Warehouse D

Planning Ahead

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Carter Deserves Praise For Daring To Go Where Bushites Fear To Tred


By James Donahue


How dare Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice scold former President Jimmy Carter for meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in an effort to assure peace to the Middle East.


Rice said this week that Carter was advised not to meet with the Hamas leader because such a meeting might confuse efforts by her office to broker a Palestinian-Israeli peace accord.


“We counseled President Carter against going to the region and particularly against having contacts with Hamas,” she said. She explained that her office has no dealings with Hamas because it is considered a terrorist group. Such a meeting, Rice said, only gave the sense that Hamas was “somehow a party to peace negotiations.”


And there, in a nutshell, is an example of the idiocy constantly being expressed by President Bush, Rice, and many of the other members of his cabinet, and why they seem incapable of ever getting anything accomplished.


Jimmy Carter knows, as does everyone else in that heated part of the world, that while Hamas may have its roots as a militant resistance movement, it also has become a political power and currently holds a majority of seats in the legislative council of the Palestinian Authority.


In 2006 elections, Hamas took 76 of the 132 seats in the chamber, and the once ruling party, Fatah, retained only 43 seats. Yet Rice, in her great political wisdom, thinks that negotiating only with the “moderate” Fatah party leaders and ignoring Hamas will open the door to a peace accord between the Israel and the Palestinians.


Carter defends his visit with Meshal, noting that Hamas controls Gaza, and that if there is going to be any chance for a peace settlement, it must include everybody involved. There is an elephant in the room, Secretary Rice, and the sooner you recognize it, and deal with it, the better off everybody is going to be.


Will the Carter trip bear fruit? Probably not as long as Bush and Rice remain fixed in their offices, and refusing to recognize Hamas as a political force to be reckoned with.


The groundwork has been laid, however, for what may eventually be a true peace accord in that war-torn region, if American voters have the opportunity this fall to elect the right person to the oval office. We first are going to have to get the obvious obstacles out of the way.