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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hokey Hawkery

Posted 7/28/2006 from IBD:

Foreign Policy: Some decidedly dovish Democrats are using Israel to masquerade themselves as hawks. Watch out for a Democratic election strategy that muddles our vital objectives in the global war on terror.
It looks like some top Democrats have found a way to pass themselves off as Mideast hawks while at the same time undermining our efforts to replace terrorism with democracy. National Committee Chairman Howard Dean last week launched a blistering attack on Iraq's democratically elected Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for refusing to denounce Hezbollah's attacks on Israel. Al-Maliki also condemned Israel's military campaign in Lebanon as "an operation of mass destruction and mass punishment."

"The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite," declared Dean in a speech in Florida. "We don't need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah."

In a letter to al-Maliki, Senate Democrats said the prime minister's statements raise "serious questions about whether Iraq under your leadership can play a constructive role in resolving the current crisis and bringing stability to the Middle East."

A number of Democratic senators and congressmen boycotted al-Maliki's address to a joint session of Congress. They included Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, who asked: "Which side of the war on terror is he on?" Sen. Hillary Clinton, also of New York, did attend the speech. But she called al-Maliki's statements "unfortunate and discouraging."

The prime minister's remarks may have been disappointing. But it's beyond naive to expect the leader of a fragile new Arab democracy to speak kindly about an Israeli operation against an Arab state. We don't dictate who runs Iraq, and pulling the rug out from under al-Maliki, as Dean seems to want, could sabotage the chances of a lasting democracy there — not such a great thing for Israel's long-term security.

Democrats also seem set to exhibit their hawkish plumage in the renomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. The American Jewish Congress and other supporters of Israel have said the war in the Middle East makes this a bad time to yank our representative to the U.N. And so Schumer and Clinton, both of whom voted against Bolton last year, are expected to switch, along with other Democratic senators.

That would greatly lessen the chances of a filibuster by Democrats. The two New York senators have issued strong statements of support for Israel's campaign against Hezbollah.

Bolton, who has strongly supported Israel, was sent to the U.N. in a temporary recess appointment by President Bush last year. Bolton has exposed the institution's immense waste and corruption, and in his renomination he seems to have the votes of all Senate Republicans.

For Democrats, backing Israel in its current confrontation with terror can be no cover for their steadfast refusal to support the long war that Western civilization — including Israel — faces. Instead of standing behind our efforts in Iraq and recognizing the Bush administration's success in using the most advanced technological methods of tracking terrorist communications and financing, Democratic leaders have called for a pullout and charged the White House with illegality.

If hiding behind Israel in the hope it makes Democrats not seem soft on terrorism is Dr. Dean's election strategy this year, he can start digging his stethoscope out of storage now.

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