||Pakistani protestors angered when presidential candidate Barack Obama proposed American troops invade their country to hunt for terrorists like Osama Bin Laden didnâ€™t burn pictures of Obama.
They burned the American flag.
Now, as a centrist-liberal (and Vietnam Era veteran) who believes in free speech, I am not against burning the American Flag because that act, more than the printed words in the American Constitution, symbolizes what real American freedom is all about, even if the Republican demagogues disagree.
But I found it interesting that Pakistanis angry with what Obama said targeted their rage against the United States, which is supposedly their Western ally.
Because there is a fundamental flaw in President George W. Bushâ€™s policy when it comes to the War on Terrorism that is reflected in our alliance with Pakistanâ€™s dictator Pervez Musharraf; and that is the underlying cause of our failure defeat the â€œterrorists.â€
Musharraf is, I repeat, a dictator who Bush has given a â€œget out of jailâ€ pass because Bush â€œneedsâ€ his help. Musharraf is no different than Saddam Hussein, a dictator who was once an ally of the Bush gang in the 1980s, but who the younger Bush hated because he threatened his daddy, the former president.
We need to go back to Sept. 11, 2001 in order to rethink this failed Bush war on terrorism and to do the right thing and win.
Obama is doing just that, taking us back to Sept. 11, 2001 now that reason has started to return to the American people. Heâ€™s taking us back to a time when reason was not around. We were angry back then and Bush and his criminal conspiracy called The White House knew it and exploited it, not to win the war on terrorism, but to achieve their selfish personal goals of ousting the ingrate Saddam Hussein.
Obama is wondering what more and more Americans are wondering outloud: if we want to get the terrorists behind Sept. 11, 2001, why are we fighting in Iraq? Why are we not doing more to fight the origins of the Sept. 11 terrorism in Pakistan, which borders with Afghanistan where the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden set up camp?
Itâ€™s a good question that has been mired in the phony patriotism debate that the pro-Bush demagogues on the FOX Cable News network are leading to distract Americans with emotion from the reasoned answer, and that many other Democrats are afraid to address.
Obama is saying that if he were president, he would send troops to Pakistan to do the job that Musharraf is clearly not doing.
And why is Musharraf not doing what needs to be done? Because Pakistan is a far more extremist Islamic country where Bin Laden and his terrorist pals are finding comfort and training.
We know Bin Laden is somewhere in Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan and yet we have committed so few troops there, while we have sent more than 150,000 American soldiers to the meat grinder in Iraq where nothing can be accomplished in terms of protecting our nation.
Well, thatâ€™s not to deny Bush the credit he deserves. He did accomplish several things in his failed anti-Terrorism policies.
Bush has created and handed the al-Qaeda terrorists an open training ground where they can hone their hate-America terrorist skills.
Bush has destroyed an Arab country that was a front against Islamic political extremism â€“ and let me emphasize again that there is a big difference between Islamic political extremism and Islam, which is a religion of peace hijacked by a handful of extremists who benefit from Bushâ€™s stupidity.
And, Bush has made America an even bigger terrorist target that is less safe than it was on Sept. 11, 2001. The chances of being attacked by al-Qaeda have worsened, not lessened as a result of Bushâ€™s failed policies.
Obama wants to change that and do the right thing. And that means ignoring the idiotic, emotion-driven hysteria of many Americans who canâ€™t see straight, and who hide their ignorance behind the phony patriotism and flag waving.
That is the kind of courage that Democratic leaders should have shown in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 to call Bush out on his mistaken policy decisions, and that they try to avoid discussing today.
Hillary Clinton was afraid to stand up to the wave of American emotions and frustrations and ignorance about the Islamic political extremist terrorist threat, and like every other Democrat in power, she went along with Bush and voted for the Iraq war.
The fact that the Republican presidential candidates seem united in bashing Obama as their main campaign target during their recent â€œdebateâ€ only shows how bankrupt those Republican candidates really are.
What we need to do badly today is reassess our relations with Pakistan, a hotbed of anti-American pro-al-Qaeda Islamic political extremism that is giving Bin Laden protection, and do what Musharraf has refused to do because half of his military and oppressive secret police are Bin Laden pals.
Musharraf is a mini Shah of Iran, the pro-American dictator who we backed for so many years and whose vicious oppressive policies transformed Iran from a potential American ally into the head of the so-called Axis of Evil. If Iran is evil today, it is because we Americans created todayâ€™s Iran through our failed policies. Just as we are now creating a new Axis of Evil power in Iraq and even in Pakistan which, if we donâ€™t act soon, will blow up in our faces.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and syndicated columnist. He can be reached at www.hanania.com.)