Friday, May 16, 2008

Middle East "Reality" Bites

By Carol Gee

One of the greatest losses to our national psyche during the past two Bush terms of office as our current president (OCP) has been his credibility. We need to worry about his mind even more these days. He is on a trip to the Middle East, and his airplane must have had trouble with pressurization for an extended period over the Atlantic, because what OCP is saying indicates that he is out of touch with reality. His flight of fantasy begins with this headline:"Bush envisions Middle East free of oppression." This 5/15/08 story from the National Examiner ushered in a lengthy narrative that is jarring in what it says. Jennifer Loven's AP article reveals a wide-eyed surreal optimism from OCP about what will happen in the future to the various countries of the region. Here is a sample of the unhinged man's rhetoric:

  • [Israel's] 120th birthday would find it alongside a Palestinian state and in an all-democratic neighborhood free of today's oppression, restrictions on freedom and extremist Muslim movements.

  • Bush limited his mention of Palestinians to just one sentence. "The Palestinian people will have the homeland they have long dreamed of and deserved, a democratic state that is governed by law, and respects human rights, and rejects terror," he said.

  • "From Cairo and Riyadh to Baghdad and Beirut, people will live in free and independent societies, where a desire for peace is reinforced by ties of diplomacy, tourism and trade," he said. "Iran and Syria will be peaceful nations, where today's oppression is a distant memory and people are free to speak their minds and develop their talents. And al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Hamas will be defeated, as Muslims across the region recognize the emptiness of the terrorists' vision and the injustice of their cause."

In addition to those bizarre statements, OCP took an opportunity to behave in an even more irrational way by intentionally "poisoning the water" for Democrats in the Middle East, causing an absolute firestorm of disapproval from a variety of quarters, including Senator Clinton. And what is worse, the administration denies doing it. The only thing that makes it at all tolerable is that many national leaders now know OCP for what he is-- without credibility. To quote from the same story:

Without naming names, Bush criticized those who "believe we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along." He called the approach "the false comfort of appeasement," and one that has been discredited by history.

The strong words came as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, has expressed a willingness to meet with the leaders of U.S. adversaries, including Iran and Syria. However, White House press secretary Dana Perino flatly rejected the idea that the Knesset remark was aimed in any way at Obama, and Johndroe said Bush was referring to "a wide range of people who have talked to or suggested we talk to Hamas, Hezbollah or their state sponsors." Former President Carter recently held talks with Hamas leaders.

McCain = Bush -- If you think Senator John McCain would be an improvement, guess again. It is this kind of news that makes it abundantly clear that a McCain presidency would be equivalent to a Bush third term. For example, McCain agreed with OCP's inflammatory remarks before the Israeli parliament. Steve Benen, at The Carpetbagger Report today took the same approach to examining the rhetoric of Senator John McCain regarding Iraq, as in my above remarks about OCP. To quote Benen's exerpted quotes (his links):

This morning, in a similar vein, McCain told an Ohio audience about his vision of Iraq after his first term in the White House.

“By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced.

“Civil war has been prevented; militias disbanded; the Iraqi Security Force is professional and competent; al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated; and the Government of Iraq is capable of imposing its authority in every province of Iraq and defending the integrity of its borders. The United States maintains a military presence there, but a much smaller one, and it does not play a direct combat role.”

. . . What’s more, Ilan Goldenberg noted that McCain has hoped for success in Iraq before, but sweet, innocent wishes never seem to come true.

“And I believe that the success will be fairly easy” and “There’s no doubt in my mind that… we will be welcomed as liberators.” [CNN, Larry King Live, 9/24/02. MSNBC, Hardball, 3/24/03]

“I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past… I don’t believe it’s going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991.” [Face the Nation, 9/15/02]

“There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias. So I think they can probably get along.” [MSNBC Hardball, 4/23/03]

McCain was asked, “at what point will America be able to say the war was won?” He responded, “…it’s clear that the end is, is, is very much in sight.” [ABC, “Good Morning America,” 4/9/03]

Exactly one year before violence in Iraq peaked: “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.” [The Hill, 12/8/05]

Other Republicans taking leave of their senses regarding the Middle East -- "Ollie North Believes We Are Fighting A Religious War In The Middle East," is the post title from Cliff Schecter at Firedoglake. To quote North regarding the soldiers in battle:

The pictures of these youngsters gathering in prayer, literally kneeling and praying. They are not pictures getting ready for a football game. They know they may not come back and they’re bold about it. My colleagues in the mainstream media never show that.

Do not mistake the following for cynicism -- Reality when it comes to the Middle Ease cannot be stated in vague generalities hinting at an idealized picture. From the beginning of this century, OCP, his neocon minders, and other end-timer types, have had an irrational view of the region. In doing so, they have done the people victimized by it a terrible disservice. Dismissing any culture but ones redone in the image of an idealized United States, assuming it will take Christians to save Muslims from themselves, touting a"democracy" modeled after one that we don't even like much right now, OCP and his types have taken the Middle East region down a dangerous path. Do not be fooled by so-called "Maverick McCain." Any difference from OCP would not hold up in a crisis. He would revert to unrealistic instinctual behavior.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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  • mccain is a third bush term - period - on every level, not just the middle east

    maverick my ass -- only the idiots in the "msm" think he is a maverick

    By Blogger Distributorcap, at 6:24 AM  

  • On point with each thought. Neither Bush nor McCain seem to be able to help themselves be any different. Thanks for your comment.

    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 8:50 AM  

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