Friday, August 11, 2006

Bush AWOL again

I couldn't find the video feed, but I just witnessed Andrea Mitchell of NBC News reporting that President Bush just called PM Olmert of Israel on the telephone after a month of conflict in Lebanon. Bush called off his vacation to the "Western" White House (such a ridiculous looking placard behind the lectern at the Crawford gym) after a record for fewest days on his August vacation (10 days). Since 2001, the U.S. have provided approximately $20 Billion dollars in military aid and Bush feels no need to actually have a talk with Olmert about repercussions of the decision to destroy a nation the Bush administration touted as a success story in democratic nation-building after they demanded the Syrian army and intelligence services vacate Lebanon after Hariri's assassination was determined to have been aided by Syrian agents? Ridiculous, isn't it?

Tacit approval for destroying the infrastructure and killing a large number of innocent civilians of a Lebanon success story in democracy is hardly the signal one wants to send to what moderates are left in Lebanon at this point. Hopefully, Lebanon can find its counterpart to a war weary Sadat back in 1978, but I doubt it at this point. Shiites throughout the new "Shia Crescent(courtesy George W. Bush's reckless decision to invade Iraq), a newly abused term by neo-con media hacks for the new state of affairs in the old Fertile Crescent where Shiites inhabit and now rule a swath of land from Iran, thru Iraq, into Syria and Lebanon(which excludes the Shiite enclaves along the eastern part of Saudi Arabia) since Sunni strongman and beat-down Middle East figure Saddam was removed from power allowing Iran to claim a 31st province. Iran is certainly driving its recipient of aid Hezbollah to launch the missiles and do stupid things like kidnap an Israeli soldier as goons from Gaza did a few days before.

Bush has shown no leadership in regard to our ally Israel and has obviously offered no personal perspective directly to Olmert. Certainly Secy. Rice has called on Olmert. Not good enough Dubya. Once again, you're AWOL when leadership is demanded much as he did on September 11 continuing a photo op at an elementary school in Florida instead of displaying immediate leadership. Crowing thru a bullhorn after you went into hiding in Louisiana and Nebraska didn't cut it Mr. President. Refusing to speak to an important figure like PM Olmert until a month of what could grow into a military disaster both for Israeli and American troops and which has already been a disaster for Lebanese civilians (who can hardly be blamed for accepting Hezbollah largess, since there are no service providers for the poor of Lebanon other than Hezbollah's de facto government in Lebanon).

Unfortunately, a Sadat figure will hardly be capable of emerging in this climate, particularly in Lebanon where no politician will dare speak out against Hezbollah both for fear of retribution from the terrorist organization or the voters who can keep that person in office in the next round of elections. Folks in Lebanon who may have had a more favorable view of America despite dislike and distrust of Israel are few and far between. The level of jeopardy our soliders face seems to increase by the hour as the Israeli conflict widens to the point that Israel threatened to raise 30,000 troops for the effort in Lebanon. Hopefully, the new U.N. deal can be effective, but I wouldn't hold my breath. According to reports, 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers will assist Lebanese troops in south Lebanon to take control when Israeli troops vacate their hard-fought ground.

One month of this conflict may have caused irreparable harm to prospects for a stabilization of the wider Middle East crisis. Iraq is still a bloody war for Iraqi civilians and American troops and is still a prime training ground for future murderers of westerners and rival Islamic faithful(for whomever the trained assassins do their dirty work of murder and mayhem). Iraq will be the great destabilizer in the region for years to come. Is there much of a difference from Saddam's heyday before the Gulf War of 1991 knocked him off his pedestal for good after Iran dealt him a massive blow in the eight year war that ended in 1988? The answer is the region is more unstable and more dangerous because of Dubya's decision to invade Iraq. Iran's major enemy has been deposed and is awaiting the end of his trial and subsequent execution. Things are mighty fine inTehran, you have to believe. They have influence in the region as never before. Congratulations Mr. President. You've managed to be AWOL for most of your 5 years in office. Why should we have expected any different approach to governance in dealing with our closest ally in the region (who by the way was responsible for 25 American NSA personnel deaths on the Liberty in 1967 as they listened to a massacre of Egyptian troops over the airwaves at the time of the 6 Day War--sorry, I love to remind Christian Zionists of who they're dealing with)? Don't get me wrong. Having a European country in the Levant can be a wonderful asset, so I don't begrudge all the near $20 Billion dollars in aid since 2001. I do begrudge a world leader who is too goddamned lazy to pick up a telephone and talk to one of his nation's strongest allies about a potential disaster unfolding over 30 days.

Israel should not have destroyed Lebanon like it has. Hezbollah should not have fired hundreds of missiles into northern Israel or kidnapped the soldier, but two wrongs don't make a right. Since Israeli officials and defense wonks all seemed to agree that little good was done from the air to disable Hezbollah's capacity to fires missiles into Israel I hardly see why they should have continued to bomb the hell out of much of Lebanon(not just the south) and create more radical enemies of the U.S. and Israel. Oy vey!


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