Monday, June 18, 2007

A Gift From the Heart

After a bleak Father’s Day, Andrew J. Bacevich is giving us all a present.

As a military historian, decorated veteran and parent of a son who died there, Bacevich is in a unique position to advise the next President about Iraq. In today’s Los Angeles Times, he does just that:

“The to devise an alternative to Bush's failed strategy. To pass muster, any such strategy will have to recognize the limits of American power, military and otherwise. It must acknowledge that because the United States cannot change Islam, we have no alternative but to coexist with it.

”Yet coexistence should not imply appeasement or passivity. Any plausible strategy will prescribe concrete and sustainable policies designed to contain the virulent strain of radicalism currently flourishing in parts of the Islamic world. The alternative to transformation is not surrender but quarantine.

“Over time, of course, Islam will become something other than what it is today. But...that evolution will be determined primarily by forces within. Our interest lies in nudging that evolution along a path that alleviates rather than perpetuates conflict between Islam and the West. In that regard, the requirement is not for a bigger Army but for fresh ideas, informed by modesty and a sense of realism.”

Bacevich won’t be camping out with protest signs, as Cindy Sheehan did, but his efforts as a grieving parent are just as passionate and deserving of respect and gratitude.

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