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Thursday, May 15, 2008

War of Words, Bush, Obama and Lieberman

President George Bush made a statement to the Israel Knesset this morning, where he pointed out the dangers of appeasing terrorists and compared it to 1939 when an American Senator thought if he had spoken to Hitler the war would have been avoided.
Although President George Bush did not mention and party or politician by name, it is being reported it was a direct "sharp but veiled attack" on Barack Obama and the Democratic party.

Bush's statement regarding appeasement, which was part of a longer speech made in Jerusalem, included the following comment:

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history. (Applause.)

Although no specific names were mentioned by Bush, Barack Obama immediately lashed out in statement to CNN, saying:

"It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack," Obama said in a statement released to CNN by his campaign. "It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel…."

"George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel," Obama's statement said.

Obama asserts that he he has never supported "engagement with terrorists" but according to his own website on the Foriegn Policy page, it states, "Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions...."

On that same page, under the "talk to friends and foes" category, it states, "Obama is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe."

Enter Joseph Lieberman, Independent Democratic Senator for Connecticut who has endorsed Republican presidential candidate John McCain and in his statement he asserts that president Bush is "exactly right".

"President Bush got it exactly right today when he warned about the threat of Iran and its terrorist proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah. It is imperative that we reject the flawed and na├»ve thinking that denies or dismisses the words of extremists and terrorists when they shout “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” and that holds that—if only we were to sit down and negotiate with these killers—they would cease to threaten us. It is critical to our national security that our commander-in-chief is able to distinguish between America’s friends and America’s enemies, and not confuse the two.”

This war of words between Bush, Obama and Lieberman is starting to create even more controversy with the Democratic bloggers thinking it was a direct political attack aimed at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders as well as the continuing of the hard feelings that Democratic supporters feel about Joseph Lieberman, especially since he announced his support for John McCain.

Obama has often suggested that he would speak with leaders of countries that are listed as terrorist states and as his own website says, he is prepared to do without "preconditions", so his protests now in saying that he has "never supported engagement with terrorists" is directly contradictory from his previous words and statements on his website.

[Update] John McCain weighs in on this newest controversy saying, "Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain. I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.'’

Asked if he thought Mr. Obama was an appeaser — the Democratic candidate has said he would be willing to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran — Mr. McCain sidestepped and said, “I think that Barack Obama needs to explain why he wants to sit down and talk with a man who is the head of a government that is a state sponsor of terrorism, that is responsible for the killing of brave young Americans, that wants to wipe Israel off the map, who denies the Holocaust. That’s what I think Senator Obama ought to explain to the American people.'’

Joe Biden (D-Delaware) who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called Bush's statement "bullsh*t".

[Update #2] Pelosi's response.

The American Spectator nailed her right to the wall with this:

But I thought the most ironic criticism of the speech came from Nancy Pelosi, who called it "beneath the dignity of the office" for President Bush to visit our staunch ally and make the case against appeasement. This is the same Pelosi, you may recall, who visited the terror state of Syria amid State Department protest and told President Bashar Assad that Israel was ready for peace talks with its longtime enemy, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied saying anything of the sort.


What is that old expression about not learning the lessons that history teaches?