America should help the Palestinians, the former New York governor said.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Once the war in Iraq ends, many questions need to be asked about future U.S. foreign policy, according to Mario M. Cuomo.
"We all want exactly the same thing, and that is: End this thing as fast as you can. Get rid of Saddam Hussein. Kill as few people as possible. It's inevitable, it seems to me, that we're going to win," the former New York governor said Wednesday at Youngstown State University.
"Then come back and talk to me because I'm unhappy that you might try to do this again," he added as if he were speaking to President Bush.
Cuomo expressed concern about a possible long U.S. military occupation of Iraq and that Bush or his advisers might call for similar military action in Syria, Iran and North Korea.
Cuomo, the longest serving Democratic New York governor in modern times, delivered the Skeggs Lecture to a capacity crowd of about 800.
Cuomo, who served 12 years as governor and is now in private law practice, said he didn't favor going to war in Iraq because he didn't think all diplomatic avenues had been exhausted.
"What happens next? You have to think about Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaida as cancerous tumors -- lethal ones. You have to pull them out, but once you do that, what do you do about the cancer that created them?
"Of course, you have to catch them, but that won't win the war against terrorism," he said. "Where you have groups of people who are oppressed, poor and ignorant and denied opportunity, that becomes a spawning ground for terrorism," he said.
"How do we deal with that? How do we use the greatest wealth and power ever amassed by a nation?
"We have 43 percent of the world product right here. How do we use that to solve the Palestinian problem? Build them roads. Show how they can do business. That's the kind of constructive thinking you have to do," Cuomo said.
"We know we can win any war. But, God forbid, this generation goes down with a reputation that the thing they did best was win wars instead of construct a new and better world," Cuomo said.
"The person who will take on Bush and have a chance to beat the President will have to have better ideas than the President,'' he said, adding that charm, charisma or good looks won't beat a sitting president the 2004 election.