Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dan Froomkin is a special idiot.

Middle East: In such a way that makes you wonder if he can connect the dots just reading his own column. First he has this piece titled "Snow on the Ropes" after being asked by a reporter who hasn't read up on the history of Hezbollah.

Snow on the Ropes White House spokesman Tony Snow often dodges questions by accusing reporters of playing "what if." At yesterday's briefing , he got a taste of his own medicine. One of the most unsupported reasons the White House has given for opposing a cease-fire in Lebanon is its insistence that Hezbollah would not honor it. Hence, the following maddening exchange yesterday: "Q [Y]ou just said a moment ago that it would be -- it would not be an enforceable cease-fire. How do you know until you have a cease-fire? Why not get a cease-fire, and then if Hezbollah does not follow it, the world community sees that they're to blame. "MR. SNOW: In other words, why not -- because we are -- because what you're asking for is a PR move rather than a strategic move. The question of why not -- "Q Why would it be PR if people are not dying? "MR. SNOW: No, no, no, wrong. Again, Hezbollah is firing, what, 150, 200 rockets a day. Do you seriously believe they're going to stop if somebody in Rome says there's going to be a cease-fire? "Q Nobody knows until you do it, right? "MR. SNOW: No, no, no, don't play 'what if.' That is naive, Ed, it's naive. "Q You're playing 'what if' by saying it's not enforceable. You don't know that. Nobody knows that. "MR. SNOW: Yes, we do. Yes, we do. Yes, we do." Later, asked if he saw a danger in the United States and Israel getting isolated in terms of world opinion, Snow said the greater danger was in the U.S. looking ineffective and losing credibility.
The idea from liberal Froomkin and this reporter is do a ceasefire and Hezbollah would stop and peace on earth as the killings stop because talking is a good thing. The very next item that Froomkin posts is from Warren Christopher titled the "value of talking."
In Wednesday's column , I noted one refutation of Snow's insistence last week that the track record of diplomacy with Syria "stinks." Today, former Clinton secretary of state Warren Christopher writes in The Washington Post that "Syria may well be a critical participant in any cease-fire arrangement, just as it was in 1993 and 1996." Christopher writes that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's " 'permanent' and 'sustainable' solution to the root causes of the conflict . . . is achievable, if at all, only after protracted negotiations involving multiple parties. In the meantime, civilians will continue to die, precious infrastructure will continue to be destroyed and the fragile Lebanese democracy will continue to erode.
Here is the relevent part of Warren's op-ed.
My own experience in the region underlies my belief that in the short term we should focus our efforts on stopping the killing. Twice during my four years as secretary of state we faced situations similar to the one that confronts us today. Twice, at the request of the Israelis, we helped bring the bloodshed to an end. In June 1993, Israel responded to Hezbollah rocket attacks along its northern border by launching Operation Accountability, resulting in the expulsion of 250,000 civilians from the southern part of Lebanon. After the Israeli bombardment had continued for several days, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin asked me to use my contacts in Syria to seek their help in containing the hostilities. I contacted Foreign Minister Farouk Shara, who, of course, consulted with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. After several days of urgent negotiations, an agreement was reached committing the parties to stop targeting one another's civilian populations. We never knew exactly what the Syrians did, but clearly Hezbollah responded to their direction. In April 1996, when Hezbollah again launched rocket attacks on Israel's northern border, the Israelis countered with Operation Grapes of Wrath, sending 400,000 Lebanese fleeing from southern Lebanon. Errant Israeli bombs hit a U.N. refugee camp at Cana in southern Lebanon, killing about 100 civilians and bringing the wrath of international public opinion down upon Israel. This time Shimon Peres, who had become prime minister after the assassination of Rabin, sought our help. In response, we launched an eight-day shuttle to Damascus, Beirut and Jerusalem that produced a written agreement bringing the hostilities to an end. Weeks later, the parties agreed to a border monitoring group consisting of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, France and the United States. Until three weeks ago, that agreement had succeeded for 10 years in preventing a wholesale resumption of hostilities. What do these episodes teach us?
That Froomkin's cheering for a ceasefire does nothing for long term peace as all it does is give the terrorist group Hezbollah time to regroup and rearm themselves. The UN resolutions to disarm them didn't work and Hezbollah has no desire for the continued existence of Israel or Jews in the Middle East. That is the point that Tony Snow tried to make to the reporter who was too busy humming give peace a chance in his/her head. Snow wasn't playing what if, just pointing out ceasefires do not work in this situation.

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