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Monday, July 17, 2006

We're not blaming Israel

"I will never apologize for the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are." -- George H. W. Bush, 1988

"We're not blaming Israel." -- George W. Bush, today.

That W said the s-word is getting most of the attention in the news reports, disguising the fact that everything he says is s-word. Juan Cole blames the above quote, and the open-mike conversation with Tony Blair that it came from, on W's ignorance. Normally, this would seem to be a good guess--W knows so little, and what he does know is usually wrong (I'm sure Rummy could make that sound funnier). But in this case, I don't think that his "We're not blaming Israel" is based on ignorance of what Israel is doing or has done. It is a statement of policy, just like Daddy's statement 18 years earlier. Israel could crash American-made jets, well-marked with the star of David, into the Sears Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Capitol, and publicly claim credit for it, and the official policy of the U.S. government would still be "We're not blaming Israel." You can go to supposedly the most progressive member of the US Senate, Russ Feingold, and you'll get exactly the same message:
I stand firmly with the people of Israel and their government as they defend themselves against these outrageous attacks. The kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and missile attacks against Israeli citizens are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. The first steps toward establishing peace must begin with the unconditional and immediate return of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Lebanon, Syria, Iran and countries throughout the region must also condemn the actions of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other groups committed to blocking the peace process and must take strong actions to return stability to the region immediately.
In this case, it's not so much that Bush doesn't know the facts. Like his Daddy, he doesn't care what the facts are--and neither does Feingold.