Friday, August 4


Syria wants to talk, but Bush ain't having any.

Boy, those Bushies are good at what they do. They don't LIE, see, they just obfuscate, stonewall or infer.

Although the media have reported that no contacts have been made between the two countries over the last three weeks, administration officials have sent vague signals that this might be happening through back channels.

Yes, I heard a number of those inferences, where Tony Snow, Dan Bartlett, Condi Rice and others suggested that "communications" with Syria might be happening behind the scenes.

Not so, says the Syrian ambassador to the United State.

But no communication whatsoever has taken place. U.S. policy remains to ignore the Syrian government. And it remains fundamentally wrong.

The ambassador goes on to say that Bush I and Clinton did the opposite -- they engaged Syria in talks that ultimately, under Clinton, showed promise of a real peace process for the Middle East.

In sharp contrast, the current U.S. administration has publicly dissuaded Israel from responding to the repeated Syrian invitations to revive the peace process. Syria still hopes that this position might change, as there exists a growing alienation against the U.S. and its policies in the Arab and Islamic world, which is undoubtedly creating fertile breeding conditions for terrorism.

Despite offering substantive and productive assistance to the U.S. in its war against terrorism following 9/11 (Colin Powell said the information provided by Syria led to "saving American lives"), the Bush administration and the neocons have never forgiven Syria for opposing the invasion of Iraq.

Concurrently, administration officials devised a new "policy" toward my country: Don't talk to Syria at all, and maybe its regime will collapse.

That is why the U.S. decided to change its 20-year position toward Syrian involvement in Lebanon. Suddenly, Syria's "stabilizing and necessary presence" in Lebanon became, overnight and without any change in Syria's behavior, "an evil occupation that should immediately be ended."

The underlying idea behind demanding Syrian withdrawal was simple: It would precipitate the fall of the Syrian regime, and the U.S. would end up with a new government in Damascus that is both Israel-friendly and an ally of the U.S. Does that have any resemblance to the neoconservative justification for the war on Iraq?
Currently, the White House doesn't talk to the democratically elected government of Palestine. It does not talk to Hezbollah, which has democratically elected members in the Lebanese parliament and is a member of the Lebanese coalition government. It does not talk to Iran, and it certainly does not talk to Syria.

The neocons, John Bolton, Dubya, and Cheney never heard the old saw, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." It's so characteristic of these guys to prefer their childhood schoolyard tactics to diplomacy -- they honestly think if they exclude a country from their privileged circle and call them bad names (as they most likely bullied and tormented the nerds at school), it will make them throw in the towel -- "Help! We can't take it anymore! We just want to be loved and accepted!" Heck, it worked for them back in their high school glory days, didn't it? And it's so much more FUN than the "hard work!" of shuttle diplomacy.

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