The AP news story titled “Bush Has Limited Options in the Middle East” was a puffball punch, if it was even thrown. It basically stated Bush has no one to talk to as the violence escalates as it wrote off Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria. It paints the American President as having few friends other than Israel, the hated new neighbor on the block.
What it doesn’t say is Bush wants Hamas and Hezbollah wiped out. He wants regime change in Iran and Syria. It neglects to say the War President simply contracted out this stage to the Israeli military.
Israel is doing the President’s bidding. Bush might as well have worn a smile as Hezbollah areas came under attack. His brush off of the Lebanese Prime Minister’s pleas for a cease fire looked truly Machiavellian.
How long ago did the U.S. President propose democracy and freedom as a cure to the ills of Middle East conflict? Now we have one democracy attacking another. So much for the other common Bush statement, “democracies do not war”.
The news story also misses signs the conflict will explode out involving Syria and Iran. The wordsmiths are planting the seeds for the public to process such an escalation as “appropriate and necessary”. Already splashed across the headlines “The captured soldiers may be taken to Iran” and “Iranian Soldiers Launched Missile that Struck Israeli Naval Ship”.
The story failed to note the shift away from the United Nations as a means to mediate this conflict. One Bush option that he did not take was the resolution condemning the Israeli incursion into Gaza, phase one of the revenge war machine. That he vetoed. President George did push the issue in front of any other group he could find hoping for support, most notably the G-8. Meanwhile the Lebanese leader did likewise. He sought Arab League support for an immediate cease fire and withdrawal.
Bush did something he had been unwilling to do the last few weeks as the situation deteriorated. He and Condi picked up the phone and talked with leaders in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon. The United States is backing an urgent United Nations diplomatic mission to the region. Bush passed on past efforts to manage Middle Eastern crises via the use of a special U.S. envoy or shuttle diplomacy.
Bush is doing as little as he can because he likes what is happening. That should be the story, but as usual it is not. Instead he is being painted as the rube that worked his way into the corner and now has to wait for the paint to dry. He really is the rich plantation owner sitting on the beach in Cancun, while his team of home re-modelers does their work in the Middle East. “Hey Olmerty, you missed a spot!”