Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi, firstname.lastname@example.org
When Neil MacFarquhar of The New York Times asked me what I would do if I were Mr. Bush, I didn’t hesitate. I was then attending Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of the Most Effective People” course.
Our Saudi trainer, Eng. Ziad Abu Zenada, had just taught us one of the most important habits: Learn before you teach.
I told Neil, it is almost too late to fix the situation, but it is never late to do the right thing. Bush’s credibility is now as good as Saddam’s, not only in Iraq but in the whole region and the world beyond.
US intentions are always in doubt, and it is getting worse with every mistake and horrendous crime — like the Fallujah massacre and the blind support of Sharon.
Still, if I were Bush, I would first sit humbly before the descendents of one the first civilizations on Earth, the Babylonians, and asked them the fundamental, obvious, first-thing-first question: What do you want?
If the US is really there to make the Iraqis happier, then it should ask them how can this happen? Why are they angry and disappointed? What kind of life, government and future do they aspire for?
I would ask similar questions, which I should have asked long ago, of the neighbors. These are mature and proud people, the descendents of great civilizations; the Pharos, Persians, Arabs and Turks. I wouldn’t prejudge and second-guess them before they even finish their thoughts. The neocons and Zionists in Washington and Tel Aviv cannot know (or mean) better.
I would also ask the UN and the international community similar questions. But first, I would stop bossing people around, listen to their complaints, apologize for past mistakes, ask for their help and promise a more cooperative multilateral approach. This time, it would be “I mean what I say, and say what I mean” whether “the Man of Peace” Sharon likes it or not.
I would recognize that solving the Palestinian issue is fundamental to my mission and my Greater Middle East plans. I am the president of the greatest nation on Earth, so I won’t allow the bully and war criminal Sharon, and his cronies in Washington, to intimidate me and dictate my policies. I would tell them I didn’t need fourteen bases in Iraq, my fleet and land bases in the region would do. No more wars are needed as far as US — not Israel’s — interests are concerned.
Instead, I would save my budget to rebuild the country I destroyed, as promised, and prove my good intentions. I would allow free elections, no matter who won. Since I didn’t have a stake, why would I care?
Then I would just pack up and go home.