Israel a model for Iraq? Or vice versa?

It’s really hard to know whether to laugh or to cry.

President George W. Bush held up Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq, saying Thursday that the goal of the US mission in the war-ravaged Arab nation is not eliminating attacks but enabling a democracy that can function despite continuing violence…

He suggested Israel as a model.

There, Bush said, “Terrorists have taken innocent human life for years in suicide attacks. The difference is that Israel is a functioning democracy and it’s not prevented from carrying out its responsibilities. And that’s a good indicator of success that we’re looking for in Iraq.” — Jerusalem Post/AP

One hopes that Iraq is not the model for a future Israel, with Israeli Jews and Arabs playing the roles of Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites.

Unfortunately, the same kind of inability to share a common vision seems to exist, although internal conflict has not taken off as it has in Iraq. It’s pretty certain, though, that conflict with external enemies — Hamas, Hezbollah, perhaps Syria — lies in the near future. And that, like the 2nd Lebanon War, will stress the uneasy relationship still further.

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