Biden Did What!

On Meet the Press today, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-Belle Reve) was so aflutter when the host mentioned the Reagan precedent, he will need to take to his fainting couch for a spell.

Biden Did What!
"As President Reagan once said..."
The President was livid. He had just been shown pictures of civilians killed by Israeli shelling, including a small baby with an arm blown off. He ordered aides to get the Israeli prime minister on the phone and then dressed him down sharply.

The conversation the President had with the Prime Minister that day, Aug. 12, would be one of the few times aides ever heard the usually mild-mannered president so exercised.

“It is a holocaust,” the President said angrily.

The Prime minister, who had family who were killed by the Nazis, snapped back, “Mr. President, I know all about a holocaust.”

Nonetheless, the President retorted, it had to stop. The PM heeded the demand. Twenty minutes later, he called back and told the president that he had ordered a halt to the shelling.

I removed the President and Prime Minister's names because they aren't who you think. This passage from a story by Peter Baker in the New York Times takes place in 1982 after Israel invaded Lebanon. The President was Ronald Reagan talking with Menachem Begin.

Illustrative: US president Ronald Reagan, left, and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, 1981. (photo credit: AP)

Reagan then turned to an aide and said, I didn’t know I had that kind of power.” 

Baker continues...

It would not be the only time he would use it to rein in Israel. In fact, Mr. Reagan used the power of American arms several times to influence Israeli war policy, at different points ordering warplanes and cluster munitions to be delayed or withheld. His actions take on new meaning four decades later, as President Biden delays a shipment of bombs and threatens to withhold other offensive weapons from Israel if it attacks Rafah, in southern Gaza.

But remember, 1982 was not an election year, and as nasty as US political campaigns have been over the years, we have reached a new high-water mark of malevolence and cattiness lately. One dolt is even preparing impeachment documents right now in the House. Really? Would they have impeached St. Ronald? Methinks not. Well, unless one of them got the RFK brainworm.

But President Biden delaying shipments of large 500 and 1000-pound bombs to Israel has sent the GOP into a fit of pearl-clutching. On Meet the Press today, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-Belle Reve) was so aflutter when the host mentioned the Reagan precedent, he will need to take to his fainting couch for a spell.

Now, I understand and support the special relationship we have with Israel ever since it came into being in 1948. President Truman supported the idea even back in 1947 when the government was only provisional. But, when the '48 war broke out, the US placed an arms embargo on both sides.

But our support for a Jewish homeland, and military help when it is threatened, has been pretty much unwavering. As the Reagan actions show though, it isn't unequivocal when we feel the Israelis have overstepped. The world was on their side, even some Arab nations, when Hamas carried out a bloody and inhuman attack on Israeli villages, killing 1200 men, women and children in the most barbaric ways imaginable. Retribution was expected by all, and who could blame them?

But now the Palestinian death toll is nearly 300 times the number of Israeli deaths.

At what point is the job done? Or at least, at what point are more sophisticated methods required? I recall something Winston Churchill III told me when we talked about his book, "Defending the West." When asked about nuclear weapon stockpiles and overkill, his grandfather said, "There's no point in making the rubble bounce."

So maybe the road to peace isn't paved with 1000-pound bombs.

Israel is, by far, the recipient of the largest portion of US foreign aid, almost all of it military. The latest Council of Foreign Relations report says...

The United States provided Israel considerable economic assistance from 1971 to 2007, but nearly all U.S. aid today goes to support Israel’s military, the most advanced in the region. The United States has provisionally agreed (via a memorandum of understanding) to provide Israel with nearly $4 billion a year through 2028, and U.S. lawmakers are considering billions of dollars in supplementary funding for Israel amid its war with Hamas.  

Now, the President didn't cut off shipments of defensive weapons like the Patriot anti-missile-missiles which are used in the Israeli "Iron Dome" defense system.

I first saw them in action when I was over there during the first Gulf War. They were deployed by US crews to shoot down the primitive SCUD missiles Saddam was sending over on a nightly basis. The antiquated Russian SCUD had a nasty habit of breaking into pieces upon re-entry and the first-generation Patriot was programmed to hit the largest target. That was often the fuel tank, not the warhead. We saw lots of intercepts but many warheads were landing.

No photo description available.

Succeeding generations of the Patriot are much more selective. And they will continue to flow to the Israelis. We saw their effectiveness when Iran sent an impotent fusillade of rockets toward Israel.

Ehud Olmert will become the first former prime minister of Israel to stand trial when he arrives at a Jerusalem court on Friday to answer corruption charges.

I heard an interview the other day with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and he believes it is in Prime Minister Netanayu's political interest to continue the war in Gaza.

I think that this (ending the war) is in the interest of the state of Israel, and the ultimate responsibility of the prime minister is to act according to the interests of the state, the national interests. Is it also the interest of Netanyahu in view of the fact that he is facing the conclusion of his trial in the criminal court in Jerusalem and at the same time that he is facing the growing opposition of millions of people in the country? Most likely, no. So this is the problem that we have.

He continued...

The one thing is clear, that there was no political strategy, that there was not any understanding of what is the end-game vision of this government and that what they expect to take place in the event that we will be enormously successful and we will destroy all of the Hamas and we will kill every single Hamas fighter that there is in Gaza, on ground, underground, everywhere. We still have six million Palestinians living in the West Bank and in Gaza. Is there any strategy that the government has in how to deal with these six million people?
Do they want to continue their occupation forever, or do - are they prepared to embark on negotiations with Palestinians that are prepared to make peace with us, and they are ready to negotiate with us, and then embark on this process that Joe Biden so generously offered, which will end with normalization with the Saudis? I never heard one word. No one else heard one word from Netanyahu about the strategy for the day after - no political horizon, no strategy, nothing. 

And, frankly, we still haven't. So how does this all end? What is left of Hamas could surrender, release the living hostages and submit to international justice. That is as likely as that Pulitzer nomination I keep submitting finally bearing fruit.

Or Netanayu could call a cease-fire, get the hostages released, and offer to negotiate with the more reasonable Palestinian Authority on the West Bank for the future of a Palestinian state. That news will be delivered by Academy Award winner Jon Lovitz.

And I understand that if he somehow, miraculously wins an Oscar, that joke is blown.

Watch Saturday Night Live Clip: Weekend Update Segment - Jon Lovitz as  Tommy Flanagan -
"An Oscar. Yeah, that's the ticket."

No, Hamas will keep shooting until they are out of ammo or shooters. Netanyahu will blow the crap out of Rafah and Biden won't do much of anything. Trump will applaud Bibi and somehow blame everything on college kids. And everyday Palestinians will still be screwed.

Whew! Back to the Middle East as normal.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.