Good article in Newsweek. John Barry describes how when Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, Syrian President Hafez Assad and the Saudis were all ready to work with Henry Kissinger to find a universal solution to the Middle East Palestinian - Israeli problem, Israel’s leader, Golda Meir scuttled it because she couldn't believe that Sadat and Assad were serious about wanting Peace.
There are so many factions with stakes in the outcome that if any one of them wants to scuttle the solution, he or she can easily do it. It is the penalty for living in a society in which revenge for a crime against one member of your own family requires revenge on other members of that family. But group puniishment for individual crimes does not deter further crimes. Instead it demands revenge from others not initially involved against those related to the original criminal.
Members of Hamas in Gaza randomly fired rockets into Israel as revenge for what the Israelis have previously done to Palestinians. So the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) fires artillery back into Gaze and, among other things, kills innocent Palestinians on the beach. But if the Isreaelis ask the Palistinians to capture the Hamas members and bring them to trial for their crimes (the original rockets), either it won't happen or the resulting trial will let the criminals off. So the IDF tries to suppress them using military means - artillery, bombs, and special forces. There is, of course collateral damage that the Palestinians blame the IDF for. Hamas cannot ask the Israelis to arrest the members of the IDF and punish them, so they take vengence on whatever Israelis are unfortunate enough to be where the Hamas Katusha rockets land. The IDF again responds militarily.
Now look at George Bush's response in today's press conference. Where in this vengence and revenge cycle is Hamas firing their Katushas because they hate Freedom, Democracy and Liberty? Because it ISN'T THERE!
Hezbollah is firing rockets into Northern Israel and Israel is firing artillery and dropping bombs back in a similar vengence and revenge cycle. This is a similar vengence - revenge cycle, complicated by the politics of Hezbolah being a part of the elected government of Lebanon while being funded and supplied with missiles by Iran and being also funded by donations and criminal activities in the U.S. (similar to the way the Irish Republican Army was.)
The guys in charge of Hezbollah thought that they could kidnap a couple of IDF soldiers, fire a few missiles at Northern Israel when they fired artillery at them, then trade the kidnapped soldiers for some Hezbollah members and go on with little change except a slight political advantage for Hezbollah, mostly with their constituency in Lebanon. But the IDF "severely overreacted." That is, they didn't play the game the way it usually was played. No one was expecting the full-fledged war the Israelis brought down on Hezbollah and on Lebanon. But the Israelis were already angered by the Hamas attacks, and this was an escalation. They wanted to let people know the had been pushed far enough.
Both sides are playing group punishment again. Even if Hamas gets sensible and goes for a deal, who can trust Hezbollah? And none of the Palestinians or Islamisticists trust the Isreaelis anyway. Nor do the Israelis trust any Islamic Arab.
Without trust, no one can accept the offers of the other side. And no one trusts anyone else. Just as Goldie Meyer simply couldn't trust Sadat and Assad.
They need an outside force to come in, with monopoly of weapons, and handle all criminal actions on every side. But the outside force has to be one both sides trust, and there is no such agency at this time.
Tell me. Are the root causes really that the terrorists hate Freedom, Liberty, and Democracy? No.
Will any policy based on that misapprehension be successful without causing those defined by Bush as "Evil" fighting back? No.
Is Bush an ignorant fool causing a lot more trouble than he is worth? Yes.
And he has no clue whatsoever.
Addendum at 9:40 PM CDT.
From the Seattle Times - a guy walks into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building in downtown Seattle at about 4:00 PM PST, announces "I'm a Muslim American; I'm angry at Israel," then began shooting.
He killed one woman and put five others into the hospital. Three are still in surgery. He is reported to have demanded that he wanted us to get our weapons out of Israel.
It is pretty clear that the shooter considers that his family/tribe/co-religonists/co-nationalists is being attacked by our family/tribe/co-religonists/co-nationalists, so he will take revenge for the actions occurring in the Middle East. This is the normal way societies that are based on social relationships rather than the rule of law operate.
If you don't believe that justice can be obtained through the application of law to the ~individual~ who commits a crime, then the family/tribe/co-religionists/co-nationals must take action. Since they cannot reach the individual criminal and prove his guilt, then they take revenge on the family/tribe/co-religonists/co-nationalists of the criminal, with some hope that those people will restrain the actual criminal.
This tradition grew out of small groups of people who actually interacted with each other. It does not and cannot work in a global society where there are nations with hundreds of millions of people and religions with over a billion co-religionists.
Somehow I do not see how the super-simplistic "Good vs. Evil" people of Bush's strange philosophy can work in such circumstances.