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The heaviest military engagement in the Middle East since the 2006 proxy war in Lebanon is now being fought in and around Gaza. This operation has been very carefully planned and was timed to occur at a point when public attention in Europe and the United States is minimized because of holiday celebrations. Indeed, President Bush is unwilling to break from his vacation on account of the lethal events–a step which would only focus unwanted public attention on his administration and its relationship to these developments. So I wish to speculate: to what extent is the Bush Administration, rather than the administration of Ehud Olmert, the author of these plans?
Consider that the Bush Administration was deeply embarrassed by Hamas’s successes in Gaza. Recall that they were enabled by the blind faith that the Bush team reposed in democratic process to cure the woes of the Middle East. Hamas took the opening that the Bush team provided and waltzed to power. And as David Rose documented in a solid piece in Vanity Fair, Condoleezza Rice sought to make up for her own miscalculations by arming opposing factions in Gaza, setting the stage for bloodshed that cost hundreds of lives.
Hamas’s position in Gaza has been viewed as one of the more severe blemishes on Rice’s foreign policy record, and she and White House Middle East policy manager Elliott Abrams have reportedly been eager to accomplish changes before leaving office. With only three weeks remaining, there’s little time left. And the Israeli tactics employed in Gaza look suspiciously like an Elliott Abrams plan, complete with a test-run for the latest U.S. bunker-busting weaponry, deployed to “take out” those tunnels that Hamas has reportedly burrowed. Internal Israeli assessments of the failed 2006 proxy war against Hezbollah in Lebanon also suggested that the war had been planned and pushed through by the Bush Administration, with Elliott Abrams in the key planning position, over the opposition of senior Israeli military planners.
Are we witnessing a repeat of administration manipulations in Bush’s last days in office? And could the true purpose of this whole exercise be to hamstring the incoming Obama administration as it moves to implement a new Middle East policy?
On today’s MSNBC Morning Joe, Zbigniew Brzezinski is asking the same question
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Amount by which a typical good-looking U.S. worker will out-earn a typical ugly one over a lifetime:
A Japanese inventor unveiled a new invisibility cloak that uses a material made of thousands of tiny beads called “retro-reflectum.”
A couple at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina, left their waitress a note telling her “the woman’s place is in the home,” in lieu of a tip.
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"She never thanked me, never looked at me—melted away into the miserable night, in the strangest manner I ever saw. I have seen many strange things, but not one that has left a deeper impression on my memory than the dull impassive way in which that worn-out heap of misery took that piece of money, and was lost."