BURGER KING - Have it YOUR way.
"It's generally accepted that Hezbollah receives approximately $100 million a year from the government in Tehran, which constitutes the bulk of the funding for Hezbollah's operations."
"Iran's got more than $45 billion in foreign-exchange reserves in the bank. Iran thinks that its oil is vital to the world economy, and the West can't cut it off. And so Iran is remarkably self confident."
Bush said he thinks those suspicions are legitimate: "There's a lot of people who believe that the Iranians are trying to exert more and more influence over the entire region and the use of Hizbullah is to create more chaos to advance their strategy." He called that "a theory that's got some legs to it as far as I'm concerned."
There is a political element to his talk of World War III.
Bush has chosen a particularly troubling moment in global affairs to discover diplomacy's uses. Israeli forces are bombarding southern Lebanon and the West Bank. Afghanistan looks increasingly vulnerable to a resurgent Taliban. And Pakistan - the first country to be told "you're either with us or you're against us" after September 11 - is showing impatience with its three-year peace process with India, the victim this week of a deadly terrorist attack, which it alleges can be traced to Pakistan-based groups.
Diplomacy was never meant to be easy. Yet, what choice does Mr Bush now have? Because of his ill-fated decision to invade Iraq, Washington finds itself with far less ability to impose its preferences on the world than it had in the aftermath of 9/11. It was because Mr Bush listened to neo-conservatives on Iraq that he now has little choice but to work closely with other countries to get things done. More than three years after the invasion, there has been no "big bang" of democracy in the Middle East, as was predicted. Nor has the adventure successfully tied down al-Qaeda, which continues to operate in different continents. And the US is more than $300bn (£160bn) poorer for it. As the saying goes, Mr Bush has been "mugged by reality".
Urgent and forceful diplomatic action is needed now if this crisis is not to develop into an anarchic, borderless free-for-all that will set new standards of violence even for the Middle East.
[T]he advantage lies with the side that can make the most persuasive case (to itself and to the world) that it is indeed fighting for its very survival. Otherwise, the barbaric crimes and senseless butchery that such wars entail will eventually sap the morale of the party with the weaker existential claim -- which is usually the militarily stronger power...
Public doubts and creeping ethical qualms are being swept away, at least for a time, making it far easier to ignore the few voices, like Levy's, that still stubbornly insist on pointing out that creating the illusion of a just war is not the same as actually fighting one.
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