Sunday, July 16, 2006

Has Bush's perfect storm finally arrived?

Eight Canadians have been killed after an Israeli air strike on the town of Aitaroun, Lebanon, right on the border. Even scarier is that while 16,000 Canadians are officially registered with the embassy in Beirut, the feds here think there could be as many as 50,000 there.

I can't even imagine how they evacuate that many people when the airport's been blown up and there's a blockade of the harbours. And that's just Canada.

After surfing the chat shows this morning and actually seeing Newt Gingrich and Joe Biden agree on most of the talking points, I had to ask myself if this is the perfect storm everyone has said was going to happen. Rockets are going back and forth between Israel and Lebanon, Iran is percolating, Iraq is going nowhere fast, and North Korea can launch ICBMs on an itchy finger's notice. Rather than containing terrorism and violence to one country, the United States has unwittingly allowed it to spread -- and now faces the possibility of fighting wars not on one front, but four.

And all of a sudden, just as we thought there might finally be some relief in gas prices, we're now paying $1.10 a litre or more and with no end in sight for even higher prices. Makes me wonder if I can take the road trips I'd been planning for later this summer -- within Canada.

Sometime in the next few days, the cost of the Iraq war will have hit $300 billion.

Terrorists must never be appeased under any circumstances -- never -- but imagine if that money had been spent on securing ports and airports, enriching the earned income tax credit (rather than giving a huge tax break to the million dollar club), shoring up weak levies (which could have prevented New Orleans from sinking) and still having enough left over to build some basic infrastructure in some trouble spots in the Middle East and build up two or three more entirely new military divisions -- while trying to find some way to kidnap Saddam Hussein without causing a war that has killed tens of thousands of civilians.

Would America have been better prepared to respond to the current whirlwind? You bet it would have. Would it have been better able to take out terrorists? I think so.

Bush is caught between a rock and a hard place, and he has put himself there. The rock is his sincere although stumbling desire for increased democracy in the Middle East and a resolution once and for all to the question of the Middle East. The hard place is the extreme wing of the evangelical movement who got him elected and favours nothing short of a "final solution" for the Palestinians and Arabs.

He had a chance to destroy Al-Qaeda in the weeks after 9/11. He gave OBL a six week head start, and the maniac's still alive and caused grief to Mandrid and London -- and nearly did the same to Toronto. He had a chance to pummel Hamas. He let them get away with their attacks and now they're the government in Palestine. He had a chance to annihilate Hezbollah. We all know what happened there.

Oh, but Hezbollah and Hamas were democratically elected. Sure they were. So was Adolf Hitler. And thanks to our anti-Semitism as well as his, 12 million were exterminated.

All Bush has given America is short term gain for long term pain. And now the world's paying the price. The man who believes God talks to him must be getting mixed signals. The Communists used to have a saying: "Jesus fed twenty thousand people in one day. We don't have that ability."

I have never thought Dubya to be a bad man -- but rather a basically good guy who's shown bad judgment and gotten bad advice. Until this past week, even I didn't realize just how bad both were.

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