If you were to guess which countries in the Middle East represent the biggest threat to our troops and to the Iraqis, what would you say? Iran and Syria? You would be wrong.
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In a July 15 Los Angeles Times article, Ned Parker writes that according to a senior military officer in Iraq, "About 45 percent of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15 percent are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10 percent are from North Africa. Nearly half of the 130 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia. Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality."
When asked why U.S. officials have not publicly criticized Saudi Arabia, the U.S. military officer said, "Ask the state department. This is a political juggernaut." Shielding Saudi Arabia does not seem to meet the definition of a political juggernaut. Repeatedly telling the American public that Iran and Syria are the bad actors in Iraq and positioning three aircraft carriers on Iran's doorstep does.
We have been here before. The modus operandi of President Bush and Vice President Cheney is to tell a half-truth, or an outright lie over and over until we the people believe it to be true. The president still links 9/11 to Iraq when, in fact, 15 hijackers had visas from Saudi Arabia and the others were from Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Now the enemies are Iran and Syria.
We Americans need to be hyper-vigilant lest we find ourselves in another pre-emptive war. How would Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young vote if the president asked permission of Congress (assuming he would ask permission) to wage war on Iran? Would their votes reflect your position?
As an American, I want my government to have an aggressive diplomatic strategy in the Middle East focused on peace and justice, and pursued by honest and honorable representatives of my country. That's what I will tell my current representatives in Congress, and that is what I will look for in candidates in the 2008 elections.