CNN is shocked, and Obama campaign is spitting nails, over this comment from President Bush,speaking at the Israeli Knesset:
“Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
The line was applauded.
Robert Gibbs, communications director of the Obama campaign, calls in to CNN to denounce Bush for “politicizing the 60th anniversary of Israel with a false political attack.” He called it “cowboy diplomacy, head in the sand type diplomacy.” (I’m not quite sure how it can be both.)
Why is Team Obama so certain that their policy proposals are what Bush was referring to?
Gibbs also cites Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ comment, “We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage . . . and then sit down and talk with [the Iranians],” Gates said. “If there is going to be a discussion, then they need something, too. We can’t go to a discussion and be completely the demander, with them not feeling that they need anything from us.” As Jen Rubin points out, Gates is talking about getting leverage and then talking; Obama’s talking about face-to-face presidential summits without conditions; the two descriptions are not synonyms.
As the Washington Post notes, “The Bush administration has said it will talk with Iran, and consider lifting economic and other sanctions, only if Iran ends a uranium enrichment program the administration maintains is intended to produce nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies. Although the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Baghdad met three times last year for discussions on Iraq, Iran has refused to continue that dialogue.”