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March 05, 2003

Another example of the beam and the mote

Over the last few days, the US has been humiliated continually by powers much weaker than herself. Here are selected excerpts from news reports, March 1 to March 4, 2003.

First, the issue of Iraq. The Arab League held it’s summit which concluded as follows, according to an AP dispatch dated March 1, 2003:

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt (AP) - Arab leaders said they reject war on Iraq and U.S. threats to remove Saddam Hussein.

Included among these “Arab leaders” who “reject US threats” are Jordan and Egypt, recipients of billions in US aid.

Not to be outdone, Arafat and his gang have also joined the pro-Iraq chorus, and they too are recipients of millions in US aid. The Palestine Media Watch (PMW) reported on March 3, 2003:

The Palestinians continue their unabated verbal attacks on the United States throughout their media. The Palestinian Authority [PA] - Palestine Media Center - quoted Arafat describing the impending US attack on Iraq as a "war on brotherly Iraq". Today's Al Hayat Al Jadida, the official PA daily had two political cartoons - one defining Bush as "RAMBO" going out on an attack, and the second shows the US as an alligator devouring the unsuspecting Arab world.

Another potential recipient of billions and supposed ally is Turkey. The humiliating news from Ankara, March 1, 2003:

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's parliament dealt a stunning blow to U.S. war planning Saturday [February 28, 2003] by failing to approve a bill allowing in American combat troops to open a northern front against Iraq.

The next day, March 2, 2003, AP added insult to injury:

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - A top member of Turkey's governing party on Sunday rejected a quick new vote on letting U.S. troops use the country to open a northern front against Iraq - a second harsh blow to U.S. war planners in as many days.
Russia, dependent as she is on investment capital from the US, is also flexing her muscle. The Jerusalem Post of March 4, 2003, carried this AP dispatch, under the heading, Russia may use veto to stop US-led attack on Iraq :

Russia will not abstain when the United Nations Security Council votes on authorizing war with Iraq, and might be prepared to use its veto, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Tuesday.

Ivanov, in London for talks with his British counterpart, Jack Straw, said Russia "will not support any decision that would directly or indirectly open the way to war with Iraq.

"Abstaining is not a position Russia can take. We have to have a clear position, and we are for a political solution," Ivanov said, through a translator, on BBC World Service radio.
Seemingly undaunted by this type of news, the US continues to humiliate itself with the attempt to collect a majority of votes in the Security Council, a mess brewed by General “Show Restraint” Powell. Here is the AP report from March 4, 2003:

Despite intensive lobbying at the United Nations and in capitals around the world, the United States hasn't found the nine council votes it needs to get its resolution adopted.

Still, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said Monday the United States expects a vote "quite soon" after top weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei report Friday on Iraqi compliance.
But the evidence on Iraq’s non-compliance with the UN resolutions mounts. The last piece of news came on March 3, 2003, as the Straits Times reported:

BAGHDAD - Ongoing excavations have uncovered important quantities of anthrax and VX nerve agent, Iraqi presidential adviser Amer al-Saadi said yesterday.
Amazing! Discovery of WMD, which Saddam assured the world no longer existed!

Besides the humiliation on the Iraq issue, the US also has to contend with North Korea, the former recipient of millions in US food and fuel. AP, March 1, 2003, reported:

Pyongyang issued a dispatch threatening that nuclear war could break out on the Korean Peninsula at "any moment," an escalation of the communist North's hostile rhetoric as international pressure grows for it to disarm.
On the eve of Roh's [the new president of South Korea] inauguration Tuesday, North Korea fueled tensions by test-firing a missile into the sea off its east coast.
Over the last few days, the chutzpah of North Korea increased considerably, as this AP report, dated March 4, 2003, states:
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - After North Korean fighter jets intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane, the communist country said Tuesday the threat of armed confrontation on the Korean Peninsula was growing because of what it called U.S. aggression.
According to a Reuters report in Ha’Aretz, March 4, 2003, the US reaction was to send reinforcements to the area:

WASHINGTON - The United States is sending 24 B-1 and B-52 bombers to the island of Guam in the western Pacific to deter any aggression by North Korea in case of a war in Iraq, American defense officials said Tuesday.
All this is meant in the way of introduction. Here is the point: One would have thought that faced with all these problems and humiliations, and faced with a litter of friends-turned-enemies, the last thing the US would do is criticize Israel for conducting a war of self-defence against the same terrorists who so strongly oppose the US. Not so - the US did, in fact,deem it appropriate to criticize Israel, as the following AP piece by Mark Lavie reports on March 4, 2003:

In Washington, the Bush administration urged Israel to protect the lives and welfare of innocent Palestinians as the government cracks down on militants.
"We have long stated that Israel has a right to defend itself, but it's important for Israel to act in a way that is reflective of the needs and the legitimate aspirations of the innocent," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters. "We have concerns about actions that go beyond and that bring harm to the innocent, including innocent Palestinians."
What makes this criticism all the more galling is the fact that it comes on the heels of a report from Iraq, according to which the US/British air strikes killed six civilians (quoted from a Reuter report via Ha’Aretz, March 3, 2003):
BAGHDAD - Iraq said on Monday that U.S. and British warplanes killed six civilians and wounded another 15 in raids on Basra, but Washington said the jets struck military targets after coming under anti-aircraft fire.
Not to mention the carnage caused by the US/UK bombing of Serbia, claiming well over a thousand lives of civilians; not to mention the 600 plus Panamanians killed by US troops in the operation to capture Noriega; not to mention a thousand and one US operations of this kind, “that bring harm to the innocent”, in the poetic words of Ari Fleischer.

Like I said, another example of the beam and the mote.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.