Secretary Rice on July 21st said: “As to the timing of this, John, after all I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling and it wouldn’t have been clear what I was shuttling to do. We have now had a series of discussions with our — first at the G-8. I’ve been in constant contact with others, including with the Egyptians here a couple of days ago. We have been in contact with the Siniora Government. Of course I have been in constant contact with the Israeli Government and then I was just at the UN. I think we are beginning to see the outlines of a political framework that might allow the cessation of violence in a more sustainable way tied to 1559, tied to — what is there in the G-8 statement. The elements are becoming quite clear. But I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante. I think it would be a mistake.”
It is my opinion that Secretary Rice was being somewhat disingenuous with the statement. What have we learned in the last week that we didn’t know a week ago? A week ago we knew that Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and fired rockets into Israel. None of that has changed. The amount of destruction has increased. The amount of displaced families and refugees have also increased. The death toll on both sides have increased. So what have we learned in the last week? My answer is nothing. We’ve learned nothing new. We knew who the major players were in this conflict. They include Hezbollah, Hamas, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iran. So why wait? First, we had to prove that we were going to be tough and that we are tough on terrorists. Secondly, we had to make our unconditional support of Israel plain to everyone. Thirdly, we wanted to give Israel time to create the buffer zone that they so desired. I’m not sure that any of these goals are wrong. In my opinion, we should’ve started diplomacy, active, thoughtful and engaged diplomacy over a week ago. At that time we had the possibility of saving lives and decreasing the destruction while at the same time disarming Hezbollah. Which is the goal isn’t it?