Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 7, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

LOOKING OUT FOR #1....This still hasn't gotten much attention in the U.S. press or the world press, as near as I can tell:

In other developments, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided not to withdraw troops from the Gaza Strip before U.S. presidential elections in November and will brief U.S. officials on his position during a trip to Washington next week, a security official said on condition of anonymity.

....Earlier this week, Dov Weisglass, a senior Sharon aide, discussed the proposed withdrawal with top U.S. officials. The Maariv daily said Friday that Weisglass was told the Bush administration would not like to see a withdrawal before the U.S. election because of concerns of growing instability in Gaza. However, Sharon adviser Assaf Shariv said Friday that no dates for a possible withdrawal were raised during the meetings with U.S. officials.

I did a search through Google News and found fewer than half a dozen references to this. Doesn't it seem like it deserves a little more attention?

It's true that presidents always try to time events to elections. Making sure the economy is humming along in an election year is a time honored practice, for example. But isn't George Bush carrying this a little farther than most?

We already know that, ready or not, he wants a missile defense prototype up and running in October. We already know that his push for war in 2002 was timed to coincide with congressional elections. We already know that he decided against a serious assault against Osama bin Laden's hideouts in both 2002 and 2003 and then suddenly decided to get serious in 2004. We already know that his friend Dennis Hastert tried to prevent the 9/11 commission from doing its job because he was afraid its report might contain bad news that could become a campaign issue. And now he wants to postpone Israeli action in Gaza because it might produce unrest that would look bad during election season.

Like I said, this kind of political calculation is pretty routine for domestic issues, but national security is supposed to be different. At least it used to be. How many more examples like this will it take until people realize just how much our war president is playing politics with the war?

Kevin Drum 11:44 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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