Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bush: More war is the answer

George W. Bush really does appear believe that war is the best way to achieve peace. In the case of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, the Bush administration is explicitly rejecting the idea of a cease fire.

Today, Saudi Arabia's request for the U.S. to intervene fell on deaf ears, with the administration saying that an immediate cease fire is not the answer to stopping the bloodshed.

Officials from the U.N., Europe and other Arab countries have already urged an end to the fighting. Rice and Bush have rejected calls for an immediate cease-fire, saying it does not make sense if the terrorist threat from Hezbollah is not addressed. They have said Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorism and that Hezbollah must return two captured Israeli soldiers and stop firing missiles and rockets into Israel if they want the fighting to stop.

"Our position on an immediate cease-fire is well known and has not changed," White House national security spokesman Frederick Jones said after the meeting with Saudi officials.
So, the killing will continue until the killing stops. I hope it works in some way that I can't fathom right now. I do not see how more dead Lebanese civilians translates into peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. To grow in stature, all Hezbollah has to do is avoid being wiped out by the Israelis. By some estimates, Hezbollah is one million strong. Ironically, it just needs one charismatic, outspoken figure to play David to the Israeli army's Goliath. That won't be hard to do.

And, even if Hezbollah is destroyed as a movement, does anybody really imagine that nothing worse can take its place?

But, the main reason to be concerned about the Bush administration's position is that it is the Bush administration's position. They are wrong about everything. Nothing ever works out the way they say it will. Almost without exception, their plans work out to the opposite effect. The invasion of Iraq was supposed to be a six-week cake walk. Three years later, it's civil war. The reorganization of FEMA was supposed to make it work even better than it did under the Clinton administration. New Orleans drowned. Clinton advised the incoming President Bush to make al Qaeda the focus of his national security agenda. Bush chose instead to focus on missile defense. Three thousand people died on 9/11. Pick any issue. Upper-income tax cuts were supposed to spur unprecedented job growth and prosperity. American workers, those who are working, haven't gotten a meaningful raise in six years. The same tax cuts were supposed to expand the projected budget surplus. We are hundreds of billions of dollars in debt, with no relief in sight.

Now, Bush is applying his King-Midas-in-reverse touch to a shooting war between Israel and Hezbollah. He says the road to peace lies through more war. Even if you choose to ignore the sheer insanity of that pronouncement, just look at his record. If you want to know what to do in this or any other situation, just listen to what the president says, and do the opposite.