How'd that work for you in Afghanistan, Bush, where the Taliban is back - stronger than ever? And from whence al Qaeda simply moved into Iraq to kill people there in another Bush war? And how's that worked for Israel - the collective punsihment of the Palestinian people for decades on end where Hamas is not only still around but is the democratically elected government? So now, continuing this insane plan of finding hidden terrorists who hide amongst civilian populations by bombing everybody and their dog to kingdom come, Israel has a new place to practice: Lebanon. A place where there has actually been peace. A place where Israel says the government, in its infancy, ought to have already obliterated Hezbollah and which is now paying the price for being unable to.
In the administration's view, the new conflict is not just a crisis to be managed. It is also an opportunity to seriously degrade a big threat in the region, just as Bush believes he is doing in Iraq. Israel's crippling of Hezbollah, officials also hope, would complete the work of building a functioning democracy in Lebanon and send a strong message to the Syrian and Iranian backers of Hezbollah.
"The president believes that unless you address the root causes of the violence that has afflicted the Middle East, you cannot forge a lasting peace," said White House counselor Dan Bartlett. "He mourns the loss of every life. Yet out of this tragic development, he believes a moment of clarity has arrived."
Clarity? No. This is yet another display of Bush's inability to admit monumental mistakes that have accomplished nothing to rid the world of terrorism. He has failed. When he admits that, he'll have 'clarity'. Meanwhile, millions of people will have paid the price for his unwillingness change his worldview - his endless scourge of wars.
"He thinks he is playing in a longer-term game than the tacticians," said the former official, who spoke anonymously so he could discuss his views candidly. "The tacticians would say: 'Get an immediate cease-fire. Deal first with the humanitarian factors.' The president would say: 'You have an opportunity to really grind down Hezbollah. Let's take it, even if there are other serious consequences that will have to be managed.'"
How's that management turned out so far? Just look at the results in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is Bush's management style. Drop the bombs - we'll sort it out later. Except that it never really does get sorted out, does it?
Many Mideast experts warn that there is a dangerous consequence to this worldview. They believe that Israel, and the United States by extension, is risking serious trouble if it continues with the punishing air strikes that are producing mounting casualties. The history of the Middle East is replete with examples of the limits of military power, they say, noting how the Israeli campaign in Lebanon in the early 1980s helped create the conditions for the rise of Hezbollah.
They warned that the military campaign is turning mainstream Lebanese public opinion against Israel rather than against Hezbollah, which instigated the violence. The attacks also make it more difficult for the Lebanese government to regain normalcy.
Fred S. Zeidman, a Texas venture capitalist who is active in Jewish affairs and has been close to the president for years, said the current crisis shows the depth of the president's support for Israel. "He will not bow to international pressure to pressure Israel," Zeidman said. "I have never seen a man more committed to Israel."
What people like Fred, who the Washington Post neglected to say is a member of the powerful and controversial Israel lobbying group AIPAC, need to realize is that this is not only about a commitment to Israel. This is about Bush actually believing that he, along with his allies, can make terrorism history. That will never happen. That's the only guarantee in all of this. Might does not make right. It makes one huge, continual disaster.