6.4.07

ציר הרשע וציר אי-הדיוק

You can bet that the phone lines between Washington and Tel Aviv were burning up in the aftermath of Princess Pelosi's dabbling in Middle East diplomacy, as she told Syrian President Bashar Assad that "peace with Israel is essential to a U.S.-Syria relationship. We conveyed to him Prime Minister's Olmert's overture for peace talks when Syria". My advice to Her Highness: if you want to have a career in diplomacy, run for President, or get a degree from JHU SAIS.

No time was lost by special interest groups back at home keen to embarrass the Princess. For example, my friend Mark Meyerowitz, a libertarian-leaning Republican who has presented himself as a candidate for NJ State Assembly in District 27, facing off against the double-dipping duo of Mims Hackett and John McKeon, forwarded me a circular from the Republican Jewish Coalition. Blasting Pelosi, it referenced a statement released by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:

The Prime Minister emphasized that although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the axis of evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East.

What was communicated to the U.S. House speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel, as was communicated to other foreign leaders."

Congratulations to the former Mayor of Jerusalem, he has just joined the Axis of Inaccuracy, an elite group of politicians and especially journalists who mistakenly refer to Syria as a member of the "Axis of Evil". (continued...)

Background:

Bush used the term "Axis of Evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address, courtesy of neocon speechwriter-in-chief David Frum. He named North Korea, Iran, and Iraq and then said, "States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world."

On numerous occasions, the press asked Bush's press secretaries if Syria was a "new member of the axis", and each time, the question was dodged.

First reference, April 13, 2003:

Q: Yes, sir. Now that there's a vacancy on the axis of evil, is Syria a good candidate?

THE PRESIDENT: We will deal with each situation as it arises. We're making progress on the Korean Peninsula. Everybody knows our position, which is that we expect there to be a nuclear weapons-free Peninsula. The good news is it's a position shared by the Chinese; it's a position shared by the South Koreans; and it's a position shared by the Japanese. So we've got common interests, and working together, I am very hopeful we'll be able to achieve those interests, diplomatically.

Second reference, April 15, 2003:

Q: Ari, is Syria part of the axis of evil?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President was explicit in his State of the Union in 2002 about North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Syria is indeed a terrorist nation, but to be precise, that is how the President has approached it.

Third reference, February 15, 2005:

Q: The President has spoken repeatedly about an "axis of evil." With Syria's suspected increased involvement in terrorist activities, are we now looking at a "quadrangle of evil"?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you're looking at exactly what I said yesterday and exactly what I said today. And I think that's how you should look at it. I know there's an interest in this room sometimes of trying to interpret things beyond what is said, but I would encourage you to look at exactly what was said and report what was said.

Also, John Bolton made a speech called "Beyond the Axis of Evil", in which he discussed the threat of Syria, Libya, and Cuba.

By incorrectly mentioning Syria in this regard, Olmert joins as a member the likes of John Simpson of the BBC (Syrian President Bashar Assad himself earns auxiliary membership for not correcting Simpson during their interview), the New York Times (also an auxiliary member because to their credit they printed a correction after they first joined the Axis of Inaccuracy), and - sad to say - Wayne Allensworth for his March 2006 Chronicles piece.

5 comments:

sasa said...

You quote John Simpson to me? John Simpson? The man who walked into Kabul ahead of the US-led forces and said it felt like he was "liberating" the city.

It doesn't surprise me that he'd label Syria part of the axis of evil. It wasn't a mistake. It's just that he thinks he's more important than George Bush.

Very nice piece George, and something that I have struggled with for the last three years - trying to seperate the word Syria from incorrectly being linked to the phrase axis of evil. Another one of my pet hates is the phrase 'Syria and Iran'. Along with the good old favourites, 'Syrian-backed' and 'anti-Syrian'.

Don't get me started on Iraq (if I hear the stock phrase 'stronghold of the radical cleric' one more time...).

sasa said...

...and my tribute to your great work :)

George Ajjan said...

Thanks S for the link and the post.

I have repeatedly mentioned on this blog that although many, including me, often disagree with the President's policies, the staff of his Administartion tend to be quite professional and avoid rabble-rousing in their statements. John Bolton and Donald Rumsfeld are 2 notable exceptions. They're both gone now.

Jack Rouane said...

The analysis amazes me. Where are the derogatory references to the Republicans that accompanied Pelosi?

Playing politics is fun with the other side, why isn't fun to play with your own?

The problem with your position(s) is that it smacks of the kind of right wing activism that has hijacked the up-until-recently, an honorable GOP.

George Ajjan said...

Jack,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Not sure how long you've been reading this blog, I probably spend more time criticizing my own (Republicans) than the other side.

In the case of Pelosi, read my previous post. There was nothing wrong with her visit, save the way she conducted herself and abused her profile as House Speaker. The other members of Congress, GOP and Dem, did far less grandstanding.

Nancy Pelosi only represents about 600K people from Northern California, and a couple hundred from her House Caucus that elected her Speaker. She's no head of state and she shouldn't act like one.