Cheney Lurks as Threat to Bush’s Efforts and Middle East Peace Super Summit

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cheney twn.jpg
Cheney and his team are disurbingly impressive in their ability to constantly get away with sabotaging the work and efforts of President Bush and his team.
The New York Sun‘s Benny Avni reports:

As her aides anticipated an important announcement about Israeli-Arab diplomacy yesterday, sources in Jerusalem and Washington said Secretary of State Rice has encountered enough resistance from all sides to lower her expectations for a breakthrough.
Israeli officials have spoken to a top White House official in recent days, using friendly Washington contacts to go “over Condi’s head” to describe several of her new ideas as unrealistic, a Jerusalem source, who declined to be identified, told The New York Sun.
Specifically, according to three officials involved in this week’s flurry of diplomatic activity in Washington, Jerusalem, Arab capitals, and the United Nations, Ms. Rice intended to intensify her shuttle diplomacy between Israeli and Palestinian Arab leaders, in an attempt to get them to start negotiating “final status” issues.

There are very few people in the White House that Avni could reputably title as “over Condi’s head.”
Elliot Abrams would not count — nor would John Hannah, Cheney’s national security advisor. I suppose one could stretch the idea that Stephen Hadley had an edge on Rice, but it is an artificial edge as her relationship with President Bush is closer than Hadley’s — and she held his job while he served as her deputy. So, an honest journalist would not note Hadley as “over Condi’s head” without some clear qualification.
David Addington, Cheney’s chief of staff, certainly is not over Rice — but the VP is a different story.
I don’t have any idea if the New York Sun really got access to Cheney — but he and the President himself are the only ones would could be framed as Condi’s superiors in this political process — and I know that Bush is not the person Avni is referring to.
That means — if the story has legs, which it probably does — that Cheney is out there working hard to sabotage Condoleezza Rice’s efforts in the Middle East, particularly her Middle East Super Summit idea which I think has merit.
President Bush needs to shut Cheney down — sideline him — and send an unambiguous message to all of his staff that Condi Rice has the helm and the others should swab the deck.
Bush has few if any chances to do something positive in the foreign policy arena and needs to recognize that the enemies of his administration succeeding are housed over in the VP’s wing of the Old Executive Office Building.
President Bush, please send Cheney quail-hunting.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

115 comments on “Cheney Lurks as Threat to Bush’s Efforts and Middle East Peace Super Summit

  1. MP says:

    Moreover–if you’d bother to read–I said “among” the most dispossessed people.

    Reply

  2. MP says:

    POA writes: “I know a couple of Cherokees, and quite a few Flatheads, that would disagree.”
    But of course they would be wrong. In 1492, the Jews were being killed, run out of Spain, and forced to convert. Easily 100 years before Jamestown and, what say you?, 200 years before the first white man saw a Flathead.
    The Cherokee and Flatheads still had a century or two of running fancy free. That’s not counting the 14 centuries of oppression of Jews prior to that.

    Reply

  3. Sandy says:

    Why aren’t people taking aggressive action to stop Bush/Cheney from their imminent bombing of IRAN???
    http://www.counterpunch.com/lindorff03292007.html
    Why are so many people just waiting for it to happen???

    Reply

  4. Pissed Off American says:

    “Certainly, in 1947, the Jewish people were among the most dispossessed and screwed over of all peoples in the world. And had been for centuries.”
    I know a couple of Cherokees, and quite a few Flatheads, that would disagree.

    Reply

  5. Pissed Off American says:

    “Now, it’s been pointed that, perhaps, these folks, like you, would like to see Israel “disappear” as a Jewish state. But why then is it that neither they nor you talk about eliminating the Islamic Republic of Iran?”
    Because he has never advocated seeing Israel “disappear”, as you are so obviously lying about by stating that he has made such statements.
    MP, if you have to defend some of your opinions by bullshitting us, have you ever considered the notion that perhaps those particular opinions aren’t worthy of defense?

    Reply

  6. MP says:

    Matthew writes: “Some of what you pick up on these posts as “anti-Israel” feelings is just frustration of asking non-Jews to support another nation’s attempt to preseve one religious/ethnic/national identity over another group who also have legitimate grievances.”
    Thanks, Matthew. Sorry I got a little testy.
    To me, it sounded as though you cared that Israel NOT remain a Jewish state. In other words, not indifference–as in the Basque examplea–but a feeling that it should not be so. Thanks for clarifying.

    Reply

  7. MP says:

    Den writes: “The factionalism that you perceive, Steve, is there, but it is entirely a personal one of empire building.”
    BUT sometimes, personal ambition can lead to change and good things. If Rice sees the house crumbling–not hard to see–she may be trying to salvage her own reputation by doing something that needs doing vis a vis Israel and Palestine. Striking out on her own to the degree that that’s possible. Every man for himself, as it were, when the house is on fire.
    So, I wouldn’t give her props for virtue–she was a good soldier and still is largely. But in a sinking ship, one part, Cheney’s, appears to be sinking faster than the rest, and it’s possible she’s trying to keep from getting sucked down into that whirl in a way that, hopefully, will help the Israelis, Palestinians, and the rest of us, too.
    Anyway, it seems that, so far at least, she is trying to make progress on this front. And it seems equally clear that Cheney is trying to sabotage her efforts. And I’m on her side for what’s worth–hopefully, something.

    Reply

  8. Matthew says:

    MP: You lose credibility when you include phrases like: “Now, it’s been pointed that, perhaps, these folks, like you, would like to see Israel “disappear” as a Jewish state.” If you read my posts, I’ve never called for the disappearance of the Jewish State.
    You did make some other good points, though, and I think they deserve an answer. The Arab states, expect for Egypt and Jordan, don’t have diplommatic relations with Israel. But that is exactly the point of the Saudi Plan: Full recognition in exchange for 1967 borders.
    Ilan Berman, who used to be in Israeli intelligence official, recently gave a speech I attended. He remarked that during a recent visit to London, he noticed that English and French people don’t like each other; the governments, however, are able to work together. In the real world, that is what you get: co-existence.
    Frankly, it’s irrelevant to me whether Jews think a “Jewish State” is good idea or not. That’s like asking me whether I have an opinion on Basque Independence. Whatever the proper form of Isr/Palestine is going to be up to the people living there. I just don’t think I have a moral obligation to support any state’s ethnic or religious character.
    Some of what you pick up on these posts as “anti-Israel” feelings is just frustration of asking non-Jews to support another nation’s attempt to preseve one religious/ethnic/national identity over another group who also have legitimate grievances. I have no such obligation.

    Reply

  9. MP says:

    Matthew writes: “MP: You seem to equate “zero understanding of Israel” with accepting the assumptions of Israel’s apologists. You apparently don’t undertand the difference between “legal recognition” and the “right to exist.” Try reading my post again.”
    Here’s my understanding of this. Despite the fact that Israel, as a Jewish state, was established/endorsed by the UN–the temple at which we all genuflect–many, many Arab states have not legally recognized Israel. They have no embassies in Israel and Israel has no embassies in those countries. And just now, even, for the first time, an Israeli journalist was allowed into Saudi Arabia (according to news accounts).
    The dear leader of Iran has spoken fondly of Israel being eliminated. So has Nasrallah. So has the leadership of Hamas. Other Arab countries, in the past, have fought wars so that Israel would not exist. As far as I know, no one keeps threatening to wipe China off the map–or any other country in the world.
    Now, it’s been pointed that, perhaps, these folks, like you, would like to see Israel “disappear” as a Jewish state. But why then is it that neither they nor you talk about eliminating the Islamic Republic of Iran? Or the theocracy of Saudi Arabia? Why is it then when Hamas talks about establishing an Islamic republic in Palestine, we never hear a word from you–or anyone else on these comments–except that Hamas was duly elected by the Palestinian people and needs to be respected and funded as such even though its leadership, too, wishes Israel would disappear as a Jewish state while Palestine blossoms as an Islamic state?
    And finally, why is it okay–even a desideratum–for there to be a Palestinian state while a Jewish state is some sort of freak of nature? They are both peoples. They both have national aspirations. Certainly, in 1947, the Jewish people were among the most dispossessed and screwed over of all peoples in the world. And had been for centuries.
    And though you and I have argued about refugees vs. immigrants before, there is no doubt that the dispossession went on throughout the Arab world and in Ethiopia and in Russia long after 1948. I’m told, even, that Jews made up a high percentage of the “disappeared” in Argentina during the days of the junta. Israel opened its arms to them, when other countries, including our own and Canada, had quotas. It’s hard for me to see anything wrong with a Jewish state serving that function.
    As far as the right of return goes, you’ll find that other countries have the same right–Greece for one. Right now, the Arab states are hanging tough on the right of return for Palestinians in Saudi peace plan. And I’m sure there are Palestinians in Brooklyn who are itching to go back, too, even though they’ve grown up in the US. Are you saying that you’re against the right of return across the board–or just for the Jews?
    My crystal ball tells that if ever peace comes to these two peoples, EVENTUALLY they will intermingle, and the two states will be joined at the hip like siamese twins. But I can assure you that that moment will never come as long people keep asserting, or trying to force Israelis or other Jews to accept, that there is something fundamentally illegitimate about a Jewish state.

    Reply

  10. Pissed Off American says:

    “look, poa, i have no desire or energy to engage with you any longer.”
    Excellent. I have made that request on more than one occassion. I look forward to the cessation of your bullshit.
    “can you overcome our antagonistic dynamic and offer a compassionate word in response?”
    We all have personal travails, tragedies, and hardships. It happens to both good people, and bad people. Some people come through those travails stronger, wiser, and more compassionate. Others see such travails as an avenue to recieving a respect and a compassion that they have neither earned nor deserve.
    My prayers go to your mother.

    Reply

  11. ... says:

    carroll, thanks for posting links as opposed to the article in full! i appreciate that…

    Reply

  12. ... says:

    remember this is a family squabble. jew and muslim; cousin fighting cousin. all son’s and daughter’s of abraham.
    Posted by Winnipeger at March 28, 2007 11:45 PM<<
    winni, it is too bad it wasn’t framed that way regularly by the press and media outlets… i would say the same about all conflict.. we are all a part of the human race and if we can’t find our commonality with one another we are lost… this is what i find so difficult with so much of what i read… getting the terrorists and all the rest of it is aimed at divide and conquer, not peace on earth.
    i find it difficult to relate to the idea of an eye for an eye, when all it produces is continued blindness.. if that is indeed a part of the jewish religion, then it is an unholy religion as i see it. i feel the same way about some of the things i hear of the muslin religion and of course the christian relgion has been the most warlike in direct contrast to many of the words in there holy books… throw the holy books in the trash can if that is all they can produce and be at peace with one another as best as possible…
    the way you framed it suggested some hope… regards-

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Unless this is some convoluted PR game they are playing on their own populations I think the Saudis have figured out that the US won’t go to war with them or a group of Arab states led by them including Egypt and the UAE, over Israel or Iraq or Iran.

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    With another Saudi statement although I ma never sure how accurate the Times is:
    http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20070328-084545-2660r.htm
    The Saudi ‘peace’ plan ultimatum
    TODAY’S EDITORIAL
    March 29, 2007
    Mr. Olmert got his answer from Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal on Tuesday in the form of an ultimatum. Prince Saud said the proposal is non-negotiable, and suggested that Israel would be to blame if war broke out as a result of its failure to swallow it whole.
    “It has never been proven that reaching out to Israel achieves anything,” he told the London Telegraph. If Israel does not agree to the offer, it will be putting its future “in the hands of the lords of war,” he added.
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Now if someone can figure out where Bush, Cheney, and Bandar are or are not agreeing or plotting we might know if this is a movement or what is really going on.

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    Also an annoucement in the dailytimes:
    Arab summit to consider plan for closer military cooperation
    RIYADH: Arab countries should forge closer military and security ties, including nuclear cooperation, according to a document to be discussed at this week’s Arab summit here.
    It also urges “a comprehensive review of the nuclear issues in the region” and says member countries should develop their own nuclear strategies. In the past year, several Arab states have expressed interest in developing peaceful exploitation of nuclear power.
    With a followup from the UAE:
    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2007/March/theuae_March861.xml&section=theuae&col=
    UAE won’t be used for attack on Iran: Khalifa
    (Wam)
    28 March 2007
    ABU DHABI — The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, looks forward to pro-active participation in the Arab Summit in Riyadh and expressed the hope that the summit, would succeed in uniting Arabs, resolve existing differences and help tackle the many challenges facing Arab nations. He also said the country would not be used as a base for any US attack on Iran

    Reply

  16. Carroll says:

    Hey Den..
    I think it was you , or maybe it was rich, that responsed to my opining some time ago about “what if” Saudi and other major Arab states decided they could live with Iran and live together better by building a brick wall on outside interference in the ME and handling their differences internally.
    I think there are signs that is where they are headed. I can only do one link per post so I will have to give this to you to mull on in three parts.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/28/world/middleeast/29saudicnd.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin
    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders on Wednesday that the American occupation of Iraq is “illegal,” and he warned that unless Arab governments settle their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region’s politics.
    The king’s speech, at the opening of the Arab League summit meeting here, underscored growing differences between Saudi Arabia and the Bush administration as the Saudis take on a greater regional leadership role, partly at American urging. The Saudis seem to be emphasizing that they will not be beholden to the policies of their longtime ally.

    Reply

  17. Winnipeger says:

    look, poa, i have no desire or energy to engage with you any longer.
    you never have a kind or conciliatory word to offer and you’re hell bent to only disagree and demonize. your comments are nasty and destructive. what’s the point?
    as i’ve already shared with this community, i’m dealing with far more important issues at the moment. i spent another 6 hours at the hospice today. wiping my mom’s tears and holding her hand as the excruciating pain of pancreatic cancer made her body convulse. today i actually listened to my mom beg God to let her die.
    can you overcome our antagonistic dynamic and offer a compassionate word in response?
    and if not, why do you expect others around the world to do so?

    Reply

  18. Pissed Off American says:

    “i wonder what palestinians in particular and arabs in general would think about their daughters marrying jews or israelis? my guess is that the figure against would be SIGNIFICANTLY greater than 50% and that reactions would be violent and commonly include murder.”
    Arab/Palestinian = murderer.

    Reply

  19. Winnipeger says:

    “Winnipegers comment can be summed up one way…
    Palestinian=murderer.
    Period.”
    oh c,mon poa THIS BULLSHIT AND YOU KNOW IT. you are acting obnoxious, and dare i say it, dumb.
    sheesh.

    Reply

  20. Pissed Off American says:

    “keep in mind that the subjugation of women is the norm throughout a large part of the muslim world, and yes, this often includes violence.”
    Posted by Winnipeger
    Women challenge ‘back of the bus’ rule
    Reuters
    Posted online: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 1941 hours IST
    Jerusalem, January 24: A group of Israeli women petitioned the nation’s High Court on Wednesday to order public bus companies to stop telling women to sit in the back of buses running through some Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods.
    Many members of the ultra-Orthodox sects of Judaism follow teachings that bar any public contact between men and women, and Israeli government-subsidised transport companies have recently granted demands to run gender-divided buses along some routes.
    The petition was filed by US-born novelist Naomi Ragen, an Orthodox Jew, and five other women, including a representative of the Reform Judaism movement.
    Ragen said she was seeking to prevent Israel from ‘turning into a Taliban country’, referring to the former hardline Islamic regime in Afghanistan that barred women from public life.
    The petitioners asked the court to instruct the Transport Ministry to study whether there was a real need for ‘segregated’ buses and, if so, to limit their number and label them as such so that women could choose not board.
    Ragen, some of whose books are critical of some Orthodox treatment of women, said she decided to challenge the gender separation on buses after recently being asked herself by an ultra-Orthodox man to move to the back of a public bus.
    A heated argument ensued and she was embarrassed, she told Israel Radio. “They shouted at me. I felt humiliated.”
    “The driver didn’t even open his mouth to defend me. I got off the bus with a terrible, terrible feeling, that in my country I have to take a public bus home that is under the purview of the Taliban,” Ragen added.
    Another woman she knew had recently been slapped by a man on a bus for refusing to move to the back, she said.
    continues at……
    http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=80225

    Reply

  21. Pissed Off American says:

    Winnipegers comment can be summed up one way…
    Palestinian=murderer.
    Period.

    Reply

  22. Pissed Off American says:

    Gads, you gotta love this one. After the Israeli’s derail Rice’s efforts to engage in parallel talks, AIPAC runs the following piece on their website…..
    United States Calls on Arab Nations to Make Peace With Israel
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Arab states should reach out to Israel.
    After three days of shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday issued a direct call for Arab nations to make peace with Israel, The New York Times reported. “The Arab states should begin reaching out to Israel – to reassure Israel that its place in the region will be more, not less, secure… and to demonstrate that the peace they seek is greater than just the absence of war,” Rice said. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this week said that if he was invited, he “would not hesitate” to participate in a regional peace conference. Throughout its history, Israel has consistently voiced its willingness to make peace with all of its Arab neighbors.
    http://www.aipac.org/
    Derail her efforts, then take her comments out of context and use her as a billboard for their propaganda. Slimey.

    Reply

  23. Winnipeger says:

    poa wrote:
    “And if you can produce a poll to back up your own blatantly racist comment, quoted above, than lets see it. Otherwise, you are just blathering conjecture, and underscoring your own bigotry.”
    my assumption is not based upon bigotry, nor is it racist. it’s based upon much time spent in the gretaer ME and some degree of first-hand knowledge about arab attitudes towards jews and israelis in particular.
    do you disagree with my assumption? do you feel that muslims throughout the greater ME would be More likely to accept an inter marriage with one of their daughters and a jew?
    keep in mind that the subjugation of women is the norm throughout a large part of the muslim world, and yes, this often includes violence.

    Reply

  24. Winnipeger says:

    coincidently, poa’s error in understanding highlights one of the critiques i’ve made from day one on this blog: there is no substitute for personal experience. if poa or others who are extremely critical of israel, took it upon themselves to visit the country or the greater ME, i have no doubt that opinions would be altered as well. in the very least, poa would see that israelis and palestinians are in most cases physically indistinguishable.
    remember this is a family squabble. jew and muslim; cousin fighting cousin. all son’s and daughter’s of abraham.

    Reply

  25. Pissed Off American says:

    “hmm… this shows that you are pretty ignorant about israeli and jewish demographics, poa.”
    I was being facetious, Wimpie. But you knew that, didn’t you? Never miss an opportunity to incite, do you?
    Comment on the poll if you must, but put a cork in the rest of your horseshit, will you?
    “my guess is that the figure against would be SIGNIFICANTLY greater than 50% and that reactions would be violent and commonly include murder.”
    And if you can produce a poll to back up your own blatantly racist comment, quoted above, than lets see it. Otherwise, you are just blathering conjecture, and underscoring your own bigotry.

    Reply

  26. Winnipeger says:

    “Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason, according to a recent survey by the Geocartography Institute.”
    and just for the sake of fairness, i wonder what palestinians in particular and arabs in general would think about their daughters marrying jews or israelis? my guess is that the figure against would be SIGNIFICANTLY greater than 50% and that reactions would be violent and commonly include murder.

    Reply

  27. Winnipeger says:

    poa wrote:
    “Why would Israel want peace with those nasty brown people?”
    hmm… this shows that you are pretty ignorant about israeli and jewish demographics, poa.
    many, many israelis and jews are also what you refer to as “brown people.” my ex-girlfriend’s family, for instance, hails from egypt. hundreds of years they lived there, before they were forced to flee in the 50’s. they looked exactly the same, ate the same, spoke the same as all the other arabs you refer to as “brown people.”
    jews lived throughout the middle east in diaspora for millenia, all of them also “brown people.” iraq, jordan, syria, iran, hundreds of thousands of jewish “brown people,” most forced to flee to israel after ’48.
    and there are over 100,000 ethiopian jews living in israel as well. they trace their lineage back to king david and the destruction of the first temple, when they were forced to flee south, some people claiming with the ark of the covenent. they and their children are “dark brown people,” and also jews and now israelis.
    you might want to make more of an effort to get your facts straight, before you make silly, uninformed comments like the one above.

    Reply

  28. Pissed Off American says:

    Why would Israel want peace with those nasty brown people?
    Its ironic, really, watching people point fingers and spit the slur of “anti-semite”, while their own racism has them turning a blind eye to six decades of human rights abuses conducted by Israel against the Palestinians.
    ‘Marriage to an Arab is national treason’
    Recent poll reveals steep rise in racist views against Arabs in Israel; many participants feel hatred, fear when overhearing Arabic, 75 percent don’t approve of shared apartment buildings
    Roee Nahmias
    Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason, according to a recent survey by the Geocartography Institute.
    The survey, which was conducted for the Center Against Racism, also found that over 75 percent of participants did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews. Sixty percent of participants said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home.
    Continues at…….
    http://tinyurl.com/yscxah

    Reply

  29. Pissed Off American says:

    Den……..
    I call them as I see them. Thats not going to change. Period.

    Reply

  30. David N says:

    That this string has gone on so long demonstrates both the importance of the issue and the obsession so many have with it.
    The zero sum game has been mentioned. That is a big part of the problem. Neither side will accept anything other than maximum gains at the expense of the other, and compromise is seen as weakness by both.
    Another point to mention is that while many here understand the context of the statements that are made by the parties, I get the feeling that some do not.
    Example. “Right of Return” does not mean the right to move to a new home in a Palestinian homeland carved out of the West Bank and Gaza. It means that the Palestinians are claiming the right to return to the towns, streets, and houses that they left in 1948 in anticipation of the destruction of the Jews and the Israeli army in the war that was going on at that time. Many Palestinian families still keep the keys their grandparents used to close the front doors to houses that no longer exist, as their claim to the right to return to places and buildings that no longer exist, and to ignore the event of the last fifty years.
    The point here is that the establishment of Israel was an unreasonable action taken by people who did not live in the land in question, and did not care about the people who did. This is made very, very clear when one visits Jerusalem, and sees the old city, occupying a space smaller than the National Mall in Washington, with the Dome of the Rock literally directly above the Wailing Wall. There is no way that these people can share this space, and no way to drawn a meaningful boundary between them, even for a Republican expert in drawing Congressional Districts.
    Thus, reasonable compromises and solutions are simply not going to happen. What can happen, in the best of all possible worlds, is a Peace Process that keeps the guns and bombs in storage, until new generations somehow come to wonder what all the fuss over places they have never seen is about. That sounds callous, and it is. But it’s the best bad alternative available.
    As to the conflict between values and interests. This is a BIG question. I am one who says that in truth there is no conflict, because when we violate our principles in the name of our interests, our interests suffer anyway. I’ve written about this here before, and elsewhere, so I won’t go into more detail now.
    As to what any of this has to do with anything the Decider and his cabal are doing, the answer is nothing. Bush and his cronies have no interest in neither principles nor the national interest. The only conflict within their ranks is between those whose aims are primarily merchantile, and those who are seeking to bring on the End Times.
    As to the possibility of impeachment. It is a stretch, I agree. But it is becoming less so the more the Putsch puts all other means of reining in their power grabs out of bounds. When reasonable measures are not possible, extreme measures become all that are available.
    And the Democratic Party may even — in ten or twenty years — grow a spine.
    Anything’s possible.

    Reply

  31. Winnipeger says:

    ooops. and thank you too, matthew.
    it’s nice to know that when push comes to shove most people can recognize their common humanity and bonds.

    Reply

  32. Winnipeger says:

    thanks for the kind words, MP. may your family continue to have no experience with cancer. it ain’t pretty.
    thanks to you as well, den.
    and, carrol, i do appreciate your empathy and kind words. you’re right, we have finally found something to agree upon… and i’m sure there is MUCH more!

    Reply

  33. Matthew says:

    MP: You seem to equate “zero understanding of Israel” with accepting the assumptions of Israel’s apologists. You apparently don’t undertand the difference between “legal recognition” and the “right to exist.” Try reading my post again.
    But I will concede one point. I have “zero understanding” of why some Jewish person from Brooklyn has an automatic right to return or to bring to Israel an American wife, but an Israeli citizen of Arab heritage cannot bring to his home in Jerusalem a wife born in Bethlehem. I really have “zero understanding” of that.
    And let’s hope I am never “educated” into undestanding such a detestable state of affairs.

    Reply

  34. MP says:

    Matthew writes: “Clearly, Israel does and will exist. It is a democracy that should be included in the family of nations. But Israel as a Jewish State doesn’t have any more right to exist in its present form than the Protestant Ascendancy in Northern Ireland or the Sunni Royals in Qatar. Granted them recognition, but don’t try to elevate their supremacy to a moral issue.”
    Good grief, Matthew. You seem to have zero understanding of Israel. But leaving that aside, one could say (similarly) that, once the state is formed, “Palestine” has the right to exist, but not as a Palestinian majority state.

    Reply

  35. Carroll says:

    Matthew writes: “So I think that answers your question: “Who wants peace…and who doesn’t?”
    Maybe. I tend to think, though, that both sides are having trouble getting to peace. Just at different times and in different ways.
    Posted by MP at March 28, 2007 01:22 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am going to make this short without any links and quotes so you just have to trust me on it.
    Right after Hamas was elected I followed it very closely. Most of the Hamas leaders were making statements toward recongizing Israel.
    The question for them and they stated this plainly was not recongizing Israel as Israel, but recongizing them within what “borders”. They would recongize Israel at some point but not accept point blank the current form and borders of Israel, particulary the settlements. In other words they wouldn’t recongize Israel as it is now because that might preduice their rights in a final settlement. At that time and since, the moderate Hamas fraction has offered Israel truces, suggested a 10 year truce and other accommodations.
    Another sticking point for Hamas was both moderates and militants were not willing to sign onto a recongization of Israel that required them to foreswear any action against Israel and be seen as breaking their agreement if they resoponded to an incursion, unless Israel accepted a truce offer that would end Israeli incursions into Palestine.
    Now while all these reasonable statements were being made you still had the militant Hamas side refusing to budge an inch. And that is what the US and Isr latch onto. And in everything the US and Israel says and does they only recongize and promote the militant side and fractions of Hamas and give no credit to the other Hamas leaders. Everything we see quoted by Israel and most political supporters quotes only the militant statement of Hamas and leaves totally out the actual statements of Hamas leaders in the leadership who are working toward some like of resolution. US-Isr misrepresents Hamas and Palestine in this way so they can refuse to really work toward a peace settlement. That’s just a fact. Hence US-Isr set about to try and destroy any chance of Palestine forming any unity goverment as it is trying to do now.
    So what we have is one side in Palestine with a “small” amount of power to disrupt progress and another side in Israel with a “huge” amount of power in their Lukid goverment, forces like AIPAC and the US right wing to prevent any progress.
    I think it is plain that the lesser power of the militant side of Hamas is not nearly the obstacle to peace that the power of the Lukid fanatics who are actually in control in Israel and the US are. In fact Isr has to keep the militants of Hamas and give them reasons to be militant in order avoid any land for peace. The conflict also gives Israel reason to keep the US aid flowing under the guise of terrorism from Palestine…and in fact try to enlarge the conflicts in the region as part of it. That has also been transparantly obvious.
    No one can look at Israel’s actions, their goverment’s at least, over the past decade and say they want peace. And all of this comes from a minority in Israel and a minority of special interest in the US.
    For there to ever be peace the biggest minority powers have to be squelched first. The militant minority of Hamas is the most minor and most easily handled factor in the whole picture.

    Reply

  36. David Studhalter says:

    Only if Bush goes with him. Maybe they could stay out a good long while, hunting quail or how about polar bear? They’d have trouble finding any. And if Bush gets shot in the face, well, he could always apologize to Lord Vader-Cheney for the affront.

    Reply

  37. Matthew says:

    bryanwilkins: I, too, love it when Bush misses the irony. Apparently, when Jesus changed Bush’s heart He didn’t improve Dubya’s brain.
    The “right to exist” is actually the funniest demand. Countries–and Israel is a real country–can demand “recognition.” We recognize Communist China, but nobody talks about the “right to exist” of the Communist Regime. It is really code for “right for a Jewish state to exist in historic Palestine as Jewish entity regardless of number of non-Jewish citizens.”
    I guess using this formulation we should demand that Mexican-Americans or Black-American recognize that White Christian America’s “right to exist.”
    Clearly, Israel does and will exist. It is a democracy that should be included in the family of nations. But Israel as a Jewish State doesn’t have any more right to exist in its present form than the Protestant Ascendancy in Northern Ireland or the Sunni Royals in Qatar. Granted them recognition, but don’t try to elevate their supremacy to a moral issue.

    Reply

  38. Carroll says:

    Posted by Winnipeger at March 28, 2007 09:49 AM
    >>>>>>>>
    Be still my heart!…I have finally found something to compliment Winnie on!
    He is right in saying that you can’t leave the human equation out and be consumed with the endless stragety parsing and so on…if everything isn’t about humans at bottom line what the hell is it all about?
    Now if he can apply that to all humans in his views he will be on the money.

    Reply

  39. Carroll says:

    Posted by … at March 28, 2007 04:41 AM
    >>>>>>>>
    Yes I know, I just get carried away sometimes out of sheer frustration.

    Reply

  40. MP says:

    Hmmm. I must be talking to myself again.
    I find it hard to believe that Steve’s filter would block any comment on North Ireland.
    Sometimes, if you don’t wait long enough between comments, or you hit the wrong buttons, you’ll get blocked. This has happened to me many times. But the comment always goes through eventually.

    Reply

  41. bryanwilkins says:

    “No country can be expected to make peace with those who deny its right to exist and who use terror to attack its population,” Bush said Tuesday.
    The above Bush quote (kindness Bakho) is right on the money. Bush refers to israel, of course, but is too stupid to see it also applies in the corollary. The israelies deny a Palestinian state’s existence, its potential to emerge, frustrate all diplomatic efforts to establish same, play US policy makers (AIPAC) like clowns and use terror to attack its population.

    Reply

  42. Carroll says:

    As to the inevitable complaint about the Palestinians. I think most Americans miss the larger issue. It’s really about us.
    The Palestinians are a people and a symbol. They are dispossessed and poverty stricken. And everyday, America thuggishly contributes to their misery. Two quick points: (1) We consider Israel’s Occupation and Settlements illegal, but we only sanction the Occupied, not the Occupiers; and (2)We starve the Palestinians for voting. And now we are threatening Europe for not wanting to continue our collective punishment. Outside the USA, people actually see how vicious these policies are. They see the gap, ney, chasm between American words and American action.
    Posted by Matthew at March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You are so right Matthew. In all the argueing and passionate fur flying that is what it comes down to. We are taking the side of the mighty dog against the beaten down underdog in an unfair fight that has lost whatever justifications it ever had. Besides not being what we think of as American principles it is just plain wrong to any thinking human.
    And it is being done by our congressional body against the wishes of most Americans…the question is, if they can do this what else are they capable of doing..how low can they take us?

    Reply

  43. MP says:

    MP: I tried to write a response expressly how Isr/Pal conflict requires re-thinking the definitions and ending the zero sum game calculations that currently dominate both sides. Of greater concern, Steve’s filter blocked a comment I had typed about how solving this conflict is akin the Northern Ireland conflict. It was difficult for me to see Gerry Adams at the White House. But it did lead to an improvement to the situation. Both sides of that conflict had to jettison their exclusivist fantasies.

    Reply

  44. Matthew says:

    I repeat: when positive change happens DESPITE us, not because of us, it’s time to weep.

    Reply

  45. rich says:

    Constrasting recent reports of Israeli & Saudi diplomacy vs. Cheney-Rice’s relative stances may be instructive. (below)
    First–how much is dwelling on the Rice vs. Cheney dynamic akin to debating the merits of Grannysmith vs. MacIntosh? While ousting Cheney is a primary goal, I’m not convinced that Condi Rice’s leadership will be substantially different.
    I don’t doubt there are degrees, but they aren’t spelled-out. Any fine-grained signals are lost to the macro-message–though old DC hands may more easily read inter-agency maneuvering.
    Looking for Good or Bad actors within the Bush administration neglects to consider just how tight the Bush team is, and how close & on-board George W is with policy decisions. He’s not the folsky Reaganesque stooge either party projects. Bush’s “bubble” doesn’t mean it’s not His Policy.
    We’ve seen Condoleeza Rice in action, and for many, her mode, tone, means and ends place her beyond the fence with Cheney and Wolfowitz at the far end of the pasture.
    Israeli low-level/informal talks were hitting the news a few weeks ago, and word was they were nixed by the US when State found out. So much for diplomatic initiatives with Iran and Syria.
    Next we heard the Saudis were moving forward to negotiate with regional partners. “Saudi Arabia last month brokered a unity government between the Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Islamist group Hamas.”
    Today:
    Saudi King Condemns US Occupation of Iraq
    http://tinyurl.com/yqvwnj
    “In beloved Iraq, blood flows between brothers in the shadow of illegitimate foreign occupation and hateful sectarianism, threatening a civil war,” he added.
    With all partners moving forward, except the US, we’ve lost the initiative, and others are moving into that vacuum.

    Reply

  46. Den Valdron says:

    Winnipegger, condolences to you for your own troubles. Don’t mind my effort to be a little light.
    This next comment is directed to Renee, POA and Winnipegger. Can we all cool it a little and try not to make things too personal. We’ve all seen how easily it can get out of hand.
    Steve, thanks for your sympathy. It happens to everyone. If I seem a bit more nuts than usual, well, there’s an explanation.
    On the subject of Chuck Hagel, it will surprise you to know that I have no strong opinions. I’ve seen strong opinions voiced. And I may at some point have strong opinions of my own. But at this point, not particularly.
    Now everyone, let’s stop this touchy feely stuff. You know where it’ll lead if it gets out of hand… cats and dogs living together.

    Reply

  47. MP says:

    Dear Den,
    I just read upthread a bit and was very sorry learn about the death of your Mom and the dissolution of your marriage. It must very tough for you right now and for some time to come. You have my best wishes and hopes.
    Dear Winnipeger,
    I have very little personal experience with cancer in my family. My heart goes out to you and your Mom and your family.

    Reply

  48. MP says:

    Matthew writes: “So I think that answers your question: “Who wants peace…and who doesn’t?”
    Maybe. I tend to think, though, that both sides are having trouble getting to peace. Just at different times and in different ways.

    Reply

  49. Renee says:

    Yes, it is pretty obvious where the lay-of-the-land is, “winnipeger”, and integrity isn’t part of the equation and neither is tinny, ingenuous “compassion”.
    Just as Bush claims that his legacy will be remembered as one of “compassionate conservatism”, which is laughable in the aftermath of the killing of 650,000 Iraqis; ignorning the victims of Hurricane Katrina; no health care for 45 million Americans; etc. etc. etc.; neither will the Bush administration succeed at achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
    Fantasies that Secretary Rice can or will do so are ludicrous. Cheney is a symptom of a larger problem which is that Bush is a fool!

    Reply

  50. Red Planet says:

    Quoting Steve: “Cheney and his team are disurbingly impressive in their ability to constantly get away with sabotaging the work and efforts of President Bush and his team.”
    What’s objectionable about this post is the presumption, contained in that quote, that Bush is working toward goals that are at odds with Cheney’s goals. Many op-ed pieces are written from a similar point of view, assuming that Bush aspires to some desirable outcome that is at odds with his administration or his party and advising him about how to get the rest of his team on board.
    We wish to think that our President is a beneficent, paternal leader who has our best interests at heart. It’s soothing, perhaps, to pretend that George W. Bush is such a leader and that his good intentions are being thwarted by “disturbing” influences within his own administration. All of the evidence of the past six years (and, indeed, all of the evidence of George W. Bush’s prior life), points to the contrary conclusion, however, that the President’s team is the team he wants and that their agenda reflects his agenda. The fact that he is weak in character, poorly informed and easily influenced by stronger personalities upon whom he depends, like those of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, does not make it better.

    Reply

  51. Matthew says:

    MP: Isreal is still expanding settlements in the West Bank and increasing its military raids into Palestinian towns there–even without any counter violence. Notice Israel conducted a major raid after the Palestinian unity government deal.
    So I think that answers your question: “Who wants peace…and who doesn’t?”

    Reply

  52. MP says:

    Sorry…”with me all these years.”

    Reply

  53. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “Well I think Cheney has been the decider since the begining, he decided on himself as VP and who thinks Bush thought up all the neocons Cheney dragged into the WH?”
    Eerie flashback. Here’s a direct quote from the very beginning of the Bush Admin that has stayed with him all these years: “When you’re talking to Vice President Cheney, you’re talking to me.”
    Spoken like a true vent dummy.

    Reply

  54. MP says:

    Also from Haaretz today…more news from Homesh…
    “srael Police on Wednesday morning succefully evacuated some 480 right-wing protesters who had spent the last two days on the ruins of the former West Bank settlement of Homesh trying to reconstruct the community.
    Police deployed some 1,000 officers on the destroyed settlement early Wednesday and began ordering the protesters to board buses and evacuate the site.
    A few minutes after the deadline police had given the squatters to leave the site, police began forcibly removing them, picking them up and putting them on buses, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.”

    Reply

  55. MP says:

    From Haaretz today:
    The spokesman for Hamas in the Palestinian parliament, Salah al-Bardawil, told Haaretz, “we will not agree to recognition of Israel or peace with it [as it appears in the initiative]. We have no problem with the part of the initiative that calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and the right of refugees to return.”
    Bardawil told Haaretz that Meshal had promised to Saudi King Adbullah that Hamas will work with the Arab consensus view, but “we cannot recognize Israel or agree to peace and normalization.”
    Who wants peace…and who doesn’t?

    Reply

  56. Matthew says:

    Sorry for the personal troubles for Den and Winnipeger. There are just no right words for that.
    As to the inevitable complaint about the Palestinians. I think most Americans miss the larger issue. It’s really about us.
    The Palestinians are a people and a symbol. They are dispossessed and poverty stricken. And everyday, America thuggishly contributes to their misery. Two quick points: (1) We consider Israel’s Occupation and Settlements illegal, but we only sanction the Occupied, not the Occupiers; and (2)We starve the Palestinians for voting. And now we are threatening Europe for not wanting to continue our collective punishment. Outside the USA, people actually see how vicious these policies are. They see the gap, ney, chasm between American words and American action. The real cost of Bush-Cheney is that far from being exceptional, we are just another selfish, imperialistic nation. Like Rome, we create a desolation and call it peace. That is our real legacy. Sadly, our increasing weakness in the ME is the cause of some recent positive developments, i.e., the Mecca Accord. The less influence we have, the better things get. As a patriotic American, that fact makes me want to weep.

    Reply

  57. bAkho says:

    I don’t see the split. Bush Israel policy has always been to let Israel do whatever they want to do. How many times has Bush spoken about not trying to force a peace settlement on Israel? Do you pay attention to what Bush says?
    Bush in 2000: “The ties between Israel and America are of course deeper than a joint venture in space. They are more enduring than handshakes on the White House lawn and free trade agreements, vital though such things may be. The things that bind us are our deep commitments to human dignity. No nation can fulfill the God-given right of its people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if it must live in a state of perpetual war. Israel wants peace. And like all good Americans of good will, I want peace for Israel and peace in the Middle East.
    I recognize the importance of the peace process and the key role that the United States can play. But my support for Israel is not conditional on the outcome of the peace process.
    America’s special relationship with Israel precedes the peace process. And Israel’s adversaries should know that in my administration, the special relationship will continue, even if they cannot bring themselves to make true peace with the Jewish state.
    We have seen Israel’s desire for peace and what can be accomplished when moderate Arab states respond in kind. We saw how the Camp David Accords ended the state of war with Egypt, with Israel sacrificing land and oil for peace, and Egypt taking great risks as well. We have seen the benefits to both Jordan and Israel when courageous leaders look beyond ancient rivalries, progress America must encourage with other Arab states. We have seen Israel’s turn toward the Palestinians, sacrificing land in hopes of a better future for both peoples. The United States is proud and respectful of the sacrifices Israel is making, sacrifices that few nations are called upon to make.
    In recent times, Washington has tried to make Israel conform to its own plans and timetables; but this is not the path to peace. A clear and bad example was the administration’s attempt to take sides in the most recent Israeli election. America should not interfere in Israel’s democratic process. And America will not interfere in Israeli elections when I am the president. But something will happen when I become the president. As soon as I take office, I will begin the process of moving the United States ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital….
    Too often, it is easy to forget that not every democracy is blessed in the way America is, by our size, our wealth, our geography. Too often, we forget what it means to be a small nation in an often hostile neighborhood. A few years ago on a trip to Israel, General Sharon took me on a helicopter flight over the West Bank. And what a trip that was. What struck me, as you all know better than I, is the tiny distance between enemy lines and Israel’s population centers. The general said that before the Six-Day War, Israel as only nine miles wide at its narrowest point. In Texas, some of our driveways are longer than that.
    It’s sobering to think that while the distance between Dallas and Galveston is 270 miles, the distance between Israel and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is only 250 miles. And the world learned to its horror, back in 1991, that those 250 miles can be crossed in a matter of 12 minutes by a Scud missile. The Gulf War showed the world the danger posed to the family of democracy by rogue states armed with missiles. Who could forget the sight of millions of Israelis wearing gas masks to protect themselves in case those Scuds were carrying chemical weapons? And who could forget the Israeli children who had to be sealed away from their mothers and fathers in plastic tents during those air raids? Saddam’s attacks were the act of a tyrant without decency.”
    More Bush:
    “Bush’s description of Israel’s actions was at odds with the position taken by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Speaking in Jordan on Sunday, Powell said: “We know that Israel has a right for self-defense, but the kind of actions that they are taking in Rafah — the destruction of Palestinian homes — we oppose.” He said “we don’t think that is productive” and emphasized that “the United States is anxious to do everything that it can to stop this cycle.”
    Bush instead emphasized that Israel is free to fight terrorism. “The United States is strongly committed, and I am strongly committed, to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish state,” he said. “Israel is a democracy and a friend and has every right to defend itself from terror.”
    Bush’s position was close to that voiced Monday in Berlin by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, who said only that house demolitions in Rafah were “a subject of conversation and a subject of concern.””
    More Bush:
    Bush said the “root cause” of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon “is terrorism and terrorist attacks on a democratic country…And part of those terrorist attacks are inspired by nation states, like Syria and Iran. And in order to be able to deal with this crisis, the world must deal with Hezbollah, with Syria and to continue to work to isolate Iran,” Bush said
    More Bush
    “Over the past five years, the administration has increasingly seen all Middle East conflicts through the lens of the war on terror. Given the stakes, that’s the right choice, say administration officials. ”
    President Bush said Tuesday that the United States would come to Israel’s aid if it were attacked by Iran and welcomed the Jewish state’s plan to define its borders.
    More Bush:
    “No country can be expected to make peace with those who deny its right to exist and who use terror to attack its population,” Bush said Tuesday.
    A unilateral redrawing of the border would not be the preferred route, Bush said,
    Bush had words of praise for the Palestinian leader.”Abbas favors and speaks out for peace and negotiations, yet the Hamas-led Palestinian government does not,” he said.
    Whatever charade Condi Rice is orchestrating, if it does not meet with the views of Bush the boss, it is going nowhere. Undermining is not necessary.
    The founders of Israel carved out a state by force of arms. The founders believed that the state would only be maintained by force of arms. Israel as it exists today can only be maintained by force of arms going forward. Mr Bush supports the maintenance of Israel and ranks the maintenance of Israel higher than peace and stability in the region. One can argue whether or not this is in the strategic interests of the US but it is a “first principle” to Bush. Listen to Bush. What is there to undermine?

    Reply

  58. Winnipeger says:

    if i misunderstood what you wrote, poa, i apologize.

    Reply

  59. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear Den:
    Sorry to hear about the hardships you are managing right now. My thoughts are with you — and appreciate your passion and thinking about these issues. Sorry if I pushed too hard on your cynicism.
    I try not to ban anyone by the way. If folks want to debate my views — or criticize me, or each other — if they can do so in a reasonable, mostly thoughtful way — then I think that is the kind of constructive engagement we in the public affairs business ought to be promoting.
    I get swiped at a lot by some of you, but on occasion, there is good reason for alternative views to my own — and it’s useful for me to read these. But on many issues, we just disagree.
    I think that this blog stands up well over time both in the influence it has had and the political judgments it has cast out there. I think Hagel’s positions in fact run along those lines — though I know you’d disagree Den.
    In any case, be as well as you can — and my sincere condolences about your mother and marriage.
    As ever,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  60. Pissed Off American says:

    and on another note, even poa should be ashamed of himself to equate tony snow’s cancer with karma, or to imply that it is well desreved. this is simply beyond reproach.
    Posted by Winnipeger
    The “karma” I was talking about was Katie’s, for being judgemental about how individuals deal with their own personal hardships. Listen, you insipid little weasel, why don’t you just put a cork in your crap? This whole blog is obviously sick of you putting words in other people’s mouths, then insulting them for something they never said. You’ve already shown us what you are made of. You can’t rescind the past.

    Reply

  61. Winnipeger says:

    how kind and humane of you, renee.
    i assume it was absolutely necessary to reproach three contributors for sharing a very few words of personal reflection and condolence amidst a heap of “on-topic”posts? it was easier to offer scorn than just scroll down?
    yeah, that’s it, let absolutely nothing stand in the way of ceaseless, impersonal and empty political analysis.
    i bet that the owner of this blog doesn’t share your opinion of what constitutes “spam.”
    and now, we return to your regularly scheduled program….
    ready, set, pontificate:

    Reply

  62. Renee says:

    Why don’t some of you spammers (i.e. “Winnipeger”) take your private soap operas & personal relationships off-line, for they are not relevant to the discussion.
    Quoted from Gadfly:
    …”…Moreover, Rice cannot be trusted: she is a liar- she is incompetent- and, she lacks diplomatic skill.
    For example (from today’s “U.K. Telegraph”– a British conservative newspaper):–
    “Israel snubs Condoleezza Rice”
    “Condoleezza Rice received a humiliating snub from Israel yesterday when it refused her offer to act as negotiator between its government and the Palestinian authorities…”…
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/27/wrice127.xml … ”
    Pissed Off American says:
    “Reading through this thread, it appears that most of you, with exception of Gadfly, fail to see the irrelevance of any power plays in the Bush Administration as it applies to the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. Israel only cares about Rice’s efforts if Rice’s efforts dovetail with Israel’s intended policies. Israel does what it damn well pleases, no matter what it has “agreed” to do diplomatically. The increasing population of the settlements are a perfect example of this. Any conflict within the Bush Administration is a domestic issue, it won’t affect what Israel does by one iota. Even if Cheney was on board with Rice about her current desire to hold parrallel talks, Israel is obviously not interested in entertaining such an approach.”
    I agree with both of these people: Rice is no different from Cheney in terms of policy. Rice will pander to Israel’s extremist whims. Rice will not demand parity or fairness to deliver two fully recognized states for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Rice wants AIPAC’s support too.

    Reply

  63. Winnipeger says:

    thanks, dirk. i appreciate the thought.
    best to you and your mom.

    Reply

  64. Winnipeger says:

    poetry is just another way to kick a man when he’s down, Winnipegger.
    Not even the sorriest, meanest dog, deserves things to go from bad to verse.
    Posted by: Den Valdron at March 27, 2007 10:21 PM
    sorry you feel that way, den. i have a very different relationship with poetry. in any event, my condolences on the loss of your mother and your marriage.
    and on another note, even poa should be ashamed of himself to equate tony snow’s cancer with karma, or to imply that it is well desreved. this is simply beyond reproach.

    Reply

  65. Dirk says:

    Condolences to both Den and Winnipeger. Just starting to deal with my own mom’s old age.

    Reply

  66. ... says:

    i did read your short one however..

    Reply

  67. ... says:

    carroll, when i see a post that long, i don’t read it.. if it is a link i consider it… i view posts that long as some form of internet torture.

    Reply

  68. Carroll says:

    Obviously Cheney is not the only one standing in the way of Bush’s efforts, puny as they are, to do something about Isr-Pal.

    Reply

  69. Carroll says:

    Part Three
    Israel to maintain position as biggest recipient of US assistance, gets increase in military aid.
    WASHINGTON – US and Israeli officials opened talks Thursday on a new multi-year plan for US aid to the Jewish state, which could seek additional funds.
    The negotiations, announced jointly by the US State Department and Israel’s embassy, aim to replace a 10-year US aid program that runs out in 2008 and saw Israel maintain its position as the biggest recipient of US assistance.
    Under that plan, military aid to Israel rose from 1.8 billion dollars to 2.4 billion dollars per year, while civilian aid, which totaled 1.2 billion dollars in 1998, was phased out.
    The US also provided a billion dollars in special military aid and nine billion dollars in loan guarantees in 2003.
    The current talks will define “our next 10-year assistance relationship and Israel’s long-term economic and military security requirements,” the joint statement said.
    The negotiations are led by Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns for the United States and an Israeli team headed Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and finance ministry official Yarom Ariav.
    “The meeting today is another manifestation of the unshakable commitment by the United States to Israel’s security and a step towards fortifying and enhancing the strategic relationship between our two countries,” the statement said.
    Israel was expected to seek a renewal of the multi-year assistance plan.
    “There is a continuing discussion about the emerging threats and also the economic expectations over the next 10 years — what Israel’s economic capabilities are in dealing with emerging threats,” one official said on condition of anonymity.
    Danny Ayalon, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States until November, said Israel was hoping to seal a new 10-year deal before the end of President George W. Bush’s mandate in January, 2009.
    “The political clock is right,” Ayalon told the Jerusalem Post newspaper, suggesting Israel should seek more than the current 2.4 billion dollars in annual aid

    Reply

  70. Carroll says:

    Part Two
    Senators ask Rice to hold the line on aid to the P.A.
    03.22.07
    With Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heading back to the Middle East and rifts developing between Washington and its European allies over diplomacy with the new Palestinian unity government, Congress appears determined to hold the line on limiting aid to a Palestinian Authority still dominated by terrorists.
    But many lawmakers also appear nervous about attempts to shut down all contacts with the new government.
    That was the subject of a political tempest surrounding a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by two pro-Israel senators.
    Senators John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) circulated a letter last week urging Rice to maintain and expand sanctions against the Palesztinian Authority, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — the pro-Israel lobby — pulled out all the stops in urging other lawmakers to sign on.
    The letter noted new American attempts to “reinvigorate the peace process,” and warned that such efforts must not deviate from the three demands imposed on the Palestinian Authority by the international Quartet as a precondition of resumed aid: recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing terrorism, and accepting previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
    But Ensign and Nelson went further, urging Rice to insist on “no direct aid and no contacts with any members” of a Palestinian Authority that does not meet international conditions.
    That, according to groups like Americans for Peace Now, would have barred official contacts even with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, a major change in U.S. policy in the region.
    APN, backed by Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, activated its political network and urged senators not to sign the Ensign-Nelson letter; delegates to last week’s AIPAC policy conference supported the letter during their March 13 congressional visits.
    But when APN brought the controversial language to the attention of key Senate staffers, “there was a lot of concern that this letter went further than current U.S. policy,” said a top congressional source. “The letter attempted to get members on record before the situation was clarified, before briefings by the State Department, before hearings.”
    This aide described the controversial phrase as a “preemptive strike” that made many lawmakers “nervous.”
    This week the letter’s authors agreed to change that language; the new letter urges Rice only to “maintain current U.S. policy with respect to the Palestinian government until it recognizes Israel’s right to exist, renounce terror, and accept previous agreements.”
    Nelson staffers, in a memo to other Senate offices, indicated that the changes were meant to “clear up any misperception concerning a change in U.S. policy. The letter reaffirms and urges maintaining current U.S. policy with respect to the Palestinian government.”
    AIPAC officials denied that the original letter called for ending contacts with Abbas.
    House letter warns EU
    Also circulating in the House: a letter urging the Europeans to stick to the demand that the Palestinian Authority meet certain conditions before economic aid is resumed.
    The letter, which had gathered almost 100 signatures by the weekend, was authored by Reps. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), and Mike Pence (R-Ind.), among others.
    That comes as some European leaders say they may resume contacts with the new Palestinian “unity” government while still withholding aid.
    “We have deep reservations and ongoing concerns about the intentions of a government led by a hostile Hamas which rejects the basic premise under which diplomatic relations could be concluded and remains committed to the destruction of Israel,” the lawmakers wrote.
    Concerns arise on Iran
    Last week a group of Jewish legislators successfully blocked language in an Iraq war-appropriations bill that would have required the administration to get congressional authorization before using military force against Iran.
    But the issue is far from dead, as antiwar lawmakers worry that President Bush, bogged down in Iraq, may be planning military action against Iran as well.
    Last week’s action involved a Democratic amendment to an emergency spending bill for the Iraq war. That amendment would have required a U.S. pullout from Iraq by next year, a compromise measure that enjoys strong support from the House Democratic Caucus.
    Partly to attract liberals angry that the Iraq amendment didn’t go further and partly because of concerns that the administration might be ill prepared for another war, some Democrats wanted to add language requiring specific congressional authorization before any military action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
    Responding to pressure from some pro-Israel Democrats who said the provision would tie the administration’s hands and send the wrong message to Tehran, Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), chair of the Appropriations Committee, barred the Iran language from the Iraq amendment.
    But Pelosi has reportedly promised supporters of the provision that she will allow its introduction as a separate bill.
    Some opponents said they would continue to fight what they say would be a dangerous message to leaders in Tehran.
    “I do feel any president needs to come to Congress before any sustained military action,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), who first raised objections to the Iran provision. “But there are instances where a president needs the flexibility to react.”
    Engel said the administration is “doing the right thing” by focusing on sanctions and international pressure in its response to Iran, but added that such nonmilitary tactics lose their power if Congress limits the administration’s authority to use force.
    “If you take the credible threat of force off the table, it gives Iran less incentive to negotiate,” he said.
    Engel said that adding the Iran language was just a sop to liberal lawmakers who were unhappy that the Democratic Iraq package did not go far enough in limiting the administration’s ability to continue the war in Iraq.
    Engel conceded that the Bush administration’s performance in Iraq does not bode well for any Iran attack, but said that “what worries me more than that is a nuclear Iran. Having a nuclear Iran is simply unacceptable; I hope the international community will understand that.”
    Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) also opposed the Iran provision, arguing that it could have doomed the Democratic package aimed at ending the Iraq conflict.
    “Including that provision brought us none of the liberals who want to get out Iraq immediately, but it risked losing the conservatives,” he said. “So it wasn’t going to work.”
    And he said the provision was irrelevant because “our position is that the Constitution already says that the administration would have to come to Congress” before attacking Iran.
    But Ackerman, too, said that maintaining the threat of military action is necessary to give the diplomatic and economic strategy a chance of success.
    New antiwar group has plan
    Most Jewish groups are in hiding as the debate over the Iraq war rages in Congress — a silence that has spurred the creation of a new Jewish antiwar group dedicated to “ending the Iraq war and preventing one with Iran.”
    Leaders of Jews Against the War say that they, not major Jewish organizations that have refused to speak out, reflect the views of a community that is overwhelmingly opposed to current U.S. policy.
    In a statement announcing the group, Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, leader of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center in California and a leader of the left-of-center Tikkun Community, said that many pulpit rabbis refuse to speak up out of fear of being divisive.
    “But, like the prophets of Israel, I can no longer take the ‘safe’ road,” he said. “This war is wrong and it needs to end. Our country’s moral voice in the world has vanished under the weight of torture, secret tribunals, and occupation; our beloved Israel is in greater danger now, with Iran emboldened; and our nation’s budget has been sacked.”
    Aryeh Cohen, a professor of rabbinic literature at the University of Judaism, said in an interview that the group plans to lobby Congress, organize “vigils and protests” at synagogues, and orchestrate antiwar letters by rabbis and other Jewish leaders.
    He said some Jews concerned about the war have been turned off by antiwar groups like International ANSWER with a strongly anti-Israel agenda.
    “The ANSWER coalition is problematic — but it doesn’t define the antiwar movement,” he said. “The reason we are starting this organization is to articulate our own message. We do know that there is a very strong antiwar sentiment in the Jewish community that is not being reflected by the community’s leadership.”
    He praised the Union for Reform Judaism, the only major Jewish group to publicly challenge administration policy, as “ahead of the game,” but said many Jews “don’t even know the Reform movement made a statement. There is some organizing going on, but not for stakeholders at the center of the community. There needs to be a vehicle for lay leaders whose voices on Iraq are not being heard.”
    He blasted Jewish lawmakers who acted last week to keep a provision requiring congressional approval before any attack on Iran out of an amendment laying out a Democratic plan for ending the Iraq war.
    “The Jewish congressmen are held hostage to what they think the American Jewish community’s position is on relating to Israel,” he said. “And they are misguided.”

    Reply

  71. Carroll says:

    Why the Israel -Palestine deal will never be solved in three parts. Or otherwise entitle “Have I mentioned why I dont care if Israel sinks into the sea”?
    Part One
    The squeeze continues
    Mar 22nd 2007 | JERUSALEM
    From The Economist print edition
    The international boycott of the Palestinian government has produced small political gains and caused a lot of economic damage
    Reuters
    THE Palestinian unity government that was sworn in on March 17th, after ten months of haggling, contained few surprises. The secular Fatah party has six ministers; Islamist Hamas, which ousted it in last year’s election, has 12; the other seven went to independents and members of small, centrist parties. The final sticking-point, over who would be interior minister in charge of the massive security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has been settled by giving the job to an unknown bureaucrat and creating a national security council on which both main parties have voices, and will continue to struggle for control. Hamas, for instance, has already objected to the appointment of Mohammed Dahlan, Fatah’s strongman in Gaza, as the council’s secretary.
    That is an early sign of how fragile this accord really is. And although it may relieve the deadly factional fighting that has claimed dozens of lives, it is already clear that it will not do much to lift the year-old international boycott of the PA imposed after Hamas’s election victory. Israel’s government still refuses to talk to any of the ministers, though a poll has found that most Israelis think it should at least talk to the non-Hamas moderates. America is talking to the moderates, such as Salam Fayyad, the finance minister, but says that it will not restore aid to the PA unless the government meets the three familiar conditions: recognise Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and commit to previous Israel-PA agreements. (For now the unity government merely cleaves weakly to the third condition.) The European Union is doing the same. Only Norway, not a member of the EU, has restored full relations.
    But having taken a year just to push Hamas into sharing power it is far from clear what more the boycott can achieve—especially as it has, in the meantime, destroyed much of what foreign donors spent years, and billions of dollars of their own taxpayers’ money, trying to build.
    The boycott’s measurable effects are easy enough to recite. With foreign countries suspending budget support and development aid, with Israel withholding most of the roughly $800m that it has collected in the past year on the PA’s behalf in customs and tax revenues, with a drastic increase in the number of checkpoints and other closures in the West Bank and a clampdown on the flow of goods in and out of Gaza (for security reasons, Israel says), Palestinian GDP per head shrank 10% last year. The number of families living below the poverty line rose by 50%.
    There are also various knock-on effects. PA services, particularly health and education, have deteriorated sharply because of supply shortages and strikes by workers. Much of the time hospitals have been seeing only emergency cases. Banks that used to lend to the PA froze credit and called in old loans, and the shrinking economy has meant less tax revenue, all adding to the fiscal squeeze.
    The blockade has also undone something that donors spent years fighting for: a fiscal transparency that made the PA a leader in the Middle East. All money went into a single treasury account which Mr Fayyad, during a previous stint as finance minister, created despite stiff opposition from Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader. Now, however, it can take one of three routes: to the finance ministry, to the president’s office, or straight to PA employees via a “temporary international mechanism” for sending them emergency payments. That breaks down the lines of authority and accountability within the PA; employees often do not know who is paying their salaries.
    The cost of a dependency culture
    Just as worrying is the longer-term structural damage to the economy. The PA’s hundreds of millions of dollars of debt to the private sector, which used to be a manageable burden, now risks becoming a default. If that happens, banks outside Palestine will end up paying the cost of sanctions on the PA. A blockade by banks fearful that they might be prosecuted for sending money to the PA has made it harder to do business.
    Restrictions on movement and trade within the West Bank and between the West Bank and Gaza are slicing up those areas into micro-economies, thus reducing their efficiency and potential for growth. Basem Khoury of the Palestinian Federation of Industries claims that it now costs four times as much to ship a container from the West Bank to Gaza as it does to Australia or China; even allowing for some exaggeration, the costs of moving between the two are onerous and damaging.
    While the economy is crumbling, the Palestinians are actually receiving more aid than ever before. To compensate for the hardships caused by Israel’s revenue freeze and their own boycott, foreign donors pumped in an estimated $1.2 billion in 2006, something over 10% up from 2005, most of it in humanitarian relief directly to individuals. It may have staved off an even worse economic collapse, but aid workers on the ground worry that massive food aid and make-work programmes are debilitating local agriculture and business. “We’re making people far more dependent on aid, when all they want is to prosper by their own efforts,” says David Shearer, head of the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
    Mr Fayyad hopes to reduce that dependence in the long term. Donors will be looking to him to slim down the bloated public sector, with over 165,000 employees, nearly double what it was before the second intifada started in 2000. But it has grown thus in part to compensate for the loss of jobs in an economy that has contracted by 30%. Unless the economy is allowed to recover, trimming the PA and weaning the Palestinians off aid look exceedingly difficult.

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  72. Punchy says:

    Guys…guys? Impeachment aint happenin. Just aint. No way you’ll get 67% to vote to convict (what’s impeach. w/o conviction?). If you still have ~30% who cannot find fault with Bush at this point, you’d be hard-pressed to find Republican Senators who do as well.

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  73. eatbees says:

    You should be aware that an important segment of the Arab community is critical of this process too, which they see as a sham, a Saudi-led sellout to Israel. There are rumors that Condi has been pushing hard to get the refugees’ right of return removed from the 2002 proposal before negotiations with Israel even begin. The Arab leaders are being portrayed as dupes, and even Hamas is being ridiculed for saying they are prepared to follow the Saudi lead. The sense is that anything that gets to the negotiating table will be a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. I don’t necessarily agree, I’m willing to wait and see, I just want to point out that it isn’t just Cheney and the Israelis who would be happy to see this whole initiative die a humiliating death.

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  74. Pissed Off American says:

    If Hagel’s so great, why doesn’t he spearhead a movement to impeach Cheney?
    Posted by JohnH
    Well, by golly, he just might. Just don’t expect him to vote for it.

    Reply

  75. Pissed Off American says:

    “I’m not holding my breath. That I do, waiting for the Katie Couric interview with Tony Snow asking him why, since he has cancer, he doesn’t quit his job.”
    Posted by David
    Yeah, that was some pretty quick karma, wasn’t it?

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  76. David N says:

    Best wishes, Den. Hang in there.
    And I think your analysis is quite cojent. Hanging our hopes on differences within this administration is almost as delusional as their policies.
    The idea is growing in the rest of the bloggosphere — at least the part that I pay any attention to — that the extremism of the administration in their attempts to remake the world through violence, and the country through lawlessness have almost reached the point where their critics have no other recourse but moves that are just as extreme.
    As long as there was some suspicion that Congressional oversight, hearings, etc. could reign in the Bush Putsch, that was the reasonable, moderate, considered thing to do. But now that the WH has announced that it will not pay any attention to the law or Congress, this is no longer an option. (I speak of Tony Snow last week saying that Congress cannot act to oversee the executive, and the history of Signing Statements and Unitary (Imperial) Executive ideology.
    We may actually reach the point — once the WH has defied Congressional supenas as well as overturning directly expressed acts — that impeachment, not just of Bush, but of Cheney, Gonzales, and a number of other senior officials as well, becomes the only viable means of reigning in the imperial reign of the Bush dynasty.
    The media, taking their talking points as usual from the RNC, will call such moves dangerous and extreme. One could hope to find a leader who will make the mistake of telling the truth, that such moves are, indeed, dangerous and extreme. They are also necessary to regain our freedoms, and rescue the country from the damage already done and threaten in the future from the Bush programs.
    To hell with what’s likely. We have to start dealing with what’s necessary.
    Or we’re all in trouble, permanently.
    At least Canada will be warmer after the poles melt. We can all move there, if responsible politicians shirk their responsibilities and allow the Bush Putsch to continue.
    And Delay has the brass to call liberals Nazis, when the truth is the other way around.

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  77. Pissed Off American says:

    “My suggestions: build on the support that actually exists, whether its Josh marshall’s pursuit of the US Federal Prosecutors hearing, the Kucinich and Hegal call for impeachment, what support there is for a rigid timetable for withdrawal.”
    Gads, will you people just get off it! Hagel DID NOT “call for impeachment”. What Hagel said was little more than…
    “If the guy keeps stealing candy bars, one of these store owners is liable to call the cops on him”.
    Hagel in no way suggested impeachment, advocated impeachment, or stated approval for impeachment. Nor did he admit impeachable acts have already been committed. He simply said that if Bush doesn’t start to listen to Congress, someone might call for his impeachment. You can damn sure rest assured that “someone” won’t be Hagel.

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  78. Pissed Off American says:

    Reading through this thread, it appears that most of you, with exception of Gadfly, fail to see the irrelevance of any power plays in the Bush Administration as it applies to the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. Israel only cares about Rice’s efforts if Rice’s efforts dovetail with Israel’s intended policies. Israel does what it damn well pleases, no matter what it has “agreed” to do diplomatically. The increasing population of the settlements are a perfect example of this. Any conflict within the Bush Administration is a domestic issue, it won’t affect what Israel does by one iota. Even if Cheney was on board with Rice about her current desire to hold parrallel talks, Israel is obviously not interested in entertaining such an approach.

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  79. Den Valdron says:

    poetry is just another way to kick a man when he’s down, Winnipegger.
    Not even the sorriest, meanest dog, deserves things to go from bad to verse.

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  80. David says:

    So what are the chances the de jure president will rein in the de facto president, the man who appointed himself to that position and apparently has more power in Washington than God.

    Reply

  81. Winnipeger says:

    i’m sorry to hear about your mother and your marriage, den. my mom is suffering from late stage pancreatic cancer right now, and the experience is excruciating; both for her and for all of us.
    before last week, i’d never stepped foot in a hospice — now i’m there every day.
    i wish you the best as you live through these most challenging times. perhaps Aeschylus will further inspire you to keep on going:
    “even in our sleep,
    pain we cannot forget
    falls drop by drop
    upon our heart.
    until against our will,
    through our own despair
    comes wisdom,
    through the awful grace of G-d.”

    Reply

  82. Den Valdron says:

    It’s always been a puzzle to me why I’m not banned yet, Steve. Go figure.
    Any kind of accumulation of power always produced factions. Even a nunnery will produce different cliques struggling or jockeying for power. That’s human nature.
    But it’s important not to mistake factionalism for genuine diversity of views.
    One might consider Enron, for instance. Or for that matter, any large corporation or military establishment. Lots of factionalism, lots of ambitious jockeying in a highly hierarchical system. A remarkable uniformity of view.
    Political or ideological diversity, or even true dissent, is not necessarily a hallmark of factionalism.
    All evidence suggest that the Bush administration is one of the more ideologically uniform administrations we’ve seen. Powell was always the odd man out, and Powell was chosen specifically becaouse of his ‘gravitas’ his political and racial cachet. But he was very much out of touch with literally every other player in the administraton.
    Condoleeza Rice, ideologically, was pretty much on the same page as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Bolton and all the rest. There might be personality clashes, but the underlying ideas and viewpoints were uniform.
    In particular, they were uniform to Bush as well. It’s likely that he had not thought deeply of foreign policy, and was not likely to think deeply. But his outlook and convictions and basic inclinations were the same as the ideologically narrow cadre that had thought deeply.
    About Iraq, the evidence is that he was focused on invading Iraq even before he became President. His disinterest in Al Quaeda was obvious, and just as obvious was his personal antipathy towards what he saw as ‘rogue states’ such as Kim Il Jong (the dwarf)’s North Korea. He saw war and warmaking as being the key to a successful Presidency and readily accepted the notion that he might reshape the map through military might. With respect to the Palestine issue, he bonded strongly with Arial Sharon and was reported to have supported Israel’s punitive military campaigns with the comment “Violence clarifies matters.” The way he saw it, the Palestinians had to be shown that they were decisively and completely defeated in order that they would stop making unreasonable demands and accept peace on terms that Israel dictated or found acceptable. Israel he saw as the winners, the Palestinians he saw as losers, in his world view, the winners won and the losers lumped it.
    Admittedly, this is unsophisticated. But it dovetailed perfectly with the Vulcans, with Cheney, with Rice and the rest of them.
    The factionalism that you perceive, Steve, is there, but it is entirely a personal one of empire building. Rice gets state, she attempts to build her empire there, struggling for control of foreign policy, looking for more people, more influence, more decision making. Cheney does the same thing from his Vice-Presidency. Rumsfeld did it from Defense.
    But it is entirely personal in nature. Rice’s initiatives in State come not from any driving interest in or difference in foreign policy. Rather, State is the tool she’s got for her personal aggrandizement, and she seeks and pushes initiatives that will put her center stage and accrete more power and influence to her.
    Cheney opposes this because more power and influence for Rice is less for him. But that said, their overall views are the same.
    Bush throwing all his support to Rice or to Cheney, and completely dismissing the other would be a personal matter. But it wouldn’t change the tone, the tenor or the content of American policy one bit.
    I’m sorry, but that’s how I see it. I think its a mistake to see these factional conflicts as representing any kind of real difference in ideology or approach.
    If anything, the reduction of these factional conflicts will result in an increasingly uniform and intolerant ideology which is fundamentally the same no matter who comes up top. The only reason that lateral ideas are even discussed is part of the relative jockying for position. The more one faction ascends, the less essential are lateral views, and the more easily jettisoned… Again, this takes place no matter who ascends.
    Condoleeza will kick moderates and thinkers to the curb as easily as Cheney. And in fact, any time where they are in the ascension, you’ll see that ascension is paralleled by a growing narrowness and extremism.
    Sorry Steve, but this is the way it is.

    Reply

  83. urbino says:

    “Any more widespread funding cutoff will do the fundies’ work for them, as it has long been a goal of the extreme wing of the Republicans to throttle those parts of the government they don’t like.”
    The Right has been arguing that if Congress doesn’t support the Iraq War as-is, it’s only recourse is to de-fund it — not put a defunding timeline on it, but de-fund it in one fell swoop. They know, of course, that that is political poison and Congress will never do it.
    I’ve always thought a good response to that might be — as long as we’re fantasizing — for Congress to simply de-fund the White House (the Executive Office of the President). That would get the executive OVP, as well, and without touching other government programs. If the president feels Congress has no input on what the executive branch does or how it does it, let it try doing it *without* Congress’s input — money included.

    Steve makes a point of carefully parsing the phrase “over Condi’s head” in light of what a reputable journalist would say. However, since that phrase is in quotes in the article itself, it appears to me that it’s not Mr. Avni’s phrase, but his source’s. Who knows who his source might consider “over Condi’s head?”
    I agree with Steve that while it certainly seems like that should be a very short list, who knows who has the most influence on Bush on this issue? It might not even be someone in government. Such a person, if known to Avni’s source, certainly might be characterized by that source as “over Condi’s head.”
    Cheney no doubt opposes Rice’s efforts and he’s a famously effective in-fighter, so he’s a likely candidate. I’m just saying I don’t think we can tell that by parsing Avni’s source’s turn of phrase.

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  84. Den Valdron says:

    I think that I’ve been consumed with cynicism and despair ever since I watched my mother die, and had my marriage fall apart Steve. If I seem jagged these days, please accept my apologies.

    Reply

  85. Robert M. says:

    Dear Steve,
    All top level power centers have “factions”. [cf the Tudors.] Strong leadership at the apex only suppresses the fissures among the factions. Given the changes after the 2004 election and since, the degree of obvious separation of faction from faction should be growing. But we are then left with the overarching question: Does It Matter?
    With Addington being also a Special Assistant to the president, as was Libby; with Hadley having his own Cheney relationships, and with Cheney, no matter how sleepy he might be after lunch, still having a totally private one on one with Bush every week or so, and with Cheney being lightyears smarter and more importantly wilier than Bush, any faction represented by say a Bolten-Gates alliance MATTERS NOT A WHIT at the present time.
    Those key players all have regular direct access to Bush. The understanding they must have with Rove–we leave you the domestic, you leave us the foreign–is a respectful arrangement, not an alliance, among different spheres, not equals.
    Only if Bush could run again would Rove consider distancing his meal ticket from the Foreign Adventurers, and even then it wouldn’t be far, again if Cheney was also still on the ticket. But Rove is playing another game entirely with Bush not able to run.
    So if the voice in the president’s right ear is in alliance with the voice in his left ear, how can Bolten-Gates have any traction?
    Significant changes with the top level personnel would have to occur, such as Cheney’s departure above all, before any other “faction” would be able to generate traction with Bush’s prejudices & short-comings.
    If this then is the case, how does one go about minimizing the likely damage?
    How can anyone on the outside promote one WH faction over another under the present circumstances? So while being aware of them is good to know, nothing can be done with that knowledge.
    What strategy, other than impeachment, is there to effectuate change?
    Perhaps McConnell’s throwing in the towel on opposition to the deadline proviso is the unintentional small act that will spiral to big changes. Even McConnell wants Bush to bear the full weight of war responsibility now, and not the GOP per se. Even McConnell!
    Too late for that Mitch, but thanks for opening the door.

    Reply

  86. Carroll says:

    BTW…consult a shrink…but I am pretty sure that one would tell you that every time bangs the table and Bush proclaims he’s the “Decider” it’s because he suspects he isn’t really…he just can’t figure exactly why not…and doesn’t want to becuase then he would have to get rid of Cheney.

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  87. Carroll says:

    Well I think Cheney has been the decider since the begining, he decided on himself as VP and who thinks Bush thought up all the neocons Cheney dragged into the WH? Bush just liked them becuase they wern’t girlie boys like he thinks his Poppa’s adm was.
    To me Bush is an egotistical fop, not very bright. And every time he comes up with or goes along with some policy it’s because it fits in with how he sees “himself” (not a girle man like his Poppa)and not much else.
    Bush can shed a sincere tear when confronted with some legless victim of his follies right before he justifies it with his grand visions, but most of the time he is unconscious of any consequences to anyone except himself…like all other unconscious people he can’t “imagine” anything outside of his little self.

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  88. Gadfly says:

    Veep Cheney clearly does not want any positive initiative to obstruct his insane Neo-Con “Project for the New American Century”, resulting in a vast escalation of Mideast wars, in order to enrich himself & his paymasters: Halliburton, Bechtel, the Military Industrial Complex, Big Oil, the Carlyle Group, etc.
    However, recognizing that fact, Bush is the president– not Cheney. Steve, with all due respect, you seem to be saying that Bush actually supports Rice’s apparent efforts to negotiate a peace-deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians– but, is that a valid assumption?
    Bush has staked his so-called “legacy” upon the use of brute force to thrust his own private version of “democracy” (an euphemism for theft of Mideast oil) to achieve his goals.
    In fact, Bush has shown absolutely no interest whatsoever in being an honest broken between the Israelis and the Palestinians to-date. The only significant Bush consistency which continues to strongly supports his war crimes & crimes against humanity in Iraq & Afghanistan, and his brutish threats against Iran, is AIPAC. And, Israel are pushing, and pushing hard for Bush to order the U.S. military to attack Iran. Such conflagration in the Middle East will do nothing to inspire confidence that the U.S. would act to barter for a fair deal for the Palestinian people
    Moreover, Rice cannot be trusted: she is a liar- she is incompetent- and, she lacks diplomatic skill.
    For example (from today’s “U.K. Telegraph”– a British conservative newspaper):–
    “Israel snubs Condoleezza Rice”
    “Condoleezza Rice received a humiliating snub from Israel yesterday when it refused her offer to act as negotiator between its government and the Palestinian authorities…”…
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/27/wrice127.xml

    Israel does not want a fair and equitable deal– instead, Israel wants to contain the Palestinian in little ghetto-style prison camps– and will not agree to a contiguous Palestinian state, unless genuine pressure is brought-to-bear by the U.S. government.
    The neo-con Bush regime are extremely unlikely (with or without Cheney’s criminal influence) to exert such pressure– because should Bush do so– he would lose whatever support still remains in the U.S. (namely from AIPAC).
    My opinion remains that Rice is playing public-relations games, wanting to be seen in a positive light, contrasting her image against that of Cheney in the aftermath of the “Scooter” Libby trial & with Alberto “Torture Guy” Gonzales on the ropes.
    Rice is nothing more than a clothes-horse– and, lacks the wisdom; is devoid of skill; and, is without the necessary integrity to do what is necessary to negotiate a positive outcome between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Also, she isn’t sufficiently bright intellectually (although she is glib– which is not the same thing) to comprehend that Israel’s demand of “recognition” is ludicrous & nauseating, when at the same time, the Israelis refues to “recognize” the rights of the Palestinian people for their own homeland.
    Bush will go down as a failure– so will Rice– and, so will Cheney… In the meantime, we must keep our fingers-crossed that they don’t launch WW3!

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  89. JL says:

    Steve, If Bush takes bad advice it’s not Cheney’s fault. It’s HIS. Of course Cheney is going to tank talks because it does not fit in with his goals but Bush has decided to let let Cheney derail progress. Bush has said many times that he is the Decider and he has to take responsibility for that. The blame is not the evil VP, it’s the person who gave him the power.

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  90. Steve Clemons says:

    Den — you are certainly cynical today. I thought that my comments on Shelley were rather good — and I thought that the poem deserved some celebration.
    But I completely disagree with you about the factions in the White House. Others like Brad DeLong have counseled me that all sides work for the Czar, and he has a point — but not to see and “out” the two factions (and there are really more than that) would be a huge mistake. There is a competition going on around Bush — and Condi tends to play her hands poorly. Bush does want to see some change in the Palestine-Israel condition or he would never have uttered the word “Palestine.”
    I think he needs to be prompted to see that this competition he has bred about him needs some definitive resolution.
    You are right that the odds are against this kind of clarity being established — but I am right that there are factions competing with each other inside the White House establishment.
    It is clear you are anti-Bush all the time, and I understand that, but in my view, it sells short possibilities to impact policy during the 21 months left in this administration.
    best regards — but thanks for the heaps of criticism,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  91. Carroll says:

    I don’t put much faith in polls unless I know how the questions were framed but if this is correct I have some quesitons.
    Palestine attacks on Israelis have been farer and fewer between the last few years. At the same time attacks on Palestine have been stepped up by Israel.
    So…how come the Israeli public attitude has become more Seil Heil? The only things I see that can have made this peak is the Lukid propaganda hysteria, the lose face and fear inspired by their lose to Hezzbollah and resentment of the Israeli Arabs for whom Lebanon was the final straw that got them protesting within Israel.
    Whatever the reasons it is obvious all this has to be stepped on immediately.
    50% of Israelis Favor “State Assisted Arab Migration”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/842641.html
    Meanwhile 70% of this country is also fed up with political talky-stalls on everything, domestic and foreign.
    Gallup’s latest poll say the congressional approval rating peaked at 30 something right after the dem took control in 2006 elections and has now fallen back by 9 points to 28% as the dems bomb out with the public.
    Nothing is changing. What to do?

    Reply

  92. Den Valdron says:

    This would have to be Steve’s most delusional piece yet. Worse even than ‘Shelly was remembered as the husband of…’
    He seems to be imagining a split white house, with a President and his team warring with the Vice-President and his team… and losing.
    Ridiculous on its face, the evidence is that the President’s agenda and impulses accord with Cheney’s perfectly. Condoleeza Rice, whatever else she is, is neither a moderate, nor overflowing with integrity. She was one of the Vulcans. A sexy, young, fetching leather booted Vulcan, but a Vulcan nevertheless. Her ideology, whatever her specific appeal to Bush, was always more closely aligned to Cheney than to Powell.
    To the extent that Bush and Cheney have a difference, it is not their extremist ideology, but in the depth of their conviction. And even there…
    Perhaps the only real difference is that Bush doesn’t snarl and scheme nearly as much. But Cheney is doing his work…

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  93. David N says:

    I agree with those who say it’s a waste of time discussing this. So here goes.
    Rice will never abandon her husb- uh, president. She has never had ideas of her own, so one wonders where the idea for this conference comes from. Especially as, if she is a disciple of Master Henry, she would not think highly of either a Conference of All Parties nor a Comprehensive Solution.
    Bush and Cheney are joined at the hip. All the more reason to impeach Cheney. The process will expose Cheney’s criminal actions, damage the independence of the entire administration, collar Bush, and provide an excellent prelude to the main event.
    Cutting off funding at that level of detail will not work. Cheney will simply have his staff write a Signing Statement invalidating the restrictions, and ignore them. Any more widespread funding cutoff will do the fundies’ work for them, as it has long been a goal of the extreme wing of the Republicans to throttle those parts of the government they don’t like. The only parts of the government conservatives do like are those involved in killing people.
    So, it’s all a charade. The Dems have to grow a backbone. The MSM has to cover events honestly. The Conventional Nonsense has to be challenged.
    I’m not holding my breath. That I do, waiting for the Katie Couric interview with Tony Snow asking him why, since he has cancer, he doesn’t quit his job.

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  94. Carroll says:

    Just more of the same.
    Pal-Isr is never going to get anywhere as far as US efforts are concerned until we have a President that puts his foot down on the whole thing.
    Ending it is simple. Just apply the original UN borders and agreement on Israel and Palestine and back it up with force on both of them.
    The die harder’s who don’t recongize Israel won’t be happy and the Israeli cult won’t be happy. So what.

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  95. gq says:

    eric,
    Sorry, but those are just convenient excuses for OBL. Not that the issues you bring up aren’t legitimate or shouldn’t be addressed, but OBL’s theology is more complex than those issues–which probably play a minor role, if at all.

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  96. eCAHNomics says:

    Does anyone seriously think Rice would resign? She’s bent over & taken so much already, why would she get upset over this? She’s knows the bed she lies in.

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  97. Robert M. says:

    Yet, if she only realized it or had to nerve to act on it if she does realize it, Condi’s threat of resignation is the ONLY leverage she now has with Georgie. Because it has to be a public act, and coming on top of everything else, could/would turn the rest of the senate if not another 5% of the country against the him.
    Condi would of course be written out of La Famiglia, and that is likely more than she can bear, re her post-WH life. Yet now no one else has the leverage she has.
    But then if she carried through on it, who’d we get? Likely John Bolton on a recess appointment.
    So, should she stay or should she go?
    A bad situation for the country but a delicious dilemma for all kibitzers to contemplate!

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  98. eCAHNomics says:

    minnesotachuck@11:33
    No such bill will be proposed, so why discuss what would happen if it were? W & Shooter are joined at the hip, head & heart & we’re stuck with it for nearly two more years unless Cheney gets impeached, which won’t happen either.

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  99. Zathras says:

    There are actually two Offices of the Vice President, funded in different apropriations bills. This reflects the Vice President’s dual role as a officeholder in the Executive Branch and presiding officer of the Senate.
    The Vice President’s Senate office is a line item in its appropriations bill. The executive branch OVP is not. Traditionally, Congress has given Presidents broad leeway in organizing the Executive Office of the President (of which the OVP is part); especially with so many Democratic Presidential candidates in Congress, there would be a reluctance in Congress to set a precedent for changing this policy.
    Arguably, of course, a Vice President unaccountable to anyone running around the government mucking up policy is a much more dangerous precedent. If Vice President Cheney’s influence over the President were as easily reduced as Steve suggests it would have happened already; Bush relies on Cheney because he thinks he needs to, and that isn’t likely to change. However, a Congressional effort to slash the size of the OVP’s staff — which is much larger than it was in any previous administration — would have the effect of focusing attention on the Vice President’s role in policy. From the Democrats’ point of view it would highlight a picture of President Bush as a weak leader under the thumb of his nominal subordinate, a position no previous President in all our history has ever allowed himself to be placed in; it would also help tie the unpopular Cheney around the necks of every Republican running for President next year. So even at the risk of setting an undesirable precedent attacking Cheney’s office through the appropriations process is certainly what I would do in the Congressional Democrats’ place. I wouldn’t give any warning before doing it, either.

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  100. Clarice Starling says:

    Yeah, please send Cheney quail hunting with John Hinckley.

    Reply

  101. ... says:

    how long does the planet have to suffer under this zealot fanatic cheney? put some quail feathers on him before you take him quail hunting.

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  102. Minnesotachuck says:

    eCAHNomics at March 27, 2007 11:02 AM:
    If an OVP de-funding amendment were put forth as suggested above, it would do a couple of positive things. First, it would put Cheney’s conduct as VP front and center in the national debate. I suspect that many of the less aware people in the country still don’t realize the extent of his influence on national security affairs, hard as that might be for those of us who follow things more closely might believe. Secondly, it might well force a confrontation within the administration that forces Bush to choose between the VP and Rice. If he goes with Cheney, that might well trigger Rice’s resignation, which very likely would be severely damaging for Bush within the Republican caucuses in Congress.
    A likely response of Bush and Cheney would be to denounce the amendment as interfering with the administration’s ability to conduct foreign and defense affairs. An effective counter for that would be for the Democrats and sane Republicans to educate the public about the main thrusts of the 1947 legislation that established the Defense Department and National Security Council, and subsequent modifying legislation such as the Goldwater-Nichols Act of the 1980s. All it’s trying to accomplish is to force the Bush 43 administration to conduct national security affairs as prescribed by law.
    We’ve got to remember that the name of the game is Limit The Damage – that is, limit the damage that the Bush crowd can do in their remaining time.

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  103. Linda says:

    Condi is no Lord Carrington nor is she Houdini. It is very difficult in any area, but especially in foreign policy, to fix six years of neglect in two lame/dead duck ones.
    The one person who might have some impact and has remained silent is Colin Powell.

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  104. bubba says:

    Steve,
    “Cheney” + “lurks” = redundant.

    Reply

  105. Punchy says:

    It’s crystal clear that “over Condi’s head” means only one person–Charles Hagel. Hagel’s throwing the wrench in the machine, methinks. But since he once uttered the word “impeachment”, or maybe he eats peaches, let’s support the old kook.

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  106. eCAHNomics says:

    Whatever makes you think that W wants to shut down Shooter? I assume that W=Shooter, i.e. the foreign policy desiderata is the same for both. After 6 years’ worth of evidence, what reasonable person would conclude anything else? W just uses Rice (& Powell before her) as lip service to a more “reasonable” approach–to diffuse opposition.

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  107. erichwwk says:

    PS. This is NOT to imply that Steve is not onto something of great value by focusing on Dick Cheney as a personification of what could be done at the personnel level to make things better. If he could somehow neuter the Dick ala John Bolton, he would indeed have performed a public service of immense proportions.

    Reply

  108. george says:

    Steve:
    Your comments would be interesting on how long do you think it will take the US to recover diplomatically after this bunch of criminals? How long before US credibility is restored with a stable, common sense foreign policy team (Republican or Democratic) in 2008. I am not referring to the damage with Muslim men throughout the middle east, I am referring to heads of state everywhere. Just curious. Every day when I think that they can’t do any worse, it get’s worse.
    Thanks
    George

    Reply

  109. Minnesotachuck says:

    This may be a naive or stupid question, but why doesn’t the Democratic-controlled Congress insert a clause in some forthcoming funding bill that would de-fund the entire OVP for the remainder of this term? While this wouldn’t totally disable him politically, it would make it more difficult for him to keep throwing sand in the gears.
    I realize that the OVP staff positions were established in order to support the VP in keeping abreast of issues so that s/he is more prepared than Truman was in the event of the president’s sudden death or departure from office. But considering that this VP has become so obviously dysfunctional to effective policy-making, even some Republicans in Congress might take their oaths of office seriously enough to support this for the good of the country. Maybe, just maybe, if Bush is unwound from Cheney’s finger Rice* and others who haven’t totally lost touch with reality might have a chance to limit the damage this administration can do in the remaining 21 months of its term.
    * Don’t get the idea here that I’m a fan of Rice’s. This is strictly a matter of choosing the lesser of evils.

    Reply

  110. bryanwilkins says:

    I think you are on to the less than subtle ways Cheney subverts US govt policy efforts led by Rice, with Bush’s approval, in ME. Just out the SOB. It also is apparent that while Cheney’s on the wane, we still have till Jan 2009 to watch him connive and gum up the bureaucracy in his usual inimmitable style. Also do not underestimate Elliot Abrams, one of Cheney’s long time partners in crime when it comes to covering for Israeli machinations to influence US policies in the ME.

    Reply

  111. erichwwk says:

    We all recognize the problem. Grousing about it does what? – Stroke one’s self righteousness?
    This problem is far deeper than Bush/Cheney/Rove, and is much a problem of Democratic hawks as it is GOP neocons.
    After all, the three concerns of OBL:
    1. Death of innocent Iraqi children due to the embargo
    2. The plight of the Palestinians
    3. US military forces stationed in the ME
    ALL predate the neocons, GOP variant. From that perspective, Clinton is a larger mass murderer than the current administration.
    My suggestions: build on the support that actually exists, whether its Josh marshall’s pursuit of the US Federal Prosecutors hearing, the Kucinich and Hegal call for impeachment, what support there is for a rigid timetable for withdrawal.
    I would hope we could all rally around openness and transparency in government. Perhaps there is even some consensus on social and economic justice.
    It takes time and patience to see this through the long haul. And as all great leaders have come to recognize, no fights done out of hatred, revenge, or resentment are ever productive in the long run.
    cheers

    Reply

  112. JohnH says:

    If Hagel’s so great, why doesn’t he spearhead a movement to impeach Cheney?

    Reply

  113. Matthew says:

    Steve: there is the Lord Carrington option. Condi could make it known that if Cheney keeps interfering in State Department work that she will resign. Yes, I know I’m naive. But we can always dream that at least one member of this Administration is not just a throne-sniffer, can’t we?

    Reply

  114. Pissed Off American says:

    “President Bush, please send Cheney quail-hunting.”
    Why would he send Cheney after little birds when the two of them can rack up human kill tallies in the hundreds of thousands? If they apply a bit more effort, they can easily get that toll up into the millions. I mean geez, theres just no substitute for supreme power…..
    British backtrack on Iraq death toll
    By Jill Lawless
    Published: 27 March 2007
    British government officials have backed the methods used by scientists who concluded that more than 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the invasion, the BBC reported yesterday.
    The Government publicly rejected the findings, published in The Lancet in October. But the BBC said documents obtained under freedom of information legislation showed advisers concluded that the much-criticised study had used sound methods.
    The study, conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, estimated that 655,000 more Iraqis had died since March 2003 than one would expect without the war. The study estimated that 601,027 of those deaths were from violence.
    The researchers, reflecting the inherent uncertainties in such extrapolations, said they were 95 per cent certain that the real number of deaths lay somewhere between 392,979 and 942,636.
    continues at….
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2396031.ece
    100,000 Iraqi Kids Killed……..
    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=audioVideo&itemID=51

    Reply

  115. Pissed Off American says:

    The articles I have read this morning place Israeli leadership as being opposed to Rice’s efforts to hold parrallel talks. As usual, Israel’s way, or no way. Ohlmert wants only “terrorism” issues discussed, with no consideration of territorial or land issues. Of course, the word “terrorism” will only be applied to the Palestinians actions, and not to Israel’s six decades of terrorism carried out against the Palestinians.
    Meanwhile, 2000 settlers march in to Homesh to reclaim the land they STOLE from the Palestinians, but were forced to abandon in August of ’05. Great timing, eh? Anyone here ignorant enough to think its a coincidence?
    Israel doesn’t want peace. It wants land and power. And it will eradicate as many of them ‘ol nasty inferior Palestinian people as it needs to to get it. And there are many in our government that are willing to spend our blood and treasure to help them do it. Cheney is only one of them.

    Reply

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