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11 January 2008

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bstr

There remain only a few things available to George W. Bush to validate his extreme policies of the last seven years. He is frantically trying to find personal and historical justification. He is like a fish on the dock, flipping about and quickly running out of time. This final year could be very bad for us all, given who he is and his job.

Michael

So now Bush is suggesting the US could "easily" be in Iraq for ten years?

Yikes - I'm no MENA specialist.. but I'm not entirely sure that's the kind of message that should be telecast throughout that region.

frank durkee

The most recent Harpers Magazine has an excellent brief piece on the Bush administrations rationale for the "unitary presidency". it's worth reading both for its content and the context it provides.

Bill W, NH

Good News, The NH vote will be recounted.

ked

I am fairly convinced that it is such a bummer to have him around the office that his staff has conspired to keep him out of town as much as possible in the final year of his reign.

Will

the fool's errand has to be exhausted before we arrive at the end game.

fool's errand=palestinian state=bantustans

endgame=apartheid=which will equally resolve in a binational state like South Africa did or ethnic cleansing like the Third Reich

Cujo359

By "the problem of Palestinian division" are you refering to their political differences, or the geographical ones?

William R. Cumming

Two quick points. Isn't it "First, do no harm!" Second, Bush foreign policy I think is very hard to understand. He has reversed course on many issues and never really had any consistent foreign policy on any significant issue. Am I wrong?

Cold War Zoomie

Jimmy Carter comments on many of the same topics recently posted here at SST.

But be warned, and I really mean it, even back in the day I didn't hear this many f-bombs from any branch of the military. Squids included.

Mock Jimmy Carter Op-Ed...The Onion, of course!

Had me rolling!

Marcus

"I continue to believe that the problem should be approached by seeking regional bilateral and in some cases multi-lateral agreements that address the interests of all concerned and which reduce the "temperature" in the region."

Too little too late is about the best you can expect from this maladministration.

Seems a bit prejudiced to insist on multilateral talks concerning NK but a go-it-alone approach with these two. Settlements and the 40 year occupation is a disgrace to all parties, the US included.

The US, through favoratism, has lost any chance to act as a fair broker. Regional and multilateral is the probably the only way.

David W

There you go again, Col., with your pragmatism and can-do attitude--casting pearls to swine, because this trip had nothing to do with the situation on the ground, and everything to do with creating material for the future GW Bush Presidential Liebrary. (that's not a typo)

Bush's seriousness is best captured in this bon mot, reported by Al Jazeera:

Ayman Moyheldin reports for Al Jazeera: "He came with a message of hope, but to many Palestinians, it may be for his side comments and his jokes that George Bush will be remembered for. . . .

"Palestinian officials say the fact that you had a U.S. president on Palestinian Authority territory, talking about a Palestinian state, well they say that in itself is an achievement. But you could just feel the moment melt when George Bush was asked about the hardships that Israeli checkpoints cause Palestinians and he responded by joking about how he didn't have to stop at any."

Here's what Bush said at his joint press conference in Ramallah yesterday: "You'll be happy to hear that my motorcade of a mere 45 cars was able to make it through without being stopped, but I'm not so exactly sure that's what happens to the average person."

PeterE

Your belief that the Israeli-Palestinean problem should be resolved by agreements based on interests sounds extremely reasonable to me. But isn't the problem that hardly anyone in the Middle East with any influence (Israelis included) thinks about interests? They are all People of the Book-- or Books--in pursuit of serving God's interest, not their interests. They scorn life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Clifford Kiracofe

<"I continue to believe that the problem should be approached by seeking regional bilateral and in some cases multi-lateral agreements that address the interests of all concerned and which reduce the "temperature" in the region.">

Absolutely, but this requires competent US REGIONAL diplomacy which the record indicates is beyond W and Tinkerbelle (and certain FSOs one might name.)

1. "these accumulated US failures – both military and moral – have led the region's capitals to reexamine their priorities.

"Until now, the Arab regimes have blindly followed the US, thinking they needed it to keep them in power," he said. "But recent development are prompting them to reassesses this assumption.

"The era of US hegemony is ending," Kandil added. "And a new era of cooperation between regional actors – looking for new means to achieve their ends – has begun."
http://www.antiwar.com/ips/morrowomrani.php?articleid=12197

So Iran and Egypt develop relations and Egypt turns to China....while Russia strengthens Iran's air defense etc. systems.

2. US-Iran situation reflects the US inability to devise a strategy in the US national interest.

Why has the White House apparently blocked an incidents at sea agreement? US naval authorities have said they have no direct channel to countparts to appropriately deal with incidents at sea.
" America’s top military commanders in the Gulf (that would include Cosgriff) were lobbying for a new “incidents-at-sea” agreement. “The United States and Iran,” Ignatius went on, “are playing a game of ‘chicken’ in the Middle East. A collision would be ruinous for both. Each side needs to be careful to avoid miscalculation.”
http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/?p=93

The lack of such an agreement facilitates Israeli and Neocon warmongering...

3. Per the audio track with the out of place "threat" breaking into the transmission (overdub?) the Navy Times reports:
"The threatening radio transmission heard at the end of a video showing harassing maneuvers by Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz may have come from a locally famous heckler known among ship drivers as the “Filipino Monkey.”
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/01/navy_hormuz_iran_radio_080111/

This would be the open UHF channel 16 but the Iranian tape shows the fast boat officer requesting a shift to Channel 11 which appears to take place. So?

4. W as Ahab (with a fake Texas accent):

"Washington's Captain Ahab, in the garb of President George W Bush, setting foot in the Middle East, holds the olive branch of Middle East peace in one hand and the Damocles sword of Iran-bashing in the other, a twin agenda in complete disharmony. It's no way to catch Moby Dick. [1]"
from Kaveh Afrasiabi,
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JA11Ak04.html

Curious

nah, there is no peace. The logic of violence still exist. (ie. it's cheaper and sustainable to carry on with the conflict.)

Look. Palestinian and Israel problem is fairly straight forward. Contrary to myth that it's some sort of grand mayhem.

1. It's a land dispute.

2. One side wants the land because God says so. The other side want to keep the land because "excuse me, I was here and getting kicked out" (It's ethnoreligious drive vs. ethno nationalism drive)

3. Both side can afford to carry on the war and neither side has decisive blow or able to win the war permanently.

4. The palestinian side, It has man power and sympathy of the entire region.

The Israel side, weapon and financial support of Jewish community and DC politics.


Everybody knows what Bush administration is about. Nobody in the ME is foolish enough to trust him. Who is gong to believe Bush "peace" talk? Therefore the war continues.

The middle east problem is largely out of Bush hand by now. The world is making medium range bet based on Hillary Clinton winning the presidency. (ie. It's more of the same. It will be continuation of Clinton/Bush policy in the middle east. Largely pro Israel-pro status quo.)

My prediction: Saudi regime will turn shaky. Egypt will either turn neutral or flip. Russia and China will invest heavily on ME game as well. Iraq will explode, as well with Israel vs Jordan/Iran.

Jim Schmidt

"I could not be governor if I did not believe in a divine plan that supersedes all human plans. Politics is a fickle business. Polls change."

Governor George Bush, recounting trip to Israel, Personal Testimony, 2000

Uh-Oh

George is visiting the Sea of Galilee again.

http://www.bakersfield.com/893/story/332260.html

One of the pictures in the story (Pablo's) is reminiscent of this image:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18503/18503-h/images/p263.jpg

Seperated at birth?
http://members.aol.com/billiews/bushpray.jpg

Last time at the sea, circa 2000, in his own words:

"It was an incredible experience. I remember waking up at the Jerusalem Hilton and opening the curtains and seeing the Old City before us, the Jerusalem stone glowing gold. We visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. And we went to the Sea of Galilee and stood atop the hill where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. It was an overwhelming feeling to stand in the spot where the most famous speech in the history of the world was delivered, the spot where Jesus outlined the character and conduct of a believer and gave his disciples and the world the beatitudes, the golden rule, and the Lord's Prayer.

Our delegation included four gentile governors-one Methodist, two Catholics, and a Mormon, and several Jewish-American friends. Someone suggested we read Scripture. I chose to read "Amazing Grace," my favorite hymn. Later that night we all gathered at a restaurant in Tel Aviv for dinner before we boarded our middle-of-night flight back to America. We talked about the wonderful experiences and thanked the guides and government officials who had introduced us to their country.

And toward the end of the meal, one of our friends rose to share a story, to tell us how he, a gentile, and his friend, a Jew, had (unbeknownst to the rest of us) walked down to the Sea of Galilee, joined hands underwater, and prayed together, on bended knee. Then out of his mouth came a hymn he had known as a child, a hymn he hadn't thought about in years. He got every word right: Now is the time approaching, by prophets long foretold, when all shall dwell together, One Shepherd and one fold. Now Jew and gentile, meeting, from many a distant shore, around an altar kneeling, one common Lord. Faith changes lives. I know, because faith has changed mine."

Governor George Bush, Personal Testimony, 2000

http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39f46f7247d5.htm

Does this man believe that his mission is now to calm the waters?

http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2007/04/24/1/a-conversation-with-the-president-of-the-united-states

A year is a long time. Destiny beckons. Buckle up.

Jose

Why does everyone think a deal is so difficult, in reality it's a simple real estate transaction at its core.

Matthew

Col--your quote: "In fact, it remains the case that the majority of people in both sides want "peace," but the ways in which they define peace are quite different and reflective of a desire to dominate the other side."

To which I add: America seeks to solve a problem without having to admit its friend Israel is actually causing any part of it.

Cold War Zoomie

"They are all People of the Book-- or Books--in pursuit of serving God's interest, not their interests."

I would say that their desire, or need, or requirement - call it what you will - to serve God and His interests would simply be their primary interest from which all other's flow. It is itself an interest as far as we're concerned.

(Can I mangle that thought any further?)

pbrownlee

Does anyone anywhere take any of this seriously?

Apart from some of the wannabe presidents: "One of the most animated exchanges came when the candidates were asked whether they backed the Navy's cautious response recently when Iranian boats reportedly harassed U.S. vessels in the Persian Gulf.

"Huckabee said anyone who challenges the Navy again should be prepared to go to the 'gates of hell'.

"Thompson said anyone testing the Navy might soon meet the 'virgins' that Islamic terrorists expect to meet in heaven.

"Texas Rep. Ron Paul called the bellicose language frightening and reminiscent of the reaction to an alleged naval exchange that led to the Vietnam War. 'I would certainly urge a lot more caution than I'm hearing here tonight,' Paul said.

"Romney cracked that Paul should stop reading Iranian propaganda, drawing what sounded like boos from the audience and a glare from Paul."

(http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/24603.html quoted by Juan Cole at http://www.juancole.com/ )

These pathetic individuals (bar Ron Paul, of course) are unfit for any office of trust or responsibility anywhere.

God rot the lot of 'em.

GSD

Bush has become so unhinged he wants to travel backwards in time to bomb the German deathcamps.

He is one warmongering, warped mofo.

-GSD

zanzibar

The problem with our current President and all his neocon buddies is that they are really not interested in solving the cause of all the discord in the ME. They still believe in domination and lip-service.

I remain convinced that the only way for the parties in the region work out an acceptable framework is on the basis of a truce in the first place. Of all the proposals I have read only PL's "Concert" makes sense. I have yet to hear any of the current Presidential candidates latch on to the idea of the "Concert". Are they serious about dampening the violence and bringing a degree of stability? Or do we have another election with only Likudnik candidates?

DanaJone

Pat, bstr, the thing that really has me nervous right now is the flap over the Iranian patrol boat "incident". From what I know, this happens on a regular basis every time US warships enter OR leave the Persian Gulf, its nothing new. Now its being hyped. If you check out the US vs Iranian videos on other sites, you can tell the US one has been edited, the voice that says "We are coming to you.." sounds computer generated. On the BBC site the audio is even more at variance, the "We will explode you..." sounds more like "We will EXPLORE you for a few minutes".
I feel concerned that Bush may be in the ME right now to drum up support for a US attack on Iran this spring, the rhetoric about "all options on the table" has not lightened a bit, and some I know fear that GW's last major act in office will be to finish the business with Iran. I know that you and others have stated repeatedly that such an action would be the height of stupidity, but with GW right now thinking of his legacy, he might hope that removing the Iranian nuclear "threat" might rehabilitate what ever legacy he leaves history, hopefully better than the "Worst President Ever" that he fears. Just my humble opinion, Dana J.

Charles I

Talks cheap. There'll be no peace before Israel abandons the Eretz Israel fanatasy.

Only force of arms or Israeli lack of money and material will force the disgorgment of the Occupied Territories. After that would the minor details of building a state from the rubble, without which, there will be no peace. Of course, none of this will occur without complete and utter submission to every Israeli condition precedent by the fractured Palestinian polities.

I saw Olmert crawling up 43's backside on the news. he (Olmert) was almost agog himself as he announced the unprecedented level of support 43 had delivered toIsrael: "30 billion dollars". And APC's for Fatah, facilitating a ramping up of the civil war between the elected and unelected scorpions in a bottle that is "The Peace Process".

$100 billion, 500 F-22's, Patriots, robust deliverable WMD, training & operational support both covert and overt, say 50,000 contractors fighting for the Palestinans, with massive sanctions and embargoes of food, energy and money against Israel, escalating daily, peace'd break out forthwith.

Bit of gum-flapping by the boy acolyte falls a bit short.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

I think the real aim of Mr. Bush has been to personally reassure - in his capacity as the President of the United States - the Persian Gulf Arab states in regards to the up-coming withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and the contours of the US-Iran deal over Iraq.

By stopping in Israel he has given some political cover to the US vassal Arab states to the effect that their concerns are being heard - if not acted upon.

Babak Makkinejad

Jim Schmidt:

The hymn that you have quoted is a Christian universalist one which envisions a world in which all human beings have the same religion. In that sentiment it is similar to Islam.

But I cannot understand why a Jew would find comfort in that hymn, which is akin to that old Catholic prayer for the conversion of all Jews, - it would be the death of Judaism.

In fact, do these people understand that the universalism of the Western Civilization is the antithetical to all forms of ethno-religious particularity?

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