I READ THE FOLLOWING article during a break in a workshop I am attanding today and felt like grabbing my face with both of my hands and with several rolls of my eyes I would scream aloud "O The Humanity...." or something like that. Instead I merely said, under my breath, "...Bush should face a firing squad for this..."
Seymour Hersh is a prophet in these terrible times.
Bush says Israel defeated Hezbollah
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer 25 minutes ago
President Bush said Monday that Israel defeated Hezbollah's guerrillas in the monthlong Mideast war and that the Islamic militants were to blame for the deaths of hundreds of Lebanese civilians.
Bush admonished Iran and Syria for backing Hezbollah, which captured two Israeli soldiers on July 12 igniting the conflict. Both sides claimed victory Monday, hours after a U.N.-brokered cease-fire took effect, while Bush said Israel prevailed.
"Hezbollah attacked Israel. Hezbollah started the crisis, and Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis," the president said at the State Department after a day of meetings with his top defense, diplomatic and national security advisers.
The United States backed Israel in the war, and Bush made clear he was determined to help the Israelis in the post-fighting struggle of words about who wound up on top.
The president portrayed the war, which killed about 790 Lebanese and 155 Israelis, as part of a broader struggle between freedom and terrorism. He said one can only imagine how much more dangerous such a conflict would be if Iran possessed nuclear weapons.
Bush said Hezbollah lost, though Israel didn't knock out the guerrillas.
Israel's prime minister and Bush said the offensive eliminated the "state within a state" run by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, however, declared that his guerrillas achieved a "strategic, historic victory" over Israel.
"Hezbollah, of course, has got a fantastic propaganda machine, and they're claiming victories," Bush said. "But how can you claim victory when, at one time, you were a state within a state, safe within southern Lebanon, and now you're going to be replaced by a Lebanese army and an international force?"
Bush said a United Nations-brokered cease-fire was an important step toward ending the violence, yet he acknowledged that the truce was fragile.
"We certainly hope the cease-fire holds because it is step one of making sure that Lebanon's democracy is strengthened," Bush said.
The U.N. plan calls for a joint Lebanese-international force to act as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah militiamen. France and Italy, along with predominantly Muslim Turkey and Malaysia, have signaled willingness to contribute troops to the joint force, but consultations are needed on the force's makeup and mandate.
Bush spoke on the phone early Monday to Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, and Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said Italy's troops could be ready within two weeks.
"There's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon, and that's going to be a Lebanese force with a robust international force to help them seize control of the country — that part of the country," Bush said.
On Bush's first day back from vacation, his motorcade traveled between the White House and State and Defense departments for meetings on transforming the U.S. military, on homeland security and on the warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sectarian violence has surged in Iraq and created what some consider the greatest threat to stability there since Saddam Hussein's government was toppled three years ago. Meanwhile, efforts to get North Korea and Iran to restrict their nuclear ambitions remained stalled.
"We live in troubled times, but I'm confident in our capacity to not only protect the homeland, but I'm confident in our capacity to leave behind a better world," Bush said at a meeting at the Pentagon where he sat between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney.
His words sought to calm jitters about last week's arrests of more than two dozen people in England and Pakistan accused of plotting to blow up as many as 10 passenger planes flying between Britain and the United States.
The nation's safety looms large as an issue in the midterm elections. Both Republicans and Democrats are maneuvering for political advantage with control of Congress at stake.
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.