Friday, May 16, 2003


From determination to wimpiness
By Gideon Samet

"The Sharon government had an impressive diplomatic achievement this week. In
the hands of the seemingly clumsy leader, actually a Speedy Gonzales, it
appears the entire diplomatic structure built by the president of the
American superpower with staunch pledges for peace is collapsing.
One small sign of this was a weekend address when George Bush - still
chewing the rhetorical gravel of the vision named for him - suddenly made no
mention of the road map meant to fulfill his vision.
But there is further evidence piling up from every direction showing that,
even before Sharon opens his mouth, the administration has no appetite to
eat the political stew that it had cooked up.
And this is certainly the case after Sharon speaks, like in the interview he
gave in yesterday's Jerusalem Post. With political rudeness, the minute
Colin Powell left, the prime minister said Jews will continue living in
Shiloh and Beit El under Israeli sovereignty. That, of course, was the
absolute opposite of one of those supposedly moderate remarks that he tossed
out in a Haaretz interview a month ago.
In his conversations with Powell, Sharon did not feel any special need to
explain his opposition to gestures. Hearing a polite reminder about a
settlement freeze, Sharon asked, actually mocking Powell, if he was
recommending abortions. The somewhat impressive step under these
circumstances - removing a number of outposts - didn't even come up. The
administration doesn't want to quarrel. Certainly not a secretary of state
isolated at the conservative top.
Because Powell knows what Sharon knows: In the thin atmosphere where the
presidential vision is floating, there's no real desire to push for an
Israeli-Palestinian deal. In their conversations, Powell spoke clearly, but
well understood that the visit was an idle move before Sharon's trip to the
White House. The secretary rejected Sharon's position that the gestures from
both sides have to be "serial." They have to be parallel, without
conditions. He tried to tempt Sharon on the matter of the right of return.
If you make an announcement that Israel will not accept the right of return
in any agreement, he told the prime minister, America will back you up. But
mostly, he filled his mission with reiterated messages that the president is
"determined" to move the process forward.
But the reasons that turned Powell's jaunt into something so wimpy will
continue to play a role in the Sharon-Bush meeting. The reasons have been
listed many times, and the passing time only sharpens them: The president's
aversion to any tension with the Jewish voters, the skepticism in his
surroundings about the benefits of nurturing a radical national movement in
a Muslim region full of dictators.
Because of these reasons and their ilk, Martin Indyk, a former senior
administration official and ambassador to Israel, asked ironically, why
didn't Bush pick up the phone to Sharon to make clear that the secretary's
visit must be a success, accompanied therefore by steps of compromise?
Sharon's opposition to any such moves was so sourly evident that only a very
specific American position could accept it. Which position? The one that has
long assumed that the American strategy does not abide by pressure on Israel
and shoving a Palestinian state down its throat.
In the huge spin before the war, Bush clearly showed that he knows how to
stick tenaciously to a goal, while constantly changing the texts that
explain it. Thus, the elimination of weapons of mass destruction as the
reason for the war quickly gave way to getting rid of a tyrant. In our case,
the exact opposite has happened. The presidential text has become more
determined in its language, but the deed - the manner in which the vision is
executed - is what is changing, fading and evaporating.
This progression of events in the history of the Bush peace initiative -
from determination to wimpiness - is not only Sharon's achievement. The
prime minister's success would not have been possible without a willing ear
in Washington ready to pick up the message. It's the undoubted consensus
among American commentators that the main thing on the president's mind now
is his re-election. So, there aren't many opportunities left to find out if
the Bush vision is worth more than the hot air blown into it. Sharon's trip
to him next week might be the last such chance."

"In the first detailed public comments in months about the possible
whereabouts of bin Laden, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and
General Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told
reporters that they cannot even be certain whether bin Laden is dead
or alive.

''I JUST don't know,'' Rumsfeld said. ''What can I say? WHO KNOWS???''

From The Boston Globe
US sees obstacles in Al Qaeda hunt
Bin Laden, Riyadh link is weighed

By Bryan Bender, Globe Correspondent, 5/16/2003

"....a firm that pays the vice president of the United States a
million dollars a year has now taken over operation of Iraq's oil

"There have been times in U.S. history when such an arrangement would
have been called by its true name: "corruption."

But these are not such times."

From: Moscow Times
Global Eye -- Language Barrier
By Chris Floyd
Friday, May. 16, 2003


"How best to govern the state? First rectify the language."
-- Confucius



"A full month after our great triumph, the critics are as critical as
ever, the United States is still isolated and Iraq has turned into a
seething pit of chaos and resentment.

Instead of being cornered and cowed, al-Qaida is on the offensive,
deploying suicide bombers to slaughter Americans.

And has anyone noticed that Afghanistan has slid back into anarchy?"

From: The spoils of victory have become a huge mess
By Steve Chapman
The Baltimore Sun, 5/16/03,0,1214391.story


"....the war has been a boon to would-be dirty-bomb makers.

The leisurely pace and less than comprehensive nature of the WMD hunt
borders on the criminal. "

From: The Nation 5/16/03
by David Corn



HERE IT IS- HR 3162 107th Congress

Published on Thursday, May 15, 2003 by the San Francisco Chronicle
U.S. Under Fire for Use of Cluster Bombs in Iraq
by Jack Epstein



Thursday, 15 May, 2003, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
Saving Private Lynch story 'flawed'


Bid to Find Tex. Lawmakers Decried
Federal Workers Were Led to Believe They Were Looking for Downed or
Lost Plane

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 16, 2003; Page A27


From The New York Times, 5/16/03:

Paths of Glory


Texas lawmakers end Oklahoma exile

From USA Today, 5/15/03:

Bush feels the heat after Riyadh bombings

From The Guardian, 5/15/03:,11599,956198,00.html

Case proven - war does not eradicate terrorism

From The Times On Line, 5/14/03,,482-679557,00.html


From The Observer, 5/11/03:,6903,953497,00.html