President Bush's radio address....

Good morning. This week I returned from Russia, where I met with world leaders at the G8 summit. The summit was an opportunity for important talks with these nations, and it brought progress on key issues. We had wide-ranging discussions on the global economy. We agreed on new steps to strengthen our collective security, including a United Nations Security Council resolution on North Korea. This resolution condemned North Korea's recent missile launches and it urged the North Korean regime to abandon its nuclear programs and return to the six-party talks.

Much of our time at the summit was spent discussing the situation in the Middle East, especially the recent violence in Israel and Lebanon. The recent crisis in the region was triggered by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by the terrorist group Hezbollah and the launch of rockets against Israeli cities. I believe sovereign nations have the right to defend their people from terrorist attack, and to take the necessary action to prevent those attacks.

We're also mindful of the cost to innocent civilians in Lebanon and in Israel, and we have called on Israel to continue to exercise the greatest possible care to protect innocent lives. Throughout this crisis I have spoken to leaders in the Middle East and around the world. Our efforts to resolve this dangerous situation are guided by an international framework that is already in place.

In 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1559, which recognizes the sovereignty of Lebanon, calls for all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon, and calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all militias. Hezbollah defied the world's just demands by maintaining armed units in the southern region of Lebanon and attacking Israel in defiance of the democratically elected Lebanese government.

I've directed Secretary of State Rice to travel to the Middle East in the coming days to discuss the best ways to resolve this crisis with leaders in the region. Secretary Rice will make it clear that resolving the crisis demands confronting the terrorist group that launched the attacks and the nations that support it.

For many years, Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hezbollah and it has helped provide Hezbollah with shipments of Iranian made weapons. Iran's regime has also repeatedly defied the international community with its ambition for nuclear weapons and aid to terrorist groups. Their actions threaten the entire Middle East and stand in the way of resolving the current crisis and bringing lasting peace to this troubled region.

We're also concerned about the impact the current conflict is having on Lebanon's young democracy. This is a difficult and trying time for the people of Lebanon. Hezbollah's practice of hiding rockets in civilian neighborhoods, and its efforts to undermine the democratically elected government have shown it to be no friend of Lebanon. By its actions, Hezbollah has jeopardized Lebanon's tremendous advances and betrayed the Lebanese people.

Over the past week, nations like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have stepped forward to offer humanitarian aid and assistance to the Lebanese government. America and our allies will join these efforts. We're also working to help American citizens who wish to leave Lebanon. American military personnel and embassy officials are working hard to ensure this operation proceeds smoothly and safely. We continue to pray for the safety of all people in Lebanon -- Americans, Lebanese, and citizens of other countries.

America remains committed to lasting peace in the Middle East. The United States and our partners will continue to seek a return to the road map for peace in the Middle East, which sets out the pathway to establishing a viable democratic Palestinian state that will live in peace with Israel. We will continue to support moderate leaders, like Palestinian Authority President Abbas. We will continue to call on Hamas to end its acts of terror. And now, more than ever, the Palestinians need leaders who are not compromised by terror and who will help the Palestinian people provide a future for their children based on regional peace and security.

In the long-term, this peace will come only by defeating the terrorist ideology of hatred and fear. The world's best hope for lasting security and stability across the Middle East is the establishment of free and just societies. America and our allies will act decisively because we know our security is at stake in this struggle and we know the cause of freedom will prevail.

Thank you for listening.




I don't claim to be an expert on United States foreign policy, or foreign politics, or international relations, but for the moment, please bear with me. If I'm off base with any of my ideas, please feel free to set me straight.

Its just that as an individual concerned with ongoing world events, specifically the current Middle East crisis, there are certain things that I can't really seem to put my finger on. I've refrained from writing any posts on the ongoing Israel-Hezbollah conflict since it began, fearing that I wouldn't be able to do justice to the topic. I'm neither a Jew, a Muslim, nor an Israeli or Lebanese. And truth be told, we have our very own share of problems in our own small corner of Southeast Asia.

But as a member of the human family, I cannot help but feel the pain and suffering of those people on both sides as weapons of death and destruction rain on their cities, turning their very lives into a living hell. And we can all partake of this violence in the comfort of our homes, no matter how far. All we have to do is log on the internet, or turn our televisions sets to CNN.

So what is it that finally drove me to break my silence on this issue? Its the radio address of United States President George Bush made yesterday (reproduced above), where he made mention of the ongoing hostilities and the directions his administration will be taking in order to restore peace in the region.

Needless to say, I think some of his statements are just plain bullsh**.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not what some people may term, "Anti-American". I recognize and respect the fact that the United States is virtually the most powerful country in the world in terms of political clout, military might, economic strength, and cultural influence. And my country has considered the United States a valuable friend and ally since World War II. But it doesn't certainly mean that the United States is always right. We have 9/11 to blame for the United States' us versus them outlook. And the context of President Bush's radio address is indicative of the intense paranoia that is now sweeping his administration and dictating foreign policy.

Just like these excerpts:

In 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1559, which recognizes the sovereignty of Lebanon, calls for all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon, and calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all militias. Hezbollah defied the world's just demands by maintaining armed units in the southern region of Lebanon and attacking Israel in defiance of the democratically elected Lebanese government.

- Three years ago, in the absence of a U.N. Resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq, the United States spearheaded the creation of a "Coalition of the Willing" on the premise of uncovering weapons of mass destruction, alleged links to terrorist organizations, and violations of human rights. Now, three years later, Saddam Hussein is in custody, but no concrete evidence has ever been uncovered that there were actually any weapons of mass destruction. There is no absolute consensus that Saddam had any terrorist ties, and while the United States was quick to point out Saddam's guilt when it came to human rights violations, the United States has come under criticism itself for its treatment of prisoners of war. In the absence of a U.N. Resolution authorizing the attack the United States and its allies made on Iraq, the 2003 Iraqi invasion has been described as an unprovoked attack against a sovereign nation, in clear violation of international law. And now it accuses Hezbollah of defying U.N. authority by maintaining an armed presence in southern Lebanon.

Is it okay if the United States defies U.N. authority, but not if another entity does the same?

I've directed Secretary of State Rice to travel to the Middle East in the coming days to discuss the best ways to resolve this crisis with leaders in the region. Secretary Rice will make it clear that resolving the crisis demands confronting the terrorist group that launched the attacks and the nations that support it.

- Hezbollah is a Lebanese Islamist guerilla group and political party, with a military arm and a civilian arm, founded in 1982 to fight the Israeli Occupation Forces who occupied southern Lebanon until the year 2000 and are still occupying the disputed Shebaa Farms area in south Lebanon.

The United States, Britain and Israel consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization but throughout most of the Arab and Muslim worlds, Hezbollah is highly regarded as a legitimate resistance movement. The Lebanese government confirmed it as a legitimate resistance against occupation. Even 74 percent of Lebanese Christians viewed Hezbollah as a resistance organization. (Source: Hezbollah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Does President Bush, or the United States for that matter, speak for the entire world when he brands Hezbollah a terrorist organization? From what I've read and seen from various sources, including the media, it would seem that Hezbollah as an organization is looked up on and respected by the Lebanese themselves, including the duly constituted civilian government of Lebanon, as well as the rest of the Arab and Persian community. Is an entity such as Hezbollah considered an enemy of humanity on the say so of a single country, even if that country is the United States? Shouldn't the United States bear the burden of proof in establishing that the alleged links between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda are more than coincidental or circumstantial?

For many years, Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hezbollah and it has helped provide Hezbollah with shipments of Iranian made weapons. Iran's regime has also repeatedly defied the international community with its ambition for nuclear weapons and aid to terrorist groups. Their actions threaten the entire Middle East and stand in the way of resolving the current crisis and bringing lasting peace to this troubled region.

- Is it unlawful for a sovereign nation to provide aid to an organization generally regarded as legitimate in the Arab world? Ironically, among staunch Arab nationalists, the same accusations can probably be said about the United States, with its almost incessant backing of Israel in terms of policy as well as in terms of actual arms shipments, perhaps even to the point of turning a blind eye towards what may be perhaps excessive aggressive posturing being done by Israel itself. The very weapons pounding the southern part of Lebanon are more likely than not stamped with the words: "Made in the USA".

We're also concerned about the impact the current conflict is having on Lebanon's young democracy. This is a difficult and trying time for the people of Lebanon. Hezbollah's practice of hiding rockets in civilian neighborhoods, and its efforts to undermine the democratically elected government have shown it to be no friend of Lebanon. By its actions, Hezbollah has jeopardized Lebanon's tremendous advances and betrayed the Lebanese people.

- This can be described as United States intervention into matters of pure domestic concern. Hezbollah is recognized as a legitimate organization by the civilian Lebanese government. The United States probably has no business meddling in the internal affairs of another sovereign nation, much less choose its friends for it.

America remains committed to lasting peace in the Middle East.

- And yet it will not support a ceasefire, particularly one that will merely return both combatants to the status quo. The hundreds of civilians dying in both Israel and Lebanon probably don't care about international politics. They just want the death and destruction to end.

In the long-term, this peace will come only by defeating the terrorist ideology of hatred and fear. The world's best hope for lasting security and stability across the Middle East is the establishment of free and just societies. America and our allies will act decisively because we know our security is at stake in this struggle and we know the cause of freedom will prevail.

- Noble words, and the intentions are good. But as we all know, the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. The United States' black and white classification of friend (read: ally) and foe (read: terrorist) is quite shortsighted given the highly fluid political and social dynamics of the different countries in the Middle East. The democratic utopia it envisions the Middle East to be is not something that can be forced down the Arab world's throat through domestic intervention and unbridled support of Israel's aggressive tendencies. In fact, the violence taking place as we speak is doing nothing but encourage and reinforce hatred towards Arabs and anti-semitism in a new generation of Israeli and Lebanese children alike. Handled the wrong way, this conflict may very well be the prelude to a third world war, and the United States will be right smack in the middle of it.

The events of 9/11 have made the United States more paranoid and more myopic, to the point that it is dangerously toeing the line regarding the sovereignty of other countries, all in the name of freedom and eradicating terrorism. If only it was that simple. The end doesn't justify the means. But of course, that's always debatable.

Given that the events in the Middle East are so much in flux, anything can happen at this point. But one thing is certain, for all the posturing the politicians and world leaders are doing, it is the civilians who are paying the price. Release the hostages. Stop the bombings. For God's sakes stop the fighting. NOW.

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