Sunday, August 06, 2006

Let's Start Talking

A NY Times op-ed piece by columnist Nicholas D. Kristof.

As I see it, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is shooting Israel and America in the feet (and Lebanon in the stomach) each day that he continues his onslaught, with President Bush enthusiastically providing the ammunition.

But since discussions of the Middle East usually involve people shouting past each other, let me stop harrumphing and try to address head-on the arguments of the many readers who disagree.

It’s a tragedy that Lebanese children are dying, but it would be crazy to accept a cease-fire now. That would hand Hezbollah a huge victory and return the Middle East to the impossible situation of the last few years, with rockets still raining down on northern Israel. So the U.S. has to give Israel space to get this job done.

Look at the results so far with the job half done: some 600 dead Lebanese, and scores of dead Israelis; Hezbollah’s rise to heroic status; the strengthening of Syria’s hard-line regime; the weakening of moderates like King Abdullah of Jordan; a boost for Shiite militants in Iraq and around the region; the marginalization of Lebanon’s democracy movement; and the further trashing of America’s reputation around the world.

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