So Much For Peace in the Middle East

December 27, 2008 at 2:48 pm | Posted in American politics | 15 Comments

The criminal incompetence of the Bush administration comes to a close with a shock and awe bang. Does anyone remember the “Annapolis Conference?” George Bush’s window dressing attempts at peace between Israel and Palestine are blowing up in his face just as he is trying to establish his legacy. But his legacy is war, death and destruction. He can’t change that.

This is the legacy of George W. Bush

This is what he will be remembered for.

Death.

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  1. I should add. The reason why Israel is doing this now is because they can. As long as George Bush is still in power in America, they feel they can get away with any kind of forceful action. It is the reason why they bombed Lebanon two years ago, to a spectacularly dismal result. It is why they are doing this now, here just under a month before Obama comes to office. They know they won’t have as much freedom to act with Obama in office. They won’t be able to go around killing as many people with a more responsible American president. So they are going in, taking the swipes they can and hope it is for their best.

    What a sad, sad lot.

    Thanks Bush.

  2. I’m certainly no expert in Middle East matters, but it is my understanding that Hamas has been launching missiles into Israel (on the order of thousands) for quite some time now. Israel would appear to be saying at this point, “enough is enough”.

    If it were up to me, though, America would withdraw all of its monetary support from all Middle Eastern countries, and then let them slug it out without being involved in any way. Sometimes you just have to let there be a clear winner in life’s battles before people start facing up to the facts of how things are going to be. Maybe that will settle things, and maybe it won’t, but it would sure be nice to not have to be involved.

  3. Dan,

    You might remember me. Muad’Dib.

    Anyways, I thought I might pass some thoughts along your way. First off, I’ve been studying Arabic at the Defense Language Institute for the past 14 months. I will graduate in February. My teachers are almost all Arabs, almost all Muslim.

    I’m fluent in Arabic now. We have lots of interesting discussions. One of the many issues we discuss is the Palestinian issue and the blockade on Gaza.

    A couple of questions for you: Does Hamas bear any responsibility? Does Hamas bear more responsibility than a lame-duck President Bush?

    How about Egypt, who refuses to open the gate that is on their border and who regularly fires machine guns at Gazans that try to break from the blockade?

  4. Mark,

    For the past six months, both Israel and Hamas observed an actual cease fire. The cease fire expired on December 19. Within mere days, the two were back at each others’ throats. I don’t blame either side, as you see in my post. I blame the Bush administration. The United States is the only power in the world right now strong enough and influential enough to rein in both sides, but under the Bush administration, we’ve had absolutely none of that.

    The United States cannot withdraw its support and influence in the Middle East, otherwise the blood of the dead will cry out against us. We hold things together far more than is visible. Simply letting these two sides duke it out will only accomplish death and destruction. Now, if that’s the kind of legacy you wish to leave for your children, be my guest. But as for me, it goes against the principles of the religion I adhere to.

  5. Hey Michael,

    That’s great that you are learning the language. It is very useful and lucrative to know Arabic right now. Hopefully you can get in there and assist other Americans who are not familiar with the language and culture on how to properly treat and act with Arabs.

    As to your questions.

    1. Does Hamas bear any responsibility?

    A. If you are referring to the current action, sure they do. They are one of the two main players in this conflict. The other being Israel. Hamas carries much responsibility and accountability for failing to realize that they can never shove Israel into the Mediterranean Sea. They have failed to realize that they must live in a world where Israel exists side by side with them.

    Now, do they bear any responsibility for the current conflict? Some. Most, though, is not on them, but on Israel and George W. Bush. For six months Israel and Hamas observed a fairly good cease fire. That ended on the 19th of December, at which time, rockets began landing once again in Israel and Palestinians were once again killed by Israeli missiles. Really, the resumption of rocket launching is not a good enough reason for the response that Israel is giving.

    The problem is that Israel is doing this for two main reasons.

    1. Because they have a small window of opportunity while George W. Bush (their greatest enabler) is still in office

    2. They have their own elections coming up in February. Poor, corrupt Olmert is trying to salvage his political party and Israel’s reputation. See, he failed, supremely badly back in 2006 in trying to do to Hezbollah exactly what he is now trying to do to Hamas. In 2006, Israel went in all haughty and proud, thinking their mighty military could win the day. Sadly, they lost the political war, and badly. Their reputation as invincible went out the window. Olmert thinks that by wiping out Hamas, he might prove to his enemies that Israel is not to be, in the words of Marty Perez, “fucked with.” Sadly, it is the bully, the one who always seem to get in a fight that continues to be “fucked with” no matter how much he may try to put up an aura of invincibility. Israel needs to realize that they can’t kill all their enemies, and must actually live next to people who don’t think very highly of them. It is possible. But sadly, both parties have become blind and simply lack the capability to see that peace is possible.

    This is where the United States comes in, and its vital role in nurturing that peace process. This process took a major step backwards with Americans picking George W. Bush to shepherd them these past eight years. Sadly lots and lots of people had to die, really, for not much. Thank you Bush. Thank you Republicans.

    Your second question.

    2. Does Hamas bear more responsibility than a lame-duck President Bush?

    A. Of course. But what does “lame duck” have to do with anything? Is Bush no longer the President of the United States? Did he stop being president on November 4? This is a very weak question to ask, Michael.

    3. Egypt.

    A. Yes, Egypt, which has its own Hamas (Islamic Brotherhood) problem. It would be in the best interest of the dictatorship running Egypt that Hamas not be attacked by Israel. It only feeds the anger towards that very dictatorship, and weakens Egypt more, pushing it further toward extremists. Sadly, Egypt is too saddled with American subsidies to do much independently, and they do what they are told by their American masters. And that brings us back, once again, to George W. Bush.

    In the end, the full answer to your question is that yes, George W. Bush takes most of the blame for this failure in diplomacy between Israel and Hamas. The two parties, Israel and Hamas, are too blind to see peace. The other world powers are not influential enough to do anything about it. What remains is the President of the United States, who currently is the worst president America has ever had. George W. Bush.

  6. We hold things together far more than is visible.

    I’m not convinced that’s necessarily a good thing. If our efforts result in nothing but an endless stalemate in which both sides feel the need to strike out from time to time without having to bear any consequences for their actions, I don’t see us ever getting any closer to peace in the region. Will Americans ever learn to live within their means until some serious financial consequences have been borne? Will the Middle East ever really desire peace until the taste of war is so awful that they’ll beg each other for it? I tend to think this will be true in both cases.

    I’ve had enough of America having to be the peace broker and/or the policeman of the world. Where has it gotten us? Where has it gotten the world? Problems don’t get solved until those with a personal stake in the problem step up to the bat and resolve to end it. Captain Moroni gives us an excellent example of that in the Alma 44:

    “I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us.

    “And now, if ye do not this, behold, ye are in our hands, and I will command my men that they shall fall upon you, and inflict the wounds of death in your bodies, that ye may become extinct; and then we will see who shall have power over this people; yea, we will see who shall be brought into bondage.”

    Maybe that’s the kind of thing that needs to take place here.

  7. Dan,

    I don’t have time for a lengthy rebuttal, but I take issue with your statement that other world leaders and powers aren’t influential enough to do anything about the situation. Where is the EU? What about the UN? Where is France? Germany? I hear a lot of talk from those sides, but I rarely see any substantive action. Are you suggesting that they are impotent and only the US President is virile?

    Are you seriously suggesting that only the President of the United States can do anything about Middle East violence?

    If that is your position, then somehow on January 21st, Obama will wave his magic wand and everything will be ok? History of the Middle East suggests otherwise. US Presidents have NEVER been successful in the Middle East. By and large, US Presidents end up getting tripped up over Middle East issues and causes and initiatives.

    I also take exception to your constant litany against Bush. You seem to blame him for all the evil in the world. But that is another issue entirely.

  8. Mark,

    Inflicting the wounds of death is exactly what Israel is trying to do here, and it will fail. It failed for Moroni too. Eventually the Lamanites came right back and attacked yet again. Eventually the Nephites were utterly destroyed. This is not the way to go.

    Why should we continue striving for peace? Because we’re believers in Christ, that’s why. No matter how hard it may seem, this is the right way to go.

  9. Michael,

    Other world leaders do not have the influence that America does. They defer to the United States. More importantly the powers of the Middle East that need influencing (Israel, Palestine, Egypt, etc) are all subsidized very heavily by the United States, not by Europe or China or Russia. We give billions and billions of dollars to these countries to prop them up. Israel is not even close to as strong or as wealthy if it were not for the billions of dollars we give them. Egypt’s dictatorship would collapse if it were not for the billions we give them. Europe does not give them this kind of free pass. Europe trades with Israel (the European Union is Israel’s largest trading bloc), but Europe really doesn’t want to press economic pressure on Israel. So Europe essentially has little leverage against Israel or Palestine, or Egypt to get them to act appropriately. Only the United States has that kind of leverage. Com’on Michael, you should know this kind of stuff.

    As such it is the president of the United States who has the most influence in the Middle East, wether for peace or for war. The current president gives us war, death and destruction. We see those fruits all over the Middle East.

    Now, will Obama the “magic negro” (stupid Republicans) get something done in the Middle East? Who knows. But to claim that US Presidents have NEVER been successful in the Middle East is showing plain ignorance of the facts. US Presidents HAVE been successful in the Middle East. But they are Democratic US Presidents, and not Republicans. With Republicans, you get war. With Democrats, you get peace. It was two Democratic presidents who gave us two peace treaties between Israel and two of her neighbors. Note that not a single Republican president has been able to get Israel to sign a peace treaty with one of her neighbors. Carter got Israel and Egypt to sign a peace treaty. And you note that Israel and Egypt have not warred since. They are not on the best of terms, but they are at peace. Bill Clinton got Israel to sign a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. Note that they’ve been at peace since (though they really haven’t been at each others’ throats since the early 70s). Can Obama get the Israelis and Palestinians to sign a peace treaty? Probably not. Lebanon? Probably not. I don’t hold him to that expectation. But I do expect him to press for peace between Israel and her neighbors. That is not something that Bush has done. For him, war in the Middle East is “the birth pangs” of a New Middle East. His fruit is war, his fruit is death, his fruit is destruction. You show me where he made peace between his enemies, or Israel’s enemies and I’ll back down. Otherwise, that’s my judgment of the bastard.

  10. Dan,

    Every President, Carter and Clinton included, have ultimately been frustrated in their efforts to work the Middle East into their desired image. Yes, Carter and Clinton were able to broker peace agreements. Agreements, by the way, that are widely reviled in the Arab world. Agreements that in the end have done little to bring real enduring peace to the region. (So my Arab teachers tell me).

    They look great on paper though!

    What I object to is your laying at the feet of Bush the blame for every rocket that Hamas fires at Israeli citizens. I think you really do not understand the nature of Islamic extremism.

    And I think your painting Israel as a monster is wrong, plain wrong, and misguided. The Israelis actually want peace, and they have given up land for peace and the only thing they have received in return is rocket fire and nuclear threats from the terror-masters in Iran. And where does Hamas and Hezbollah get their missiles? Iran.

    The Palestinians do not want peace. Just go to MEMRI TV and watch what they say. Fortunately I don’t need the English subtitles anymore. They are not interested in peace, and this despite the good-faith efforts of several Israeli administrations dating back to Oslo.

    I understand your animus toward Bush is deep-seated. Unfortunately, it blinds you into thinking that one man, George W. Bush, is responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world. That’s absurd on the face of it. The reality is much more nuanced than that.

    Yes, I am well aware of the money we shower Egypt and other countries in the Middle East. Money that Democratic and Republican administrations have given out for decades now.

    Really, Dan, the “Democrats are 100% good and Republicans 100% bad” mantra is absurd. Democrats are not innocent of dreadful mistakes in regards to Middle East policy.

    And when Obama fails to bring peace to the Middle East, are you going to blame him honestly?

  11. Peace treaties may be reviled, but they still hold. They have an impact. Since 1978, Israel has not been invaded by any of its neighbors. As much as many Arabs may not like Israel, that peace has held up remarkably.

    Note when the two Intifadas have occurred, Michael. The first one was in 1987. Who was in office in America? A Republican. When was the second Intifada? 2001. Who was in office in America? A Republican. Things don’t go well in the Middle East when Republicans are involved. It’s a sad fact of life.

    Now, Israel and Hamas are both monsters in this. Both sides cannot currently accept the other. I already laid out why I think Hamas is at fault. I’ve laid out why I think Israel is at fault. Can you ever accept that Israel does stupid things, Michael? Or are you too blinded?

    The Palestinians do want peace. But they are furious (as you and I would if we lived under the same conditions) by how they are treated by the Israelis. Fury tends to make people less rational. Just look at my comments about Bush. 😉

    As for Obama, if he makes a sincere effort and comes up short, I won’t blame him (like I can’t blame Clinton who really tried). If Obama does as Bush has, half assed window dressing attempts, then yes, you bet, I will blame him for failing.

  12. Israel may do stupid things, Dan, but Israel wants to be left alone. They want their existence to be acknowledged by the remainder of the Arab world, not just Egypt and Jordan. They want Palestine to have a state, and they are willing to work with Mahmoud Abbas, who is a moderate and a willing partner for eventual peace.

    What you don’t seem to understand is that Hamas and Hezbollah are not willing to negotiate peace. They refuse to recognize Israel’s right to simply exist. The only thing these two terrorist groups understand is bombs and missiles and death. THEY are the true purveyors of death. But wow, I will give them kudos for one thing: they have GREAT public relations with the anti-Semites in Europe and the so-called independent press.

    Israel only goes on the offensive to defend their citizenry. That is a right that any country has–to defend lives.

    The timing of the Intifadas has nothing to do with who was in office at the time Dan. You laying the blame for those uprisings on Reagan and Bush is astoundingly absurd. Correlation doesn’t equal causation Dan. You know that.

  13. Israel wants to work with the moderates? Are you kidding me, Michael? Do you not study the history of Israel and Palestine? What the hell do you think Sharon was doing in 2002-2004? He was UNDERMINING the Palestinian moderates, pushing them further toward the extremists! When a suicide bomber would kill Israelis, what was Sharon’s response? He would bomb Palestinian police stations! Why the hell would you do that if you want the Palestinian POLICE to rein in the extremists!!! Why would you kill Palestinian policemen, the VERY MEN who would supposedly arrest Palestinian terrorists?

    You are most correct that Hamas and Hezbollah don’t want peace with Israel, but they have their reasons, and as long as Israel continues killing Palestinians and other Arabs, the numbers for Hamas and Hezbollah will continue to grow. This is something Israel is apparently incapable of realizing.

    I know correlation does not equal causation. But it’s fun to poke the Republicans. Actually it isn’t. They’ve fucked up our country for far too long. It’s not fun anymore.

  14. Your frothing-at-the-mouth vehement hatred of Republicans continues. How pithy…

  15. it’s very simple, truther, Republicans continue to be delusional and stupid. They have choice to make, and they choose to remain delusional and stupid.


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