Dangerously Inept

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I’m going to vote against the president because I think he is dangerously inept and quite likely to crash the economy, get us into a bigger war or both.

There is nothing personal about it. President George Bush is an affable man. He was probably fine as a governor in a state where governors don’t have that much power. But he let people talk him into running for a job that is beyond him.

He slipped up recently and said the war on terror cannot be won. It certainly can’t the way he’s fighting it. He’s trying to chase down terrorists and kill them (the euphemism is "bring them to justice"). What’s wrong with that is they can recruit new terrorists quicker than we can find and kill the old ones.

You have to kill terrorists, but if you want to win, you have to do more than just that. You have to correct the political situation that created the terrorists in the first place. The president does the American people no greater disservice than when he says the terrorists hate us because we are rich and free. That’s not the reason, and he knows it.

The main reason we are hated in the Middle East is because of our one-sided support of Israel. Israel can commit any atrocity against the Palestinians, break any international law, flout any United Nations resolution, and the United States does absolutely nothing and says nothing.

Just recently, the Israelis announced a large expansion of the settlements on the West Bank. This is despite their acceptance of the president’s so-called road map to peace, which calls for a freeze on settlements. Now, you would think that the president could at least say to Israel, "This isn’t helpful to the peace process," or "You’ve broken your promise." No, George Bush is as silent as a timid mouse. If Israel wants to take more Palestinian land, it’s OK with him.

No president in history has been as fall-on-your-knees-kiss-their-feet subservient to the Israelis as President Bush. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon can, in effect, spit in Bush’s face, and the president will say, "My, what fine-smelling dew."

The people in the Arab world resent this. The Palestinians, after all, are human beings, too. Their lives are just as precious as Jewish lives. And it is they who are the victims in this conflict, not the Israelis. It is their land that was invaded. It was the Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed. People in Washington are prattling on about displaced people in the Sudan. Well, what about the displaced Palestinians still rotting in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan since 1948?

Nobody in the Arab world expects the United States to become the enemy of Israel. They just want to see an end to double standards. Don’t mourn the loss of Jewish lives and ignore the loss of Palestinian lives. Don’t refuse to meet with the Palestinians. Don’t bomb Arab countries for disobeying U.N. resolutions and protect Israel, which has disobeyed more than 69 U.N. resolutions. Don’t prattle on about human rights and the Geneva Convention when Israel flagrantly violates both. Don’t say to Iraq that gaining territory by force is unacceptable when Israel has been sitting on Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian territory taken by force for decades.

No progress in the war on terror will be made until Congress and the president, whoever they are, find the courage to fashion a balanced, nonhypocritical policy for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It’s that simple. And don’t think you can just wear them out. We’re messing around in a part of the world where the lengths of feuds and vendettas are measured in decades, if not centuries.

George Washington called foreign influence the cause of ruin and trouble in a free republic. He would certainly condemn the undue influence of Israel and its lobby, but don’t blame them. They just ask, and they have a right to ask for favors. The ones to blame are the Republicans and Democrats who, for the most craven of reasons, sacrifice America’s interests to give them those favors.

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.

© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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