The White House has been reluctant to condemn Israel's attacks on Lebanon, or call for a diplomatic solution to that conflict, or offer their own diplomatic efforts, and now it's clear why: They would look very foolish doing any of those things and then turning around and supplying Israel with advanced missiles to continue the attacks, which they have now done.
The timing of this couldn't be better for illustrating the unabashed, unrelenting hypocrisy of this administration.
Just days ago, as you recall, President Bush vetoed a bill that would have allowed the use of human cells for medical research under the reasoning that it would constitute "murder." Hmm. No word from him on what the deaths of all those civilians in Lebanon should be called. "Collateral damage," maybe? All's fair in war, I guess.
I haven't heard of many tourist deaths in Lebanon, but Israel certainly started the shelling when the country was still full of them, from the US and from all over the world. Many Lebanese civilians have certainly been killed. I've seen the footage of limp, lifeless children in their parents' arms. Truly sickening. And, sadly, too common a scene from the region nowadays.
Yet, we've taken our time taking any kind of action toward a peaceful resolution. Instead, we've let it play out in order to allow Israel to damage Hezbollah as much as possible. I have no issue there, but lots of other people are getting killed in the meantime.
John Bolton, Bush's man at the UN, said Sunday, "They (Syria) need to lean on Hezbollah to get them to release the two captured Israeli soldiers and stop the launch of rockets against innocent Israeli civilians." Bolton seems to have forgotten that Israel started the rocket volley, and that their rockets (which we are now augmenting with some of our own) have already killed scores of Lebanese civilians.
Bolton’s statements remind me of the older brother who hits you with your own hand and tells you to stop hitting yourself. The logic is certainly the same.
Bolton was rebuffing an offer by Syria to discuss the Lebanese crisis. This is par for the course for this administration, which seems to have "spare the rod, spoil the other country" as its foreign policy.
This policy has repercussions beyond civilian casualties. We have a leader who doesn't realize how assisting with the attack of yet another Muslim country compromises his own so-called "war on terror," and it's frustrating. We keep stirring up the hornet's nest, and the occupants were already poised to sting before we picked up the poking stick.
When it comes to diplomacy, Bush is the bull in the China shop. How fitting that he chose someone like Bolton - by all accounts a combative, browbeating hothead - for the UN post. But, I digress.
Condoleezza Rice has been dispatched to the region to do whatever is that she does. (Perhaps she's a "consultant" for President Bush?) But with the hard line the US has been taking on this - that it's all up to Syria, Iran and Hezbollah to end the conflict - her mission seems perfunctory and doomed from the start.
Rice is not going to speak with all parties during her visit, just select ones. But the key to diplomacy is involving both sides, you see. The short story: The carnage will likely continue despite her halfhearted efforts. We've got to try much harder if we want to be able to use the word "murder" with any moral authority - and without hypocrisy.