Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I swear the clock is moving backwards. When is this movie over?

Ryan Crocker says we're only on reel one of five in Iraq.

Why do I get the distinct impression governments around the world are fervently wishing he's not right about that? With all due respect to all our soldiers on the battlefield, all competent military officers, NCOs, pentagon officials and career Foreign Service personnel out there in Iraq and around the world trying to do right by the American people and the United States, you're just swimming against the tide. Shit rolls down from above and no matter what you do, W. & Co. have made such a cock up of the entire situation from Iraq to the Arab/Israeli conflict that there's just nothing to be done until they are safely out of office and away from power.

Mark Seibel of the McClatchy papers writes that nowadays, "political thought throughout much of the Middle East is: "The end of the Bush administration is approaching and things will be different afterwards. . . With 17 months to go in Bush's second term, political leaders in the region are anticipating his departure and preparing for change."

In an number of interviews around the region Seibel pretty much got the impression that "the widespread awareness that Bush will be gone soon augurs poorly for any new administration initives." A "senior Israeli official" he spoke with "sat silently for several seconds after he was asked which negotiating approach was most likely to lead to progress in peace talks with Israel's Arab neighbors. Then he laughed and, in flawless English, suggested to a colleague that he must have not understood the question. 'I don't see any promising pathway,' he eventually said. 'There is a huge gap between the rhetoric and what people believe.'"

So, in other words, Condi's big trip to the Middle East with Sec Def Robert Gates last week just wasted a bunch of jet fuel and contributed a little more to global warming. Sure, the Israelis and Saudis will take the cash they're offering, but as far as doing anything the US wants -- forget about it.

This administration isn't about to talk to Hamas about the situation in Gaza, they're not going to talk to the Syrians, which even the Israelis want to do. The official Seibel talked to said the Israelis knew giving back the Golan Heights would be part of a peace deal with Syria, but "we're willing to discuss it.," With Bush insisting "from the Oval Office" that the US won't deal, however, there's nothing to be done. Not until these bumblers in the White House check out.

We'll spend blood and treasure to prop up a Tehran leaning, Shiite led government in Iraq -- that doesn't recognize the existence of Israel, either -- yet at the same time we'll arm Sunni insurgents that just a few months ago were killing our soldiers. But we're not talking to Syria. Sure they're a stable, secular regime that's currently buckling under the pressure of tens of thousands of refugees from W.'s disaster in Iraq, and sure throwing them a few bones might encourage them to stem the flow of suicidal Saudis into Iraq, but we don't talk to terrorists regimes. They know what they have to do. We'll just wait for them to do it. Great plan. Someone get Christopher Hill over to Jerusalem, he'll fix this mess!

My God! Are we there yet?


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