On the eve of President Bush's nine-day visit to the Middle East, Voice of America Middle East correspondent, Challiss McDonough, reported on "waves of criticism and rancor" spewing from the Arab press. "Newspaper columnists note the push for Middle East peace has not begun until the final year of the president's two terms in office."
Mr. McDonough failed to mention that, in January 2001, Bush actually stated that he was going to tilt toward Israel by pulling out of the Arab-Israeli conflict. When Secretary of State Colin Powell objected that such a pullback "would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army," Bush responded: "Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things." [Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, p. 72]
How true! For, as McDonough reports:
"Mr. Bush remains one of the least popular world leaders in Arab opinion polls, and is held personally responsible by many in the region for the destabilizing chaos in Iraq."And, as Juan Cole so forcefully put it yesterday:
"One of the arguments warmongers gave for overthrowing Saddam Hussein was that his regime was responsible for the violent death of some 300,000 civilians between 1968 and 2003. That estimate now appears exaggerated…But what is tragic is that in 4 ½ short years, a foreign military occupation has unleashed killing on a scale achieved by the murderous Saddam Hussein regime only over decades. Bush did not kill all those people directly, of course, but he did indirectly cause them to be killed."
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Thus, with blood on his hands and with the need to appear relevant - while Americans flock to the polls to select a candidate, any candidate, to replace their disgraceful butcher of Baghdad - Bush meets with Palestinian Authority President Abbas and predicts: "There will be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office." What an idiot!
Forget that he had to implore Israeli government ministers to continue to support Prime Mininster Ehud Olmert, out of concern that "the coalition government could collapse should Olmert make far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians." [Haaretz.com 11/01/2008] Forget the strident, often violent, opposition of the Jewish settlers of Kiryat Arba (home of mass murderer, Baruch Goldstein) in the West Bank, notwthstanding the fact that such West Bank settlements are illegal under international law. And forget that the Washington correspondent for Al Arabiya TV, Hisham Melhem, asserted that Bush's prediction might come true, but only if there were a "perfect alignment of all the major stars and planets"
Simply consider the words of Israeli Minister of Industry, Labor and Trade, Eli Yishai: "We cannot make peace with half of the Palestinian nation, which is all that is ruled by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas." Refering to what happened when Israel left Gaza, Yishai noted that "Hamas entered every place we left…The problem with Hamas is that it wants to destroy Israel."
Such words, alone, make you realize that Bush's prediction -- "There will be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office." -- is pure bullshit. Bullshit that ranks right up there with "Mission Accomplished," and "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).
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