I realized this morning, Bush, that I spend entirely too much of my time talking about death, and the realization pains me. Yesterday's evening news headlines--at least on the BBC World News--reported on the latest suicide bombing in Israel. Nine people dead in front of a fast food restaurant in Tel Aviv. Apparently without shame or sorrow, Islamic Jihad took credit for the deaths; and I recalled the piece on last Sunday's Sixty Minutes program where the jihadists interviewed in Israeli jails regretted only that they had not succeeded in killing more. Hamas, now holding the seat of Palestinian government by popular vote, continues to call for the destruction of Israel as its central policy, and to characterize the actions of those who kill--and those who organize the killings--as resistance.
So where is the Ghandi or the Dr. Martin Luther King who could lead the Palestinians down a different path of resistance, to achieve those of their goals that are legitimate? Who will teach them the simple lesson, taught so often over the centuries by the blood of innocent human beings, that violence breeds only more violence? Under constant attack by rockets and suicide bombers such as ths one, the Israelis are constrained to defend themselves, and I see no way for them to do it other than target those who fire the rockets and make the bombs. Otherwise, what... they sit around and wait for the rockets to fall on their towns, and for the suicide bombers to arrive in their cities?
It's a tragic situation, made worse by political intransigence, racial hatred, and religious intolerance. Perhaps we, the last remaining "superpower," would have had some wise intermediary role between these two bitter enemies had we not blown any chance of being perceived as fair in the Arab world. Thanks to our aggression and our failure to read the trends of history and culture in the region, we have lost the ground on which we might have stood.
And meantime, here's the kicker: in today's Los Angeles Times headline, oil passes $70 a barrel. That's what it's all about, Bush, isn't it? In all honesty? Your grand statements to the contrary, this whole thing is not about peace, or freedom, or democracy, it's about the oil. You too could have led us down a different path, toward careful husbandry of the world's resources and toward new, renewable energy sources. But no. You're an oilman, from an oilman family. Your powerful friends are oilmen. I hate to say it, Bush, but if you were to bleed, Bush, it would likely be oil that oozes from your arteries. It's others who are left to shed the blood.