Olmert in Trouble - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Olmert in Trouble
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SOMEBODY KNOWS MY NAME
Re: Philip Klein’s Fog of Reuters:

The name “Philip Klein” happens to be shared by your writer and the sender. It is also of interest that my wife, Mrs. Philip J. Klein was once better known as Mrs. Margaret A. Klein, Managing Editor of Reuters in North America. My reason for writing is a simple complaint that your Mr. Klein’s first-name last-name only byline is quite embarrassing to me. I hope you are certain of your author’s identity and no embarrassment to my wife is intended. I suspect HE would be embarrassed by the fact that I am a 68-year-old, big-D, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Democrat, thoroughly disgusted by what passes for “foreign policy” in the current administration.
Phil Klein

The Editor replies: We’ve reconfirmed the bona fides of our Philip Klein. He graduated from college in 2000, so we’re certain he no longer needs to carry a fake ID or pass himself off as anyone other than who he truly is.

BITTER TASTES
Re: Jed Babbin’s Nasrallah Rules:

I would hazard, your excellent analysis aside, Olmert possibly recognized that the terrorists were of two minds A) Blow up as much as they can before an Armageddon level response descended on them from Israel or B) Suck the IDF further and further north and have a repeat of the last incursion in Lebanon that ended in Israeli withdrawal. There is a good possibility Olmert did not want to repeat that mistake. Whether the UN truce is viable is a different matter — it probably isn’t.

For the Israelis a pure military solution is not possible. They also need to apply some political slight of hand as well. Had the Israelis kept pushing towards the Litani River, they might have also tried to foment a succession movement in the Coptic-Christian community. Induce a partition and arm the Christian government as a buffer state. It is doubtful that the Israelis can hold the territory without popular support. So a buffer state solution seems the only viable long term option.
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

While the champagne and caviar diplomats and politicians of the world are busily patting each other on the back for “stopping” another war in the Middle East, the good citizens of Israel and Lebanon will continue to be victimized by a group of thugs. How nice for those who do not reside in those two countries. And how tragic for those who do.

The hesitancy of the political leadership of Israel has resulted in, not only the continued existence of a large, heavily armed organization dedicated to the overthrow of Israel and the subjugation of anyone else who does not agree with their goals and ambitions, but a weakening of the resolve of the Arab states. This is of paramount importance to the rest of the world, for without resistance from the more moderate Arab states Iran and her radical tentacles will continue along their present path until widespread regional hostilities breakout.

The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is not an isolated event. It is part of a much larger conflict that has significant cultural overtones. And it is about time that those in the West wake up and realize this. Mercy and compassion are totally foreign to the leadership of Hezbollah, and other Islamic terrorist organizations, as well as their supporters. This includes the leadership of many of the nations of the region. No matter how bloodied Hezbollah may be at the moment, if not decisively destroyed it will return to plague Israel. By allowing it to survive, Israel, and by inference the U.S., have shown that they are unable or unwilling to provide protection in the area. This will inevitably lead to an encouragement of radical groups and states in the region and to a discouragement of the leadership of the more moderate states that we will need in the near future.

In addition to a general weakening of the positions of those who will have to defend civilization from the barbarians rising in this area and other parts of the world, Israel, and more importantly the U.S., has surrendered to the theory that an aggrieved party can only act in defense with authorization from other, disinterested, parties. Parties, it will later become clear, that are anything but disinterested. Self-defense by committee does not work.

Finally, by this action, Israel, the U.S. and the rest of the world have legitimized a criminal organization and raised its leadership to the status of a head of state. At this point, Nazrallah holds the same position as the government of Lebanon. Hezbollah is no longer a political “party” within the country, they have become a sovereign state without boundaries and must now be negotiated with as such.

As a result of the inaction of the Israeli government, nothing was gained and virtually everything was lost. The lessons of history have been ignored and the world moves that much closer to regional, if not global conflict. The U.S., by failing to stand fast and encourage Israel to eliminate Hezbollah, has failed to strengthen the foundation
needed to defeat future acts of aggression around the world. There is now nothing to stop, or even slow, the march of Iranian expansion in the region. The lack of political will to decisively address Hezbollah in Lebanon and Muslim extremism in Iraq has made it all but impossible to deal with Iran without military action. Nobody wins with the ceasefire, but some (Hezbollah) lose less than others.
Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

I must agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Babbin’s assessment of the situation in Israel. By accepting the UN’s cease-fire plan, Israel has just given Hezbollah the status of a nation-state. But what also occurs to me is that this sets a dangerous precedent for the future.

When the world body, including the United States, rushed into this agreement the rules were changed for every terror organization out there. By basically including Hezbollah in the arrangements, we have sent a signal to other terror organs that if they are able to get a political foothold in a country that we will negotiate with them. And if we are willing to negotiate with Hezbollah, which Mr. Babbin points out has more American blood on its hands than anyone other than al Qaeda, then why shouldn’t we negotiate with Hamas? After all, they are in control of the government of the Palestinian Authority and that should give them more legitimacy than Hezbollah’s 20-odd seats in the Lebanese parliament gave them, right?

This is definitely not the message that we should be sending to terror groups, that we will acquiesce to your demands to assuage world opinion. This is not something that seems to have been realized at the UN or at the State Department!
The Flagwaver
Stokes County, North Carolina

Perhaps the fundamental strategic error Israel made in its engagement with Hezbollah was to ignore Lebanese statehood and act directly against Hezbollah as if it was a state. This had the unanticipated effect of elevating the status of that terrorist organization and granting it a certain level of legitimacy; i.e., Israel recognized Hezbollah, thereby giving Hezbollah what it wanted.

A better approach would have been taking Lebanese sovereignty seriously. Lebanon is (or considers itself) a sovereign state, and sovereignty conveys a host of responsibilities and obligations along with perquisites and privileges. One of the responsibilities of a sovereign state is preventing armed groups from waging war against other sovereign states from within its territory. When an armed group does this, the stat has an obligation to stop it, and failure to do so (or at least to try to do so) implies either a degree of complicity with perpetrators, or an abdication of sovereignty. Given that Hezbollah was fighting Israel from Lebanese territory, Israel should have insisted that Lebanon exercise its sovereign power and responsibility, or face the consequences.

If Israel had issued an ultimatum to Lebanon, it would have given the anti-Hezbollah factions within the Lebanese government an excuse to ask for international intervention to suppress the terrorists and for support against their sponsors, Syria and Iran. If it did not avail itself of that option, then Israel should formally have declared war–not on Hezbollah, but on Lebanon itself. It would then have been free to take all necessary steps to suppress the threat to its people and territory (and should have done so using overwhelming force — a full scale invasion with several armored divisions backed up by air and naval power as necessary. It should have moved forward rapidly at least to the line of the Litani River and the Bekaa Valley, bypassing Hezbollah strongholds. This would have isolated Hezbollah and cut its lines of communication with Syria via the Bekaa and northern Lebanon.

Having blocked Hezbollah lines of retreat, Israeli forces could then move systematically to reduce each Hezbollah stronghold, confident that the terrorists could not flee — a classic hammer and anvil strategy using “interior flanks” to encircle the enemy.

The Lebanese government could actively assist in this process by surrendering to Israel, which would then give Israel the right and power to impose peace and order on the territories it occupied, mainly by destroying or disarming Hezbollah and other armed militias. Negotiations of the ensuing peace treaty would not only include recognition of Israel, but also international guarantees of Lebanese security by placing buffer forces on the Lebanese-Syrian border, employing an international naval force to ensure that arms are not smuggled into Lebanon by sea. The U.S. and other countries could support stabilization efforts by rebuilding the Lebanese army into a competent, well-trained and equipped force purged of radical elements. Israel would reserve the right intervene in Lebanon if attacks are directed against it from Lebanese territory and the Lebanese government does not react effectively within some specified time period. The US and Israel could also make explicit links between terrorist activity in Lebanon and its sponsors in Syria and Iran, essentially holding those countries responsible for attacks conducted by Hezbollah and other groups from within Lebanon. This could be no more than simply having the U.S. tell Syria that it will not block any action by Israel against Syria should the Syrians resume supplying Hezbollah or otherwise meddling in Lebanese affairs.

This approach could have served as a general model for dealing with similar situations. The security crisis in the world today is due to the collapse of the nation-state system and the rise of sub- and trans-national organizations capable of using military force, whether guerrilla, or terrorism (or in some cases, even conventional war). Going after these groups is usually futile because there is no overall scheme or objective. Instead, the US should work to bolster the nation-state system not only by attacking terrorist and other non-state actors, but by bolstering legitimate nation-states and punishing nation states that support non-state actors as their proxies. It may seem pointless to bring impotent, nominally sovereign governments into the conflict between Israel and the terrorists of Hezbollah, but in the end, it is actually central to the entire problem. The nation-state system is the bedrock of international stability, and without it there is only chaos.
Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

So Nasrallah has announced to the world his “Great Victory.” Here in the U.S. and in Israel there is much gloom and doom. I’m reminded of another “Great Victory” a while back. Remember Fallujah I? A “Great Victory” for the Sunni insurgents and Abu Musab al-Zarkawi. We heard gloom and doom then too. I was among the gloomy too. Then came Fallujah II and the terrorist forces were rolled up and the population of Fallujah welcomed their liberation. The lessons I learned from that is we must fight on our terms not those of the enemy. Waiting allowed more intel to be gathered and time for the terrorists to both believe they were all powerful and so oppress the people of Fallujah that they welcomed us as liberators not oppressors.

I see this recent “war” as simply a part of a battle in a much larger war. This was an intelligence operation and a prepping the battle space in another part of this war. Call the Israeli operation a reconnaissance in force. We and the Israeli’s gained a large amount of information about Iranian, Syrian, and Hizballah’s capabilities. Also though the destruction of much of Hizballah’s men and equipment is good, more important is that the Israeli reserve forces have now been “blooded”. This will serve them well in the days to come.

The prepping of the battle space I spoke of is in the “Media War.” The large global news organizations have exposed themselves to all as propaganda arms of the terrorists, Hizballah in particular. By throwing their credibility away now the forfeit their ability to manipulate events later. Once caught lying they will always be seen as lying, even when they tell the truth. Many political groups both here and in Britain have gone on record as aligned with Hizballah and are now exposed as pro-terrorist not anti-war or moderate. These gains will help in the hard days ahead.

Unless Iran does something truly stupid on August 22nd I don’t expect the main event to start till after our elections in November. By then the Israeli Knesset will have met and most likely will have installed Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. The Democrats here will have once again snatched the brass ring of defeat and called it victory. And George Bush having patiently waited, allowing Iran, Syria and Hizballah to wallow in the false belief of their own propaganda, will let them go “all in” and lose everything when he shows his winning hand. I still have faith in our President and in America.
Geoff Bowden
Battle Creek, Michigan

I’m not sure who’s closest to the center of the bull’s-eye, Jed Babbin with his article “Nastrallah Rules” in TAS or P. David Hornik with his commentary “Sellout” over at FrontPageMag, but both of them are inside the spot. Israel has set themselves up for more problems thanks to the misguided efforts of PM Ehud Olmert, his Marxist defense minister, his leftist peacenik wife and daughter, and his own stupidity. Instead of eradicating the Hezbollah threat, the lame Israeli ruler has given the Islamofascist vermin a new lease on life by accepting the cease-fire, with the unexpressed yet obvious consent of the UN. Even now, current reports at DEBKAfile (www.debka.com) indicate Hezbollah fighters and weaponry are moving south into the contested areas of southern Lebanon, mixed in with the returning refugees. They are apparently moving back to some of their reinforced strongholds, and Israeli troops have NOT been authorized to stop them. It will now be back to square one for the Israelis. Sadly, the Israeli people have got to shoulder some of the blame for this, as they were the ones who put this ruling party into power. The now deteriorating Ariel Sharon seemed to have gotten soft on the terrorists in his later years, and promoted this thinking in his new political party. The people bought into it. Now, in Sharon’s place, Olmert has continued the move towards what could be national suicide.
Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

Olmert is to Israel as a Democrat president would be to the U.S. We’ve been warned (yet again).
David Govett
Davis, California

PYLING ON
Re: Jeffrey Lord’s The Gomer Party:

In all due respect to the author, it’s actually the “Goober” party, unable to grasp even the slightest or easiest circumstance about the terrorist world we live in. Glaww-lee Andy, for sure. Send in the clowns.
Ray Robin
Garland, Texas

When I think of Ned Lamont, I don’t immediately think of Gomer Pyle, I think of the name Lamont from another situation comedy “Sanford and Son” and how Redd Foxx’s Fred Sanford would always refer to his son Lamont as the “Big Dummy.” And there is no doubt that this nominee is more worthy of a rebuke of, “Lamont, you Big Dummy you!” than any other person to ever run for office.
Eric Paddon

Jeffrey Lord’s article was amusing and accurate. While the Democrat/Copperhead party is the natural home for Gomers there are still plenty of them in the Republican Party and conservative movement. Conservatives who talk about skipping the November election or think a Democrat Congress would be a good thing for conservatives are Gomers. Conservative Gomers Wm F. Buckley and Pat Buchanan are our versions of “MINO” John Murtha and “Cut & RUN” Ned Lamont. Thankfully, for now the Gomers are a minority in the GOP and among conservatives. Thankfully, the President and GOP majority in Congress aren’t Gomers. Prayerfully, the Gomers take another shellacking at the polls in November or we are doomed to even more hellacious attacks by Muslim Imperialists ready and willing to give an ass kicking to weak-kneed infidel Gomers.
Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Boy, Jeffrey Lord has batted a thousand on this one. How else can you explain the sheer ignorance of even “educated” people to what is happening today. In fact, Gomer Pyle should become the state symbol of Vermont. Up here in “See no evil, hear no evil, unless it’s conservative or Christian” country, Gomer seems to have stopped and had his way with the women folk pretty much, for how else can you account for such a conglomeration of fools in one area? Yes, thank you Mr. Lord for writing this article. It explains the foolishness of most of the left wing’s thought. You’re right, it is scary to think that these fools not only vote, they make public policy. BTW, Gomer( one of his offspring) was elected mayor of Burlington, so we have the tradition of hearing” Golllly” in City Hall on a regular basis, followed by a resounding chorus of “Geee Ned” by the assembled council, every time they pass a resolution to cure the problems of the world ( why stick with just Burlington or Vermont?)
Pete Chagnon

As the beer commercial states: BRILLIANT!!!
K. Wilson
Morgantown, West Virginia

ENSEMBLES
Re: James Rosen’s Of iPods and Dirty Underwear:

It may be a personal idiosyncrasy, but I prefer the radio to the iPod, because I enjoy sharing the experience with other listeners, however unknown to me. We humans are odd ducks.
David Govett
Davis, California

It won’t matter what you listen to. You’ve reached the point of guaranteed buyer’s remorse. Too much selection means you won’t be satisfied, no matter what you choose. Barry Schwartz wrote about this.

So don’t choose. It won’t matter what you listen to, nor should it. Just put the thing on shuffle and enjoy. Because you can’t enjoy any song while thinking about 50 other tracks (or in your case, albums) you might have chosen from.
unsigned

DADE DUDE
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Da County Don’t Count:

Jay Homnick can’t have lived in Dade County very long if he thinks 1) it’s like every other county in the U.S. or even the rest of Florida — it’s much more powerful, and 2) that Miamians don’t pay attention to county stuff — they certainly do, and most Miamians have to deal directly with the County as they do not have city governments.

Also, the 63rd Street Flyover, which, yes, beachers will miss sorely, does not lead to any hospital. I mean, did he make that up? There used to be a hospital near the flyover but the flyover didn’t feed it traffic. I’m truly confused — is this a total hack piece or what? You sure this guy has ever been to Miami, or is he looking at 40 year old maps of the place?
Jeremy Sapienza

THINKABLE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Preventing the Unthinkable:

Looks like the unthinkable is happening right before our eyes. Olmert has agreed to the Security Council’s resolution, the effect of which, prevents Israel from eradicating Hezbollah, permits Hezbollah’s resuscitation through an unenforceable arms embargo, and sets the stage for phase 2 of Iran’s proxy war, or worse.

They’ll be fighting again in six months, or less, target Tel Aviv!

Never hire a lawyer to do a man’s job!
Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

HELD OVER
Re: Daniel Griswold’s Heed Pence-Hutchison:

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more…Henry V

Daniel Griswold has taken the absurd tack that the death of 9 “suspected” illegal immigrants in a car chase with the Border Patrol in Yuma, Arizona (of the 22 people involved, not one had a valid entry visa), is the result of the failure to have a “comprehensive immigration overhaul.” What unmitigated drivel: these situations are due — and only due — to the willingness of millions of non-U.S. citizens to enter our country illegally through a southern border that leaks like a sieve, and pay a “coyote” who will get you into this country. Once here, the complicit pact between the federal, state and local governments not to enforce current immigration law means that you stay, and if you can have your baby in the U.S. — at public expense to be sure — you remain here…forever! The word is out throughout the world, Mr. Griswold: there is little or no law enforcement along our southern border; hence, why not take the gamble, which includes 22 people getting herded into a SUV to make the crossing. By your logic, should the Border Patrol cease and desist all pursuit of coyotes transporting illegal drugs as well as illegal aliens entering the nation?

The Cato Institute, Mr. Griswold’s employer, along with organizations like the Wall St. Journal, have for years been a major player in “open borders” agitprop. As such, his article is based on seeing the problem from the prism that the illegal alien disaster we now face is unnecessary, for these desperate people are only here to work, and they are doing jobs Americans won’t do. Seems to me I’ve heard that song before. And, of course, we continue to indulge in…”another misguided attempt to enforce an unenforceable law.” It is the height of chutzpah to say that current immigration law is unenforceable when there has never been a serious effort made to enforce the law! But, fear not gentle reader: there is help out there if only we would awaken and shed the scales from our eyes. A drum roll, please: Rep. Pence and Sen. Hutchison have the answer to this most complex and vexing of problems.

Let us begin by assuming that Pence/Hutchison is worth discussing. What becomes evident immediately is that there is no enforcement mechanism in this bill. Precisely what does securing our borders mean? “In the past two decades, the U.S. government has increased spending on border enforcement ten-fold…,” Griswold intones. Yet in that period at least ten million illegal aliens entered this country, most of whom are still here. That is important, because when the administration determines that the borders are “secure,” then we proceed to the “guest workers program,” who are more like visitors who never leave. No amnesty here! Having employers who have already broken existing law determine the number of foreign workers is, as Rep. Tancredo put it, “like letting the fox guard the hen house.” Neither the writer of this note nor the overwhelming number of U.S. citizens trust this administration to carry out Pence/Hutchison if it were to become law. After all, why would immigration law enforcement be executed now after a twenty year hiatus?

It must be my conspiratorial mind at work, but I cannot help but believe that both Pence, who has offered two other versions of this proposal, and Hutchison are, perhaps unwittingly, doing the president’s bidding. The sentiments of the overwhelming number of American citizens are against amnesty and guest worker programs, but both of these lawmakers couldn’t care less about the vox populi. Yet Griswold and Pence are determined to make the causal nexus of economic growth dependent on the importation of foreign workers, and uneducated ones to boot. And Hutchison, it should be remembered, proposed an amendment (failed) that would have provided unlimited guest workers to any industry that wanted them. This is a recipe for disaster and undermining the living wage of the worker in this country. As I have previously written in this forum, the man who sits in the White House bears the responsibility for not enforcing immigration law, and the results of that abdication of duty will be felt in November.

As a personal aside, Pence’s persistent reference to other “mini Ellis Island” centers to process illegal aliens, frankly, irritates me: 110 years ago, my grandparents came to this country legally, and passed through Ellis Island, and to conflate their law abiding decency with law breaking is insulting.

What Mr. Griswold/Rep. Pence/Sen. Hutchison propose will, inevitably, be rejected by America’s voters. While few, if any, Republicans who are up for reelection this November will endorse the disastrous Hagel/Martinez Senate Bill, the Pence/Hutchison end run is a Trojan horse aimed at confusing the public: it speaks a language of enforcement, but it is a shell that hides its insidious consequences: amnesty, the further importation of an underclass, and the ultimate transformation of America. It must be defeated — no ands, ifs, or buts.

Pax tecum
Vincent Chiarello
Reston, Virginia

LIFTING THE FOG
Re: Philip Klein’s Fog of Reuters:

I was rather surprised to learn that the Reuters problem is only the tip of the news industry’s iceberg.

How would you react watching any network news station after discovering that 88% of the “breaking news” footage that you were watching was collected and edited at one building in England? How would that effect how you viewed and considered the news stories you were watching?

The same has been true of the print media for some time now. Why should our television news be handled any differently? It is after all a business, and businesses have budgets.

Managing editors can write their own copy, sure. But most of the footage recorded is still based on the editing and judgment of one sole source. There’s only one company with a crew on the ground recording “breaking news footage” in any given area and they ship it back to the same building.

Then let’s ask this: What if certain non-Western countries want to pay for “extra-services” in their news editing? You know which countries I am talking about…the ones that didn’t get the memo about that annoying First Amendment many western democracies are some-what predicated upon.

Those same footage editors are going to edit news film for “other” countries as well as for the Western consumer. How can they do that without bias?

I invite the Spectator to continue to editorialize in perpetuity, but let’s understand that we are editorializing about what someone else has decided we’ll see.
P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

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