Saturday, June 24, 2006

Buchanan: A Textbook Example of Why We Are Hated in The Arab World

Preznit Bush famously said the terrorists hate us for our freedoms. Pat Buchanan says they hate us for what we do:

“Why do they hate us?” So stunned Americans asked, after 9/11, when we learned that across the Arab world, many were saying, “The Americans had it coming.”

For a textbook example of why we are hated, consider Gaza and the West Bank. There, a brutal Israeli/U.S.-led cutoff in aid has been imposed on the Palestinians for voting the wrong way in a free election.

Immediately after Hamas’s victory, Israel halted the $55 million a month the Palestinian Authority received as its share of tax and customs revenue. Israel demanded Europe and the U.S. also end all aid to the PA until Hamas renounces terror, recognizes Israel, and disarms.

President Bush, though he was conducting a worldwide crusade for democracy and had urged that the Palestinian elections be held and Hamas participate, obediently complied. For months now, U.S. and European aid to the PA, half its budget, has been halted.

The early returns are in. “Surgeons at Gaza’s biggest hospital,” says the Financial Times, “have suspended non-essential surgery for lack of sutures, laboratory kits and anesthetics.” Environmental protection agency workers have no money for petrol to monitor sewage and industrial waste entering the water supply. Some 150,000 civil servants, 60,000 of them armed security personnel, have gone unpaid for months.


Woodrow Wilson called sanctions “the silent, deadly remedy.” Its victims are always the sick, the elderly, the women, and the children.

In March, the World Bank predicted the aid cutoff would lead to a 30 percent fall in average personal incomes among the Palestinians. The bank now considers that prediction “too rosy” and expects “the worst year in the West Bank and Gaza’s recent dismal economic history.”

Already, violent clashes have broken out between Hamas and Fatah. There is a danger of collapse of the Palestinian Authority, chaos, and a need for the Israeli army to intervene anew to restore order. Finally, May 9, under European pressure, the U.S. relented and a trickle of aid began to flow.

Query: who, besides al-Qaeda and recruiters of suicide bombers, can conceivably benefit from persecuting the Palestinian people like this? Does President Bush or Condi Rice think the Palestinians will respect an America that did this to their children, after we urged this election, called for Hamas to participate, and preached our devotion to democracy?

“The aid cut-off appears to be increasing anti-U.S. sentiment here,” writes the Post’s Scott Wilson, quoting 33-year-old pharmacist Mustafa Hasoona: “The problem is the West, not us. If they don’t respect democracy, they shouldn’t call for it. We are with this government we elected. I voted for it.”

According to the Financial Times, Hamas is winning converts for refusing to buckle. Said Khalil Abu Leila, a Hamas leader, “They have misunderstood the Arab mentality. As long as the pressure increases on Hamas, the more popular it will become.”

The White House says we don’t negotiate with terrorists. But when we had to, we did. FDR and Truman summited with Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam. Nixon met with Mao in Beijing. Kissinger negotiated with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese at Paris. Bush I allied with Assad in the Gulf War. Clinton had Arafat to the White House too many times to count.

Rabin and Peres shared a Nobel Prize with Arafat. Netanyahu gave him Hebron. Barak offered him 95 percent of the West Bank.

Bush’s agents negotiated with the architect of the Lockerbie massacre to persuade Colonel Khaddafi to give up his WMD. In 2004, Bush’s men called it a victory for Bush diplomacy. Khaddafi’s regime had been at the top of the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror.

The purpose of U.S.-Israeli policy today is to punish the Palestinians for how they voted and to force Hamas to yield or to collapse its government. How does such a policy win hearts and minds for America?

Terrorism has been described as waging war on innocents to break their political leaders. Is that not a fair description of what we are doing to the Palestinians? No wonder they hate us.

The more you watch the Bush administration work its brand of foreign policy magic in the world, the more you have to wonder whether they really are trying to win the hearts and the minds of the Arab world (and thus the war on terror) or if they're really just happy to have some generational conflict to replace the Cold War (and thus enrich themselves and their military-industrial complex buddies as well as win at the ballot box by using fear.)

I'm starting to think Bush, Cheney, Rummy et al. are in it for the money and the political benefits. Certainly Karl Rove is. But actually trying to win the hearts and minds of the Arab world in the war on terror? Not so much for that.

The article doesn't mention the obvious; that until very recent times, all Israeli leaders were known, proud terrorists in their yunger days.
The country still exists with a terrorist mentality. bombing innocents on beaches is a terrorist act.
Yet US admins have consistently dealt favourably with Israeli goverments.
Maybe they should hate the U.N. for creating the state in the first place, or hate themselves for not taking their own state when it was offered.
cartledge, good point about Israel, even if it is not politically correct to point out. I saw a story on the BBC last week about an Israeli missile attack that was sent some "terrorist's way," missed, struck a house and killed nearly everybody in it. Awful. And the Israeli's response was less than satisfactory - bascially they said "So the fuck what?"

arch stanton, I think Pat Buchanan would agree with your UN point. But I think he was looking at the problem as a practical matter, as in, here we are with these political conditions, what do we do now.

It’s my understanding that Hitler came to power democratically. Are you suggesting that just because someone or some party is elected democratically he/she/they should not be economically cut off from U.S. funds regardless of their policies? Are you further suggesting that the U.S. continue to fund the Hammas led Palestinian party?
Many in Hamas are certainly terrorists and the administration should use economic aid as a carrot/stick in order to get Hamas to act responsibly now that they are running things.

I am suggesting, however (along with Pat Buchanan), that it is counterproductive as a practical matter to talk up the importance of democracy and democratic elections in the Middle East and then immediately try and undercut the results when you don't like them. It shows the Arab world that you really don't believe what you've been telling them (i.e., we want you to be a self-governing, democratic, free people.) It also exposes you to charges of hypocrisy.

Did it not occur to the administration that given the corruption of the previous Palestinian gov't that Hamas could win the elections the administration was trumpeting? Did it not occur to them that if Hamas won, they would have to deal with an unsavoury group of terrorists and murderers running things?

Buchanan thinks it didn't occur to them. I agree with him.
Our one-sided policy in the Israel-Palestine conflict is certainly one of the reasons "they hate us."

One of the reasons we invaded Iraq was our claim that Hussein ignoried UN resolutions. Israel has been ignoring UN resolutions for years regarding Palestine, but that's a different story for us.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?