Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mr. Rogers on Syria

Tammy Bruce makes an excellent point regarding Bush's rhetoric concerning Syria and it support of terrorists sneaking into Iraq. First the quote from Bush:

On Wednesday, President Bush called on Syria to be a "good neighbor" in the Middle East, warning Damascus against interfering in Lebanon and allowing insurgents to cross into Iraq.

"We're making good progress toward peace in the Holy Land, but one of the areas of concern is that foreign countries such as Syria might try to disrupt the peace process by encouraging terrorist activities," Bush said.

"We expect Syria to do everything in her power to shut down the transshipment of suiciders and killers into Iraq."

Al-Assad said that the United States cannot control its border with Mexico so Syria cannot be expected to keep people from sneaking into Iraq.
Now Tammy's comments:
Our troops are still fighting uniformed Syrian army troops at the border of Syria and Iraq.
But another kicker for me is the nature of the president's rhetoric lately. Right after September 11, it was "you're either with us or with the terrorists." Well, we know Syria is with the terrorists, but not only does that not matter, President Bush has managed to morph from Jimmy Carter, to Sally Field and now he seems to be channeling Mr. Rogers. He asks Syria, one of the most oppressive and murderous regimes on Earth, to "be a good neighbor"!!!

From wanting terrorists "dead or alive" to asking them to be "good neighbors," is a striking shift in attitude. I don't know if we're seeing the real GWB or if he has been in DC long enough where he has slumped into being a typical politician.

I'm afraid either way, if our new national security policy in dealing with terrorist nations is to ask them nicely to be good neighbors, we're in a lot of trouble.

Where, oh where, has my Cowboy gone?
I snipped a portion of her remarks that focus on the US border with Mexico, which doesn't particularly concern me. But I have also noticed lately that Bush's rhetoric has gone somewhat -- how shall I say it? -- international in tone. If Ms. Bruce is correct that we are fighting uniformed Syrian soldiers (and I have no cause to doubt her, I just haven't heard that before) then isn't this pretty clearly a cassus belli? At least this should fall into the category of Not-With-Us-Therefore-Against-Us.

Arguably, we are currently hesitating to take a hard line with Syria because we want to remain focused on Iraq. But if Syrian involvement is part of the reason for the continued instability of Iraq, doesn't this become a vicious cycle? Back when the Lebanese were celebrating the withrdrawal of Syrian troops, I was ready to cheer President Bush as at least partly responsible, and I still think that is true. But if we don't follow up with more than empty UN-style complaints, we will find the opportunity has been squandered.

In recent discussion with my fellow conservatives who are also disappointed with the Miers nomination, we keep coming back to the point that, regardless of his lack of a conservative domestic policy, Bush still needs our support because of the War on Terror. I hate to think that that might not be as true as it once was.

On a side note: I am not sure if this is important but it has been a long time since I have heard anyone call this region "The Holy Land" in an official statement. Is this an attempt to manipulate the evangelical base? It strikes an odd note, somehow.

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