August 3, 2006
Bush and Israel: Shoulder to Shoulder, Hip to HipBy Rick Moran
Stubborn or courageous? Calculating or clueless? Smart or dumb? Historians will have a tough time trying to define George Bush. At least the honest historians will. And by honest, I mean those who will make an effort to glean the truth from the avalanche of contemporary reports portraying the 43rd President as (take your pick)
But it may be the President's critics who are the simpletons. Blinded by their own hubris and in love with their fey conceits, most of the President's detractors are in a snit because George Bush thinks there's something of a war on and they don't much like the way he's fighting it.
First and foremost, he's neglecting the nuance involved in warmaking. Silly George! He can't go around lumping Hamas, Hezbollah, and al—Qaeda together as if there were anything similar about them. That just isn't done. What those three fundamentalist Islamic terror groups could possibly have in common seems to escape those who insist that the world is a complicated place with many shades of gray.
They believe that 'good' and 'evil' are meaningless terms that may in fact be neo—colonial racist constructs not descriptives aimed at morally differentiating between those who see slaughtering innocents as a path to heaven and those who seek to stop them.
And doesn't our President know that there are gradations of evil? Hamas is not as evil as Hezbollah because they were, well, elected sort of. And Hezbollah builds day care centers and has seats in the Lebanese parliament. This makes them less evil than al—Qaeda who we're not fighting the right way because we're not getting to the root causes of what upsets them so.
Better that we try and understand why they want to conquer the world and convert every living soul to Islam than seek them out and destroy them.
But what really has the President's critics howling with full throated cries of outrage is that dumb old George has gone and upset the Middle East apple cart. He's standing firmly on the side of Israel rather than practicing the traditional American balancing act, tying ourselves into pretzel—like contortions in order to please the Arab supporters of the Palestinians by decreeing a pox on both their houses.
In other words, Bush is getting raked over the coals by both domestic critics and the international community because during this go around with their terrorist tormentors, he is standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and letting the devil take Hamas and Hezbollah. This has thrown the calculations of both the terrorists and their patrons in Syria and Iran into a cocked hat. Who would have thought that the United States would actually allow Israel a 'green light' to so weaken Hamas and Hezbollah that their ability to harm the Jewish state would be seriously hampered? It's unprecedented in the sorry annals of Middle East diplomacy.
And therein lies a clue to the President's thinking. While the current war is a serious crisis still with the possibility of an escalation that could include other state actors in the conflict, what is happening in the Middle East is revolutionary and in the end, necessary. The diplomatic framework that has been employed dozens of times since the birth of the Jewish state in 1948 to keep the lid on the Palestinian/Israel question has been revealed to be obsolete.
Born in a bi—polar world where it was vitally necessary to prevent war from breaking out between Israel and its Arab neighbors lest the conflict escalate to a superpower showdown, the tried and true rigmarole that saw Arab defeat snatched from the jaws of a complete Israeli victory was an unsatisfying yet necessary adjunct to the diplomatic dance which saw the United States playing the part of 'honest broker' to Palestinian aspirations.
What exactly did that achieve? Lasting peace? A safe and secure Israel?
For nearly 60 years the world community has worked the same diplomatic levers and pulleys to no avail. Not when support for the murderous fedayeen in Hamas and Hezbollah as well as other terror groups like Islamic Jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood continues from sources all over the Arab world and threatens destruction of the Jewish state.
While the President's naysayers in Europe and America are almost apoplectic with rage and call for a cease fire resonate from the United Nations to the Hague, Bush remains stoic in his belief that Israel's fight against Hezbollah actually has something to do with the War on Terror and thus deserves America's full and unqualified support. Since many of the President's critics don't believe we're at war in the first place, this lack of American 'balance' in dealing with the terrorist aggressors of Hamas and Hezbollah is all the more shocking. It is chalked up to either Bush's simple—minded view of terrorism or his animus toward Muslims in general.
More conspiratorially, hints of the Vast Jewish Conspiracy haunt the thoughts of the borderline anti—Semites who dreamily wonder aloud if Israel has a 'right to exist' in the first place. In the past, this kind of filth would have been confined to the poorly mimeographed rants of neo—Nazi mouthbreathers. Now, these thoughts appear on the slick website of the most popular and powerful liberal blog in the world.
Most on the left (and the paleo—right) seem content not to voice their hopes for the destruction of the Jewish state out loud and settle for accusing Bush of being a puppet of the Zionists. Of course, this is a free floating kind of critique in that a few short years ago, the roles of the United States and Israel were transposed in this relationship and it was Israel having its strings pulled by evil capitalists. One would hope that some day, the inveterate Jew haters of the world would make up their minds and decide once and for all who is Sherri Lewis and who is Lambchop in this relationship.
It doesn't seem to matter to our George. While expressing the proper amount of regret at civilian casualties, he firmly makes the point that the moral onus for the death of civilians lies heavily on the shoulders of those who use the innocents to shield their military activities and then employ their dead bodies in a macabre propaganda side show, not to mention glorying in the death of civilians they deliberately target themselves. This moral distinction, so brilliantly exposited by James Lewis on these pages last Sunday, is lost on those either too blinded by their hatred of the President (or of the United States) or those whose moral cowardice in the face of such evil has made them unable to confront the consequences of their ambivalence.
Perhaps what makes the President's opponents the most uncomfortable is this uncompromising stance against evil. While it certainly has biblical overtones, it seems to be based more on a faith in something beyond religious conviction — a steadfast belief in the goodness of man. Those whose cynicism towards humanity blinds them to people's potential to do great and good things as well as savage and terrible things will not ever understand this aspect of the Bush presidency. It goes to Bush's core beliefs in freedom and the natural rights of man — that all people everywhere are born into liberty.
This belief plays into Bush's stubborn support of Israel in the face of opposition that would have cowed a lesser man. He sees Israel much as he sees America. Speaking at the American Jewish Committee's Centennial Dinner last May, the President spoke of our similarities:
Simple but not simple minded. And the unstated ties between Israel and the United States are perhaps the most binding. We are joined at the hip as the result of the unspeakable atrocity of the Holocaust. There is only one nation on earth with the ability and yes, the moral authority to see that the Jewish people never suffer such a blow again. The world community has proved itself fickle in its support for a Jewish state. And while the nation of Israel is perfectly capable of defending itself, the steadfast support of the United States in its times of trial over the last 60 years has benefited both countries.
We are morally committed to the survival of the Jewish state, a commitment unlike any other we have made to any other country. Unlike his critics, the President understands this and sees Israel's war against Hezbollah for what it is; a fight for the tiny state's right to exist. The terrorists and their sponsors in Damascus and Tehran have made no secret of their desire to see Israel destroyed. One wonders why the President's numerous critics both here and abroad pretend that such hatred doesn't exist or that it can be reasoned with or bargained away.
Perhaps seeing the world the way George sees it might not be such a bad thing after all.
Rick Moran is the proprietor of the site Rightwing Nuthouse and a frequent contributor to The American Thinker.