Friday, June 15, 2007


That failed vision thing

Reading the Washington Post is getting to be quite tiring as after reading an article you are then forced to fact check it. Glenn Kessler has an article today – not labeled “Analysis” – that matter-of-factly proclaims: Takeover by Hamas Illustrates Failure of Bush's Mideast Vision

“Five years ago this month, President Bush stood in the Rose Garden and laid out a vision for the Middle East that included Israel and a state called Palestine living together in peace. "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror," the president declared.

“The takeover this week of the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group dedicated to the elimination of Israel demonstrates how much that vision has failed to materialize, in part because of actions taken by the administration.”

Well, that vision was somewhat predicated on the Palestinians exhibiting a semblance of political maturity. When Mr. Kessler quotes the President as saying:

“"I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror," he leaves out the rest of that paragraph:

“…If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.” President Bush Calls for New Palestinian Leadership

The election of Hamas hardly qualifies the Palestinian people as having actively pursued these goals.

His selective use of Presidential quotes doesn’t end there:

“After his reelection in 2004, Bush said he would use his "political capital" to help create a Palestinian state by the end of his second term.”

I remember that press conference but I didn’t remember that. Here’s what the President said about spending capitol:

“…and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror.” President Holds Press Conference (November, 2004)

His reference to the Palestinian situation was actually an answer to the first question of that press conference – several questions and well before any mention of spending capital:

“I've laid down some -- a very hopeful strategy on -- in June of 2002, and my hope is that we will make good progress. I think it's very important for our friends, the Israelis, to have a peaceful Palestinian state living on their border. And it's very important for the Palestinian people to have a peaceful, hopeful future. That's why I articulated a two-state vision in that Rose Garden speech. I meant it when I said it and I mean it now.”

It is convenient to think of the Palestinians as a group of poor, powerless and good-hearted people just caught in the crossfire of international intrigue. But they have to assume at least of modicum of collective will to make their presumed desire of a Palestinian state a reality. The President laid out a rather modest roadmap for Palestinians to do that with our help. Any failure here is not of the United States (or of Israel), rather the blame for Palestinians killing Palestinians rests with….Palestinians.

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