Growing up, I heard my parents tell me to watch how I chose my friends. “You are judged by the company you keep”, they told me. When I was an adult with children of my own, I gave them the same advice. Apparently George Sr. and Barbara Bush didn’t stress that same warning to Dubya.
The recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the White House produced a joint press conference with Bush 43 that portrayed a mutual admiration society between the two men. Sharon is currently facing possible prosecution as a war criminal in a Belgium court for the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon as well as the 2002 Palestinian killings at a West Bank refugee camp in Jennin.
Coming on the heels of that visit is the assassination of the new leader of Hamas, Abdul Aziz Rantisi by an Israeli missile. Sharon praised the success of this assassination while the rest of the world has condemned it. Whether or not this was discussed during the meeting, or whether or not the administration was aware of the plan, condemnation did not come from George W. Bush.
What effect will this have on the American hostages, Pfc. Maupin and civilian Halliburton employee Thomas Hamill? While Hamas is not active in Iraq, support for Muslims of different organizations and Muslims fighting for freedom from the US and Israel in the Middle East has brought about a coalition of support among the various groups. By not condemning Israel, the Muslim world is interpreting that as US support of Israel's action.
Why is the Bush administration aligning itself with a known war criminal? We supported the Iraqi people without supporting Saddam Hussein. We can support the people of Israel without supporting Ariel Sharon and his massacres of the Palestinian people.
While it is our policy not to negotiate with kidnappers, a policy of implied support of Muslim leader assassinations would seem counter-productive to the release of hostages, not only American, but also from other countries that have shown support for the US invasion of Iraq.
Clearly, Sharon showed no concern for the hostages being held. Clearly, by not condemning Sharon’s action in this latest assassination, George W. Bush has shown no concern for the hostages. It is a major diplomatic faux pas that may cost lives.
Perhaps if this administration paid a little more attention to the old maxim that “birds of a feather flock together” they would chose their friends more carefully. Does the fact that George W. Bush chooses a war criminal as a friend put him in the same flock? It certainly would seem that, at the very least to the Muslim world, their eggs are in the same nest. Perhaps the voters will remember that in the upcoming election.
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