Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Israel is Talking to Syria Why Can't We Talk to Iran?

John McCain and George (I won't negotiate with the enemy) Bush have been attacking Barack Obama for advocating negotiations with Iran. Now it turns out Israel, and their archenemy Syria are talking, in secret. Maybe because it makes the anti-appeasement crowd (people like Bush and McCain) look bad:

Israel and Syria have begun indirect peace talks, mediated by Turkey, aimed at reaching a comprehensive peace accord, the three governments announced in a coordinated statement Wednesday. The announcement is the first public confirmation of the negotiations by all three sides.

The two most senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office have been leading the Israeli negotiations and were in Ankara, the Turkish capital, on Wednesday, talking through Turkish mediators to their Syrian counterparts, Mr. Olmert’s office said.

Turkey is a close ally of the United States. It is also Syria’s neighbor and has an interest in securing regional peace. A senior official in Mr. Olmert’s office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the talks with Syria and the decision to make them public had been coordinated with American officials.

The statement is official confirmation of what was widely suspected to be ongoing contact between Syria and Israel, directed by Turkey. In the past months, Israel had been reluctant to make the negotiations public. But the negotiations now seem to have made enough progress that all sides decided they should acknowledge the meetings.

“The two sides stated their intention to conduct these talks in good faith and with an open mind,” a statement from Mr. Olmert’s office said, referring to Israel and Syria.

And don't kid yourself into thinking that the Bush administration wasn't supportive of these naive peace talks:
London-based pan-Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported Saturday that the United States government had changed its position on negotiations between Israel and Syria. The report said an Israeli source revealed that the US government had recently requested that Turkey promote talks between Israel and Syria.

According to Al-Hayat, this change of stance came in light of recent violence in Lebanon, and was based on the assumption that peace with Syria would help distance Damascus from Hizbullah.

According to the sources, the US has hinted to Israel more than once that, contrary to the country's previously stated position, it would be interested in taking part in dialogue between Israel and Syria.

The source, who reportedly met with members of US President George W. Bush's entourage, asserted that it was not by coincidence that both Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not mention Syria in any of their speeches.

Can someone in the press please ask Bush--why if Israel is negotiating with Syria why can't we talk to Iran.

Clinton Kentucky Victory Speech Transcript (5-20-08)

Read the entire transcript:

You know, I am so grateful for this victory, and I am so appreciative, because tonight I'm thinking about why we're all here. And it's not just to win a primary or even just to win an election. What propels us is the struggle to realize America's promise: a nation where every child can achieve his or her God-given potential, where every man and woman has a fair chance, where we fulfill...


... where we fulfill the ideals our founders pledged their lives to defend and our nation was born to uphold.

I want to say a special word this evening about someone who has spent his whole life dedicated to realizing the promise of America.


Senator Ted Kennedy...


... is one of the greatest progressive leaders in our party's history and one of the most effective senators in our country's history. He's my friend, and he's my inspiration. More than that, he is a hero to millions of Americans whose lives he has fought to better.

I'm proud to have stood side-by-side with Ted Kennedy to increase the minimum wage, to extend health insurance to millions of children, to help stop insurance companies from discriminating against the sick.

But the privileges that I have had and so many others have had, because of the battles we have fought side-by-side with him are just a mere handful of what he has done during his entire public service, five extraordinary decades devoted to America.

And as a lifelong champion for social justice and equality, his work has made the path easier for me, for Senator Obama, and for countless others. He's been with us for our fights, and we're with him now in his.


And I know he's going to fight with all of his legendary might, supported by his wonderful wife, Vicky, and his entire family against this latest challenge. And we wish him well and send our thoughts and prayers to him.


Tonight, we've achieved an important victory.


It's not just Kentucky bluegrass that's music to my ears. It's the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence, even in the face of some pretty tough odds.

Some have said your votes didn't matter, that this campaign was over, that allowing everyone to vote and every vote to count would somehow be a mistake. But that didn't stop you. You've never given up on me, because you know I'll never give up on you.


This is one of the closest races for a party's nomination in modern history. We're winning the popular vote, and I'm more determined...


... more determined than ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot counted.

I commend Senator Obama and his supporters. And while we continue to go toe-to-toe for this nomination, we do see eye-to-eye when it comes to uniting our party to elect a Democratic president in the fall.

Obama Victory Speech Transcript (5-20-08)

Read the entire transcript:

You know, there is a spirit that brought us here tonight, a spirit of change, and hope, and possibility. And there are few people in this country who embody that spirit more than our friend and our champion, Senator Edward Kennedy.


He has spent his life in service to this country, not for the sake of glory or recognition, but because he cares, deeply in his gut, about the causes of justice, and equality, and opportunity.

So many of us here have benefited in some way or another because of the battles he's waged and some of us are here because of them. And we know he's not well right now, but we also know that he's a fighter.

And as he takes on this fight, let us lift his spirits tonight by letting Ted Kennedy know that we are thinking of him, that we are praying for him, that we are standing with him and Vicky, and that we will be fighting with him every step of the way.


You know, 15 months ago, in the depths of winter, it was in this great state where we took the first steps of an unlikely journey to change America.

The skeptics predicted we wouldn't get very far. The cynics dismissed us as a lot of hype and a little too much hope. And by the fall, the pundits in Washington had all but counted us out.

But the people of Iowa had a different idea.


From the very beginning, you knew that this journey wasn't about me or any of the other candidates in this race. It was about whether this country, at this defining moment, will continue down the same road that has failed us for so long or whether we will seize this opportunity to take a different path, to forge a different future for this country that we love.

That's the question that sent thousands upon thousands of you to high school gyms and VFW halls, to backyards and front porches, to steak fries and J.J. dinners, where you spoke about what the future would look like.

You spoke of an America where working families don't have to file for bankruptcy just because a child gets sick, where they don't lose their home because some predatory lender tricks them out of it, where they don't have to sit on the sidelines of the global economy because they couldn't afford the cost of a college education.

You spoke of an America where our parents and our grandparents don't spend their retirement in poverty because some CEO dumped their pension, an America where we don't just value wealth, but we value work and the workers who create it, as well.


You spoke of an America where we don't send our sons and daughters on tour after tour of duty to a war that has cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, but has not made us safer.


You spoke of an America where we matched the might of our military with the strength of our diplomacy and the power of our ideals, a nation that is still the beacon of all that is good and all that is possible for humankind.

You spoke of a future where the politics we have in Washington finally reflects the values we hold as Americans, the values you live by here in Iowa: common sense and honesty, generosity and compassion, decency and responsibility.

These values don't belong to one class or one region or even one party. They are the values that bind us together as one country.

That is the country...


That's the country I saw in the faces of crowds that would stretch far into the horizon of our heartland, faces of every color, of every age, faces I see here tonight.


You're Democrats who are tired of being divided, but you're also Republicans who no longer recognize the party that runs Washington, and independents who are hungry for change. (APPLAUSE)

You're the young people who've been inspired for the very first time...


... and those not-so-young folks who've been inspired for the first time in a long time.