Dear President Bush:
You have been a weak president, despite your strutting and barking, when
it comes to doing the right things for the American people within the
Constitution and its rule of law. This trait is now in bold relief over
the Israeli government's escalating war crimes pulverizing the
defenseless people and country of Lebanon.
With systematic efficiency, the Israeli government has already destroyed
innocent homes and basic public facilities-- ports, airports, highways,
bridges, power stations-- which are critical to delivery of food,
medicines, health care, ambulances, water, and other essentials for a
civilian population. This bombardment, by U.S. made bombers, military
vehicles, ships, and missiles with American taxpayer subsidies, places an
inescapable responsibility upon your shoulders which does not mix with
your usual vacuous messianic rigidity.
As the leading player in official Washington's puppet show, it is time
for you to assert the interests of the American people and those of the
broad Israeli and Palestinian peace movements, by standing up to the
puppeteers. For without this conflict, Hezbollah would not be in today's
The time has come for you to return to Texas for a private meeting with
your father, his former national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, and
his former Secretary of State, James Baker. You need to say to them 'I
can't trust my advisors anymore; there have been so many tragic
blunders. What do you advise me to do about the destruction of a
friendly nation by the world's fifth most powerful military?'
Here is what I think they should say to you:
1. Take personal command of an immediate rescue effort for the tens of
thousands of Americans trapped in Lebanon by Israel's calculated
blocking of air, land and sea escape routes. You've said the safety of
Americans is your top priority. Prove it by using the U.S. Air Force and
the U.S. Navy facilities to immediately evacuate all our people
desperate to escape the terrorization of Lebanon.
2. You have been so docile and permissive to Israeli demands that any
modest deviation from this posture will make your next move credible.
Announce that you are sending two prominent negotiators-perhaps James
Baker (Republican) and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell
(Democrat) to Israel and Lebanon to arrange for a cease fire between the
Announced at a televised White House news conference with your two
envoys, you can punctuate your seriousness by raising the questions of
violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance
Act. Using U.S. supplied weapon systems to commit civilian atrocities on
homes and fleeing vehicles with children and to inflict collective
punishment on mass civilian populations are not using these weapons for
legitimate self-defense and internal policing, as our federal law
requires. Israeli planes have even fire-bombed wheat silos and gasoline
stations in Lebanon. More mayhem is on the way.
3. Stop acting like an impulsive, out-of-control West Texas Sheriff and
start reading, thinking and listening for a change. When Israel, Britain
and France violated international treaties against aggression in 1956,
and invaded the Suez Canal, President Dwight Eisenhower used his
influence to make them withdraw from Egypt.
In 1982, following a year without any PLO skirmishes over the
Lebanese-Israeli border, Israeli armed forces invaded Lebanon anyway.
They created a path of destruction all the way to Beirut and militarily
occupied south Lebanon for 18 years before they withdrew, except for
retaining Shebaa Farms. In 1982, the New York Times reported
"indiscriminate bombing" of Beirut by Israeli planes. At least 20,000
Lebanese civilians lost their lives in that invasion and many more were
injured. From that conflict Hezbollah was born, composed of many people
whose relatives were casualties in that illegal invasion.
History, George, does not start two weeks or two months ago. You must
read about past U.S. Presidents who, at least, sent high-level
emissaries to quell similar border fighting. It worked and prisoners
were often exchanged.
You are doing and saying nothing about what the rest of the world
believes is a hugely disproportionate attack against innocent adults and
children in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter and
other treaties and federal statutes. You've sworn to uphold these laws.
Do so. Because of the Israeli government's overwhelming military power,
the imbalance of terror against civilians and their property has always
been to its advantage. As has its occupation of Palestine and
confiscation of land and water sources.
4. You can't take sides and be an honest broker. Just about all our
knowledgeable retired military, diplomatic and intelligence officials
believe resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the key to
deflating other agitations in the region. Freedom and justice for the
Palestinian state and security and stability for the Israeli state must
both be achieved.
You have turned your back on the courageous and prominent Israeli peace
movement which normally reflects the positions of half of the Israeli
population. You've never met with any of its leaders - even those in the
Knesset or former officials in the military, intelligence and Justice
Ministries. Hundreds of reserve combat officers and soldiers of the IDF
have refused, in their words, "to fight beyond the 1967 borders to
dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire population." They
pledged only to fight for Israel's legitimate defense.
5. Once in a while, ask your aides for a sample of Israeli opinion that
rejects the notion that there can be a military solution to this
conflict, despite the military imbalance. For example, reports and
editorials in Haaretz, arguably the most respected newspaper in Israel,
would educate your judgment. In a recent editorial, Haaretz argued that
the present Israeli government has "lost its reason" through the brutal
incarceration, devastation and deprivation of innocent people in Gaza.
In another Haaretz commentary dated July 16th, Gideon Levy writes:
In Gaza, a soldier is abducted from the army of a state that frequently
abducts civilians from their homes and locks them up for years without a
trial - but only we're allowed to do that. And only we're allowed to
bomb civilian population centers.
6. One final bit of advice could come from Papa Bush's circle. If the
Israeli army decides to invade Lebanon with troops, your support of the
aggression can possibly unleash a domino of warring actions and
reactions over there. As is it, Americans are increasingly fed up with
the Iraq quagmire.
Moreover, we know they don't like many of your domestic policies
favoring the wealthy, the post-Katrina debacle, exporting jobs, and
among our conservative base, your enormous deficits. So our Republican
Party's control of government is at stake in November. Don't you have
your hands full with Iraq whose invasion we all urged you to avoid in