What is Behind That News Item?

Posted: July 30, 2009 in News and politics

I really believe that anyone who reads a news item that causes an element of incredulous thought and doesn’t dig via a search engine for more is intellectually lazy.

A good example of this is an item from Alternet.org poking fun at Newsweek’s idea that Bush should be named middle-east envoy. Other than a short quote of the first paragraph or so there is no other direct text from the Newsweek article. So, I decided to check Newsweek on-line to, first verify the accuracy of the article, then check the context in which the premise is made.

The first revelation that raised my eyebrows was the headline, “Should Obama send Bush to Middle-east?” Of course the actual article claims that he should, “Why Obama should make George W. Bush his Mideast envoy.Ok, so it’s an opinion piece. Most opinion pieces that start out with an idea I find ludicrous have at least an element of truth in them. And ferreting out that element is only one reason I read them. Most of the silly ideas I encounter make me think about why I think they are silly. It’s an good mental exercise.

In this particular instance I do see that element of truth which is an example of proving the human population of the world is shrinking. Deep inside the item is this: “During the Bush years, Israelis were consistently among the few foreign populations that gave the American president high approval marksIt’s no coincidence that, during the Bush years, Ariel Sharon had political cover to suggest `painful concessions’ for peace—a euphemism for withdrawal from territory. The unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip—followed by preparations to withdraw from large parts of the West Bank that were interrupted only by the Hizbullah war of 2006—almost certainly would not have happened with anyone else in the White House less trusted to ensure Israel’s safety.

First, I doubt that any sane policy that emenated from the Bush years came from him. His Secretaries of State are most probably the ones who developed policy that made any sense at all.

I will admit that developing a special trust among the Israelis is important; but if you can’t convince the rest of the Middle East that this trust is in their interest ya’ got nothing! Later in the article “Of course, this is all just a fantasy. Bush isn’t about to become anybody’s envoy, let alone promote Obama’s agenda. And Obama wouldn’t squander the capital he has accrued from Arabs and Muslims by making Bush his front man. (After all, what rendered Bush popular in Israel rendered him unpopular in the rest of the Middle East.)” So, convincing the rest of the arab world that Bush’s involvement would be in their interest isn’t even a possibility in the writer’s mind.

My last thought on the article is this idea is simply a mental exercise not worthy of serious consideration.

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