Was There a Third Way?
I always had a problem answering the question, "Which famous person would you like to meet for lunch one day?" Then came Jim Wallis' book, "God's Politics." That's when I started telling myself, "I really want to meet Jim for coffee."
Yesterday, I finished reading the chapter on Iraq. That's where the book became really interesting. Jim was against the war. But, he wasn't fond of the anti-war protesters. He writes:
Many people will engage in protest, but even more are likely to follow an alternative that offers a better way. To offer an alternative is always more challenging than just protest; it requires more work, creativity, and risk.
It should at its best [The protest], point the way to an alternative, rather than just register the anger of its demonstrators. Protest must not become just a ritual of resistance, offering a laundry list of grievances.
Then he writes about his efforts at the time to find a third way to solve the conflict with Saddam. He proposed a 6-point plan to the American and British governments to remove Saddam from power without going to war.
Knowing what we know now, let's discuss the 6-point plan:
- Point 1 of the plan:
Indict Saddam Hussein for his crimes against humanity and send a clear signal that he has no future in Iraq, setting into motion the internal and external forces that could remove him from power and bring him to trial at the International Court in The Hague. History has shown, as with Slobodan Milosevic, that this can help bring down a criminal regime.
That's a valid point. I can't disagree with Jim here.
- Point 2 of the plan:
Pursue coercive disarmament with greatly intensified inspections backed by a U.N. mandated multinational force.
The U.N. tried the inspections option for 10 years, and it didn't work. Having the inspections backed by a U.N. mandated multinational force wasn't going to happen. The Oil-For-Food scandal proves me right. There are powerful countries that benefited from Saddam. They weren't going to help remove him.
- Point 3 of the plan:
Foster a democratic Iraq through a temporary post-Hussein U.N. administration, rather than a U.S. military occupation.
That's a valid point. But, where do we find those U.N. countries who are willing to cooperate?
- Point 4 of the plan:
Organize a massive humanitarian effort through the U.N. and nongovernmental relief agencies for the people of Iraq now, rather than only after a war.
Good idea. But, it never would have been implemented. A quick look at the massacre in Rwanda, Darfur conflict or Niger famine makes anyone realize the U.N. acts slowly on humanitarian crisis.
- Point 5 of the plan:
Commit to implement the "roadmap" to peace in the Middle East, with a clear timetable toward a two-state solution that guarantees a Palestinian state and a secure Israel by 2005.
I agree 100 percent with Jim on this point. I wish America would push its roadmap to peace between Israeli and Palestinians more.
- Point 6 of the plan:
Re-invigorate and sustain international cooperation in the campaign against terrorism, rather than having it disrupted by a divisive war against Iraq that intelligence officials believe will likely lead to further attacks.
It's true the war in Iraq resulted in increased terror attacks against civilians around the world. But, the terrorists are using the war in Iraq as excuse to carry out their crimes against innocent people.
It's truly sad that Iraq has become the center of their operations. But, Bali and London told us they're willing to continue their operations everywhere as long as there are people willing to blow up themselves to kill civilians. If it wasn't Iraq, they would have found another reason.
The American troops weren't occupying any country on the morning of 9/11. Terrorists want to have an enemy. They decided America is their enemy many years ago. Nothing has changed by going to war with Saddam.
So, was this plan going to work? It's a perfect plan for a perfect humanity. Unfortunately, humanity is far from being perfection.
I still want to meet Jim Wallis for a coffee. I consider his book, "God's Politics," one of the best political books I read in a long time.
You can read the complete text of the plan here.