The silly season has officially ended with Obama and his watchers about whether anti-gay evangelist Rick Warren should give the inaugural blessing, or how it came to pass that Obama was caught on camera beachside, in Hawaii without a shirt, of all things.
What has changed for the serious watchers of Obama is the Israeli heavy bombing of Gaza and Obama's complacent reaction, (so far) in the manner of Bush or Secretary Rice.
As a preface, it was always my major complaint with Obama (for domestic political reasons) that he would be nearly as uncompromising and hawkish as Bush, pro- Israel. Obama has declared that he full-heartedly backed Israel`s disastrous and merciless invasion of Lebanon, so it is not surprising that lockstep with Bush and Rice he is implicitly supporting Israel's heavy bombing of Gaza.
First, Secretary of State Rice`s official reaction, verbatim
The United States is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza. We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there. The ceasefire must be restored immediately and fully respected. The United States calls on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza
You will note a complete absence or even hint of condemning Israel. The blame is placed solely on Hamas for their repeated rocket and mortar attacks in which there have been zero casualties or possibly one. There is a complete absence of addressing or calling Israel to lift the blockade or to stop bombing Lebanon in which there have now been hundreds of casualties..you know like for urgent humanitarian reasons.
Most of the Israeli airstrikes appear aimed at government buildings and police stations.
Bush's spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council calls the policemen and Hamas officials, (indiscrimately) thugs ...and the civilians walking by or in the police stations?
"These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately (are the Israelis any less discriminating) kill their own people," Johndroe said in Texas as President George W. Bush was spending the week before New Year's at his ranch here.
And how does Obama`s National security spokesman say Obama is reacting?
Obama, who takes office on January 20, is closely monitoring global events, including the situation in Gaza,"... said his chief national security spokesperson Brooke Anderson.
Anderson however emphasized that "there is one president at a time," a statement Obama has said often since he was elected on November 4.
Wow that`s great... Bush is practically on permanent early/retirement and Obama is just 'monitoring global events" (who isn't?) and is precluded from talking about the situation you know... as a human being.
If he did he would presumably support tacitly 'the Israeli slaughter ' based on his previous sympathetic pro-Israeli statements
In a July interview with The New York Times, Obama said he didn't think that "any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on the heads of their citizens," in reference to rockets fired from Gaza into Israel...(presumably not the other way round).
Update:Glenn Greenwald has an excellent column today, Sunday, and elaborates on some of the points I have raised..I hope Obama realizes, that he should know where this Israeli onslaught is going.
As the Jewish Group J says,
Today's IDF strikes will deepen the cycle of violence in the region. Retaliation is inevitable, though we don't know how far the violence will spread or how many more Israelis and Palestinians will die and suffer in the days and weeks to come
Obviously, blinkered Bush and Rice are going to being seen carrying Olmert's lunch for him, but Obama still has a chance to come out of this looking if not even-handed, fairer than the present incumbents.
The success of his Mid-East peace initiative, when he takes office, may depend on him saying something more helpful than he 'is just monitoring the situation'.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!