Almost exactly a year before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Middle East affairs expert Philip Gordon told an Associated Press reporter that an attack must be decisive and that "anything short of a ground invasion would run a high risk of failure."
That quote would, for Gordon, prove to be somewhat prophetic in the context of his latest book, "Winning the Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World." In a presentation that is free and open to the public, he will talk about themes in that book at 4 p.m. today in the University of Utah's Hinckley Caucus Room in Orson Spencer Hall as part of the U.'s Middle East Center lecture series.
At the Web site for the Brookings Institution, where Gordon is a senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy, a brief synopsis of the book says the United States is not better off than before it invaded Iraq as part of the "war on terror," and the U.S. has been fighting "and losing" the wrong war, one he says is costing the nation $300 million a day. The latest Department of Defense figures put the number of U.S. military fatalities during the Iraq war at 3,878.
In his book, Gordon also predicts that an end to the war on terror will come when terrorists' "hateful ideology collapses around them" and when extremists become "isolated in their own communities."
On The Page 99 Test blog site, Gordon said one of the key arguments of his book could be summarized from a quote on page 99 of his book that reads, "Just as millions of Europeans had to make their choice in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, now millions of Muslims must decide whether to join the extremists, extend them support, remain neutral, or actively pursue a liberal and nonviolent future in cooperation with the United States and its allies."
Ibrahim Karawan, director of the U. Middle East Center, said Gordon has been trying to show in his new book and in his 2002 analysis of a possible war with Iraq what would work or fail with an invasion.
"He tried from the beginning to make the argument that the name of the game is not power but prudence," Karawan said.
Only now, he added, does the Bush administration appear to be taking a more prudent role, facilitating a meeting this week in Annapolis, Md., between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a renewed U.S.-led effort to help broker peace in that region of the Middle East.
However, Karawan doesn't see success within the next year, whereby Israelis and Palestinians will reach a political settlement that would mean both sides accepting the other's "legitimate presence" without resorting to violence as a means of resolving conflict.
As for ending the war in Iraq or the war on terror, Karawan said he echoes what Gordon is trying to say, which is that it will take a multilateral approach like this week's summit with more than 40 countries and Islamic "thinkers" who will stand up and be more outspoken against militants.
"There is no single or simple solution to the issue of terrorism," Karawan said.The U.'s Middle East lecture series, now in its seventh year, will continue through January and February with more speakers who are experts on Turkey, Iraq and Arab/Israeli relations.