"Victory" is in the air in the Lebanon-Hezbollah crisis, and everybody is claiming it.
On Saturday, the U.S. and France agreed on a draft peace proposal that multiple media sources described as a victory for the Israel and the U.S. Among other things, the draft proposal calls for Hezbollah to unconditionally return the two Israeli soldiers it captured in the pre-hostilities stage of the war and allows Israel to maintain its troop presence in south Lebanon.
On Sunday, not surprisingly, the draft proposal was rejected by Lebanese parliament speaker and de facto Hezbollah negotiator Nahib Berry, and Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Moallem described it as "a recipe for the continuation of the war."
Little wonder Moallem would say that, because it's true. Moallem was in Damascus for a meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers. After a meeting with Berry, he said, "whoever believes they can liquidate Hezbollah with their huge military...is under an illusion." From all indications, Hezbollah has fought the Israeli Defense Force to a stalemate, and is playing from a hand strong enough that it can insist no cease-fire will take place until Israel withdraws its forces from Lebanon. There is no reason for Hezbollah to squander its military "success" by ceding victory to Israel in a peace agreement.
Once again, the U.S. has proposed a diplomatic solution designed to fail. You can make the case that the key Bush administration players are incompetent at diplomacy because they've practiced so little of it. But they've practiced a lot of application of armed force, and as Afghanistan and Iraq clearly demonstrate, they're incompetent at that too.
But what would you expect of an organization headed by a man whose cognitive shortcomings at times seem to border on autism? At a White House press conference Monday morning, young Mister Bush said, "We don't impose liberty." If invading another country half way across the world on false premises isn't an "imposition" in his mind, I'd hate to see what is.
Bush also said at the press conference that, "The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box." If that's the case, it looks like they changed their minds since the last election.
Mister Bush also stated that he remains optimistic about Iraq.
And I’m optimistic they'll soon discover that bourbon is a cure for liver damage.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.