Sunday, November 25, 2007

"If there was a single low point in American diplomacy in recent years, it may have been the Bush administration’s handling of the 2006 Lebanese war. For weeks, while Israel responded to Hezbollah’s abduction of two soldiers on July 12 by heavy bombing of Lebanon’s infrastructure and Hezbollah rained rockets on Israel, the United States blocked efforts to arrange a cease-fire. On July 21, asked why she had delayed going to the Middle East, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice explained that the devastation represented “the birth pangs of a new Middle East — and whatever we do we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one.” When the cease-fire finally came, on Aug. 14, more than 1,100 Lebanese and nearly 160 Israelis had been killed, and the pro-Western government of Lebanon had been badly weakened. There was no new Middle East."