Peace Like A River

It was a wide river, mistakable for a lake or even an ocean unless you'd been wading and knew its current. Somehow I'd crossed it... Now I saw the stream regrouped below, flowing on through what might've been vineyards, pastures, orhards... It flowed between and alongside the rivers of people; from here it was no more than a silver wire winding toward the city. - Leif Enger, Peace Like A River

Friday, July 21, 2006

The stalwart Democrats

On Thursday the House voted 410-8 to agree to the resolution in support of Israel. One Republican (Paul) voted No. Seven Democrats (Abercrombie, Conyers, Dingell, Kilpatrick (MI), McDermott, Rahall, Stark) voted No. Also, four Democrats (Kaptur, Kucinich, Lee, Waters) voted Present.

As Forbes points out, it was a remarkable display of unity on foreign policy.

The House, displaying a foreign affairs solidarity lacking on issues like Iraq, voted overwhelmingly Thursday to support Israel in its confrontation with Hezbollah guerrillas.

The resolution, which was passed on a 410-8 vote, also condemns enemies of the Jewish state.

House Republican leader John Boehner cited Israel's "unique relationship" with the United States as a reason for his colleagues to swiftly go on record supporting Israel in the latest flare-up of violence in the Mideast.

Little of the political divisiveness in Congress on other national security issues was evident as lawmakers embraced the Bush administration's position.

So strong was the momentum for the resolution that it was steamrolling efforts by a small group of House members who argued that Congress's pro-Israel stance goes too far.

On Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi released a statement that was downright shocking in its tough talk.

I will support this resolution and urge my colleagues to do so as well. At a difficult time for the state of Israel, this resolution reaffirms our unwavering support and commitment to Israel and condemns the attacks by Hezbollah. The seizure of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah terrorists was an unprovoked attack and Israel has a right and an obligation to respond.

As the fighting rages, it is imperative that the combatants take whatever steps they can to lessen risk to innocent civilians. The world knows too well the horrors of war. But there are ways to offer some degree of protection to civilians, and it is right to insist that those ways be chosen. Using civilians as shields by concealing weapons in civilian areas, as done by Hezbollah, is inconsistent with affording them protection, and this resolution properly condemns that action. Protecting civilians also means getting our citizens out of harm's way as quickly as possible. I urge the Bush Administration to expedite its efforts to bring to safety those Americans who want to leave Lebanon.

This attack would likely not have been possible without the explicit authorization of Hezbollah's main supporters, namely Iran and Syria. Hamas and Hezbollah are committed to the destruction of Israel, and Iran and Syria aid and abet efforts to achieve that goal. We must ensure that Iran and Syria understand the depth of the commitment of the United States to the state of Israel by using every diplomatic tool at our disposal.

Syria has repeatedly demonstrated it is a rogue state, which is why we passed the Syria Accountability Act more than two years ago. However, we must now fully implement all the sanctions spelled out in the legislation. In order to address the Iranian support of terrorists, I urge the passage of the Iran Freedom Support Act.

Although, careful inspection might reveal why the Democrats were so supportive of the measure, and why Pelosi acknowledged that *gasp* Syria and Iran are behind Hezbollah's terrorism.

First of all, it is Israel currently engaged in military action, not the US. So, the Democrats can easily say "Let Israel fight the terrorists." God forbid we fight terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere, but Israel has "a right and an obligation to respond" to acts of aggression against it. Israel is a freebie, an opportunity to look tough on foreign policy without having to commit the US to anything.

Second, Pelosi refers to the Syria Accountability Act. The penalties outlined in that Act were nonmilitary options, such as sanctions, and restrictions on exports and travel.

Also, Pelosi refers to the Iran Freedom Support Act, which I agree should be passed. That Act also calls for sanctions, and calls for support of democracy in Iran. No military options are outlined in that Act.

So, Pelosi refers to two good Acts, but neither involve the threat of military action on the part of the US.

The Democrats can be commended for supporting this resolution, but oh, if only they were just as supportive of US efforts to fight terrorism.


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