Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I Miss Papi

I miss George H. W. Bush. Just think of it. He got Arab countries to help beat Saddam in the first Gulf War and he got Europe and Japan to pay for the effort. Pretty neat wasn't it? There was no request for $87 billion from the tax payers when dad was running things.

I am joking of course. You have to be pretty bad to make me nostalgic for the guy who waged war to get Manuel Noriega. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Daddy Bush got Arab support because he wasn't afraid to stand up to the Israelis. Here is an excerpt from Juan Cole's site.

The Bush senior administration had a big fight with then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in winter of 1991 because it would not share the "Identify Friend or Foe" codes in use over Iraq with the Israelis. Without broadcasting the right IFF codes, Israeli fighter planes that had tried to strike Iraq would have risked being misidentified as Iraqi hostiles and shot down by the US or other United Nations forces. Shamir was livid, but Bush senior refused to relent.

Why did the senior Bush behave this way? Because he wanted Egypt, Syria and other Arab states to continue to support the Gulf War. They were upset with Saddam because he had invaded Kuwait, a fellow Arab League member, and they were willing to join the US in a war to get the Iraqis back out of Kuwait. But they would not have been willing to fight another Arab country as direct allies of Israel, and if they had done so, they would have been so delegitimized at home that they might well have face revolutions. Bush senior knew this.

W. doesn't have his father's experience with the world, and is, frankly, an ignoramus. If he is letting the US effort in Iraq be tarred with the brush of Israeli occupation, he is actually acting as the world's most prominent recruiting agent for al-Qaeda in the Muslim world. Because that is al-Qaeda's message to angry young Muslim men who feel humiliated by US power and by Israeli brutality in the West Bank and Gaza. Al-Qaeda says, the Americans are not in Iraq to bring democracy. They are bringing Israeli hegemony to the Middle East.

Do you want more bad news? Israeli assassination teams are training U.S. soldiers. That's right. The actions that have made Israel a target of suicide bombers are being brought to Iraq. What's next, bulldozing homes, and arresting the family members of wanted Baathists? How forgetful of me. We are already doing that. Now we know why.