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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 04/04/2011

Morning Bits

President Obama’s Middle East “smart diplomacy” has brought us to this point: “With revolutionary fervor sweeping the Middle East, Israel is under mounting pressure to make a far-reaching offer to the Palestinians or face a United Nations vote welcoming the State of Palestine as a member whose territory includes all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.”

Over the weekend former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams brought up that very problem and proposed a solution. “If there is a Quartet plan, Israel should accept it unless it is hopelessly and irredeemably biased and should demand immediate negotiations with the Palestinians — not because they will succeed but as a means of shifting pressure away from Israel. . . . But Israel should not be frozen in fear of a Palestinian declaration of independence or recognition at the U.N. and should in fact head it off. Perhaps the next country to recognize an independent Palestine should be Israel.” Read the whole thing.

Obama’s Libyan policy has brought us to this point: “Libyan conflict descending into stalemate as US winds down air strikes.”

On Fox News on Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) brought up a fundamental error in Obama’s approach: “I don’t think you go to military engagement, announcing what you will not do. I think that the United States has plenty of capabilities, both covert and overt, to help along this process of getting rid of Moammar Gaddafi. Look, the stated goal of this engagement is to protect civilians and prevent genocide. As long as Gaddafi is in power, you can’t protect civilians or prevent genocide.”

Ari Berman of the hard-left The Nation brought us this rant about Obama adviser Jim Messina: “ ‘He is not of the Obama movement,’ says one top Democratic strategist in Washington.” (It does remind one of a classic “Star Trek” episode.)

Ben Smith brought up the larger context: “This is a moment for some of the media and Democratic infrastructure to pick sides, stake out positions: Do you want the authorized leaks or the unauthorized ones. (I’ll take both, please!) Do you want an appointment in the second term or a regular spot on ‘The Ed Show’? In any event, the battle is engaged with a sort of obviousness that I find slightly surprising, and the wildly energetic effort to cast Messina as the Rock on which the True Church of Obama will be constructed opens a wide space for an equally energetic anti-Messina campaign, turning the heretofore little-known operative into a kind of one-man purity test, and some voices on the left will now eagerly choose the anti-Messina side.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates brought us to this point: “Defense Secretary Robert Gates promised Congress on Thursday that there will be no U.S. ground troops in Libya — ‘as long as I’m on the job.’ Wait a minute. Who made him president? Or, taken another way, isn’t that the sort of advice a Cabinet officer gives a president — behind closed doors? Isn’t the world confused enough about Obama administration Mideast policy — or lack thereof — without Gates going off the rails in public? Gates — known as a prudent team player — has made too many comments of this nature in recent days.”

Gates’s Pentagon flack brought up the shop-worn excuse: “ ‘selective reading’ of more than six hours of testimony by Gates, who repeatedly made it clear Thursday there is no daylight between the defense secretary and the commander in chief over their mutual opposition to putting U.S. boots on the ground in Libya.” That’s the best they can do when Gates’s critics are quoting the secretary’s own words? But if it was an isolated gaffe that brought on a torrent of criticism why doesn’t Gates apologize or retract?

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 04/04/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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