by John Hawkins | May 9, 2002 2:09 pm
Perception Is Becoming Reality: Many people think President Bush is refusing to turn the Israelis loose on the Palestinian terrorists either because an attack on Iraq is imminent or so that Bush can say he exhausted all of his options before he makes the inevitable decision to allow the Israelis to expel Arafat. Those theories may be right on the money.
However, in the interim, W is being humiliated. On the one hand he keeps saying that he doesn’t trust Arafat and on the other hand he doesn’t want to get rid of him. When people make the obvious and correct comparison between our attack on Afghanistan and the Israeli attack on the disputed territories, Bush has to deny that he sees the link. We have different members of the administration saying different things about how we’re going to handle the conflict, sometimes on the same day. This whole debacle is making the Bush administration look weak, ineffective, intimidated, confused, and hypocritical. The same man who formulated the “Bush Doctrine”, coined the phrase “Axis of Evil”, and was leading the fight against terrorism, now is way behind his own party and even the Democrats as far as Israel is concerned.
If this is part of some indirect, roundabout strategy, I’d suggest that GWB reconsider it because it’s undercutting his credibility. The only reason he’s gotten away with it this long is because of how firm he seemed early on and because he’s a Republican. I guarantee you that if Al Gore were in the White House and he seemed to be waffling like this, the whole Republican Party would be raising holy Hell. Gore would be called a coward, accused of not being serious about the war, and slammed in every way possible by every right of center pundit out there and I’d be leading the way. Bush has a little more room to maneuver but time is running out. If this is all part of some master plan, I’d suggest that GWB abandon it before his Presidency takes permanent damage that it may not be able to recover from.
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