War Bus sounding louder / Ride on the War Bus!
has assured Israel that JDAM-enhanced
bombs will be "situated as far away
from Israel as possible."
-- from news story below
Yeah, check out the map. Let's ratchet up military weapons sales to ALL these nations to the max, right now!
This ain't the Peace Train, it's the War Bus.
The focal target of this hare-brained Bush administration scheme is Iran. Theoretically we're going to arm our ally Saudi Arabia (a feudal monarchy) to the teeth to fend off the warlike expansionist tendencies of Iran.
We're terrified and aghast at Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions.
Is this an appropriate place to point out that Israel has something in the neighborhood of 200 to 300 fission bombs ready to rock n roll, and as a delivery service, the most effective and reliable air force in the region? Israeli nuclear and conventional bombs can be shipped at any moment to any spot on this map.
Yet I've never heard the phrase "Nuclear-Free Zone" mentioned in the last thirty years of "diplomacy" in the Middle East (including Pakistan-India). No superpower has ever mounted a sustained diplomatic initiative to reduce nuclear weapons and their precursor technologies in this region.
As Vleeptron searches the lame-duck, scandal-ridden, foundering, drowning Bush White House for any evidence of psychiatric health, maybe this pending arms sale to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel is one of Bush's "End Times" things. He and Condoleezza Rice are doing The Lord's Work by hastening the region to Armageddon, screening St. John's Revelation movie in Hi-Def in the church basement. It's in the Bible, so it must be coming. The most responsible thing an American foreign policy can do right now is speed it along.
When did we just give up on the idea of Peace and Sanity in Asia? Does closing the book on those possibilities date to Kissinger? Or John Foster Dulles? Was the last moment of a Peace Vision in the Middle East Jimmy Carter's Camp David Accords?
If so, I'm not getting something. What was the fatal flaw in the Camp David Accords? How has it harmed the USA, the world, and the Middle East? Why must the USA never try effectively to broker a stable and lasting regional peace again?
Somebody please Leave A Comment and remind me again, as National Security Advisor and as Secretary of State, what Condoleezza Rice has done that has pushed the Middle East 1 centimeter toward peace?
Doubtless her Nobel Peace Prize is heading for Foggy Bottom on the FedEx truck as we speak, but ... what on Earth for? (Two or three years ago the blogs were all a-twitter with the possibility that in 2008, the presidential race would be Condoleezza vs. Hillary, that eventually we'd end up with President Condoleezza Rice or President Hillary Rodham Clinton.)
Every one of these mutually murderous and genocidal religions and ethnicities lives peaceful lives as neighbors decade after decade, generation after generation, in Dearborn, Michigan USA, and in Amsterdam. Even in Tel Aviv, sometimes they get so peaceful and so friendly they marry each other. The parents go ballistic, until the grandkids are born. Then they all work it out.
For a thousand years they got along, and prospered, as respectful neighbors from Spain, through North Africa, all the way to India. Even today in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula it's common to find the ancient mosque cater-corner from the ancient synagogue.
The neighborhood has rarely been more uneasy and nervous -- but why is that? Where were our political and religious leaders in our lifetime to keep us good, peaceful, respectful neighbors? Where were our Ghandis? Where were our Martin Luther King Jr.s?
Other than being assassinated, why did those kinds of leaders go out of style? Who runs things around Planet Earth in their place these days? More "realistic" kinds of leaders? With tinier, shrunken little dreams?
If we don't give 9mm automatic pistols and hand grenades to teenage dropouts in the inner cities, we shouldn't give weapons of war to the visionless hostile perpetual enemy nations of the Middle East, and the freako sickos who masquerade as their political and spiritual leaders.
Who knows, somebody might get hurt.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
(news wire founded 1917,
headquartered in New York City USA)
Tuesday 31 July 2007
President's Arms Sale Pledge
Ron Kampeas, JTA Wire Service
Washington -- The Bush administration is pledging a 25 percent hike in defense aid to Israel as part of its effort to push through a massive arms deal for Saudi Arabia, but Democrats and Jewish groups say they still want a slew of questions answered before signing off on the plan.
For instance, what specific items will the Saudis be getting? Why do they need the weapons? How can the weapons be adjusted to minimize their potential threat to Israel? What do Israeli military leaders think? And does the aid boost to Israel come with a guarantee?
The unanswered questions have led Democrats to threaten to block the deal. Pro-Israel groups are holding back from such threats but are demanding more answers. "In general, the whole idea of giving these modern arms to what has to be considered an unstable regime is not the greatest idea in the world," said Morris Amitay, a founder of Washington PAC, a pro-Israel political action committee.
The administration's proposal is seen as part of the White House effort to secure increased cooperation from Saudi Arabia in quelling Sunni militants in Iraq, negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian settlement and forging a united Arab bloc against Iran. Officials in Riyadh, however, reportedly are balking at some of the proposed restrictions on the Saudi arms purchases, setting up a potential dilemma for President Bush as he seeks to win over Arab support in the international arena without angering pro-Israel groups and their allies on Capitol Hill.
Saudi officials reportedly have told the administration that they want to avoid a public battle in the U.S. Congress over the deal similar to the one in the early 1980s that erupted as a result of the pro-Israel lobby's failed effort to stop the sale of AWACS planes to Riyadh. But with potential foes already asking tough questions and opposition already bubbling in Congress, which must approve the deal, a fight seems increasingly likely even though Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert publicly endorsed the plan as a means to deter Iran.
Answers don't seem immediately forthcoming. A statement released Monday by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice specified pledges of $30,000,000,000 for Israel and $13,000,000,000 to Egypt in defense aid over 10 years, but was notably evasive about what's in store for Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf neighbors.
"We plan to initiate discussions with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States on a proposed package of military technologies that will help support their ability to secure peace and stability in the Gulf region," the statement said.
Reports said the sales would amount to $20,000,000,000 , but the evasiveness left Democrats in Congress wanting more answers.
Leading the calls for clarity were Jewish lawmakers. "I have deep concerns about the president's proposal to sell $20 billion in new arms to Saudi Arabia," said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) "It is not good policy to provide more arms to regimes that may not be stable or that may not be able to maintain control of the military arms that are sold to them."
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) announced the establishment of a bipartisan group of lawmakers that would introduce legislation to block the deal "the minute Congress is officially notified" of the particulars of the sale, a statement from his office said.
So far, the group numbers six, including two other Jewish Democrats, Jerrold Nadler and Anthony Weiner, both of New York. Its lone Republican is Rep. Mike Ferguson of New Jersey. GOP leaders in Congress have yet to weigh in on the sale.
Congressional Democratic leaders, meanwhile, have adopted a wait-and-see approach.
"We have called for a thorough briefing in September," Rep. Tom Lantos, the chairman of the House's Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement, noting that his committee had been briefed on the sale last week. "We will see where we are then. We particularly want to ensure that these arrangements include only defensive systems and not items that can be used for other purposes."
Speaking on background, top Democrats said terrorism and Saudi instability were not their only concerns. They said they do not trust the Republicans to deliver on the "sweetener" -- a boost in defense assistance to Israel from $2,400,000,000 to $3,000,000,000 a year. These Democrats noted that House Republicans voted last month against the 2008 foreign operations package that includes the latest $2.4 billion installment. Republicans suggest that vote was in part a symbolic protest against increased foreign expenditure, but Democrats say they are alarmed by the GOP's willingness to break a taboo against opposing measures with aid for Israel.
Insiders say the overall package was in the works for months and that the Bush administration had consulted closely with Israel, also keeping informed the pro-Israel powerhouse AIPAC.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its allies within the Jewish community traditionally have said they cannot support defense aid to nations that do not recognize Israel. However, Jewish groups have suggested a willingness to stay out of the way, given reassurances that weapons sales to Arab states are not harmful to Israel.
Olmert may have given the deal his general approval, but potential opponents of the Saudi arms sale are eager to hear the views of Israel's military brass, which in turn is waiting for more details about what new weapons would be flowing to the Saudis.
Much of the angst centers around reports that the package includes the Joint Direct Attack Munition, a kit that converts conventional weapons into "smart bombs." The Federation of American Scientists Web site describes it as producing weapons with "high accuracy, all-weather, autonomous, conventional bombing capability."
CNN reported that the United States has assured Israel that JDAM-enhanced bombs will be "situated as far away from Israel as possible."
The administration argues that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors need the weapons to counter Iran and the threat it continues to pose, even without the nuclear capability it is suspected of developing.
The problem with that argument, some in the pro-Israel community say, is that it does not make much strategic sense. "The U.S. position is predicated on the assumption that Iran will attack Saudi Arabia frontally and the Saudis will have to respond alone -- very dubious propositions both," according to an analysis by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. "Iran is much more likely to subvert the kingdom by inciting insurrection among the Shi'ites in the oil-producing region. JDAMs won't help."
Lantos expressed similar reservations, noting that the Saudis' best defense in case of an Iranian attack would likely be the United States. "There is no merit to the general argument that if the United States does not sell arms to these countries, they will go elsewhere and we will lose influence in the region," Lantos said in a statement. "We provide the kind of security for these countries that others cannot, and they know it."
One pro-Israel strategy was already clear: Make certain the hike in aid to Israel comes through. "We look forward to the successful conclusion of the new agreement," David Harris, the American Jewish Committee's executive director, said in a statement. "It will further solidify the U.S. commitment to assuring Israel's qualitative edge over hostile neighbors."
The statement made no mention of the package's Saudi component.
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Vleeptron Dude leaves a comment
on the pickup of this story
in the Baltimore Jewish Times (Maryland USA)
Any promises and assurances we demand of the Saudis regarding the Bush administration's proposed armaments deal should be judged by this recent standard:
Israel's dropping of (anti-civilian, anti-child, decades-lingering) cluster bombs during last summer's war in Lebanon was a direct violation of the strict and clear conditions under which the US supplied these munitions to Israel.
In other words, when a US administration contemplates supplying weapons of war to any of the perpetually hostile nations in the Middle East, no promises or preconditions or assurances we insist on have any value; the promises are useless, and cannot be trusted.
A mindset of "US weapons for Israel good, US weapons for Arab states bad" misses the point entirely. Regardless of the recipient nation, ratcheting up the arms race in the Middle East is as responsible as the government of Los Angeles supplying assault weapons to the city's street gangs.
A White House promise that, to get Congressional and Jewish approval for the Saudi weapons, the US will mega-increase weapons sales to Israel, is beyond irresponsible. It's insane. It's a Roadmap to the opposite of Peace.
The lame duck Bush administration, mired in scandal and its disastrous blunder war in Iraq, deserted by senior Congressional Republicans, is making these bizarre armaments offers out of desperation, and to divert public opinion from the White House's meltdown troubles.
Jewish-Americans and Israelis alike need to be just sophisticated enough to know that escalating the Middle East arms race is a giant step backwards for regional peace and security for Israel.
By the time Americans clearly realize how foolish and wrong this was, Bush will be in retirement, polishing his tawdry legacy at his presidential library, and Condoleezza Rice will be a synonym for a weakened and worsened Middle East.