Yesterday National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars at the group’s convention in San Antonio, Texas. President Bush is himself to address the the VFW in St. Louis later today if I understand the New York Times story correctly. The White House has now posted the text of Rice’s speech, which briefly acknowledges the VFW’s presentation to her of its Dwight David Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award.
The speech mostly “reflect[s] and report[s] on the strategy that America has pursued in responding to” 9/11, “that awful day.” Here the speech treads carefully and well over important ground. When she reaches the subject of Iraq, she reiterates the adminstration’s observation that “[t]his was a regime that pursued, had used, and possessed weapons of mass destruction.”
When she reaches the subject of current events in Arafatistan, however, she seems to me to verge on the fantasy to which U.S. policy now appears plighted, and which events seem unable to dislodge:
“Despite the horrific events of recent days, we have seen real progress toward peace for Israelis and Palestinians. At the Red Sea Summits in June, Israelis, Palestinians, and neighboring Arab states united behind the vision the President has set forth – a vision for two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Israeli leaders increasingly understand that it is in Israel’s interest for Palestinians to govern themselves, in a state that is viable, peaceful, democratic, and committed to fighting terror. Israel has to fulfill its responsibilities to help that peaceful state emerge.
“A new Palestinian leadership is emerging that understands — and says, in Arabic and English — that terror is not a means to Palestinian statehood, but rather the greatest obstacle to statehood.
“Amidst this progress came last week’s familiar images of bloodshed and violence by those who would use terror to destroy the hopes for peace. But the terrorists will not succeed — and terrorist networks must be dismantled. President Bush remains committed to the course he laid out at the Red Sea Summits because it is the only course that will bring a durable peace and lasting security.”
What’s wrong with these paragraphs? I think the evidence that Daddy Mazen represents new Palestinian leadership, rather than serves as a figurehead, is slim indeed. The fact that the budget of Arafatistan is now posted online — frequently cited by President Bush as representative of the new leadership — is irrelevant to the substantive issue of the constitution of Arafatistan as a terror state. Arafat still controls the “security forces” that are instruments of terrorism and protectors of terrorists.
How long can elementary facts be left unstated or denied over against the fantasy that “the only course that will bring a durable peace and lasting security” is the establishment of a twenty-third Arab state on the West Bank and Gaza? Who is going to defeat Hamas, Hezbollah, the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade? Don’t the “familiar images of bloodshed and violence” themselves belie the adminstration’s policy? What account is to be taken of them? What is going on here, and who’s kidding whom?
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