Articles, Opinions & Views: The Big Lie About the Middle East - Arab nations don't care about the Palestinians Posted Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006

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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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The Big Lie About the Middle East - Arab nations don't care about the Palestinians Posted Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Yes, it was a great disturbance in the Arab world in the 1940s when a Jewish state was born through a U.N. vote and a war that made refugees of many Palestinians. Then the 1967 war left Israel in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and thus the Palestinians who lived there. But the pan-Arabism that once made the Palestinian cause the region's cause is long dead, and the Arab countries have their own worries aplenty. In a decade of reporting in the region, I found it rarely took more than the arching of an eyebrow to get the most candid of Arab thinkers to acknowledge that the tears shed for the Palestinians today outside the West Bank and Gaza are of the crocodile variety. Palestinians know this best of all.

To promote the canard that the troubles of the Arab world are rooted in the Palestinians' misfortune does great harm. It encourages the Arabs to continue to avoid addressing their colossal societal and political ills by hiding behind their Great Excuse: it's all Israel's fault. Certainly, Israel has at times been an obnoxious neighbor, but God help the Arab leaders, propagandists and apologists if a day ever comes when the Arab-Israeli mess is unraveled. One wonders how they would then explain why in Egypt 4 of every 10 people are illiterate; Saudi Arabian Shi'ites (not to mention women) are second-class citizens; 11% of Syrians live below subsistence level; and Jordan's King can unilaterally dissolve Parliament, as he did in 2001. Or why no Middle Eastern government but Israel's and to some extent Lebanon's tolerates freedom of assembly or speech, or democratic institutions like a robust press or civic organizations with independence and clout--let alone unfettered competitive elections.

One might argue that if the Arab dictators were deprived of the Great Excuse, they might begin to rule with greater concern for their constituents' needs. But why should they be allowed to wait--in the meantime cynically selling their people the Israel Myth--especially since the wait is apt to be long? The Baker commission is quite right in wanting to see sooner rather than later a viable Palestinian state. But the report's airy prescription for frog-marching Israelis and Palestinians into new peace talks perpetuates another persistent fiction: that U.S. involvement is the key to a breakthrough. That contradicts the real-life story of all three of the major peace agreements Israel has signed, with the Egyptians, Palestinians and Jordanians. Each was the result of bold initiative not by Washington but by local leaders, when conditions were ripe. In all three cases, the accords were the product of negotiations begun in secret behind the backs of the Americans. The Oslo accords with the Palestinians ultimately fell apart, but not because of a collapse of U.S. diplomacy; rather, because of a failure of leadership by Yasser Arafat.

The Israelis and Palestinians aren't going to make peace until they have brave, inspiring leaders, which they don't, and when they are sick of fighting, which they aren't. When that time comes, the U.S. can facilitate negotiations, as it has before, but only if it re-establishes its reputation as a reasonably honest broker. In the past, Washington tilted to the Israelis' side but not so much that the Palestinians couldn't live with it. President Bush has turned the tilt into a slap-down. He says he supports Palestinian statehood, but the Palestinians don't hear the words; they grasp the lack of feeling he evinces for them. They take in the unprecedented silences in Washington when Israeli forces overreact; they wince at White House endorsements of what the U.S. used to call illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank. If James Baker had wanted to improve U.S. policy toward the Palestinians, he might have whispered these things into Bush's ear instead of sucking up to the Arab states with his inappropriate and quixotic peace plan. The source...Time
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:16 AM  
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