A Cautious Approach

Friday, July 21, 2006
John Bolton and Condoleezza Rice are on the same page and the Saudi purchased Arabist's at State are keeping their mouths shut - on orders from Riyadh. The Chief Thief at the UN is babbling but no one pays any attention to his Blue Light Special moral authority any more. The President will meet with Prime Minister Blair next Friday. The evacuation of civilians is proceeding at a brisk clip and Israel has advised civilians living north of the Litani River that remaining where they are could prove hazardous to their health.

And, of course, Hezbollah remains firmly in control of the entire situation with Nasrullah insisting that the Israeli servicemen that he kidnapped will not be returned.

A cautious and methodical approach certainly seems warranted while Nasrullah is still breathing. And until Israel holds enough of Lebanon to provide a decent bargaining chip.

UPDATE: via Power Line
Reporter: The news for the last 48 hours from the Middle East, it is more and more apparent now that many in the Middle East, Lebanese and others, are accusing the U.S. and the Security Council of being the obstacle to a real ceasefire immediately because that’s what they need. Could you explain in a couple words what is really your position about this?

Ambassador Bolton: Well look, I think we could have a cessation of hostilities immediately if Hezbollah would stop terrorizing innocent civilians and give up the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. So that to the extent this crisis continues, the cause is Hezbollah. How you get a ceasefire between one entity, which is a government of a democratically elected state on the one hand, and another entity on the other which is a terrorist gang, no one has yet explained. The government of Israel, everybody says, has the right to exercise the right of self-defense, which even if there are criticisms of Israeli actions by some, they recognize the fundamental right to self-defense. That’s a legitimate right. Are there any activities that Hezbollah engages in, militarily that are legitimate? I don’t think so. All of its activities are terrorist and all of them are illegitimate, so I don’t see the balance or the parallelism between the two sides and therefore I think it’s a very fundamental question: how a terrorist group agrees to a ceasefire. You know in a democratically elected government, the theory is that the people ultimately can hold the government accountable when it does something and doesn’t live up to it. How do you hold a terrorist group accountable? Who runs the terrorist group? Who makes the commitment that a terrorist group will abide by a ceasefire? What does a terrorist group think a ceasefire is? These are - you can use the words “cessation of hostilities” or “truce” or "ceasefire.” Nobody has yet explained how a terrorist group and a democratic state come to a mutual ceasefire.
That's why caution and thoughtfulness are paramount. Until Nasrullah and a reasonable number (say 60%) are dead and the rest in hiding.

SECOND UPDATE: Condi shows the breadth of the US position in an announcement this afternoon:
Rice said the United States is committed to ending the bloodshed, but not before certain conditions are met. The Bush administration has said that Hezbollah must first turn over the two Israeli soldiers whose capture set off the 10-day-old violence, and stop firing missiles into Israel.

“We do seek an end to the current violence, we seek it urgently. We also seek to address the root causes of that violence,” Rice said. “A cease-fire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo.”
The statement is amazing in its complexity, nuance and subtlety. We must all hope that Nasrullah is well versed in the art of diplospeak so that the many points that Secretary Rice made don't pass over his head. Alternatively, Israel could easily write the message on the nose of any number of Hellfires and continue to attempt delivery until receipt is acknowledged.

ASIDE: What is the correct term of art to use to describe an invasion that is the antithesis of "lightning like"? Do Israeli mailmen have to show up in every village in southern Lebanon before the press catches on?


Knucklehead said...

I saw some banner on a news channel that said Condi may go to the ME as early as next week. Then again, maybe not. A week from next Wednesday might be appropriate. There's no good reason to rush things. I'm sure she's a very busy woman and has many pressing issues to deal with before she can break away to see if there's anything that can be done to help poor, disproportionated Hezbollah.

brylun said...

You gotta love John Bolton! Even Senator Voinovich has changed (found) his mind.

Peter UK said...

A slight correction,the evacuation of civilians except one

CF said...

You can see why Bolton was a target of the chuckleheads, can't you? A clear thinker is the enemy of stupid thinkers because he quickly reveals their positions for the dreck they are.

gumshoe1 said...

great article link,PeterUK.

crocodile tears here.

Peter UK said...

The man is an example to martyrs everywhere,worth his weight in gold to us...if the powers that be only knew how to exploit his predicament.

Buddy Larsen said...

Bolton & Rice have sure been boxing the media compass the last day or two. And, oh, my, how pellucid, how luminescent, how incandescently glowingly CLEAR have been their words. Condi's theme today was, "The Time Has Come".

CF said...

And if you don't mind replacing your tv set, watch Albright on the subject. Luckily I can't throw as well as I'd wish to.What a disgusting fool.

Buddy Larsen said...

I agree--Albright was a horror as Sec of State, and has continued as a horror in her re-write history mission.

Here's a thoughtful (well, duh) Dalrymple. Islamism ain't about eschatology at all, he says; it's much closer to the bone.

Peter UK said...

The UN has been complicit in the kidnap of Israeli soldiers.The liberal's world government is utterly venal and corrupt but to justify their standpoint they are willing to subject all of us to this deluge of filth.

Buddy Larsen said...

The UN/Hezbollah murder of three IDF soldiers--described in Peter's link--happened five days before the USS Cole bombing, and less than a year before the 911 attack on New York City. FWIW.

Seneca the Younger said...

A "lighting strike" would have been the wrong approach for the IDF anyway. The Hezbullah has had six years to fortify the border --- with the UN watching and doing nothing, feh --- so they're much better off shaping the battlefield extensively.

I especially love the fact that the IDF has been calling individual homes in the area to tell people to GTF out.

terrye said...

Ralph Peters has already decided Israel has lost. Way too many cooks in the kitchen. I am beginning to think that Ralph Peters is getting too big for his britches.