»"Israel has a right to defend itself," said President Bush. And against whom was Israel defending itself at dawn on Monday?
A half-blind and deaf paraplegic being wheeled out of a mosque after prayers, Sheik Ahmed Yassin was struck by missiles that blew him to pieces. In carrying out the assassination of the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, Ariel Sharon used a U.S. Apache helicopter gunship. Thus, in Islamic eyes, we are passive accomplices in the killing. «
»Has the killing made Israel more secure? If so, why were Israeli buses deserted all week? Has it made us more secure? Why then were the travel advisories issued to Americans in the Middle East? Why are U.S. embassies shutting down? How does inflaming the Islamic world against us advance the president’s goal of persuading the world that Islam is not America’s enemy?
President Bush must begin to realize that his blind solidarity with Sharon, who has shown himself contemptuous of America’s interests in the larger region, is among the greatest crosses we have to bear in the war on terror.«
»According to a Pew poll, U.S. prestige in the Muslim world has never been lower. Bush is widely detested. In Pakistan, 65 percent of the people hold Osama in high regard, while 8 percent are positive on Bush. We are losing the hearts and minds of the Islamic young, creating a spawning pool out of which future terrorists will emerge.«
»In the Middle East, Sharon has no friends. He does not care whom he alienates. But we are a world power with friend, allies and interests in 22 Arab and 57 Muslim countries.
To protect our interests, to win our war on al-Qaida, it is imperative that we not let ourselves become as isolated as Israel is today.
Between America and Israel, there are thus common interests and a collision of interests. Sharon does not want us to confine our war on terror to those who attacked us on 9-11. He wants us to expand our list of enemies to include his list of enemies: Arafat, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia. He wants us to escalate "the firemen’s war" into an American war on Israel’s enemies, so, together, we can establish joint hegemony in the Middle East.
If Sharon and his acolytes in the Bush administration succeed in conflating Sharon’s war with America’s war, we could lose our war. Why cannot the president see what is going on?«