Courtesty of the Alfred Lilienthal group

WASHINGTON, JAN 30:


Two elder statesmen of the Republican Party urged American voters to turn President George W. Bush out of office in November if he fails to reject the neoconservative policies of unilateral war and intervention in dealing with international terrorism.

Paul Findley (R-IL) and Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey (R-CA) appeared jointly at a public hearing convened by the Council for the National Interest on Capitol Hill on January 27, to examine the direction of US Middle East policy. Also among the panelists were former Chief of Mission to Iraq Edward Peck, African-American Civic Leader E. Faye Williams, and Eugene Bird, retired Foreign Service Officer and president of the Council for the National Interest.

The hearing was the first in a series that will examine the Middle East and Election 2004. The theme of this hearing was "Voting to Reverse the Neocons."

E. Faye Williams, who is also a member of the CNI Foundation, spoke on the need to speak the truth on the Middle East where fundamental issues are never addressed due to the manipulations of special interest lobbies.

Eugene Bird presented a positive program for peace in the Middle East as a whole, outlining a roadmap for regional peace. "We must understand that peace for Israel means peace with all Israel's neighbors, not just the Palestinians," he said.


The Real Ground Zero

Findley deplored the thinking of the Bush administration and its advisers in combating terrorism. He warned that they failed to recognize what "is vivid to most of the world – the real ground zero of terrorism is in Palestine, not Manhattan."

Ambassador Peck also spoke to the fundamental lack of logic of the Bush Middle East policy – aiming to impose secular democracy on a region and culture that is profoundly religious. But the real trouble with a "war on terrorism," he believed, was determining when it was over. He feared that the national emergency and our commitment to war would never end.

McCloskey pointed to Bush's support for the alliance between fundamentalist Christians and Jews, who believe that Palestine should not exist, and warned that it would have dire consequences for relations with the Muslim world, now numbering more than a billion men and women.


Losing Our National Moorings and Waging War without End

Findley told the Capitol Hill audience: "I have never worried about America's future – until now – but we are in a deep hole in Iraq... In the name of national security, the president has brought about fundamental, revolutionary changes that threaten our national moorings."

In carrying out his policies, "Bush isolates America from common undertakings with time-tested allies. He trivializes the United Nations and violates its charter... while at home, he stoops to bigoted measures based on race and national origin, tramples of civil liberties, and spreads anxiety, fear, and shame throughout the land."


Livid against America for the Unquestioning Alliance with Israel

"Why do anti-American protests rage worldwide?" Findley asked. "The answer: People worldwide, especially in Iraq and Palestine, are livid over grievances against America."

In Iraq, many mistrust the US because of its help to Saddam Hussein in the war against Iran and the Kurds; its refusal to assist the Shi'ites in southern Iraq during their uprising against Saddam in 1991; and the refusal of the US to distance itself from Israel's anti-Arab colonialism.

"In an exquisite example of hypocrisy, with one hand the president tries to convince Iraqi Arabs that he offers them democracy and freedom while, with the other, he supports Israel's denial of these very rights to Palestinian Arabs next door."

As a Republican, Findley felt "no joy in making this case against the president. He may be sincere in his stewardship, but he is wrong – dead wrong – in the direction he is taking our country. I fear that he is manipulated by underlings who are primarily motivated by concerns for oil and Israel."


What must be done?


Findley urged Bush to make a "clean break from Israel's scofflaw behavior."

He can "instantly quiet guerrilla warfare in Iraq and anti-American protests throughout the world" by telling Sharon "all aid will be suspended until Israel vacates the Arab territory Israeli forces seized in June 1967."

"By standing resolutely for justice for Palestinians, who are mostly Muslim, he would virtually end anti-American protests."

But will Bush chart a constructive, peaceful new future for our nation?

If he acts, Findley concluded, "he will be a shoo-in for reelection. If he does not, I will join many Republicans in urging his defeat."


Stronger Tilt Toward Israel Clear from Early Bush Term


McCloskey cited the new book by former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill to make the case that from the very beginning of his term President Bush was intent on "tilting" toward Israel. Bush's reliance on the Pentagon, where Neocon advisers abound, to carry out his policy of war on terrorism had undermined the authority of the State Department that understands America's traditional commitments.

However, he expressed his encouragement by the willingness of some American Jews to break ranks with the fundamentalists in Sharon's camp. Recently the Central Conference of American Rabbis, made up of 1,800 reformed congregations, endorsed a resolution calling on a freeze of the settlements in the Occupied Territories and a retreat to the 1967 borders and a recognition of the Palestinian right to self-determination.


A New Grand Design for Peace


In a prelude to the talks, Bird presented CNI's proposal for a national campaign for a serious regional road map for peace in the Middle East. Calling for the creation of a Middle East Peace Alliance, the plan includes the immediate recognition of Palestine as an independent state, the recommencing of serious negotiations, and a program of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. "A grand design can be brought to the Middle East," Bird concluded, "just as we brought it to Europe at the end of World War II."

CNIF is a non-profit, which has sought to bring about a balanced perspective to US foreign policy in the Middle East since 1989 by educating Americans and the media about current policies in the region. CNIF seeks a just and peaceful solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and all parties involved. You can contact CNI Foundation at 1250 4th St., SW, Suite WG-1, Washington, DC 20024, 202-863-2951, fax 202-863-2952, email count@igc.apc.org, www.cnionline.org. Please contact us with requests of information or a interest in becoming a supporter of CNI Foundation.