US Mideast clout may be casualty of warSmoke and mirrors eventually comes back to bite you in the ass, George. You've fooled all the people, but as Barnum pointed out, you can't fool all the people all of the time. At some point, it comes to an end.
By Matt Spetalnick
JERUSALEM, Aug 14 (Reuters) - The Bush administration's influence in the Middle East is in danger of becoming another casualty of the war in Lebanon, giving Iran a chance to build up its clout in the region.
Despite a U.S.-backed truce taking effect between Israel and Hizbollah on Monday, Washington faces erosion of credibility in the region and strained ties with Arab moderates that could doom its post-Sept. 11 push to spread democracy there, analysts say.
The Arab world is seething at how President George W. Bush, after promoting free elections in Lebanon, made no effort to stop Israel from weakening the new government by destroying much of the country's infrastructure in a bid to cripple Hizbollah.
But there is also unease among Israelis at a brewing debate in Washington about the Jewish state's value as a strategic ally against Iran, given the failure of its vaunted, U.S.-equipped military to subdue a small, Iranian-backed guerrilla army after a month of fighting.
"Iran comes out of this stronger, with the reflected glory of Hizbollah's performance," said Judith Kipper, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
So now we raised suspicions on ALL sides of ALL Middle East questions...it would be nice if somebody came along to straighten out this tangle...someone with backbone, and who can argue a position cogently.
Someone like, say, a Democrat?
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky