is Shiite, want to work with Hamas?

From the Jerusalem Post:

A week after Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin informed the cabinet that Hamas terrorists train in Iran, a commander in the extremist militia admitted as much to The Sunday Times.

Reportedly, the group has been sending gunmen to train with Iran's Revolutionary Guards for the past two years. Currently, the unnamed commander told the British paper, some 150 gunmen are being trained.

Hamas's members enter Iran via Syria and avoid having their passports stamped. Syria is also home to "more basic training" than that given in Iran. Gunmen deemed of outstanding quality receive extra training and return to train others in Gaza.

The most promising members of each group stay longer for an advanced course and return as trainers themselves, he said. Those unfit for combat return to "serve" in a research unit.

To read more about Hamas' admission about the group's involvement with Iran, the Times Online gives a more detailed analysis.

Anyway, so maybe that debunks the incorrect assumption that terrorists who adhere to different beliefs are unwilling to put that aside for the sake of fighting a common enemy, which in this case would be Israel. But Mccain specifically mentioned Al-Qaeda. While any connections to Iran and the notorious Al-Qaeda in Iraq seem more sketchy, it has been documented in the 9/11 commission Report that Iran may have looked the other way as AQ terrorists were passing through its borders. It's also been suggested that Iranian officials maintained contact with AQ's leadership.

Then there's the allegations that suggest Iran is supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. If you listen to the critics, the Iranians would never do such a thing, seeing as the Taliban, like Al-Qaeda, are "Sunni extremists". But there's one thing Iran might regard as more of a threat than the Taliban--a democratic Afghanistan on its doorstep. Indeed, if the Afghan reconstruction efforts succeed, it could be a severe blow to Iran's attempts to clamp down on the pro-democracy movement inside its own borders. Therefore, is it all that surprising that the Iranian soldiers patrolling the border would be willing to pass off caches of weapons to Taliban insurgents if they knew if was going to be used to kill American and coalition soldiers?

In the end though, these people--Iran, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Taliban--betray everything the religion of Islam teaches by murdering innocent people and justifying violence by holding a Koran in one hand, and an Ak-47 or a bomb detonator in the other. If they are okay with doing that, why would they care if they had to work together with a group that has hijacked a different denomination?

I do not know what Mccain was thinking when he made the statements. Maybe he has researched this issue and read through some of the reports (like the ones I've linked to) or maybe he just assumed that terrorists are all like-minded murderers in the end. One thing's for sure though, no matter what they believe, both Iran and Al-Qaeda are determined to prevent progress towards reconciliation in Iraq, and are willing to kill those who get in their way.

Friday, March 14, 2008


The words of Barack Obama's Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, are disturbing. At times, you have to wonder if this guy actually believes what he is saying. To be fair, Obama has distanced himself from the comments, but nevertheless, these anti-American tirades are frightening.

However, Obama should explain to potential voters why he has been attending this particular church for so many years.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pakistan in fragments

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (pictured) and Benazir Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari have decided to form a coalition against President Musharraf in Pakistan. However, since Musharraf's party still controls a number of seats in the parliament, it's likely to result in political deadlock and lots of angry rhetoric between the two sides--much like Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. The terrorists who are targeting Pakistani cities do not seem to care who is in charge though, and they were perfectly willing to remind us of that today.

In my opinion, Nawaz Sharif is unintentionally helping the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants tear his country apart by taking such misguided actions based on vengeance (Musharraf ousted him from power back in 1999). However, if Nawaz, Zardari, and Musharraf all decided to put aside their differences for the good of the country, shake hands, and pledge to work towards unity even amid clear differences, it would inflict a tremendous hit on the terrorists--because it would send them the message that even after carrying out countless attacks and inflicting harm on thousands of people, they have failed in their attempt to divide the country. Such a move could seriously weaken their morale and their propaganda campaign.

Maybe it would even send a message to the politicians here in the United States, who spend more time looking out for their party than anything. Unfortunately though, this does not look good. If these people find a way to work together, it could bring hope...but if Musharraf is forced to resign and the new government takes ineffective action against the Islamic militants camped out along the border, they could very well be setting the stage for their own destruction. Because with Musharraf gone, and an American ally that could end up electing a president who could take embrace a more "non-interventionist" approach, the opposition might have no one to save them when the Taliban come marching on Islamabad.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Global Warming News!

When I first came upon this article, it took me a little while to verify that it was in fact real. But apparently, it is.

This is from the Sunday Herald in Scotland:

EVERY CLOUD could have a silver lining in the fight against global warming and the brighter, the better.

Professor Stephen Salter, a renowned engineer working at Edinburgh University, has hatched a plan to produce white clouds over the ocean to halt the catastrophic water heating associated with global warming.

In the worst-case scenario, where global "tipping points" such as the melting of the Arctic ice cap are reached, he claimed launching a fleet of cloud-producing drone ships could save Earth.

Salter, who is famed for inventing the "duck", a device that generates power by bobbing on waves, said: "We've got an explosive with the detonator in it, and when one goes off, it could trigger other explosives. That's why we need to have a number of solutions. I don't mean that we should continue burning coal and then just fix the consequences, that would be terrible. Just as a revolver has many bullets, we need several ideas."

mmmm...a fleet of cloud-producing drone ships ...I think that says it all right there. And to think, they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Terror in the holy city of Jerusalem

Israel experienced one if its worst terrorist attacks in almost two years on Thursday when a Palestinian gunman raked a Jewish Seminary with gunfire, killing eight people before being shot death himself. President Bush and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, but Hamas and other Palestinian militants "blessed" it...and threatened that more attacks would be coming.

Now I've never understood these Palestinian terror groups and what goes through their minds when they commit such evil acts. They claim to be fighting for the "liberation" of their people, but in the end, this attack will inflict more harm on innocent Palestinians than on Israelis, seeing as Israel will most likely retaliate against Hamas and Islamic Jihad installations in the Gaza Strip. It's also troubling that these people are carrying out attacks while Israelis and Palestinians are trying to work out a peace agreement. Obviously, terrorists groups like Hamas do not want peace...they just want to kill Jews, as well as Palestinians who choose not to go along with their call for the destruction of Israel.

Obviously, international diplomacy is a good thing. If two countries have differences but want peace in the end, then it is one of the best tools available. However, when the opposing side does not want peace and does not want to co-exist, it is useless. That point was proven last year when Hamas overthrew President Abbas' government in the Gaza strip and executed some of its members in the streets. At the same time, a simple military operation against Palestinian terrorism will not solve the problem fact, it could only make it worse in the long run. Instead, the Palestinians must be convinced that Hamas' use of political violence is not the solution and work together with Israelis to phase out such beliefs. Once the terrorists lose the support of the people, they're infrastructure falls apart, its that simple. The Anbar Province in Western Iraq is proof of that.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Alarming news from East Africa...

Violence in Somalia has forced thousands of people to leave their homes, and many of them have turned to fleeing across the ocean to Yemen. Unfortunately, the journey is dangerous, but its probably safer than waiting around in battle-scarred Mogadishu.

This is from the BBC:

"The United Nations refugee agency says there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people crossing the Gulf of Aden in smugglers' boats. The UNHCR said almost 9,000 people, most of them Somalis, arrived in Yemen's coastal waters in the first two months of this year.

That is three times as many as during the same period last year, the organisation said in a statement.

At least 113 people died and a further 200 are missing, presumed drowned.

Those making the crossing were crammed into 182 boats, the Geneva-based UNHCR said."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

If only it were this easy...

The race to become the leader of a superpower is no easy battle. To do so, one must raise a lot of money, know the issues, have experience, and appeal to the people--the voters who will decider whether or not they are fit to be leader. The current race for president here in the United States is a perfect example of just how difficult this accomplishment is. Just look at the ongoing battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, along with John McCain's struggle to win over conservative voters.

But what if it was easier? What if Hillary Clinton could simply decide that Barack Obama was not fit to be president and had the government shut his campaign down? What if President Bush decided he wanted to have a conservative in the White House in '09, and appointed Dick Cheney as the republican nominee, while eliminating the most serious challengers on the other side. Sure, to make sure it still looked like a "fair" election, maybe he would allow someone like Ralph Nader or Ron Paul to run, but in the end, his choice would end up being the victor. Yep, it would be pretty easy to hold onto power if you were in control of who could and could not run.

In Russia, that is exactly has happened. President Vladimir Putin, who is barred from running for a third term under the Russian Constitution, appointed a hand-picked successor to replace him. On March 2nd, Dmitry Medvedev, Putin's candidate, was elected to office with over 70% of the vote. Of course, its always a lot easier to win if the most formidable opponents are banned from running, protesters are beaten in the streets, and critics meet suspicious deaths. Now that he is stepping down as president, Putin is expected to take the role as Prime Minister...while his buddy Medvedev will serve as President. The most likely scenario is that Putin will be able to continue on with his current policies, while holding onto a seat of power.

This shouldn't be a surprise though. President Bush might consider Putin to be a "good man", but the west should have been able to see this coming. For years, Putin has been attempting to rebuild Russia's image by consolidating power across the region. His regime has restricted free speech and he has increased the production of military weapons, all while supporting countries like Iran and helping them enrich uranium.

It sure is an interesting way to hold on to power though, isn't it? If the bad blood between Clinton and Obama seems bad, or the antics of Anne Coulter attacking John Mccain seem intense, then you just need to have a look at what's unfolding in Moscow. Not to mention, some Americans might be unhappy with our current president, but at least they can verbally attack him without having to worry about being beaten or arrested.

One thing's for sure, Vladimir Putin is a scary man. Whoever wins the presidential election this November, he/she will have the task of dealing with Putin and the KGB...and it will not be easy.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hypocrisy, ignorance, or a little of both?

Yesterday, tensions exploded in the Gaza Strip as Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian militants, leaving some 65 people dead in what is being called the worst violence in years. Israel has been condemned by many in the international community, although the Jewish state shows no sign of backing down as Palestinian rockets continue to pound the Israeli border towns of Sderot and Ashkelon.

My View on this:

The truth is, I think Israel is making a mistake by launching such a massive operation during critical peace talks with the moderate Palestinian government in the West Bank. In fact, they are doing exactly what Hamas wants, which is for the peace process to be destroyed. In the end, I will always defend Israel's right to exist, but if they had responded to this crisis by calling for more peace talks with the moderates even as rockets are being lobbed over the border, it would show the terrorist groups that their efforts have failed and could very well inflict more harm on Hamas' propaganda outlets than any missile or artillery strike.

However, this is where I am confused. As the international community condemns Israel over this so-called "bloodbath", Taliban militants have unleashed all-out chaos across northwestern Pakistan, killing scores of people in a series of suicide bombings and other attacks. On Sunday alone, some 40 people were killed when a bomber blew himself up at a reconciliation meeting among tribal leaders. Just 48 hours earlier, scores of others met a similar fate when another blast ripped through a funeral procession in the scenic Swat Valley. Sadly, the funeral was being held for a police commander who had been killed hours earlier in a roadside attack. Among the dead at the funeral attack was the policeman's 16-year old son.

Where is the outrage over this? Where are the cries for peace and restraint when these evil people unleash their waves of terror upon innocent Muslims? Arab leaders are not referring to this as a "holocaust", even though the casualties caused by these terrorists far outweigh what has been happening in Gaza in recent days. Images of babies killed in Gaza air raids are plastered all over anti-Israel media outlets, but they seem less willing to talk about the young kids who are strapped up with explosives and used as human bombs in Pakistan.

The one good thing the Israelis and the Palestinians have is that there are many international mediators doing everything they can to stop the fighting...and they would be wise to work with them. After all, that is what makes international diplomacy such a useful tool, as opposed to dealing with the matter like Pakistani insurgents and blowing up reconciliation meetings.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Some thoughts on Barack Obama and what his presidency would mean for this country

I read a post by Iraqi Mojo earlier about Barack Obama and his surging popularity, along with the challenges he could be facing (his middle name among other things). Well anyway, it got me thinking "what if this guy actually wings the presidential election this November?" After all, he's poised to crush Hillary Clinton in the upcoming primaries, and more and more Americans seem to be desperate for "change" these days.

To give my personal opinion, I like Obama. I think he is a good, honest man who for the most part stands up for what he believes in. He's managed to attract Americans from all walks of life and seems to have the ability to be a uniter, as opposed to the divisive and polarizing figures presidents Bush and Clinton were and have been. However, as Dennis Miller put it on the O'Reilly Factor the other day, "He has everything except my vote." Indeed, I could not cast a vote for Obama, not at this time anyway.

Why? Well his position on Iraq is the main reason. He tends to embrace the far-left's stance, which is that the war was a big mistake and we need to get out as soon as possible. Obama has pledged to begin withdrawing troops soon after he takes office, and I believe that would be a disaster. If he would re-evaluate his position (and I don't think that will ever happen), I might be more supportive of him. To simply jump on the "Bush lied people died" bandwagon in an attempt to score votes is ignorant and just plain stupid. Obama can condemn Bush's handling of the war all he wants, but the fact is, ridding the world of a terrible human being like Saddam Hussein was justified and necessary. And even if he is opposed to going into Iraq in the first place, a seemingly intelligent man like Barack Obama should be able to foresee the humanitarian disaster that would tear the country apart if it does not have a functioning government and security force before U.S. troops begin packing up. If the so-called antiwar movement is alarmed by what the terrorists have been doing in Iraq these last few years, then they have a rude awakening coming if these evil people are able to operate unabated...and it would be a crying shame if that were to happen after so much progress has been made in Iraq. The horrific images of rebel militiamen terrorizing innocent people and burning villages across Eastern Congo and the forgotten jungles of Africa could be making their way into the streets of Baghdad if Iraqis, Americans (both liberal and conservative), and the international community do not find a way to work together in the best interest of the Iraqi people.

The other problem I have with an Obama presidency is his proposal to deal with countries like Iran, Syria and North Korea. Obama has pledged to meet Iranian officials face to face, and I also think that would be a big mistake. Giving legitimacy to the bloody theocracy in Tehran or the brutal regime of Bashar Assad in Syria would be harmful and counter-productive. In reality, if you are going to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the leader of a country that has sworn to destroy Israel and arms terror groups all over the globe, why not propose a face-to-face meeting with Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders in Afghanistan? Secondly, as strange as this sounds, President Bush is another good example of naive diplomacy. Yes, President Bush regularly holds talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he has referred to as a good man. I'm sorry Mr. President, but Vlad is not our friend...far from it in fact. While we've been trying to convince ourselves that Putin is our friend, he has consolidated power in Russia and has supported some of the world's most dangerous men, like Kim Jong Il in North Korea and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Numerous political opponents have also met suspicious deaths, and Russia's recent acquisition of new weaponry certainly raised questions. Therefore, if Barack Obama decided to buddy up with Ahmadinejad and reach a mutual understanding regarding his country's nuclear program, who to say a similar debacle will not happen?

In the end, Barack Obama may be the right man to solve some of the domestic problems going on here at home...he might even be able to serve as a uniter between the ideologues and haters in Washington who spend more time bashing each other than actually solving problems. However, his views on foreign policy are questionable, if not simply misguided and wrong.