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July 16, 2006


As part of my short-lived write-in candidacy for Congress that my friends ran as a joke in the early 90s, which I mentioned once before, I outlined a platform that included abolishing the State Department, renaming the Defense Department the "Department of War," and conducting diplomacy through an Assistant Secretary of War for Diplomacy.

Every time we have a major world crisis involving the West against evil people, the diplomats never fail to screw things up. The latest pronouncement that has me really steamed is the dreck coming out of the G8 conference in Russia.

I once heard Alan Keyes, in the days before he lost his sanity, speak of his tenure at Foggy Bottom and mock the diplomats for talking about the "peace process," which he managed to intone in a pompous Eastern WASP Establishment twang. He explained that diplomats think the solution to every problem is getting the parties to talk to each other, without having any inkling -- or any concern -- about what results are desirable.

So now we have a terrorist group, Hizbollah, raining rockets down on northern Israel, and Israel responding by attacking Hizbollah positions in Lebanon, and the diplomats want everyone to be nice. Let's be clear on this. Hizbollah was designated by the Secretary of State as a "foreign terrorist organization." It's in southern Lebanon through force, and not at the invitation of the local Shiites, who don't get along well with Iranian Shiites. These guys don't belong in southern Lebanon at all; they're doing the bidding of their sponsors in Iran and Syria. And the fighting can't possibly be characterized as related to territorial disputes.

This fighting has caused the great nations of the West to negotiate furiously to come up with a joint statement about what's going on in Israel and Lebanon, and this dreck is what they come up with.

President Bush and seven other world leaders put aside differences and joined together Sunday to call for "an immediate end to the current violence" in the Middle East, demanding that Islamic radicals stop firing rockets at Jewish cities and release captured Israeli soldiers while insisting that Israel halt military operations and free arrested Palestinian officials.
There you have it: A bunch of thugs jump out of a dark alley at night and start beating a guy who's walking past, and the diplomats not only request that the thugs stop beating the guy but also demand that the guy not defend himself too much. The goal for diplomats, you see, is not to take sides. They are neutral problem-solvers.

I guess it's a small consolation that the G8 Dreck would have been worse if it hadn't been for Bush's insistence that the crisis was all Hizbollah's fault. (Condi Rice, by the way, has not distinguished herself in the past few days. All she seems able to get past her lips is a request that all parties show restraint. At least, today, she's finally recognized that Israel's going to have to fight a little longer.)

But if it's all Hizbollah's fault, why bother making a statement that makes demands on a country that's fighting that terrorist group? Wouldn't it be better to say something simple like this: "When a country is attacked by terrorists, it has the right under international law to defend itself and take action to destroy the terrorists who are attacking it"? And if you can't get some schmucks like Chirac and Putin to agree to this, then just tell them to "gey kocken." Why do we need a statement from them at all?

This G8 Dreck has given a tremendous propaganda victory to Hizbollah, which boasts that the G8 nations have demanded that Israel stop its attack. I heard that boast on the news this afternoon. Although the language of the G8 Dreck, from what I can tell, doesn't say this precisely, you have to twist yourself in a pretzel to show that Hizbollah's interpretation is wrong. (Reuters: "'We call upon Israel to exercise utmost restraint,' the statement added." WaPo: "'The root cause of the problems in the region is the absence of a comprehensive Middle East peace,' it says. * * * At the same time, it also insists that Israel pull back from its aggressive retaliation and includes demands that U.S. officials have not made, particularly the release of Palestinian ministers and legislators who have been arrested in recent weeks in response to the Hamas attacks in Gaza.") And if you have to struggle to explain that the terrorists' interpretation of what you said is wrong, you probably shouldn't have said it in the first place.

Making matters worse, the Democrats are trying to score cheap political points by telling the Bush Administration it isn't doing enough. Madeleine Albright, who screwed up American foreign policy in the Clinton Administration, in the process making Warren Christopher look like a professional, was so beyond the pale in her comments that even the New York Times took note:

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright — speaking with unusual candor considering the traditional injunction in American politics against speaking ill of United States foreign policy while the president is abroad — said of the Bush administration, “I’m stunned, I’m frankly stunned that they have not been involved” more in the region.
Chris Dodd added his deep thoughts:

Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, agreed that Ms. Rice should head to the region immediately. “We’re late into this game,” he told Fox News. “This could spin out of control to such a degree that we could have a major, major war in the Middle East.”
But the prize for inanity goes to Senator Feinstein.

A Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, supported the Bush administration’s response but suggested an additional line of action: for Mr. Bush to send two former presidents, his father and Bill Clinton, to the region. “I think it would be a masterful diplomatic stroke,” Ms. Feinstein told CNN.
That's it! Bill Clinton! He did such a great job with national security! Why didn't I think of that myself?

What the diplomats can't comprehend is that Hizbollah can lose decisively and still come out the victor. It is a terrorist organization and it needs to be pulled out root and branch. No sovereign nation can be expected to sit idly by while it is attacked by terrorists, and if the solution of the great powers of the West is to scold the sovereign nation along with the terrorists, I hate to say it, but the terrorists will have won.

UPDATE: The actual text of the statement is worse than the news articles indicated., but I don't have the patience to deal with it in more detail.

Here goes: The document treats Israel's fight with Hizbollah as simply a part of the dispute with the Palestinians, which makes no sense whatsoever. Everything that has happened is shoehorned into this framework: "The root cause of the problems in the region is the absence of a comprehensive Middle East peace." The statement continues: "The immediate crisis results from efforts by extremist forces to destabilize the region and to frustrate the aspirations of the Palestinian, Israel and Lebanese people for democracy and peace." But it then blames Hamas for rocket attacks on Israel, as if Hamas were not a Palestinian organization.

One of the four demands (if you can use that term) that the statement makes is for "[t]he release of the arrested Palestinian ministers and parliamentarians." Huh? And in case you missed what's behind the statement, all you need to do is keep reading: "Our goal is an immediate end to the current violence, a resumption of security cooperation and of a political engagement both among Palestinians and with Israel."

I've left out all the other gratuitous "even-handed" demands on Israel, but you get the idea.

UPDATE: Howard Dean snatches the inanity prize from Senator Feinstein. (via Drudge)
In an apparent reference to Israeli military action deep inside Lebanon, Dean said:

“If you think what's going on in the Middle East today would be going on if the Democrats were in control, it wouldn't, because we would have worked day after day after day to make sure we didn't get where we are today. We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA, when he brought together the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

UPDATE (7/17): Ace mocks the Democrats' call for diplomacy:
Diplomacy is a powerful tool. But it has one key weakness.

The word "No."

As in--

"Stop making nuclear weapons." -- "No."

"Stop firing long-range missiles." -- "No."

"Stop funding terrorists." -- "No."

"Stop killing and kidnapping Israelis." -- "No."

It is baffling to me that Democrats are unaware that, for all the incredible power of diplomacy, all diplomatic efforts can be entirely rebuffed with a single syllable word.

When Democrats are asked what to do about countries which keep saying "No" in response to our diplomacy, they invariably offer one strategy: More diplomacy!

Unaware, I guess, that every country, no matter how poor, has an endless supply of the natural resource known as the word "No."

UPDATE (7/17): Rick Richman has more on "restraint," and (via Soccer Dad) Meryl Yourish says: "Proportionate: Dead Jews. Disproportionate: Any act of self-defense by Jews."

UPDATE (7/17): The NY Sun falls for it, arguing that the statement is a diplomatic victory for Bush. (via Ace)