(op-ad that appeared in the New York Times before the invasion of Iraq; sponsored by the Florence Fund and TomPaine.com)
Richard Vague is one of the country’s powerhouse CEOs. He is known for building First USA Bank, a firm he co-founded and then chaired as CEO, into the largest credit card operation in the United States. He is a conservative and now is CEO of Juniper Financial Corporation which is that huge building one sees from Amtrak when training by Wilmington, Delaware.
Vague, in my view, is an extraordinary guy, too extraordinary as I wish there were many more CEOs like him — because he has invested a lot of his time and funds in trying to get fellow Americans to understand that the Iraq War and America’s current vector in foreign policy is not only boneheaded but actually undermining the economic fundamentals of the country.
Vague is no liberal. He’s a tough minded economic conservative who believes that America has a much better face and soul than it has been showing the world.
He thinks that we are creating conditions that are cultivating terrorism and terrorists and are doing little to actually help others in the world get ahead, particularly economically.
I like his material and his original approach to these problems — and I have been engaged with him for some time in working with him to get his thoughts written not as a stiff policy wonk but as a CEO, down on paper and on the web — in a way that folks like him in Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, folks looking for their second or third homes, or just scraping to get by — could hopefully connect with a guy who came to oppose this war and to worry about its consequences without the policy elites in Washington framing it for him.
I hope you find this worth a read — and it’s going out to 50,000 people today and over the next week.
The best link to download the pdf of the report (please note that there will be some modifications to columns, etc. and minor adjustments over the next couple of days) and html links are here.
But I will post the sections as well:
Terrorism: A Brief for Americans
The Scope, Causes, and Means for Reducing Terrorism, Including Commentary on Iraq
by Richard Vague
What is Terrorism? What Causes Others to be Influenced by Terrorists?
Why They Hate Us
How to Reduce Terrorism
What We have Wrought in Iraq
What We Should Do in Iraq
Thoughts on Palestine, Hizbollah, and Iran
How We Should Conduct Relations with Islamic Countries Going Forward
The Current Administration’s Position on Iraq and Terrorism & Objections to Our Thesis
We are releasing this report this morning in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 628 in the Senate on Capitol Hill. We will meeting at 9 a.m.
New America Foundation Fellow and American Way of Strategy author Michael Lind, former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson, and New America Foundation fellow and Soul of Iran author Afshin Molavi will be joining me to make a few comments about Richard Vague’s paper and the broad subject of how to turn wrong-headed approaches into our responses to terrorism towards a different course.
— Steve Clemons