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America has started to expedite the shipment of munitions to Israel, according to the New York Times, in order to maintain Israeli stocks as they continue to pound Hezbollah positions in Lebanon:
The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.
The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.
The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israel’s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.
No surprises in this story; the US has provided the same munitions to Israel for decades, and the request to speed delivery makes sense in the current, active situation. Israel has shot off a lot of munitions in the last ten days, and wartime requires rapid resupply. The entire world knows that we are Israel's biggest supplier; we are still known as the arsenal of democracy, after all.
The Times says that this news will get a cold reception in Arab capitals, and that much is probably true, but those governments know of our relationship with Israel already. I doubt that the expedited delivery schedule will either surprise them or cause much more dismay. That sounds more like spin from David S Cloud and Helene Cooper, an attempt to embarrass the Bush administration for following a decades-old military policy with Israel. If we sell them the bombs, missiles, and shells in the first place, why wouldn't we agree to speed up delivery when Israel finds itself at war? And why, exactly, would Arab governments find this surprising?
Some bloggers have picked up on this particular allegation in order to scold the Times from reporting on this story. I disagree in this particular instance, although they certainly have a point on other reporting that the Times has done in the past. In this case, the reporters revealed no covert tactics or secret alliances that would not survive exposure. This reflects foreign policy, and it belongs in the public sphere. It actually reports next to nothing of substance, and if anything, just underscores the Bush administration's solid support of Israel. The White House understands that our war on terrorism includes groups like Hezbollah, and the damage that Israel does now makes our fight easier.
Their report of Condoleezza Rice's statement also strengthens the perception of Bush's support of Israel. Earlier reports had Rice traveling to the Middle East to work out a cease-fire, but the Times makes clear that she will not pressure Israel to stop:
“I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante,” Ms. Rice said Friday. “I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling around, and it wouldn’t have been clear what I was shuttling to do.”
A return to status quo ante cannot be allowed to occur. If the region is to have peace, groups like Hezbollah and Hamas must be dismantled, by force if necessary, especially when they conduct attacks as they have both done this past month. The US, in these actions, make clear that we want changes on the ground before we consider 'reining in' the Israelis.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on July 22, 2006 12:15 PM
» The Treasonous Times Befriends Hezbollah from PartisanTimes.com
The New York Times is reporting that the Bush Administration has approved a rush delivery of precision-guided bombs, or Bunker Busters, to Israel. As the Times notes, disclosure of the Administration's decision to expedite the shipment threatens to ang... [Read More]
Tracked on July 22, 2006 1:02 PM
» U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis from Old War Dogs
U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the IsraelisBy James Joyner Israel is running out of bunker buster bombs, having expended several tons in Lebanon. The United States is pitching in with a new shipment.The Bush administration is rushing a delivery [Read More]
Tracked on July 22, 2006 1:40 PM
Tracked on July 22, 2006 2:21 PM
» A Fair Question from Hard Starboard
We'll make our next visit to the Battle of Lebanon later today, but for now Hugh Hewitt asks a very salient question: [T]he House joined the Senate in passing resolutions in support of Israel this week, and both actions were welcome reminders of w... [Read More]
Tracked on July 24, 2006 11:27 AM
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