The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Split reported to White House approach to Israeli conflict

Toward the end of July, Insight Magazine posted an article about neoconservative desires to see Condi Rice leave the administration. Although I never had the impression that she was doing anything but selling the White House line ("sustainable cease fire") and didn't appear to be doing anything to encourage an end to the violence, she was being accused of undermining White House efforts in the region. The article implied that their efforts were to see the war expand to include Iran and Syria.

Now Insight is back with another article suggesting that the differences really are there, and it sounds like the first time that Rice has decided to disagree with the White House, she's doing the smart thing. And her opponents are the usual idiots.

The disagreement between Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice is over the ramifications of U.S. support for Israel's continued offensive against Lebanon. The sources said Mr. Bush believes that Israel's failure to defeat Hezbollah would encourage Iranian adventurism in neighboring Iraq. Ms. Rice has argued that the United States would be isolated both in the Middle East and Europe at a time when the administration seeks to build a consensus against Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Instead, Ms. Rice believes the United States should engage Iran and Syria to pressure Hezbollah to end the war with Israel. Ms. Rice has argued that such an effort would result in a U.S. dialogue with Damascus and Tehran on Middle East stability. (. . .)

The sources said Mr. Bush's position has been supported by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and to a lesser extent National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. They have urged the president to hold off international pressure and give Israel more time to cause strategic damage to Hezbollah as well as Iranian and Syrian interests in Lebanon.

"I think if you think of what's happening in Lebanon and Israel right now, you see the face of the beginning of the 21st century," Mr. Rumsfeld said in a radio interview on Aug. 2.

Aides for Mr. Cheney have argued that the United States should have targeted Hezbollah and Syria during the war against Iraq in 2003.

It also sounds uncomfortably like it's junior versus Dad all over again, and we all know how determined Bush is to reject every policy of his father and Clinton. Too bad neither of them supported all-out war. Then there'd at least be a chance of him trying for peace just to be contrarian.