Monday :: Mar 22, 2004

Israeli Assassination Of Hamas Leader Another Byproduct Of Bush Foreign Policy

by Steve

While I was fretting over Kerry’s lack of aggressiveness and we were all watching things get gradually worse for Bush today because of Clarke’s book and the impending 9/11 Commission hearings this week, something significant happened in the Middle East that could have a major effect on the campaign. Israel killed the spiritual leader of Hamas today in a missile attack outside of a mosque he was exiting. The markets tanked on this news, fearing (rightly so) an escalation in world tensions and terrorism as a result of this action.

Let’s not mince words here: Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction, and has been instrumental in the deaths of many Israelis over the years. But this attack has now led to massive and vehement protests in the Middle East. The White House fumbled its reaction to the attack, with Condi “Two Mirrors” Rice saying in response to the news that Hamas was a terrorist organization, then saying it was troubled by the attack, and then as the day went on gradually came out harder against it without condemning it like the EU did. It was noticeable to the rest of the world that the Bush Administration was the only major government that seemed to soft-pedal its response. This was not lost on the Arab world, from whom there are growing suspicions that we in fact did know about the attack in advance and green-lighted it. Not only did the Sharon government not tell the White House in advance of the action, but it claimed as it had in the past that such Israeli actions are entirely consistent with the Bush Administration’s preemptive anti-terrorism strategies, and equated Yassin with Bin Laden.

Aside from destroying any chance for significant movement on peace talks probably for the remainder of this year, this attack will certainly lead to increased attacks upon Israel and America, both here and with our troops in Iraq. Israel was on the verge of a pullout from the Gaza Strip, as a first hopeful step to more progress. This attack and the resulting retaliatory measures by Hamas and Al Qaeda will plunge the region and world into deeper conflict, not that the Sharon government cares about this. But this is a monster that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Tom DeLay have created. By walking intentionally away from Middle East peace talks at the outset of his term and disengaging from the process, as Paul O’Neill noted in his book, the Bush Administration not only squandered our national legacy in this area but reinforced Sharon’s desired course all along. And now Bush as a result is a hostage to Sharon’s whims during an election year where the economy and our national security may hang in the balance.

Steve :: 3:30 PM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!