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"Foggy Bottom?" That's Putting It Mildly.

In P. J. O'Rourke's classic treatise on the American government, "Parliament Of Whores," he briefly considers abolishing the State Department, but relents -- he says, as I recall (my copy's on loan right now), "it gives us a place to stick our overeducated Ivy League twits."

I think I'm starting to reconsider the utility of that particular agency.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah -- a duly certified terrorist group that has killed literally hundreds of Americans, among many, many other victims -- recently staged a brief insurrection against the Lebanese government. They didn't overthrow it, but they weren't trying to -- just to send a message that they could if they weren't left alone. And in response, the Lebanese government made all sorts of concessions in exchange for being allowed to continue to rule in name (and, for that matter, live).

Among the concessions:

  • Hezbollah can continue to utterly ignore UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and not only remain armed, but build up its weapons stockpiles even higher and retain effective control of southern Lebanon.
  • Hezbollah will have veto power over the Lebanese government.
  • Hezbollah's communications infrastructure -- including its own phone system and spy cameras monitoring Lebanon's airport.

So, how does the State Department react to this news that a terrorist group will not only be granted an autonomous "state within a state" in Lebanon, but also be made an essential part of the government?

"A necessary and positive step."

Lucky, lucky Israel. Three of its neighbors are now at least partially governed by terrorist organizations. On the West Bank, Fatah (the heirs to the PLO) are the quasi-legitimate government. In Gaza, Hamas holds legitimate political power. And now southern Lebanon can effectively be called "Hezbollahstan," as the Lebanese government has no authority over that territory. Indeed, it can be argued that Hezbollah holds more power than the Lebanese government; they will control enough of a voting bloc to veto any action by the government, anywhere in the nation, but the government can't do a damned thing in southern Lebanon without Hezbollah's consent.

In other cases, terrorist groups have won legitimacy and achieved their goals by giving up on terrorism and working through politics. But here, another lesson is being learned:

You don't have to give up on terrorism to achieve political legitimacy. Instead, you can try both approaches at the same time. They have discovered that if you work through both bullets and ballots, you can win legitimacy through brute force.

For those who need such things spelled out for them, this is A Bad Thing. After all, "nothing succeeds like success," and granting legitimacy to terrorist organizations who win it from the barrel of a gun simply encourages others to emulate them.

And won't that be just ducky?

This is what the State Department calls "a necessary and positive step."

Perhaps. But positive for who?

The side of civilization? I think not.

It's time for the State Department to get a thorough purging. I had hoped that Condoleezza Rice could do some good, but apparently she's either unable to pull it off or has been captured by the system. If this "Assistant Secretary of State David Welch" thinks that enshrining Hezbollah into the formal legal government is "a necessary and positive step," and that is left to stand as the official State Department's official position, then that's all the proof I need that we need to fire every one of them, raze the building, and start from scratch.


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Comments (14)

We are moving closer to a r... (Below threshold)

We are moving closer to a resumption of the Israel / Hezbollah war.

This time with a lot more casualties among Israel, Hezbollah and the Lebanese.

Jay - You forgot t... (Below threshold)

Jay -

You forgot the part about sowing the ground with salt.

Details matter, man.

A country club republican l... (Below threshold)

A country club republican like George walks into the White House, allows Clintonistas to keep their jobs throughout the executive branch-- all in the name of bipartisanship, of course--and anyone can possibly be surprised at the gutless, limp-wristed anti-American results???

P.J.O'Rourke's halcyon days... (Below threshold)

P.J.O'Rourke's halcyon days were during the Kenney-Hendra-Hughes era at National Lampoon circa 1975 (pre-1966 Mad Magazine's only real rival for laughs per page). I'll grant him that.

As for Parliament of Whores: I don't know. It was late to the ballgame for one (See Hunter S. Thompson's far superior "Fear and Loathing On the Campaign Trail"), and it's too Gee Whiz! for my taste. It's too broad and it writes DOWN to the reader and has too many factual errors, i.e. "God" is unconstitutional when mentioned during official government business. WTF! Where is that written? & c.

"Hezbollah can continue to utterly ignore UN Security Council Resolution 1701..."-JT

And how many UN resolutions has Israel defied? (Caution: You'll need to borrow all the Wizbang contributors' fingers and toes to 'cipher it.)

(Citing the UN is a sucker move.)

As for the Lebanon problem, when Israel created a fifth column within Syriacentric Lebanon by compromising the Christian community through use of its elite families as Israeli military proxies against Syria, naturally all hell broke out in the center of the Syria-Israel chessboard. Israel's shaky performance during the Yom Kippur war seems to have motivated this policy. It threw Lebanon into civil war with the Christians taking the brunt of the punishment. The weakening of Syrian control by the resultant Israeli invasian of 1980 has resulted in growth of the un-Syrian Shiite power base. And on and on. Blow-back.

As for the State Dept. needing a thorough purging: that's how Vietnam happened: because the State Dept had been purged in the wake of China falling to the Communists in 1949. As if cutting off of arms sales to Chaing was under the jurisdiction of careerist bureaucrats. It was an executive decision foisted-off on the little guys, which allowed Jay Tea's present argument to be employed in the 50s to clear the way for the blindly stubborn run-up and build-up of MACV resulting in the fall of Saigon and Phnom Pen.
No matter which side one comes down on regarding pro or con policy, the best clues within the US government of the policy source (except for the chief executive himself) is....the under-secretaries, i.e. Under-Secretary of State for such-and-such. APPOINTEES, ALL. NOT bureaucrats)
Usually these folks are finessed-in by the president's backers as favors owed. They can often work at cross purposes.
Read Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest". The action (and compartmentalizing cover-ups) takes place under the aegis (mostly) of Under-Secretaries. Often true power resides there as opposed to the PR-friendly cabinet Secretaries who are too often empty suits who sign on the "x".

The state dept is nearly as... (Below threshold)

The state dept is nearly as bad as the UN. It's made up of career political hacks embedded like cockroaches. No Sec of State could purge them, even if it was Bolton.

Be safer to have a total re... (Below threshold)

Be safer to have a total recall of nuts and raze the building with them in it, or as a life long democrat (and farmer) said this week about congress, we can pray for a nuclear bomb to land in the middle of it while in full session. There is no other hope with the current leadership.

Bryan, note I said UN SECUR... (Below threshold)

Bryan, note I said UN SECURITY COUNCIL resolutions. Those have actual authority behind them. General Assembly resolutions are simple majorities, and guess what happens when a majority (or, at least, a significant percentage) of those votes are on the behalf of dictatorships, monarchies, tyrannies, theocracies, and the like?

Here's a hint: North Korea and Myanmar together have twice the voting power as the United States -- never mind that we're usually the first ones who are called upon to do the enforcing, and we contribute (last time I checked) between 20% and 25% of the UN's grotesquely bloated budget.

General Assembly Resolutions, like the one that equated Zionism with racism? Screw 'em.


"Israel's shaky performance... (Below threshold)
GarandFan Author Profile Page:

"Israel's shaky performance during the Yom Kippur war seems to have motivated this policy."

So you get hit with a surprise attack and still end up winning, your performance rating is "shaky".

If I understand the whole r... (Below threshold)

If I understand the whole resolution (1701) what the UN Security council did was to recall all (or many) previous resolutions on Lebanon and instituted the new one, UNSC 1701.

Which, in essence, is a resolution that calls on Israel and Lebanon to do certain things. Hizballah is mention exactly twice. Once in the beginning to establish who attacked who on July 12, 2006 and the second time to call that they stop attacks, but not before it states numerous conditions on Lebanon in the "7 step plan" and on Israel.

And it merely "emphasizes the need" to release abducted Israeli soldiers without mentioning that Hizballah has/had them, not Lebanon.

It also says other states "shall take the necessary measures to prevent" the supplying or selling of weaponry, ammunition or other military supplies to those within Lebanon unless authorized by the Lebanese government. (Didn't we just talk about members of Hizballah that are IN the Lebanese government?)

No further demands were put on Hizballah other than a cease-fire. Not that they must cooperate in any fashion or disarm, but now that they've thwarted every attempt for Lebanon to gain control of its own territory, and gathered more arms and power in the process, we're to consider legitimizing them as "A necessary and positive step."

Do I understand it correctly?

Certainly with respect to L... (Below threshold)

Certainly with respect to Lebanon, previous to the war started by Hezbollah, Israel had already complied with UN Sec Council resolutions on withdrawal from the last bits of Lebanon it had occupied. Hezbollah decided to use as a casus belli that Israel was occupying an area that the UN itself had decided - certifying Israel's compliance with the resolution at issue - was part of Syria.

How shocking to learn from ... (Below threshold)

How shocking to learn from Jay that the foreign policy of the US is set by Assistant Secretaries in the State Dept. I used to think it was set by the President, or the Sec. of State as his proxy.

"How shocking to learn from... (Below threshold)

"How shocking to learn from Jay that the foreign policy of the US is set by Assistant Secretaries in the State Dept."-b

I think you mean moi. I cite Halberstam. Our most recent history cites Feith and Wolfowitz.

(Rumsfeld was there for photos and Patton impersonations, Rice is an empty skirt.)

"So you get hit with a surprise attack and still end up winning, your performance rating is "shaky"."-GF

Yes. Saints Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan were kicked out of government ignominiously. The war was negotiated down unlike the surrender of 1967. The Israeli government also felt compelled to accept charity grants from Uncle Sucker because of a crisis of confidence, viz. Arab sand monkeys who got the drop on the vaunted IDF. Which led to the Camp David Peace Accords and normalization of relations with Egypt AS EQUALS, contrary to Zionist orthodoxy. It was Begin's Nixon-in-China come-to-Jesus moment and reality check. Israel is still shaken thus the Zionist outliers frenetically seek to influence US government policy(see Feith and Wolfowitz; or the Aipac spy trial now).

P.S. Was Stalin "shaky"? And did he trounce Germany in the end? Yes and Yes. The end.

<a href="http://www.state.g... (Below threshold)
mike d:

Vomit-inducing press briefing by the aforementioned DSOS Welch is here.

"Vomit-inducing press brief... (Below threshold)

"Vomit-inducing press briefing by the aforementioned DSOS Welch is here.
Posted by mike d"

OOPS! So Brian wasn't the confused one! Sorry, Bri-bri!

(I blame my misdirection on Jay Tea's damn O'Rourke fetish which I fell on to like MSG on fried rice.)






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