Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kerry With A Twang?

Behold, the diploviations wafting forth from down Crawford way:

The White House said Wednesday neither Israel nor Hezbollah should escalate their month-old war, as Israel decided to widen its ground invasion in southern Lebanon.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the U.S. message was for both sides, though his remarks came after Israel's Security Cabinet voted to expand the war effort in an attempt to deal further blows to Hezbollah.

"We are working hard now to bridge differences between the United States position and some of the positions of our allies," Snow told reporters in Texas, where President Bush was vacationing. "We want an end to violence and we do not want escalations."
"An end to violence"? "Neither Israel nor Hezbollah should escalate the war"? Since when did the Bush Administration draw moral equivalence between Islamic terrorists and a democracy?

That immensely dismaying "message" was heard loud and clear in Jerusalem (via The Corner):

The IDF General Staff postponed the expansion of ground operations in south Lebanon late Wednesday night, after the security cabinet earlier in the day approved a plan for a widened offensive that would take the army to the Litani River, over twenty kilometers from the border, and beyond, in an effort to prevent the incessant Katyusha rocket attacks on northern Israel.

The troops were already rolling late Wednesday when they were ordered to halt. It appears heavy US pressure delayed the offensive to allow diplomacy to run its course. A senior minister said Wednesday that Israel might delay the expansion for 2-3 days for that purpose.
"Allow diplomacy to run its course"? Leaving aside that the time for diplomacy was before Hezbollah started shooting missiles into Israeli cities, the state of that diplomacy at present is the French trying to unconditionally surrender on Israel's behalf to Hezbollah's Muslim protectors at the UN after having joined with their close American friends in a pair of resolutions that tilted significantly, but not entirely, toward Hezbollah. The only "course" that diplomacy could take would be the Jewish state's Czechoslovakia-in-1938-like betrayal. And, if nothing else, further delay spares the Hezbos further damage and increases the chance that they will survive the IDF's defensive onslaught, which would be a catastrophic blow to our standing in the GWOT.

My God, how gelded the "Crawford cowboy" has become. From "You're either with us, or with the terrorists" to "allow diplomacy to run its course." Funny, after 9/11 I don't remember the Bushies mentioning anything about "allowing diplomacy to run its course" - or even allowing diplomacy at all - between the United States and al Qaeda/Taliban. I also don't recall any hand-wringing over Afghan civilian casualties. What I remember is the President himself telling Vice President Cheney, "Somebody's gonna pay."

Andrew McCarthy remembers that as well. He pulls his hair out in frustration at NRO today over the shocking degree to which the second Bush bunch has gone native on its signature issue, having substituted "democracy as civic religion" for eradicating our Islamist enemies - whether Sunni (al Qaeda) or Shiite (Iran/Hezbollah).

Three years ago I suspected, but hoped otherwise, that the Bush braintrust saw invading Iraq not as the first of several military campaigns, but as an abject example of democratic nation-building that would "send ripples" throughout the Middle East, subverting and undermining the autocracies and the Iranian theocracy beneath a wave of freedom. And for a while it seemed to be working, as in the "Cedar Revolution" that sent Syria packing from Lebanon a year and a half ago.

But the same democratic process gave us Hamas in "Palestine," and put some Hezbos in the Lebanese government. The failure to follow up Operation Iraqi Freedom left Iran and Syria free to undermine precisely that - Iraqi freedom - and finally ignite a tide of intra-Muslim violence that threatens, if not "civil war," than certainly a degree of genuine chaos that the Bushies don't appear overly inclined to try and contain. And now they are frantically clinging to that "democracy project" even at the expense of a genuine Western democracy and ally that is under direct siege by a foe that openly declares its intention of destroying us as well - a message that Dubya & Co., incredibly, appear to be actively ducking.

If George W. Bush has been worn down so much by the DisLoyal Opposition and the consequences of his own well-intented mistakes that even he has essentially returned to the 9/10 status quo, is there any hope for regaining the initiative in this war short of a catastrophe from which we might not be able to recover?

UPDATE: Brother Meringoff concurs:

Does this mean that American policy is now to protect Hezbollah from the Israelis? I'm struggling to understand how, if the reports we're getting are true, this question can be answered other than in the affirmative. At a minimum, it apparently is inconsistent with Bush Administration policy for our main ally in the Middle East, when attacked by a terrorist organization that is also committed to attacking (and has attacked) the U.S., to fight to win.

The Administration now seems joined at the hip with the French when it comes to combatting Hezbollah. It's almost as if Kerry, not Bush, won the 2004 election.

Ditto Mark Levin:

Just when you think the Bush Administration is running on all cylinders, it hits the brakes. We're at war, right? They enemy must be defeated, right? Hezbollah is part of the enemy, right? Then why is Secretary Rice leaning on the already wobbly lawyer-prime minister of Israel to hold back the massive ground campaign that the IDF insists is the only way to defeat Hezbollah? While rejecting calls for a ceasefire only two weeks ago, the administration's diplomatic muscle is being used to accomplish that very end today. How does any of this help our strategic interests not only in the Middle East but in this war? How will this cease-fire be any different than past resolutions? Do we now trust terrorists to honor these agreements? Are the Lebanese government and military suddenly strong enough to uphold their end of any bargain? Why are we reversing course?

Because, it would seem, George W. Bush has finally been "RINOsized."

At least Ehud Olmert has wisely blown him off. Better late than never.