The party of incompetence vs. the party of not-getting-it

September 11 has arrived, along with pleasant double-digit temperatures in Central California. It’s still a bit too close for a historical perspective, but some things are clear:

Our government responded with a blend of cynicism and incompetence, letting the main perpetrator go free and failing to follow up the Saudi connection, while using the attack to justify an unrelated war — which it then proceeded to screw up massively.

Some people still do not understand what motivates radical Islamist terrorists. For example, consider the following remarks by Barack Obama in an interview with David Brooks of the NY Times:

He said the U.S. should help the Lebanese government deliver better services to the Shiites “to peel support away from Hezbollah” and encourage the local populace to “view them as an oppressive force.” The U.S. should “find a mechanism whereby the disaffected have an effective outlet for their grievances, which assures them they are getting social services.”

The U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.” Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.” He knows these movements aren’t going away anytime soon (“Those missiles aren’t going to dissolve”), but “if they decide to shift, we’re going to recognize that. That’s an evolution that should be recognized.” [my emphasis]

First, Sen. Obama apparently does not understand that this is not a civil rights issue. People who blow themselves up do it for religious-ideological reasons, not because they are lacking ‘social services’.

And second — and this is really shocking — he seems to think that Hezbollah and Hamas have “legitimate claims”! Does he mean that Hezbollah’s claim that Israel is still occupying Lebanon is legitimate? Hamas has only one claim, which is that all of historic Palestine is an Islamic Waqf and therefore Israel must be replaced by an Islamic state. Both Hamas and Hezbollah claim that Israel must be destroyed, so violence is not exactly a ‘blind alley’ for them; rather, it is the only alley.

Does he also feel that al-Qaeda had ‘legitimate claims’ which could have been dealt with peacefully?

In exactly 54 days, there will be an election here in the US, and we will have to decide between the party of incompetence — which, by the way, is also the party of regressive taxation and looting the wealth of the middle class — and the party of not-getting-it.

Whichever party wins, I would be guaranteed to feel guilty after voting except for the fact that our electoral system is so thoroughly broken that my vote — I live in California, remember — will have zero effect. The election will be decided in a few ‘key’ states, and the decision will be driven — assuming that one party or the other doesn’t steal the election — by considerations of race, gender, personality, and class.

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4 Responses to “The party of incompetence vs. the party of not-getting-it”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    I agree with the idea that both parties don’t ‘get it’. No one noticed that Obama has said that the United States must not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons, so that Israel will not attack it. He seems to not understand the very many reasons why whether one considers Israel or not, Iran should not have nuclear weapons. As for McCain he seems too not to get the fundamental reality on the ground. The Palestinians and most of the Arabs and certainly the Islamists simply are not willing to accept Israel in the Middle East. There can be no significant conditions under this point.
    Notice that Bush might have understood this in the beginning, but the Press and the State Department and the Democrats pressed and pressed and pressed and he simply folded to their position.

  2. ME says:

    Obama’s priority as a politician is to relate humble and persuasive rhetoric to the American public in order to enter office and put together an administration of experts in particular areas that will attack specialized areas of foreign policy.

    Charging one individual with a single-issue task with respect to Middle East diplomacy is not the objective in the next “54” days leading up the election.

    If someone has an ailment, some see a general physician before having a specialist attack a problem. Obama has shown broad objectivity with respect to Israel and its autonomy as a Jewish state in the Middle East for the past year and a half while campaigning.

    More intelligent voters with special and particularized knowledge in Middle East dynamics or any particularized issue requiring representation, will likely be sensitive to a generalized speech or commentary designed to appeal to the general populace of the United States, which, as most of us know is very diverse.

    That Obama has evidenced a sensitivity to the general public is good, and the reason Bush was able to get elected twice because he appeals to the everyday person, but Obama also acts with acumen.

  3. Vic Rosenthal says:

    I would add to Shalom Freedman’s comment that the Bush administration turned 180 degrees in its relationship to Israel when the pro-Israel neo-cons (who had disgraced themselves in Iraq) were replaced with the James Baker-type ‘realists’. This latter crew are quite anti-Israel. There is also the influence of Saudi Arabia to take into account.

    To ME: Obama’s Mideast policy is also ‘realist’. Although he ‘supports Israel’, his policies of engagement with Syria and Iran play into the hands of Israel’s enemies. See Freedman’s comment on this point.

  4. ME says:

    I read the comments. There is no mention of Syria or Iran. If replacing “conditions” with “concessions” is what you are trying to interpret as “diplomatic engagement [sic. ‘discourse’]” then thank you for the interpretive insight.

    The comment was not in contest with anything previously purported above.

    The best defense is against the proper enemy.

    Securing sincere support for Israel’s right to pre-emptively defend against attack from hostile mental erratics is not incompatible with any efforts by the United States to draw out further irrationality when Syria and Iran get more and more befuddled and insistent on stubborn and archaic barbarism in negotiations and policy.

    Please refer to prior ME comments on Israel’s right of proprietary determination to fire first.