Tuesday, July 18, 2006
WW III? Gingrich Rachets up the Fear Rhetoric as Middle East Implodes and Bush's Military and Diplomatic Failures are Glaring
"We are in the early stages of what I would describe as the third world war...
I believe if you take all the countries I just listed, that you've been covering, put them on a map, look at all the different connectivity, you'd have to say to yourself this is, in fact, World War III." That was former House Speaker and 2008 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday discussing the escalating violence in the Middle East and its ripple effect throughout the world. Surprise, surprise. Fear and war-mongering is the new cornerstone of the Republican Party, and its leadership, Gingrich included, will masterfully uses such scare tactics to continue distracting Americans away from key domestic issues so they can keep winning elections.
To be sure, the crisis in the Middle East is of grave concern. And the potential for it to turn into a much larger regional conflict is very real. The stakes are tremendous, especially for Israel and the United States, as well as neighboring Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, who issued unprecedented criticism this week of Hezbollah, blaming the Lebanese-based, Iran/Syria-backed terrorist organization for starting the new round of violence.
There's so many issues at work here that transcend the two-front conflicts between Israeli and Hezbollah and Israel and Hamas. We've seen harsh world reaction to Israel's military "overreaction" in Lebanon, another example of the centuries-old anti-Semitism which is at the very root of the current conflict itself. We're seeing the utter failure of the Bushevik Middle East doctrine which promised both a Democracy in every pot and greater security for Israel. We're seeing the unfortunate failure of the Arab people themselves to elect legitimate governments and rational leaders who can lead them out of their abyss, instead of Israel-obsessed jihadists hell-bent on self-destruction. We're seeing once again the overall impotence of the United Nations, unable to enforce its own 2004 Resolution 1559 requiring the Lebanese government to maintain control of its Southern borders and keep Hezbollah out. We're seeing Iran emerge as the dominant player on the Middle East stage, exerting its destructive influence, along with Syria, throughout the region in its quest to destroy Israel. To reiterate, we've seen rare, open criticism of Hezbollah by key Arab nations in what could ultimately be a watershed moment in the Middle East peace process in the future. And we see the "global war on terror," Bush's mantra, being waged in very real terms by Israel while the United States remains hamstringed in a no-win war against non-terrorists in Iraq. If Bush truly gave a crap about the "global war on terror" he'd do more for Israel than give mere sound-byte lip service from Russia in between kissing Vlad's ass at the G-8 Summit.
Let's explore the anti-Semitism factor. Hamas and Hezbollah can cross Israel's borders, commit murder and kidnap soldiers in unprovoked, orchestrated attacks and much of the so-called free world actually condemns Israel. French President Jacques Chirac criticized Israel's offensive into Lebanon as "totally disproportionate....One could ask if there is not a sort of will to destroy Lebanon, its equipment, its roads, its communication." Russian President Vladimir Putin said "Israel's use of force is disproportionate and should be balanced," and told reporters Sunday that "we do get the impression that the aims of Israel go beyond just recovering their kidnapped soldiers." Historically, France's stand against tyranny is laughable, while Russia's been a breeding ground of anti-Semitism. The recent events in the Middle East are not about Israeli aggression against Arabs. It's about Israel's survival, pure and simple. It's about rabid, blood-thirsty jihadists with a sole mission: the absolute destruction of Israel. As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated, they seek Israel to be "wiped out from the map." And, incredibly, the world calls Israel's defense against the current Iran-backed Hezbollah attacks an "over-reaction."
Next, the current crisis shines a spotlight on just how miserably Bush's Middle East policies, and/or lack thereof, have failed. Back in 2003 the Busheviks promised that over-throwing Saddam Hussein would accelerate the overall peace process; stabilize the region and lead to Democracy; bolster Israel's security; and protect America from Iraq's WMD and the "mushroom clouds" that threatened the U.S. Well guess what, the Middle East is a violent mess; tyranny, not Democracy, prevails; Islamic fundamentalist-led Iran has become the dominant force; and both Israel and the U.S. face greater threats from terrorists, not less. Let's not forget the increase in acts of terrorism throughout the world, most recently the train bombings in India. Militarily, Bush's actions, primarily his ill-fated war in Iraq, have alienated our allies, incited the Arab community, further fueled the aggressors against Israel, and served as a recruitment rallying cry for terrorists. From a diplomatic standpoint, Bush's lack of leadership, influence and visibility in the region, unprecedented in modern history among U.S. presidents, has tipped the balance of power to extremist regimes in Egypt, Palestine, Iran, Lebanon and Syria.
The Arab people must bear great responsibility for the current violence as well. For some 30-odd years Palestinians, for example, handed over their fate to the brutal dictator Yassir Arafat and his terrorist PLO and Fatah organizations. He failed them miserably, leaving them more powerless, impoverished and homeless than when he took control in 1969. Given a second chance at peace after his death in November 2004, they instead elected to power an even more vicious terror group, Hamas. In Lebanon, despite being required by 2004's United Nations resolution 1559, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has been unable to rein in Hezbollah along its Southern border. The Lebanese people, like the Palestinians, have chosen to allow terrorists to drag them down a violent path rather then engage Israel and the free world on a pathway to peace. That Hamas crosses the Gaza border to kill and kidnap Israelis, acts duplicated by Hezbollah from Southern Lebanon, can only be blamed on the Arabs who've elected them to power.
Any student of Middle East history can tell you how Israel ended up occupying the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the West Bank. It wasn't through unprovoked Israeli military aggression. Israel was on the verge of being attacked by Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian troops mobilizing on their borders in 1967 and waged a preemptive strike; and was attacked in 1973, the Yom Kippur War, on its holiest day of the year. Since its inception in 1947, Israel's had to defend itself against Arab aggression on every border including the North, where the PLO set up shop to attack Israel after being expelled from Jordan in 1970, leading to Israel's forces occupying a strip of Southern Lebanon in 1978, an occupation that ended some 22 years later. Despite all this, in an effort to create a true and lasting peace in the region, Israel has given back the Sinai to Egypt; Gaza to the Palestinians; and was is the process of pulling its settlers from the West Bank to help create a Palestinian homeland. What more is it expected to do as a partner in the peace process? But that's just the problem: Israel lacks a viable partner on the other end of the table. What it's faced with now is an increasingly hostile Middle East becoming dominated by madmen like Iran's Ahmadinejad who refuse to accept Israel's right of existence, and worse, are committed to its demise.
Bush, since 9/11, has used the "global war on terror" at every turn as a campaign theme, a mission statement, as well as a means to prop up his failed presidency and distract Americans from the real issues. Is it time for the United States to get more involved in the Middle East crisis if the crisis is a critical component in this war on terror? Is stepped up diplomacy enough? Should the U.S. increase financial and military support to Israel as it battles Hamas and Hezbollah in its two-front war on terrorists? If Bush truly believes his own rhetoric, then the U.S. must thrust itself more proactively and meaningfully into this situation.