Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Middle East, Through Bush's Eyes

As we all know by now, one of the key problems with Bush's Iraq adventure was an apparent ignorance surrounding the culture, politics, and history of that country. Sure, able analysts were trying to penetrate the Bush bubble with pertinent facts, but no avail. And Bush seems genuinely puzzled by how events transpired in Iraq.

History repeats itself. Bush is now scratching his head over Lebanon, and preaching the same tired simplistic platitudes. Fred Kaplan unloads on him in Slate, noting that Bush said in his press conference:

"What's very interesting about the violence in Lebanon and the violence in Iraq and the violence in Gaza is this: These are all groups of terrorists who are trying to stop the advance of democracy."
Does he have any inkling about the 15-year Lebanese civil war? Clearly not. Kaplan is unimpressed:

"This, after all, is the president who invaded Iraq without the slightest understanding of the country's ethnic composition or of the volcanic tensions that toppling its dictator might unleash. Complexity has no place in his schemes. Choices are never cloudy. The world is divided into the forces of terror and the forces of freedom: The one's defeat means the other's victory.


What is he talking about? Hamas, which has been responsible for much of the violence in Gaza, won the Palestinian territory's parliamentary elections. Hezbollah, which started its recent war with Israel, holds a substantial minority of seats in Lebanon's parliament and would probably win many more seats if a new election were held tomorrow. Many of the militants waging sectarian battle in Iraq have representation in Baghdad's popularly elected parliament."

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