I have just completed the first 100 pages of Michael Oren's new book "Power ,Faith and Fantasty" the story of the relationship of the US to the Middle East since 1776.
Oren begins his story with the development of the US Navy , as an answer to the Babary pirates,as well as the Arab rulers in states such as Morroco.Despite trying to bribe and pay ransom,time after time the US was attacked on the high seas,and captives taken for ransom.
Only the defeat of the pirates by the US Navy put an end to the piracy.
He writes (p-69) "Experience had taught...that in the Middle East, power alone was respected, and that in order to gain peace the US had no alternative but to wield it."
Nothing has changed in the Arab psyche!
A lesson for Iraq,but more importantly for PM Olmert.
As Gaza is enveloped by mayhem,and as the fruits of his withdrawal are clear to every Sderot resident who hears and feels the rockets coming in,Olmert seeks more withdrawals.He reaches out to Saudia Arabia, whose Mecca deal is a farce. He frantically is searching for a straw to grasp ,instead of protecting his people.How many more attacks must Israel endure without a massive response.
The US benchmarks are ridiculous, and should be placed into the circular bin.
Yes the Cabinet is afraid to order a reaction for fear that down the road the next Winograd Commission will fault them for not thinking the matter through.Nevertheless, there are no partners for peace as long as Hamas,Iran and Hizbollah are churning the waters.
Mr Olmert should draw the proper conclusions and let new leadership in the PM's office and Defense lead the country.