President Bush apparently took a long distance swipe at presidential candidate Barack Obama in Israel yesterday, debasing the notion that America should negotiate with Iran as the "false comfort of appeasement."
Bush used a particularly uncouth Nazi analogy for his Israeli audience, saying, "We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement."
Sen. Biden, Rep. Pelosi and Chris Mathews, among a throng of others, have derided this political jibe. Pelosi chided Bush for breaking the hallowed rules of mudslinging by attacking Obama from abroad, while Biden, in a passionate furry rarely found in the dreary halls of Congress, called Bush's analogy "bulls!#t".
Politicians and news pundits preoccupied with election year posturing seem to have adopted the role of referee, proclaiming this opening serve against Obama out of bounds, while overlooking the fact that the President has broken his foot in his reckless dash to the net. By rendering diplomacy politically untenable, the President has needlessly sabotaged Defense Secretary Robert Gates's strategy of developing leverage in the Middle East in order to "sit and talk with Iran, and not bomb Iran."
Instead of focusing on the ethics of mudslinging, Pelosi and the media should follow Biden's lead and address the potentially dire ramifications of Thursday's reckless hubris.
"The president's saber rattling has been the most self-defeating policy imaginable," said Biden after a number of expletives. "It spurs instability in the Middle East ... and plays into the hands of those Iranian leaders he rails against.... Since when has talking removed 'no' from the American vocabulary."