President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously observed that, "It is useless to win a war, only to lose the peace." In Iraq, we not only must win the peace, failure is not an option. I was pleased to learn that two Democratic congressional friends of mine, Reps. Jim Turner, D-Texas, ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee, and Jane Harman, D-Calif., ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, took a large bipartisan step toward ensuring we do not fail in Iraq when they released an important report titled "Winning the War on Terror." The report outlines 100 recommendations to protect Americans and is must reading for every member of Congress and concerned American citizen.
One prong of the report's three-pronged strategy aims to prevent the rise of future terrorists by "building bridges to the Arab and Muslim world at every level" through a "dramatic and massive commitment, on the scale of the Marshall Plan, to the future of Arab children and to the economic prosperity of the entire Middle East." They also note that one important way to accomplish this goal is to follow the advice of the bipartisan commission led by former Ambassador Edward Djerejian, which found that hostility toward the United States in the Arab and Muslim world "have gone from bad to worse" and that "hostility toward the United States has reached shocking levels."
America's public diplomacy efforts are "inadequate, outmoded and lacking strategic direction and resources." Consequently, the Djerejian Commission calls for a transformation of public diplomacy that requires "an end to the absurd and dangerous underfunding of public diplomacy in a time of peril, when our enemies have succeeded in spreading viciously inaccurate claims about our intentions and our actions."
Turner and Harman recognize the absolute necessity of changing hearts and minds in the Arab world. One vital undertaking toward this end highlighted in the report is to foster free markets and open trade so economic growth can take off. The sad state of Arab and Muslim economies is starkly stated in the report: Since 1980, while the region's population doubled, the Middle East's share of global trade and investment has collapsed, falling by 75 percent.
Economic productivity in the Arab world, which was a mere 32 percent of the North American level 40 years ago, had fallen to only 19 percent in 1990; more than one in five Arabs lives on less than $2 a day; Arab nations spend less than one-seventh of the world average annual investment in research, and achievements in science and technology are virtually nil. More than one in four Arabs is illiterate, and half of all Arab youths say they want to leave their home country.