Sunday, October 12, 2003
Dems Stand With Bush on Syria Attack http://www.forward.com/issues/2003/03.10.10/news2b.dems.html
The top Democratic presidential candidates, who have differed sharply with President Bush over his conduct of the Iraq war, are registering their agreement with him over his support for Israel's bombing of a terrorist target in Syria.
The president called the airborne attack, which hit what Israel described as a training camp of Islamic Jihad in retaliation for Sunday's bloody bombing of a Haifa restaurant, an "essential" part of a campaign to defend the country. "We would be doing the same thing," he added, according to The Associated Press.
The Israeli attack, the first such strike inside Syria in 26 years, was criticized in editorials in several leading American newspapers.
But the leading Democrats, at least, all stood with their commander in chief. Republican operatives have been arguing for months in the Jewish community that Bush has been the strongest presidents ever on Israel's defense, but the agreement among the candidates is only the latest instance in which they and congressional Democrats have been just as accommodating as Bush — if not more hard-line — on Israel's security needs.
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, asked to comment Tuesday by CNN's Judy Woodruff on the show "Inside Politics," said, "If Israel has to defend itself by striking terrorists elsewhere, it's going to have to do that. Terrorism has no place in bringing peace in the Middle East. You know, the attack, [a] deliberate attack of men, women and children, is not permitted under the Geneva conventions, and nations have the right to defend themselves just as we defended ourselves by going into Afghanistan to get rid of Al Qaeda."
It will be interesting to see whether a similar concensus develops if Israel bombs Iran's nuclear sites.
UPDATE: Dean's approval was HIGHLY qualified. Several commentators point out that the context of Dean's remarks was that IF the intelligence was conclusive that Syria was harboring an active terrorist training camp, then an attack was warranted. He noted that he had not seen any such intelligence.
Billmon has rescinded his support of Dean over this - though the DDF has a related FAQ entry, B.4.iii. Middle East: "What is Dean's stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?"
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