Three cheers for terrorist appeasement!

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Yeah, it’s the mother of all flip-flops, but serious kudos to the Bush administration for employing a somewhat defter touch in Lebanon by extending an olive branch to Hezbollah:

After years of campaigning against Hezbollah, the radical Shiite Muslim party in Lebanon, as a terrorist pariah, the Bush administration is grudgingly going along with efforts by France and the United Nations to steer the party into the Lebanese political mainstream, administration officials say.

It’s possible, of course, that those unnamed “administration officials” are nothing more than a few sane voices in the wilderness, futilely trying to convince gullible New York Times reporters that cooler heads are prevailing when, in fact, the Bush administration is still harboring serious antipathy for Hezbollah. That’s possible. But bringing Hezbollah into the political fold remains the vastly more sensible move. And, after all, it’s not like we’ve never invited militia-strapped Shi’ites to take part in fledgling democracies before. The primary argument for continued opposition to Hezbollah, however, is that Israel certainly wants to see the militias disarmed. Without wading too much into it, it’s far from clear that the Bush administration will buck those demands, though further kudos if they decide to put sensible policy ahead of relatively narrow Israeli interests.

At any rate, from where I sit Hezbollah looks to be the key to events over the next few weeks. After the group’s “pro-Syria” rallies yesterday, Syria felt confident enough today to install the old prime minister back in his spot, and as the Times reported today, “Syria seems now to have regained the initiative.” Of course, the Syrian occupation still faces massive opposition—from Lebanon’s Christians, Druze, and Sunnis—and if that opposition can extend a hand to Hezbollah, it will be difficult for Syria to keep dipping its fingers in Lebanese affairs. As noted yesterday, it’s entirely possible that Hezbollah hasn’t sided so vigorously with the opposition mainly because it thinks it will be targeted by an U.S.-dominated “liberation” of Lebanon. But Hezbollah doesn’t want a civil war—it’s not clear that they’d win or come out better for it—and would no doubt prefer to strike a deal with other Lebanese if a deal can be made. If all that is in fact the case, the White House’s newfound terrorist-appeasement policies could end up doing a lot of good.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate