Dean is Right Again (and Fox is far from “Fair and Balanced”)
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By etrigan - Last updated: Friday, September 12, 2003 - Save & Share - 3 Comments

Democrats have been hounding Howard Dean about his remarks during a Democratic presidential debate. During the debate Dean said an ‘enormous number’ of Israeli settlements must go to make progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Lieberman (who certainly can’t claim impartiality) blew a gasket saying he was abandoning more than 50 years of bipartisan U.S. policy offering unconditional support to Israel.

Fox News (you know, the “Fair and Balanced” guys) decided to stoke the flame a little bit by releasing a quote taken out of context. More on that at the end of this rant.


Dean is not abandoning fifty years of U.S. policy — it’s an absurd statement — but he is questioning it and he is right to. I can understand why we backed Israel fifty years ago but the situation is different today. In the last fifty years Israel has taken the U.S.’s backing and let it go to their head. Increasingly they are “destroying homes and business”:http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=3401070 that are unrelated to terrorism. They are impacting the ability of Palestinians to live as respectable human beings. We should do everything to stop terrorism, but it is clear that Israel’s means of combatting the situation has only increased terrorism and death. We must concern ourselves with the lives and humane treatment of every person in the conflict area.

There is a fine line between “dissidents”:http://www.pbs.org/ktca/liberty/chronicle/bostonteaparty-edenton.html and terrorists. The Palestinians are being crushed under the boot of the Israeli military and we are more than complicit — we are “footing the bill”:http://www.incite-national.org/issues/opposeaid.html . After decades of war (it can be called nothing short of that) that we have helped to fund it is apparent that both sides are unreasonable. We need to re-evaluate our relationship with the Israel of today and stop pretending that things are just like they were fifty years ago.

Now for the Fox bit: In an “aritcle”:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,97122,00.html released yesterday Fox quoted Dean as saying

bq. ??There is a war going on in the Middle East, and members of Hamas are soldiers in that war.??

Looks pretty bad, right? Here’s the full quote included in this CNN “aritcle”:http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/09/10/elec04.prez.dean.mideast/ :

bq. ??Asked if he would oppose the Israeli policy of selectively killing leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups, Dean said, ‘I think no one likes to see violence of any kind.’??

bq. ??But he also said that ‘there is a war going on in the Middle East, and members of Hamas are soldiers in that war, and, therefore, it seems to me that they are going to be casualties if they are going to make war.’??

(Even if Fox comes clean about this, they will do it in a way that ditto-heads will never hear it. Fair and balanced, my ass.)

This is the crux of the scenario to me. Both sides of this conflict have soldiers who are dying and that is the reponsibility of the respective military units to deal with and we can take sides on that all we want. What crosses the line is that both sides are killing civilians and innocents. We should not be funding the deaths of Palestinian civilians and we should not be paying for the destruction of their businesses, homes and land.

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3 Responses to “Dean is Right Again (and Fox is far from “Fair and Balanced”)”

Comment from jank
Time September 12, 2003 at 3:54 pm

Suck it up, Dean-O. Bush has been quoted out of context often enough that there’s a word for it: Dowdification. I agree that it’s a shaky tactic at best, but this case is one of the mildest ‘misquotes’ around.

Calling Hamas anything other than a terrorist group is a farce. Hamas, in addition to sponsoring many of the attacks on Israeli civilians, has repeatedly said that the only settlement they will accept is the complete and total removal of all Jews from Israel/Palestine. Even the EU, far less sympathetic to Israel than the US, has labeled Hamas a terrorist group.

The failure in the middle east is not in supporting Israel, but in dealing at all with Yasser Arafat. By accepting him as the lead party in negotiations back in the ’90’s, the world accepted an open terrorist as a leader, and justified attacks on civilians as an appropriate negotiating tactic. Since Israel began negotiating with Arafat, every time an impasse has been reached in implementation, rather than returning to the table as a rational actor would, Arafat, through Hamas and Fatah, has started another round of terror attacks on Israel, since that is what he has seen will work.

I do feel for the Palestinians, but their inability to select leadership that rejects violence. Witness the recent fiasco that was Prime Minister Abbas. Arafat’s abject failure to allow him access to the Palestinian security organization to actually crack down on the Palestinian terror infrastructure lead to Abbas’ resignation.

So it’s back to the previous model, where Israel is asked to make ‘progress’ towards peace (Such as acknowledging Arafat a few years ago, or releasing prisioners a couple weeks ago) without any real concessions on the Palestinian side (Such as handing over the heads of Hamas, etc).

One last bit:

Arafat contributed to Abbas’ resignation by refusing to cede sufficient control to his prime minister, even after fierce parliamentary debates. His appointment of Qurei, another longtime aide and, ironically, the parliamentary Speaker, suggests that Arafat believes his tactics are worth continuing. … In a recent poll, 71 percent of Palestinians wanted a mutual cessation of violence and 50 percent supported taking measures against those who continued to attack Israeli civilians during an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire. Despite this lack of popular support, the dramatic political impact of the miliants’ tactics overshadows the parliament’s efforts and diminishes its credibility in Palestinian eyes.

Blaming the plight of the Palestinians on Israel is as misguided as blaming the plight of the Iraqis under sanctions on the UN/US instead of Sadaam.

Comment from etrigan
Time September 13, 2003 at 9:54 am

You make several good points. The blame should rest with the US and the UN for “authorizing” Yasser Arafat as an official spokesperson. If the only person the Palestinians were allowed to talk through is Arafat, that’s who they will have to rely on.

Comment from jank
Time September 15, 2003 at 7:46 am

IMO, the American invention of ditching the head of state every couple of years is the salvation of American democracy. Incumbency breeds mindless following, and allows a single person the opportunity to continue to exert power with little or no question.

As much as I worship the man, 4 more years of Reagan would not have been good for the country. He was the ideal president to win the country, and to break the cycle of stagflation and rising taxes (which were out of control in the early ’80s, I will entertain argument that tax rates are pretty close to ideal now), setting the foundation for the growth in the ’90s. But Reagan in office after the end of the Cold War might have forestalled some of the ‘Peace Dividend’ which was not so directly financial as it was an injection of technology and manpower into the civilian sector which would have continued to work on military projects.

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