October 12, 2005

Assad's Contribution


This cartoon is from October 2003 and is in our book Black & White World II.

Two years later and Syria has still not been confronted with much more than warnings. CNN reports the latest in Bush's war of words: Bush demands Syria be 'good neighbor'.

President Bush on Wednesday called on Syria's government to be a "good neighbor" in the Middle East, warning Damascus not to interfere in Lebanon, incite Palestinian militants or allow insurgents to cross into Iraq. ...

He also demanded that Damascus pay closer attention to its border with Iraq, where U.S. troops have battled an insurgency since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

"We expect Syria to do everything in her power to shut down the transshipment of suiciders and killers into Iraq," Bush told reporters at the White House. "We expect Syria to be a good neighbor to Iraq."

U.S. officials have complained that insurgents, including Islamic militants linked to waves of suicide bombings, have been crossing into Iraq from Syria.

U.S. and Iraqi troops have launched recent offensives in towns near the border to crack down on insurgents, who have killed hundreds of U.S. troops since Bush declared an end to "major combat" in May 2003.

So why no military action against Syria? In today's TIA Daily, Robert Tracinski notes that a Newsweek article (Dangers in Damascus) places some of the responsibility on Condoleezza Rice.

After the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, warned last month that "time is running out on Damascus," U.S. officials even debated launching military strikes inside the Syrian border against the insurgency. But at an Oct. 1 "principals" meeting, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice successfully opposed such a move, according to two U.S. government sources who are not authorized to speak on the record. Rice argued that diplomatic isolation is working against al-Assad, especially on the eve of a U.N. report that may blame Syria for the murder of Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri.

Robert Tracinski commented:

Rice's argument that diplomatic isolation is "working" has some merit -- under pressure from a UN investigation, the Syrian interior minister and former intelligence chief for Lebanon just committed "suicide" under predictably mysterious circumstances.

But the real goal in Syria is not to "squeeze" them and get better cooperation against the insurgency in Iraq -- as the article implies. The goal is to topple a terrorist-sponsoring regime, and for that reason we should be stepping up our pressure on Syria to include military action, rather than holding our fire. [Emphasis added]

Yet in his speech just last week President Bush said:

... [W]e're determined to deny radical groups the support and sanctuary of outlaw regimes. State sponsors like Syria and Iran have a long history of collaboration with terrorists, and they deserve no patience from the victims of terror. The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them, because they're equally as guilty of murder. [Emphasis added]

"Deserve no patience"? When will Bush's actions match his words?

Posted by Forkum at October 12, 2005 05:29 PM