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Welcome to the Hornets' Nest
Huffington Post
Gary Hart
July 14, 2006

Sometime in the fall of 2002, I likened a U.S. invasion of Iraq to "kicking open a hornets' nest." I predicted that, if the Iraqis decided to fight in the cities, our casualties would be between five and ten thousand U.S. troops at least. Now, U.S. casualties exceed 20,000.

But the "hornets' nest" I predicted was not just an interminable and intractable U.S. occupation of Iraq. It was wider war in the Middle East. The larger hornets' nest is now swarming.

By our justified overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, though unsuccessful decapitation of al Qaeda, we removed a thorn in Iran's side. By removing Saddam Hussein, we removed a thorn in Iran's other side.

But, inadvertantly and ignorantly, we empowered Iran to undertake a major intervention on behalf of the Shiite majority in Iraq. In response to our insistence that Iran not develop any nuclear capability, Iran and Syria have emboldened Hezbullah in Lebanon to energize Israel's formidable military and Hamas to do the same.

The U.S. is fighting a two front war with Afghanistan and Iraqi insurgents. Israel is fighting a two front war with Lebanon and the Palestinians.

Wouldn't you think this would be exactly the time when the nation's wisemen, those neoconservative idealists who saw the great American empire imposing democracy on the Middle East at the point of a bayonet, who secretely envisioned Iraq as our military base in the region, to be heard from? Of course, I mean Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Steven Cambone, and so many triumphalist others so present on the talk shows in early 2003. Haven't seen much of them recently.

Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are left to manage the disaster. You don't hear either one of them linking their arrogant decisions four years ago to the disaster unfolding in the Middle East.

We have some lessons in democracy to be learned here at home. Democracy does not work without accountability. Today there is no accountability in American democracy.

On the other hand, perhaps there will be in 2006 and 2008...if the Democrats recapture conviction and courage.

p.s. And, by the way, how do you like $4 a gallon gasoline?

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