In the past, neoconservatives have danced delicately around the notion that Israel's conflicts should be viewed by the U.S. as its own conflicts. But, to his credit, Bill Kristol yesterday came right out and candidly put his views on the table. In the Weekly Standard, Kristol's column -- entitled "This is Our War" (by "Our" he means the U.S.) -- argues explicitly what many have contended for some time is an unstated belief of neoconservatives: that the U.S. should view the threats to Israel as threats to the U.S., because the enemy is the same, and should join Israel in the destruction of these enemies. Kristol actually argues that President Bush should immediately abandon the G-8 summit in Russia and fly to Jerusalem in order to stand by Israel, in "our" new war, which should be waged against Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, for starters. This article is very significant and I am quoting from it at length:
Listen to me. I served when we considered "an attack on Europe to be the equivalent to an attack on the U.S.". That doctrine was describing the defense of Europe, not carte blanche for Europe to unilaterally attack its neighbors. The Cold War is over and I don't give a shit if Israel gets its ass handed to it. Israel's problems are of her own making. It's bad enough we send them billions in aid and military hardware, and our policies allowed them to act unilaterally and with impunity toward their neighbors.
You see, the Holy Land means nothing to me aside from its historical value. I don't care who controls it or whether Israel remains a viable entity in the future. I don't care that it's the 'birthplace of the world's religions'. All I care about is the poor people who are caught in the middle on both sides who have the right to live in peace.
I am more than willing for the U.S. become an objective intermediary in the region, providing leadership to achieve peace (something impossible with Bush and the neocons in power), but our unconditional support of Israel is counterproductive in the region and damaging to U.S. foreign policy in general.
Israel has to be held to account, as well as Hamas and Hezbollah. Yes, they have the right to protect themselves but this heavy handed action can only cause more problems than it solves. Just as our operations in Iraq are serving to recruit more followers into the insurgency and al-Qaeda, the Israeli attacks on the infrastructure of an already hopeless group of people are only boosting the membership of Hamas and Hezbollah, creating the next generation of enemies.
Don't speak to me of blame and who began the conflict. There's enough to go around. All I know is that Hamas and Hezbollah are using homemade rockets (and old Russian Katyushas which don't work more often than they do) and Israel is using F-16 Falcons, Apache gunships, and M-109 self-propelled artillery against civilian populations.
Don't speak to me of Israel's demands the Palestinian Authority and the Lebanese government should control these groups. Not when Israel has destroyed the infrastructure where central control of the population is impossible. Not when Israel has done nothing to help their neighbors out of poverty (did they even try?) or lend a hand to the hopeless people they make impossible demands of. Say what you will about Hezbollah and Hamas, but they do more than lob rockets at Israel. They help support the poor people of the region, schooling the children, taking part in government, and improving the infrastructure. Were it not for Israel, do you think these groups would have become so mainstream?
I'll support Israel when they decide to become part of the region where they live instead of an island in it. Yes, it is up to Israel to begin the initiative because they are the most powerful entity. The U.S. entering the fray firmly in Israel's corner can only cause more unrest in the region and put our interests at home and abroad at greater risk than they already are.
It's time for real solutions in the region, not just force against force. It's time for the saner lot on both sides to stand up and say 'enough is enough' and get down to the real business of peace. Unfortunately, the sane ones* are not the folks in control.
More sanity from Station Charon.
Why not try some diplomacy instead of constantly swinging the Sword of Gideon, then maybe they wouldn't be facing people who raise their children to hate them from the minute that they are capable of comprehension. It is an effective model for perpetual war though and with the 40 year ascendance of the military industrial complex to the pinnacles of power it is also a lucrative one.