The LA Times is reporting that Bush Administration officials and agencies seek an Israeli “exit strategy” that would limit the IDF’s current engagements in the Gaza Strip to prevent the sort of weeks-long shadowboxing it experienced attempting to ferret Hezbollah out of its Lebanese strongholds in 2006.
President Bush has been a steadfast supporter of Israel’s right to take whatever steps it considers necessary for its defense, and U.S. officials are not pressuring Israel to stop fighting before it believes it can safely do so.
But the State Department must deal with the growing international pressure for a halt in the campaign. U.S. officials are calling for a “durable” cease-fire — meaning the Israelis need to stop fighting only after Hamas has done enough to convince them that rocket attacks will not soon resume within hours.
Yet U.S. officials have keen memories of what happened in Lebanon. The administration gave broad support to that campaign, which Israeli officials said could “eviscerate” Hezbollah. The war, which lasted 34 days and involved intense ground and air attacks, strengthened America’s enemies and weakened its friends in the region, most observers agree.
With each successive conflagration in that part of the world, it becomes clearer that it is the United States itself that requires an “Israeli exit strategy.” Indeterminate and intransigent support for Israel by the United States- whether it be monetary aid or political encouragement- is unjustified and unsustainable. The management of a global empire has always been an impossible task, and in the age of Katuysha rockets and suicide bombings, when terrorist networks can organize their activities with cell phones and e-mails across continents, the task threatens the integrity of the mother country itself. The United States must disengage and dissociate from its acquired imperial obligations and return to its classical republican foundation.Published in