If Not Outrage, At Least Interest

A new Pew Research poll shows that Americans are paying a great deal of attention to the violence in the Middle East. Typically, what gets the most coverage seldom generates the most interest in these polls. Whether that’s a bias of the poll or a genuine reflection of the American opinion of the news, I’m not sure. But certainly, with that potential bias in mind, it seems heartening to see that Americans still have the strength after the last eight years to at least not tune out the violence in Gaza.

That’s good news for policy, bad news for probably Israel and Palestine, both. The research also shows a large number of people think that the media coverage has not been critical enough of either side’s role in the affair. That would seem to indicate that American’s patience with the stalled Middle East peace process is wearing thin as much as it is an indication that we’re sick or our media’s lack of coverage.


This Just In:

The United States government – which has started two wars in the Middle East, all but literally printing anti-U.S., anti-Israeli propaganda; which has basically ignored the Palestinian/Israeli war for seven consecutive years; which has encouraged every bellicose action of the Sharon Administration; which has turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s continued covert support of Hamas; which has refused to recognize the democratically-elected government of Palestine because it is (was) largely populated by Hamas politicians – is upset by Israel’s lack of progress in achieving peace.



An Observation, Not that Israel Cares. . .

. . . But if you’re going to impose a blockade, then lift the blockade for one day because of protests, isn’t that as much as saying that the blockade cannot and will not work?  I am not for one minute advocating starving the Palestinians to death.  I’m simply pointing out the obvious and demonstrable inefficacy of the current policy.  Someone in the Israeli government needs to wrest control of power from the hands of the Conservatives and the Likud Party so they can for god’s sake try something – any fucking thing – different.


Malcom Ray on the Bush Israel Visit

I’ve been saying for a long time that Middle East peace is the feel-good whore of every American president at the end of his term. Clinton got close to peace, but imagine what he might have done had he only tried a few years earlier? Now, at the end of what every candidate for president concedes was a failed presidency, into Israel swoops the two-wars president George Bush to try his hand at peace. Malcolm Ray at the Veracifier Blog sums up the shame and the pathos of this moment quite well:

Bush in Israel: Yea, I almost forgot about him too | Veracifier

Having mocked the efforts of President Clinton in trying to negotiate a settlement during his second term in office, Bush’s attempt to do so in his last year seems laughable. Stepping out on to the tarmac off of Air Force One, President Bush started off his comments by stating his disbelief that when he first came to Israel over a decade ago as a Texas governor, he never imagined he’d return “as President of the United States.”Seven years in and George W. Bush still cant believe he’s President.

Why Middle East Peace is a Tricky Subject. . .

We all know that George Bush isn’t up to the task of getting. . . . well, . . . . anything accomplished. But in his defense, people want him to create peace in the Middle East, which is a much more difficult thing than a lot of people think.

By way of example, check out The Daily Show’s recent catch from Palestinian TV. Mickey Mouse doesn’t have enough attitude for Palestine, apparently, but they’ve invented someone who does. This is what counts as children’s television to Hammas:

Peace in the Mid East: The Other Narrative

Always a great report from the TomDispatch.  This one analyzes the diplomatic goings on in the Middle East and the fact that Condi, despite her spin, has had nothing really much to do with any of it:

TomDispatch – Tomgram: Karon, Why Condi’s Diplomacy Should Start with Bush

Mainstream U.S. media outlets were alone in their willingness to swallow the preposterous narratives offered by Rice’s State Department spinners on the significance of her latest diplomatic efforts. For months, we have been reading a fantasy version of American diplomacy in which Rice was at the center of a realignment of forces in the Middle East, building a united front of Arab moderates to stand alongside the U.S. and Israel against Iran and other “extremist” elements. Last week, we were asked to believe that Rice was now about to head back to the region to choreograph a complex and dramatic diplomatic dance that would include such “challenges” as “trying to get the Saudis to talk to the Israelis.” Perhaps none of her aides bothered to let her in on the open secret that the Saudis have been doing that for months — and not under the tutelage of, or at the prompting of, the Secretary of State either.

The lengthy article goes on to describe the political forces unleashed by the Bush Administration that are forcing players in the Middle East as disparate as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hammas and Isreal to begin discussing the problems of their region without the proven-worthless assistance of the Americans.  Now, bear in mind: Conservatives will argue that this was in fact the glorious legacy of the Bush Administration; it’s transformative policy in the region that cooled the passions of a dangerous world.


And now I know why, seemingly as if to demonstrate my recent post on Bush Administration language abuse, the newest Security Council resolution on the recent seizure of British sailors by Iran includes the language “grave concern.”  This did not get through the Security Council without Bush Administration approval; it’s obvious the Bush State Department is powerless and clueless to stop what is going on and afraid to fan the flames any more than they’ve already done.

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New Article: The Iraq Crisis Speech

OK, so it’s about one AM in the morning and I’ve just completed my review of the Bush speech on Iraq for the website.  Below is a link for your edification:

The Iraq Crisis Speech, World and National Politics ~ DragonFlyEye.Net

So far, the plan seems OK on paper. If they can tamp down violence in that city, it would almost be worth considering. However, once you start looking at the numbers, it makes less sense. For one, depending on how you define what a ?Brigade? is numeric terms, the plan calls for anywhere from 36,000 to 72,000 Iraqi police and soldiers. But it bears mentioning that these troops need to be trained, ready to work and most importantly not co-opted by sectarian militias. Part of the problem in Baghdad has always been just this: we cannot rely on that many competent, uncorrupted Iraqi forces.

By-and-large, not enough new to really stir up much support.  Elsewhere this evening, I was amused by watching Keith Olbermann discuss the speech with Joe Scarborough.  Or rather, I was amused to see Joe just keep talking like he was on his own show.  Dude, shut up.

Even better, the journalists there assembled managed to get themselves all turned around with the Dick Durbin Democrat response to Bush’s speech.  In his rebuttal, Durbin said, “You cannot keep calling 9-1-1 and expect to get 20,000 troops.”  Olbermann, Scarborough and Chris Matthews all decided to take the interpretation (which was Joe’s own mangling, which he’s good at) that this was a signal to the rest of the world that the United States will not be the policemen of the world.

We’ll forget for a moment that the Iraqi civil war currently underway is one domestic dispute that the “cops” started.  We’ll also set aside the amusing image of Saddam Hussien in a wife-beater, standing in the spot light, swinging a half-empty fourty around outside of his Florida trailer and swearing at his fat Shiite wife.  You hear me?  Set those aside.

The point is: what Durbin was saying is that the president cannot keep invoking September 11th and expect that the whole country will jump to his demands.  It had nothing to do with the rest of the world, it was a clever (perhaps too clever for journalists) attempt at turning a phrase.  You can imagine how often this is going to get misquoted and misinterpreted going forward.

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Is This a Broken Record?

OK, so like, its really late on a Friday night (actually, Saturday morning), and I just felt like playing around with this new site someone sent me, You might want to play around with it and make your own wise-ass little graphics.? Meanwhile, I’ve struck again with another of my own?? Want to see it?? Too bad:
Broken Record
I think it’s funny, you may not agree.? In fact, I may not even agree when I wake up in the morning, but for now, its awesome.

Neocons Racheting up the Isreali War Machine

Do ya feel safe?  Hope not, because you aren’t.  Here is a glimpse of your elected leader’s administration at work:

The neocons’ next war |

Inside the administration, neoconservatives on Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security staff and Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative senior director for the Near East on the National Security Council, are prime movers behind sharing NSA intelligence with Israel, and they have discussed Syrian and Iranian supply activities as a potential pretext for Israeli bombing of both countries, the source privy to conversations about the program says. (Intelligence, including that gathered by the NSA, has been provided to Israel in the past for various purposes.) The neoconservatives are described as enthusiastic about the possibility of using NSA intelligence as a lever to widen the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and Israel and Hamas into a four-front war.

But not to worry!  Our Defense Secretary is chock-full of ideas and brimming with enthusiasm for the current conflict; surely he’s prepared to wage another war!:

Think Progress ? Rumsfeld Claims Insurgent Violence Increases ?In the Spring, Summer and Fall Months?

“Does the violence tend to be up during the summer, in the spring, summer and fall months? Yes it does. And it tends to decline during the winter period. Does that represent failed policy? I don?t know. I would say not.”

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Isreal’s Promises: Do They Sound Familiar?

Mark Regev on The Situation RoomMark Regev, Isreali Foriegn Ministry Spokesperson, promises that Iseal does not want to invade Lebanon, only to affect “incursions” to get the job of destroying Hizbola done.

Geeze, that sounds awful familiar, doesn’t it? Sounds exactly like what we said about Iraq three years ago. For some reason, we still haven’t been able to get a chance to get out of Iraq yet. Probably because they want us there so badly. . . .

He also repeated the disgusting claim (I wasn’t able to catch it on record, unfortunately) that there is “no moral equivalence” between Isreal’s murders and Hizbola’s murders. I don’t even think it’s worth talking about the fact that this is disgusting. What is important to me is the fact that the Isreali Foriegn Ministry and the UN Ambasador from the United States are in fact sharing bullet-points. I find that very telling ~ and very depressing ~ indeed. The entire sales pitch is the same as that of the Iraq War. We can solace ourselves in saying that the American Middle is unlikely to fall for it this time, but that these two nations follow each other so closely should give us all pause.

PS: Don’t forget, the President’s own Press Cheif doesn’t know how you would even define success in the Middle East.

Lebanese Prime Minister Issues Strong Words/Tony Snow’s an Ass

I’ve just watched a really awful bit of journalism, wherein CNN had two interpreters talking over one another whilst also talking over the Lebanese prime minister. . . who was speaking in English. Nevertheless, what I saw was a very reasonable relative moderate appealing for peace to what he obviously sees as a deaf International ear. And he’s right, it seems.

At least where Tony Snow is concerned, that is. He has the most nonchalant, uncaring demeanor I’ve ever seen in an Administrative position of our government and it’s pathetic. I am disgusted to see him on the podium, frankly, with his completely dismissive attitude. If the president has no comment, then he has no comment. Don’t act like he doesn’t give a damn what Isreal does, even if that’s the case. It’s crude and vulgar.

Even he knows occasionally he’s gone too far, as in this bit immediately after the Prime Minister’s speech. Watch the moron dance around his own stupid, cavalier question, which seemed I am sure rhetorical before it exited his mouth:

“Measure of success? I don’t know, . . . How on earth do you define success in the Middle East?”

Golly, Tony. As the White House Press Chief, I would have thought you might have considered that *before* you met with reporters.

To Reitterate: We Could Also Use a New White House Press Secretary

When you say “please get your facts straight,” it is helpful to have your facts straight.  Mind you, that’s not the sort of thing Tony Snow has been trained to do over there at Fox News:

Crooks and Liars

Snow told the gaggle that the reason Americans trying to get out of Lebanon were being forced to pay was because of a law on the books. Then Helen Thomas asked Snow why the US vetoed a ceasefire resolution and Snow said we did nothing of the kind. . . The United States on Thursday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding Israel halt its attacks in Gaza. 

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