August 27th, 2005

Well, Bush is pretty clear about it

Yesterday there was a lot of back and forth, both here and elsewhere, about what Secretary Rice may or may not have said and may or may not have meant about whether the Palestinians need to take the next step (or a next step) in response to the unilateral Israeli move of leaving Gaza.

As I wrote in one of my comments, reasonable people can certainly differ on what Ms. Rice said or meant. The question of whether the Times “Dowdified” her quote (and I continue to think there was a bit of that going on) is a side issue to the more pressing question of what it was that Rice actually meant.

But today President Bush has been quite clear on the subject. Reuter’s reports (via LGF), that Bush, in his radio address:

…put pressure on the Palestinians on Saturday to respond to the Israeli pullout from Gaza and portions of the West Bank by cracking down on terrorism…”Now that Israel has withdrawn, the way forward is clear. The Palestinians must show the world that they will fight terrorism and govern in a peaceful way,” Bush said.

So it seems that Bush–at least for today–is placing the ball in the Palestinian court. He seems to be demanding the quid pro quo about which Rice was somewhat equivocal.

As for Rice’s previous remarks, and their correct interpretation? It’s a bit like reading tea leaves, and there are quite a few possibilities. Either Judith of Kesher Talk is correct, and Rice is playing “bad cop” to Bush’s “good cop,” or Rice and Bush are not in agreement on this, or Rice is on the same page as Bush and has been misinterpreted by the NY Times, or the whole thing is in a state of flux and even Bush and Rice don’t quite know what her position is.

Whatever Bush or Rice say, I would be extremely surprised if the Palestinians actually followed through with positive action. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s all “mere rhetoric.” But rhetoric still matters somewhat, because it sets the tone of the policy expectations for the region.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. The US can’t force the Palestinians to abandon terrorism and hatred as a way of life. But we can stop rewarding it or ignoring it, and this type of statement from Bush (if he keeps at it), is at least the equivalent of “leading the horse to water.” The rest is up to the horse.

I can only hope that the administration gets clear and remains clear on this score. And even if its a game of “good cop, bad cop,” each cop should aim to be consistent about his/her message.

[ADDENDUM: By the way, I was pretty careful about this one. I didn't take Reuters' word for it; I went to the actual text of Bush's radio address to check up on them. They passsed with flying colors; he said what they said he said. Congratulations, Reuters!]

12 Responses to “Well, Bush is pretty clear about it”

  1. Michele Campolina Says:

    Keep up the good work! Michele Campolina

  2. Thunderstixx Says:

    Here we go again.
    The Sunday talking heads tell us again that the Bush administration is again on yet another offensive to remind the American people exactly why we are fighting in Iraq.
    Why are they always doing this. It was the same when Bush ran against Kerry, and that denizen of courage Michael Moore. Now it is against Cindy Sheehan.
    Why do the leaders of the Republican Party continue to get blindsided by these lame excuses for policy arguments.
    Why in the world does George Bush, Ken Mehlman and the rest of the leadership need to be reminded that the American people are paying attention to the events in Iraq and the rest of the world and refuse to engage their supporters in an at least daily dialogue of the reasons we are there.
    I am so sick of lame leadership I could just puke.
    I firmly believe that our policy and public relations are being orchestrated by James Carville.

  3. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    Thanks Mikey! : )

  4. Michael B Says:

    Unknown Blogger, apologies for failing to understand your emphasis.

    ——

    “They didn’t make this bed, nor drew the maps of the middle east. We all know who did that, and the geo-political motivations behind it. ..Most of us anyway.” Ho Chi Minh

    Oh contraire, they did make their bed in very large part indeed. Re, the following from Matthias Kuntzel:

    Abbas and Hamas

    European Roots of Antisemitism in Current Islamic Thinking

    Somewhat lengthier Kuntzel articles along similar – and similarly well documented – historical themes can be found at the following:

    National Socialism and Anti-Semitism in the Arab World

    Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots

    Among other pivotal events, Kuntzel traces the influence of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini, together with his rabid anti-Semitism decades prior to the formation of the state of Israel, including pogroms against Palestinian Jews whose forebears had been living in the area for hundreds of years, e.g., A History of Palestine, 634-1099. Kuntzel further notes the direct, continued link between el-Husseini and Arafat along with their dictatorial forms of governance (e.g., summary executions against more moderate Arab Palestinians) and their pronounced anti-Semitic educational systems and forms of enculturation more broadly – all of which predate the state of Israel.

    It’s at the conclusion of Abbas and Hamas that Kuntzel asks, “Today, following the devastation caused by the rule of el Husseini and Arafat, the Palestinian national movement is for the first time led by both more moderate and more modern forces. But how strong is their influence and how extensive their authority?”

    Husseini’s and Arafat’s Nazi-intensified anti-Semitism along with their long history of anti-liberal, dictatorial governance of Palestinian Arabs very much forms the bed they have made for themselves.

  5. Ho Chi Minh Says:

    At 1:18 PM, August 27, 2005, David Thomson said…

    ..”I would be utterly stunned if the Palestinians lived up to their part of the bargain. This seems unlikely because the militants dominate their society.”

    I would remind Mr. Thomson that militants have dominated Israeli society since it’s founding. The first 5 Israeli Prime Ministers (and many other high ranking officials) were terrorists wanted by the British at one time or another. The Likud Party itself was founded on the remnants of the Stern Gang, Palmach and Irgun, all terrorist organisations.

    “Eventually the Palestinians will be out of sight–and out of mind.”

    No they won’t.

    “The hell with them. They have made their bed and must sleep in it.”

    They didn’t make this bed, nor drew the maps of the middle east. We all know who did that, and the geo-political motivations behind it.
    ..Most of us anyway.

  6. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    *sigh*…

  7. BeckyJ Says:

    Here’s the whole quote from the transcript (it’s about 2/3 way down the page):

    “The other thing is, just to close off this question, the question has been put repeatedly to the Israelis and to us that it cannot be Gaza only and everybody says no, it cannot be Gaza only. There is, after all, even a link to the West Bank and the four settlements that are going to be dismantled in the West Bank. Everybody, I believe, understands that what we’re trying to do is to create momentum toward reenergizing the roadmap and through that momentum toward the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.”

    I read this as Rice citing what others have said about Gaza and the West Bank, not her or the Administrations own views. Dowdification occured with extracting only the “it can’t only be Gaza part” and ignoring the rest of the quote. The Times is quite good at this kind of thing.

  8. Michael B Says:

    “Seems to me a healthy skepticism should apply to all media, not just the “MSM”. Because if you’re going to build a case against something, you want it to be a solid one.” The Unknown Blogger, who, pontificating, builds literally no case whatsoever, much less a “solid one”. Onward.

    Contra Reagan’s “trust but verify,” the MSM/Left’s vastly over-generous attitude toward Arab/Muslim Palestinians has been “trust and turn a willful blind eye”.

    One can always invest in hope and one can always work toward difficult goals which require a hard won, this worldly faith. But a willfully self-blinded quality motivated by ideological genuflections and politically correct pieties is not – or at least should not be – an option. Put another way, avoid cynicism, certainly, but willfully or naively avoiding a sound, evenly tempered realism is not prudent.

    Arab/Muslim Palestinians and others espouse nothing less than an eliminationist ethos and praxis toward Israel and they do so both overtly and more covertly, depending on the target audience. Yet when has the MSM/Left thoughtfully acknowledged the nihilistic enthusiasms stemming from and widely engendered in that area of the globe? Or when have they noted the de facto alliances between the toxic MSM/Left and Arab/Muslim jihadist interests? Very much to the contrary, the NYT, et al. systematically induces a Pavlovian, self-blinded quality, consciously geared toward myopia, not substantial and well informed reflection.

  9. Kalroy Says:

    Sorta sad that Reuters needs to be fact-checked. And yes, I agree that Reuters and the AP and the NYT et al have given people ample reason to suspect the veracity of their reporting.

    Sad and unfortunate state of affairs. Unfortunate for us, that is.

    Kalroy

  10. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    anonymous said re checking original sources:

    Now that we have the ability to do that more and more and now that we know we have serious reason to doubt the media middlemen at times, the days of taking their word for it are fading away.

    I assume you would also include bloggers in your “media middlemen” statement?

    Seems to me a healthy skepticism should apply to all media, not just the “MSM”. Because if you’re going to build a case against something, you want it to be a solid one.

  11. David Thomson Says:

    “Whatever Bush or Rice say, I would be extremely surprised if the Palestinians actually followed through with positive action.”

    I would be utterly stunned if the Palestinians lived up to their part of the bargain. This seems unlikely because the militants dominate their society. The moderates have been effectively intimidated. No, I believe in the Wall. This prevents the Palestinians from doing much damage. Eventually the Palestinians will be out of sight–and out of mind. The hell with them. They have made their bed and must sleep in it.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Regarding your addendum: That’s what it’s going to take in the future, checking the original sources. Now that we have the ability to do that more and more and now that we know we have serious reason to doubt the media middlemen at times, the days of taking their word for it are fading away. They can tell me their version of things but they better provide a way for me to read it myself before I’ll accept it wholeheartedly.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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