Jordan Times, Jordan
For U.S. and Israel, It's 'Mission Unaccomplished'

By George S. Hishmeh

August 11-12, 2006 Edition

Jordan - Jordan Times - Home Page (English)    


President Bush and Secretary Rice in Crawford on Monday. Are the two
presiding over a losing policy of excessive force? (above and below).

—C-SPAN VIDEO: President Bush and Secretary Rice
explain themselves in Crawford Texas, Aug. 7, 00:36:57

RealVideo[SLIDE SHOW: Israel-Lebanon Crisis].

—IBA ISRAEL NEWS: Lebanon war roundup
from Israel, Aug. 13, 00:22:38WindowsVideo


Whatever course is taken to end the carnage after Israel's bloody and disproportionate overreaction and destruction of southern Lebanon, the high-sounding objectives that the Bush Administration has set for itself in the Middle East - democracy and freedom - will remain unaccomplished, if not a laughing stock. If there is any hope of a sound regional settlement, it will not come before a new U.S. administration takes over three years hence.

The fumbling that took place, particularly over the past month, underlines the failure of the Bush Administration (and its Israeli partner, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert) to learn from the experiences of its predecessors. The most important lesson goes as far back as the Vietnam War when all of America's might couldn't break the back of the Viet Cong, which successfully evicted the Americans from that Southeast Asian nation. Indeed, similar Hezbullah's performance when it compelled Israel to unceremoniously withdraw from southern Lebanon.

Had Washington digested this historic lesson, it wouldn't have given the "green light" to Israel's inexperienced prime minister, and his defense minister, Amin Peretz. Both were bent on showing their mettle but were instead humiliated in the process. According to some reliable accounts, Olmert promised the Americans that he'd subdue Hezbullah in a week's time.

Hezbullah's performance in showering northern Israel with rockets and creating havoc in Haifa, the country's third largest city, speaks volumes and cuts down to size the world's fourth largest military power - something no Arab regime has been able to do since the founding of Israel in 1948. In fact, Arab governments which were initially critical of Hezbullah's daring actions, which could have been resolved diplomatically as was the case in the past, have in the end come around to support their kith and kin.

But it is the rationale of President Bush and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as enunciated at their impromptu press conference earlier this week at the American leader's vacation home in Crawford, Texas RealVideo and which baffled their audience. They left no doubt that through their lopsided U.N. draft resolution, their intention was the elimination of Hezbullah as a fighting force. The resolution, surprisingly supported by the French government, calls for an "immediate cessation of all attacks by Hezbullah," while Israel was only asked to cease "offensive military operations - a point the two American leaders stressed repeatedly. They also used the words "root cause" eleven times to describe Hezbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers as the incident that triggered the war, but not once did they recognize Israel's colonialist policies, whether in holding Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners or the occupation of Arab lands in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon for almost 40 years, as the main factor.

'Hezbullah rockets demolish the myth of Zionist invincibility.'

[Al-Khaleej, U.A.E.] (above).

'Chirac collaborates with U.S.-Israel against Lebanon.'

[Ad Dustour, Jordan]. (below).


Even the abduction last week of patients from a hospital in Baalbek (one allegedly a Hezbullah operative), a barbaric action in itself, or the kidnapping of the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Aziz Dweik, from his home in Ramallah, was not met with condemnation from the White House or the State Department.

Even if one compares the death toll on either side, it is noteworthy that the Lebanese suffered more civilian deaths. A third of the more than 1,000 Lebanese killed were children under the age of 12. Only about 30 Israeli civilians lost their lives in the artillery exchanges while the Israeli military lost 60 soldiers since the fighting began on July 12.

In any case, Hezbullah is there to stay, certainly as a major political force inside Lebanon, and the sooner the world adjusts to that fact the better it will be for all. Whether it keeps its arms should be a matter for the Lebanese government. Prime Minster Fuad Siniora's offer (backed by the two Hezbullah Cabinet members) to send 15,000 Lebanese troops to the border area north of Israel was a masterstroke. There is no excuse for anyone to turn down his proposal, which hinges on Israel's willingness to promptly withdraw its troops from the areas they managed to hold after four weeks of fighting.

It's high time that the United States and Israel abandon their ill-conceived arm-twisting approach to resolve international problems as attempted in Lebanon, which so far have yielded no results for either. History, no doubt, will bear me out.



WindowsVideoAl-Jazeera, Qatar: Excerpts from an interview with British MP George Galloway, August 8, 00:06:24, MEMRI

"Two of the Arab world's beautiful daughters, Jerusalem and Baghdad, are in the hands of these foreigners, these occupiers, and nothing can be done by the Arab rulers, because they are in bed, fornicating with the foreigners, who are occupying and using these beautiful Arab daughters as they will."

British MP George Galloway

© Watching America all rights reserved. Disclaimer