Saturday, July 15, 2006

Truth is the 1st Casualty of War

Bush May Cut Short Vacation

"The White House is concerned enough about President Bush's job rating and its possible effect on Republican chances in the November elections that word of reduction in vacation time at Crawford next month is being put about," the Houston Chronicle reports.

Let me see if I've got this straight.... The Middle East is in the midst of at least a 3 party war (Lebanon,Hamas, Israel)... Iraq is getting closer to Civil War by the day.... Oil prices are at an all time high... North Korea is firing missiles that could hit the U.S..... China, and Russia are basically giving Iran the ability to create nuclear weapons... Oh then there's Darfur... Plamegate... and his continuing problems with Hugo Chavez....

Why is it that the U.S. waited two weeks to start moving on the Mid East crisis? I mentioned on 30 June that there were problems brewing in Israel and the Mid East in general. The fact that Israel is, two weeks later, embroiled in a military conflict with Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon and possibly Syria, is absolutely no shock to me. It however, appears to have surprised CNN, Fox News and most unfortunately, the Administration.

About 10 years ago, I was finishing my second undergraduate degree. One of the classes required to become a teacher, involved mastering targeted teaching techniques. I had to explain to a class of my peers how to present a controversial topic. It just so happens that this was the topic I chose. I compared the Middle East Conflict to a traffic accident. Unfortunately, this traffic accident is taking place on a global scale.

I’ve watched a good bit of the coverage, partially because I’m a news junkie, and partially because I’ve got numerous extended family members, and friends over there. I believe Martin Indyk will become a new star on the rubber chicken circuit, much in the way that Arthur Kent did after the 1st Gulf expedition. Personally, the Syrian foreign minister makes me ill, but we all have a point of you. It just so happens that mine is more valid than his.

What worries me is that the U.S. is about as disengaged from this region as ever in modern history. Depending on when you listen to the Syrian ambassador, the conflict currently playing out has significantly different starting points. The Syrian ambassador keeps claiming that the timeline is 50 years. That means 1956 would be the beginning of the conflict. Israel had already been in existence for 8 years at that point, and was already fighting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_crisis) the 2nd of numerous wars for its very existence.

Mr. Imad Mustafa, the Syrian ambassador to the U.S. then goes on to talk about how the occupation of territory is the driving concern causing the conflict. As soon as Israel came into existence she was attacked by numerous Arab states. The occupation from the Palestinians normally discusses the taking of the West Bank and Gaza by the Israelis in 1967. Arabs attacking Israel started the 1967 war. So which is it Mr. Mustafa, was the occupation the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, by U.N. charter; or the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, that have upset you so?

Israel had unilaterally pulled out of Gaza, and was going to do the same in the West Bank, until Hamas kidnapped Gilat Shalit. Then Hezbollah invaded Israel and kidnapped two soldiers. If you are trying to get Israel to disengage with the Palestinians why provoke those people you want to get rid of? It is much easier to complain about how someone else does something, rather than doing it yourself. If Hamas, and Hezbollah can keep Israel as the focus of public discontent, then their respective publics will not worry about a lack of infrastructure or opportunity.

President Bush needs to stop pushing bans on gay marriage and flag burning, and start working toward that roadmap for peace. Use that roadmap for directions to Jerusalem, don’t pass go and don’t stop in Crawford. By the way, the Senate is currently trying to protect the Pledge of Allegiance (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SN01046:@@@C) . I didn’t realize it was in danger.

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