Monday, July 17, 2006

World War III: Good For The GOP, Bad For Everyone Else

I was reading Josh Marshall over at TPM Café yesterday, and he ruminates about the startling silence of the Bush administration during this time of escalating violence in the Middle East as Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon hurl rockets at one another. Marshall thinks it is foreign policy fatigue that is the cause of the silence, but I think it’s far worse than that. I don’t think the Bush administration is at a loss as to what to do about the crisis, I think it plays right into their hands.

Although an unscripted moment between George Bush and Tony Blair that was caught by cameras and an open mic at the G8 Summit does seem to show Bush is simply out of his league when it comes to dealing with a crisis of this magnitude. Watch the video and you will see Bush chewing his food with his mouth open and between slurping sounds telling Tony Blair, “what [the United Nations] need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit.” Tony Blair’s response betrays a sort of frustration with the simplicity of Bush’s worldview and his lack of understanding of the complexities involved in finding a diplomatic solution to this crisis in the Middle East. Perhaps Josh Marshall is right as far as Bush is concerned, but Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Bolton and the rest of the neo-cons still in government, have ideological reasons for letting this problem fester. War, especially a large scale war in the region, is exactly what they’ve said is needed in order to get control of the oil supplies in the region and to build up the military here at home.

I have little doubt that this situation will escalate further and will eventually draw in Iran and Syria. Perhaps the Bush administration is hoping that Israel will strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, but it might also be the perfect opportunity for the Bush administration to do it themselves. They’ve wanted to cripple Iran for a long time, why would they pass up the chance to do it now? Of course it would be a stupid move and disastrous for America if we did allow the violence to escalate into World War III, but as Newt Gingrich pointed out this weekend, it would be great for the Republicans in the mid-term elections. Gotta love those Republicans, always looking on the bright side, or rather looking out for the bright spot for themselves.

And just imagine all the new war money that will pour into the bank accounts of the contractors that have probably stolen as much as they can while using Iraq as a shield, time for a new war. World War III will give them new cover, new no-bid contracts for new munitions, new fighter jets and maybe even some new nuclear warheads. But the cherry on top will be a new lease on life for the Republicans who will be able to use fear once again to keep their hold on power. Never mind that it was their ridiculous neo-con fantasies that brought us to this point, they will still be able to sell their “tough on terrorism” crap to the American public if they convince us that this is the big one. All they have to say is, “Do you really want wimpy liberals who aid and abet the enemy in charge during a war that could likely threaten the homeland?” Hey, it worked like a charm when we were only talking about rogue terrorists, it will work even better if we’re talking about a World War and nuclear warheads pointed at our cities.

Everything feels so precarious right now. Either the Bush administration doesn’t know what to do to help resolve, or at least mitigate, the situation in the Middle East, or they simply don’t care to stop what could end up being good for them anyway. I hate to be so cynical about my own government, but this administration has given me no reason not to believe the worst. The only thing I struggle with is whether they are evil or inept. Unfortunately, I think it’s a mixture of the two, not a combination that bodes well for this country, or the world.

8 Comments:

Blogger jae said...

" I don’t think the Bush administration is at a loss as to what to do about the crisis, I think it plays right into their hands."

Sure seems like it to me.

"Tony Blair’s response betrays a sort of frustration with the simplicity of Bush’s worldview ..."

I'll bet the thought to smack him silly surfaced a couple times during that conversation.

"I hate to be so cynical about my own government, but this administration has given me no reason not to believe the worst."

And, unfortunately, I am right there with ya on this whole mess. I thought I was discouraged a couple months ago.....ha! That was nothing compared to what goes thru my mind in the last week or so.

On a lighter note, if possible, you will want to see a film called 'Who Killed The Electric Car?' The guilty parties will not surprise you any, but the interviews with people who used and loved the cars will set straight once and for all how the general population probably would have reacted if those cars were available to everyone.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Tony C. said...

War in the Middle East? The morons in the White House are probably running around like headless chickens, "The Lord is coming! The Lord is coming!" They're already planning which outfits they'll wear when the Rapture comes. One wonders why, if they're so eager to be translated to Heaven, these people don't quit their desk jobs, join the military (or KBR) and go to Iraq, where they can die gloriously for the Lord.

Meanwhile, back in reality, things will only get worse.

I don't know why anyone would continue to believe the "Republicans are strong on defense" myth. Their record on getting terrorists is abysmal. We blunted our once sharp sword on a pointless war in Iraq, without killing any of the suspected 9/11 guys or finding OBL.

Democrats have an admirable wartime record. When we get serious about defense, I think we'll see the Dems in control of both Congress and the White House. But first, Dems have to grow the spine necessary to tell the truth to the voters.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous david said...

I have no doubt that this crisis in Lebanon is a prelude to war with Syria and Iran. The White House has been calling for "consequences" against Iran for months and hasn't been getting any support. And yet the moment this crisis broke the fingers were pointed at Syria & Iran as if Hezbollah was just a front organization and not acting independently.

The reaction of Olmert is so out of proportion. Random rockets and kidnappings have happened along the Israeli-Lebanese border for two decades. The usual response is a police action and protracted negotiations. But all out war with both the Hezbollah and Lebanon makes no sense unless it is a prelude to war with Iran.

Bush's comments to Blair are revealing. But there were comments by Israeli government officials earlier this year that were more upsetting. They had said they were rushing to complete The Wall in the West Bank because they didn't think any other US administration would approve of it. There is a shameful alliance between the Christian Republicans and the Greater Israel faction.

We should not make jokes about this situation. This is probably the closest we've been to WWIII since the Cuban Missle Crisis. It really could devolve into a nuclear holocaust. Israel & Pakistan have the bomb. And there is no telling who might have a "dirty" bomb.

What makes it essential that the White House act is that there are tens of thousands of American, Canadian, and European citizens trapped in Lebanon. And the IDF seems determined to blockade the whole of Lebanon and to bomb the infrastructure. If Hezbollah is in the south, why is Israel bombing north Lebanon?

And on a final, cynical note, I have just read that President Karzai of Afghanistan has decided to reinstate the Taliban's religious police. If this isn't the world turned upside down, I don't know what is.

11:47 AM  
Blogger boneman said...

Yeah, dang! I was just driftin' by, tryin' t'leave a few grins and giggles behind me, cause that's what I think we need more of. But, then you wrote newt's name.
I voted fer a lot of the republicans that year fer only two things...
#1 They would vote on caps on their salaries (gov.)
#2 TERM LIMITS! which I absolutely believe would give the country back to us, the people.
Right now, there seem to be three, major political parties,...
Republicans
Democrats
and Professional Politicians, and I'll tell ya, it seems that the PPs have the majority, now.

Pisses me off. Sorry.

Dang!


oh yeah...the humor.

A Priest, a Pentecostal Minister and a Rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University in Marquette.
They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop. One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn't really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear.

One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment. They
would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it and attempt to convert it.



Seven days later, they're all together to discuss their experiences.

Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches and has
various bandages, goes first.
"Well," he says, "I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him, I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation."



Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory heclaimed, "WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God's HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of The week in Fellowship,
feasting on God's Holy Word, and praising Jesus."

They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed tubes in and out of him. He was in bad shape. The rabbi , with a look of wise reflection, looks up and says, "Looking back on it,

circumcision may not have been the best way to start."

12:25 PM  
Blogger Midwest Product said...

As for Mr. Bush's excellent way with words when he thinks the mic's off, Think Progress and TBogg have some more outtakes.

I'm glad to know that Mr. Bush understands that "Russia's big and so is China."

1:55 PM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

Either the Bush administration doesn’t know what to do to help resolve, or at least mitigate, the situation in the Middle East,

There is little or nothing Bu$hCo can do about the situation in the middle-east. On the one side, you have Hamas and Hezbollah, neither of whom give a shit what we think. On the other side you have Isreal who no longer listens to us.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Midwest Product said...

There is little or nothing Bu$hCo can do about the situation in the middle-east. On the one side, you have Hamas and Hezbollah, neither of whom give a shit what we think. On the other side you have Isreal who no longer listens to us.

Actually, from Mr. Bush's full-mouthed comment to Mr. Blair, it would appear that the administration believes that Syria, not Israel or Hamas or Hezbollah, is the key to defusing the situation (if indeed, you believe that the administration wants the situation defused). If you're willing to give the benefit of the doubt to those that don't really deserve it, putting diplomatic pressure on Syria - via our favorite decaying world body, for instance, or the State Dept. - might give us a shot at extinguishing the current fire before it becomes a full-fledged regional war.

I only wish we had someone other than a frat-boy goon to express the sentiment.

Certainly it would appear that both the religious right and the neocons (for differing reasons, perhaps) are thrilled by the violence. I really wish Bill Kristol would crawl back under the rock from whence he came.

2:43 PM  
Blogger thehim said...

Mollie, I think that's probably more true for Cheney than for Bush. Bush appeared genuinely frustrated in his little talk to Blair. I think he's caught between the idiots who he's entrusted with his foreign policy, and world leaders who were demanding that he change course. He's a man who's reaching the limits of his ability to just believe in his own bullshit. Sadly, after reading Billmon's take, I think Blair is becoming an enabler in his descent into madness.

9:54 PM  

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