Withdrawal from Iraq first, rehab soldiers second [Archives:2006/956/Opinion]

June 19 2006

By: Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh
The steps that President Bush has taken with regard to his reckless soldiers)who have destroyed Iraq and the social relationship of its people)are objects of ridicule. The steps that the president has taken aim at teaching his soldiers principles of morals and good conduct. Yet, the training comes too late as these soldiers have assimilated cruelty into their behavior.

Regardless of opinion of moralists and those specialized in diagnosing human nature, Bush's directive to inculcate proper conduct to soldiers trained to kill)fighters or innocents)has come too late.

Perhaps the saving grace of the training is the revelation that the American administration is confused after it has reached its worst impasse. The effect has been to make the U.S. into an object of mockery.

If Bush succeeds in rehabilitating the conduct of his soldiers in Iraq and around the globe, he still would not have reformed the conduct of his administration. Composed of neoconservatives who prepare battle plans for future wars supported by specious claims similar to the ones bandied about to justify invading Iraq, Bush has not shown much interest in rehabilitating his administration. Contrary to speculation, Iran will not be the first target in the foreseeable future. Rather, other countries will be subject to American action.

Shouldn't have President Bush thought first about the conduct of members of his administration such as Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld before rehabilitating the conduct of his soldiers? Was he aware that the members of his administration were morally corrupt and harbored animosity against humanity before they were appointed to their posts? Was Bush ignorant of the fact that his soldiers are killers governed by their instincts and not by principles of democracy and freedom?

Ethics is a product that is not exported by the White House. President Bush had to remain aloof from such matters so that rational Americans and others would not overly ridicule him because of his pitiable suggestions and solutions. Such solutions have no relation to his problems and the savage crimes his soldiers continue to commit in Iraq and elsewhere. The issue of misconduct at Iraqi prisons is but the tip of the iceberg.

To solve the problem of Iraq, the U.S. has to swiftly extricate itself from the morass it has caused before the problem becomes bigger. Improving the conduct of American soldiers, or their morals, will have no effect on the overall issue of an unjust occupation. Unless the U.S. administration, heavy on neoconservatives, is aware of this fact, what now appears to be a difficult problem to solve, will transform into a catastrophe.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh is a prominent Yemeni poet and intellectual. He is the director of the Yemeni Center for Studies.