Urging President Bush to turn all U.S. efforts toward "ending this madness," a leading Republican senator Monday broke with the Bush administration and called for an immediate cease-fire in the Mideast.
"The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now," Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel said. "President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop."
Unfortunately, even if Bush does call for a ceasefire at this point, it is clear that he is so weak diplomatically that we will be ignored by both sides.
CNN is just now reporting that the Israeli defense minister is claiming that the three-week bombing campaign has killed 300 Hezbollah fighters out of an estimated 2,000. Assuming that this is true, the question is whether it was worth the more than 500 civilian deaths, not to mention the wanton destruction of Lebanon’s civic infrastructure. And then one has to wonder if Hezbollah hasn’t gained 10 times that number of recruits since the Israeli bombing campaign began.
This was a seriously short-sighted move by the Israeli Defense Force and one that will most likely weaken its position in the Middle East for years to come. The mass destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure will no doubt end up being repaired with much of the money coming from U.S. taxpayers. If there was any justice in the world, every penny of that money should come from the billions in foreign aid that we send to Israel every year. However, they will likely need all of that aid and more due to the precarious situation that this military misadventure has placed them in.