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July 26, 2006



The phrase "Suez moment" is ill-chosen, recalling as it does one of the more short-sighted and unworthy periods in American postwar foreign policy.

But had the administration actively sought to focus attention on Hezbollah's having brought on this crisis -- for example, by calling on Nasrallah to apologize -- and leaned hard and publicly on Israel to forego attacks on Lebanese targets not directly associated with Hezbollah, the tone of international discourse on Lebanon would likely be very different.

Instead the President been rigid in his formulation of policy objectives, and has left their implementation to the Israelis. The similarity between his delegation here and his leaving the Afghanistan and Iraqi invasion plans to Sec. Rumsfeld and Gen. Franks is striking. Whether or not he was paying attention at the time, Bush at least got briefings beforehand from Rumsfeld and Franks.


Are you serious? Hezbollah,a terrorist group, crosses the border into Israel, kills and kidnaps soldiers so the US is responsible for the retaliatory attacks? You sir are a total moron.

Ben P


Whether or not Mr. Lynch thinks that isn't really the point of this post. Its that this is now the consensus view in the non-Israeli ME. And that's a problem. The US's strategy in the region is hopelessly tangled and contradictory.


Appeasment does not work. See: Neville Chamberlain.

The Lounsbury

Mechanical repitition of supposed lessons of very different past historical situations that you barely understand is a great way to get oneself into deep, deep trouble. See WWI, Guns of August.


You are so right. Why, why, why do americans continue to let the american press spoon feed them all that bush bullshit. His whole presidency has been like a bad, bad dream. He's destroyed the image of the US for generations to come and has serious upset the world order. there's also a very good chance he has set the next world war into motion.


"Hezbollah,a terrorist group, crosses the border into Israel, kills and kidnaps soldiers so the US is responsible for the retaliatory attacks?"

No, but we are responsible for restraining and halting the retaliatory attacks. Israel is our client state in the Middle East. It's using our weapons and our geopolitical security umbrella to wage this war. We are the only military force in the world with both the power and the (potential) will to organize stop them. We have been "in charge" of the Western military presence in the Middle East since Eisenhower.

Israeli's disproportionate military retaliation continues with our tacit approval and could not exist without it.

We're not doing the shooting, but we gave them the guns and aren't lifting a finger to stop the results.



So now Israel has crossed the border and killed hundreds. What does that now justify Hezbollah to do, huh?

I don't think this blogger is the idiot.

David F

Immediate cease fire should have been coupled with moving in 100,000 NATO troops to disarm Hezbollah according to the UN Resolution and allow the Lebanon Army to protect their southern border. The reason that there is no immediate cease-fire and the saving of many civilian lives is precisely becuase the Europeans do not want to commit their armies to disarm Hezbollah. If the Europeans really cared, they'd let NATO make the peace, but they really don't care.

Friendly Fire

Isreal sent a strong message to four blue-caps this morning.

Sebastian Holsclaw

"We're not doing the shooting, but we gave them the guns and aren't lifting a finger to stop the results."

If "We" is Iran and "Them" were Hezbollah, we could be avoiding a whole lot of criticism right now.

No Preference

Brilliant post, aardvark.

Rice expressed grave concern about the Iranian role in Lebanon, and concern for the humanitarian situation - which, at a time when her government is pretty much solely responsible for allowing the bombing to continue, is pretty the definition of adding insult to injury.

What really got me was her offer of $40 million in aid to Prime Minister Saniora immediately after the US had rushed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aviation fuel and munitions to Israel to enable it to continue its assault.

Can you believe it?


No, but we are responsible for restraining and halting the retaliatory attacks.

Ah. So people in the middle east (and you) apparently think the US's primary role in this mess is to restrain israel.

One question: who restrains Hizbullah? Who smacks *them* down when they misbehave?

What I see is a bunch of Arabs (and Europeans) who think the US's job is to let Arab proxies kill Israelis and call off the retribution when the Israelis start winning.

To hell with that idea.

Ian Welsh

Israel's losing. Even the IDF recognizes that. The peacekeeping force is a way for them to save face, because otherwise they will either find themselves in a guerilla war they can't win, or be forced to withdraw.

And no, they can't win the guerilla war, if they could have defeated Hezbollah they would have done it when they spent nearly two decades occupying southern Lebanon.

What was that about history? Those who don't learn...?


I guess we should now change our foreign policy and ask Israel to surrender since the "Arabs" are seething again, outraged, furious, etc. Isn't this game a lil old? Stop your own extremists from breaking the peace and there will be no retaliation. *sigh*


Isreal is using this conference to assert that it has the backing of the international community for its actions. Inconceivable.

World 'backs Lebanon offensive'

Israel says the decision by diplomats not to call for a halt to its Lebanon offensive at a Middle East summit has given it the green light to continue.

"We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world... to continue the operation," Justice Minister Haim Ramon said.


I'm puzzled by why the discussion devolves into Bush-bashing. Israel takes action against Hez, ergo, Bush is a moron. Cf. Arab-Israeli wars in 48, 56, 67 and 73. This intractable problem existed long before Bush and will exist long after him.


Put it this way, Carter, Reagan, Bush the Elder and Clinton were hardly beloved on the Arab Streets. We've always supported Israel and the Arab Street loathes Israel. Ergo, we're loathed. Is this an endorsement of Bush the Junior's diplomacy? Hardly. But Pragmatic (above) has a point- that is, at some point, diplomacy is an empty exercise. Clinton tried his level best to secure a peace agreement between Israel and the PLO. His peristence failed- and one wonders if it would've meant anything, given the Palestinian endorsement of Hamas years later.

Egypt proved to be a rational player and has abided by its peace treaties with Israel. Hez and Hamas appear to be different animals. I'm all for negotiating and diplomacy. But it's difficult to negotiate with a party whose avowed purpose is Israel's total destruction. Or am I missing something?

Ben P


true, but Bush supposedly wants a "new Middle East" with elected governments rather than autocracies. In the light of this, US policy right now is contradictory and I believe many in the administration are being willfully dishonest to themselves.


I don't think it's a matter of dishonesty, Ben- simply ignorance coupled with over-optimism.

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