Bush, on script, says the Gaza war is solely due to the Hamas rocket attacks, in his Saturday radio address:
He got right to the most important issue in analyzing any event in the Middle East: who started it. "This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas". They did so with "a barrage of rockets and mortars that deliberately targeted innocent Israelis." He didn't get around to mentioning the rather more numerous Israeli rockets or whom they might be targeting. (Also, what mortars?)
He did say that "Regrettably, Palestinian civilians have been killed in recent days." Somehow, it's always the passive voice when Palestinians "have been killed," isn't it? He put the blame for these deaths on "Hamas terrorists" who, "as part of their strategy" (8 years as commander in chief and he still doesn't know the difference between strategy and tactics), "often hide within the civilian population, which puts innocent Palestinians at risk." Some of them were "hiding" within their own homes, the sneaky so and sos.
But the Gaza attacks and assault are really the culmination of conflict that has been going on for three years, since Hamas won the Palestinian Territories elections in January, 2006, that Bush almost alone insisted on.
I suppose this was one election that Bush/Rove couldn`t rig. Rice nearly fell off her exercise bike when she saw the surprising results (to her), at her DC fitness club the morning after, on CNN.
Bush at his press conference, later that day, January 26, explained that the Palestinian people didn't "like the status quo" and voted for services, where they might find decent education for their children and health care. "the pot-hole" theory of democracy..mnnn... they are sure getting that now in Gaza.
But since "that reminder of the power of democracy" as Bush declared that day, the Bush administration has tried to topple Hamas by covertly, arming and funding Hamas's rival Fatah, the old status quo, until they were defeated by Hamas in Gaza, in a 'preemptive coup" in June of 2007.
And Israel has attempted to squeeze or suffocate Hamas immediately since the election, with a blockade that has caused grievous suffering on Gaza's people, and from time to time, for good measure, even during the recent six months cease-fire, carried out assassination plots, of Hamas officials.
Now, the official Israeli justification of "Operation Cast Lead', the air-to-ground assault on Gaza, is to rid nearby parts of southern Israel of the threat of the 'Hamas' missles; actually they really are from the Islamic Jihad brigades, but they get lumped, for Israeli strategic and propaganda purposes with the Hamas ruling party.
Also so crucial was what was not said. Just a few months ago Livni (Israeli Foreign Minister) was talking of wiping out Hamas, but that would be unpalatable to much of the outside world as a justification for the assault. So now the talk is of pressing Gaza's government to agree to a new ceasefire. Occasionally someone has got off-message.
At the United Nations in New York, the Israeli ambassador, Gabriella Shalev, also seemed to depart the approved script. "[It will continue for] as long as it takes to dismantle Hamas completely," she said....
The objective of a complete overthrow of Hamas explains the choice of targets in Operation Cast Lead. Instead of just smugglers' tunnels and weapons caches, buildings that might be described as symbols of Hamas power - universities, ministerial offices and police stations - have been taken out.
So much for the power and respect for Gazans choosing their government of whatever stripe, at a ballot box. Bush should have ala Henry Ford - they can vote for any party so long as it were the corrupt Fatah, headed by the 'safe pair of hands', Mahmoud Abbas.
And, has anyone seen any reporters in Gaza? The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israel/ the Defence Ministry had to allow reprorters into Gaza to cover the war.. I suppose the IDF doesn't want the Western or Israeli reporters to see the death and destruction... and therefore, the public to see the harrowing images from scenes of military targets struck: schools, mosques and packed apartment buildings, where so many civilian bodies are strewn. They are on youtube, if anyone can bear to see them.
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!