August 15, 2006
Olmert's War, and the Next One
by Patrick J. Buchanan
When Israel answered the Hezbollah raid that captured two soldiers with air strikes on Lebanon's airport, runways, gas stations, lighthouses, bridges, buses, apartment houses, and power plants, we who questioned the wisdom and morality of what Israel was doing were denounced as anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.
Turns out we were right.
Ehud Olmert, who gave Chief of Staff Dan Halutz the green light to launch the shock-and-awe air campaign, cannot survive the his country has suffered.
While the Israeli air force was hammering Lebanon, Hezbollah rained down 3,000 rockets on Israel and fought off pinprick raids. When the Israeli army, after a month, moved in force against the real enemy, Hezbollah, Israel had already suffered
As the war began, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Bahrain all condemned Hezbollah, as did the Beirut government, for inciting the war. But
Lebanon, which suffered 800 dead, thousands injured, and 1 million made refugees, saw its infrastructure destroyed and nation set back 20 years. If the government falls or Lebanon becomes a failed state, it will be an even greater calamity for the Lebanese, and for Israel and the Middle East. For
Another loser is Israel, and Olmert, who seized on the border skirmish to launch his Lebanon war. Writes Ari Shavit of Ha'aretz:
What does this mean? The
A new Israeli regime will not withdraw from any more land, nor shut down any more settlements, nor vacate any part of Jerusalem, nor negotiate with a Palestinian Authority led by Hamas, or by a PLO that is unable to disarm Hamas. We are at a dead end, as George W. Bush will not push the Israelis to do anything, nor will Congress.
America is another loser.
But when Olmert launched an air war on Lebanon, instead, Bush Bush-Cheney are thus for what was done to Lebanon and the democratic government there that was born of a "Cedar Revolution" George Bush himself had championed.
Congress poodled along with Bush, so Bush will not be called to account, as he would be were any other nation but Israel involved. From Morocco to the Gulf, there is probably not a country today that would welcome Bush, or where he would be safe on a state visit.
Where does this leave us? With Israel's failure to achieve its strategic objectives in Lebanon and America having failed to attain its strategic objectives in Iraq, Nasrallah emerges triumphant, and Syria and Iran emerge unscathed and gloating.
What comes next? That is obvious.
With our War Party discredited by the failed policies it cheered on in Lebanon and Iraq,
"[T]he dangers continue to mount abroad," wails The Weekly Standard in its lead editorial. "How Bush deals with Ahmadinejad's terror-supporting and nuclear-weapons pursuing Iran will be the test" of his administration. Yes, the supreme test.
Bush is on notice from the neocons and War Party that have all but destroyed his presidency: Either you take down Iran, Mr. Bush, or you are a failed president.
If the president is still listening to these people, Lord help the Republic.
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