Cutting through the bullshit.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

What's the hurry?

In an extraordinary performance of cognitive flexibility,

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday that Iran was “acting in a very negative way” in the Middle East and that the United States was building up its forces to demonstrate its resolve to remain in the Persian Gulf... “We are simply trying to communicate to the region that we are going to be there for a long time.”

Iran, which conventional maps place in the Middle East, is a negative influence in its own region. The US military, shipped in from thousands of kilometres away, not only is not ‘acting in a very negative way’ as it slaughters its way through Iran’s immediate eastern and western neighbours, but can pontificate about its views of the way the locals behave. And the vast military buildup and the Patriot missiles – just a message.

And speaking of messages, it seems US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice doesn’t even have one of those, averring, “I’m not coming with a proposal. I’m not coming with a plan.”

I just thought it would be nice to take a trip. Have a cup of coffee and a yarn with my mate Tzipi. See how things were going around here.

Plan? We have a plan! What plan? The Roadmap, of course! I know it said Israel would immediately halt settlement expansion. But think of it this way. The bigger the settlements and the more ‘outposts’ there are, the more we can dismantle. So it’s actually better for the Palestinians. Israel will be conceding more.

Sure, the refugees have been languishing in camps for the last 60 years. Sure, the Israelis occupied the rest of Palestine 40 years ago. Sure, we started the ‘peace process in 1993. What’s the big hurry? We said in the Roadmap that we’d ‘reach final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2005’. So? That was only two years ago. We’re still following the map. It’s just that all the signs are in Hebrew and we keep taking wrong turns.

“I think there are openings now that are there as a result of this alignment, there as a result of the obvious desire of Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas to move forward,” she said. “So I think the opening is there, but I can’t really judge until I’ve had a chance to really talk to all the interested parties how we can accelerate the road map, how quickly we can accelerate the road map and how we begin to talk about the political horizon that everybody is interested in.’

Now we’ve decided to hire a driver who can read Hebrew, and we’ll move forward, accelerating right on down that roadmap highway until we reach…the horizon!

A comrade was once giving a talk about Michael Moore’s book, Stupid white men and pointed out that one of Moore’s problems was that he didn’t understand that class was the issue. Sometimes the enemy appears in the form of a smart black woman.

Further to yesterday’s ‘Crosswords’ piece, a reader advises that King Faisal II of Iraq was overthrown not in 1957, as I wrote, but 1958. Sorry about that. I actually meant to double check, and it slipped my mind.

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