“I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”

Vice President George H. W. Bush – Newsweek, August 15, 1988

In the aftermath of the downing of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf on July 3, Bush, who was campaigning in the Mid West, made the unforgettable statement rated by some observers as one of the most stupid comment ever made by a vice President.

IRAN 655: Mourners in the streets of Tehran

IRAN 655: Mourners in the streets of Tehran

George H. W. Bush is certainly not stupid and the reason for him making the comment has much to do with the upcoming election. Members of his campaign team have revealed that VP Bush was shocked by the ovation he received from the crowd for stating that, no matter the facts, he would never apologize. Having grasped the political value of the issue, he will go on to repeat again and again his stance on the tragedy.

“The plane was on a routine flight in a commercial corridor in Iranian airspace. The targeting of it by the U.S. Navy was blatantly illegal. That it was grossly immoral is also obvious, except to a patriot,” a political observer argues.

The Race to the White House

The campaign is getting pretty dirty, with both sides taking a swipe at each other candidate for the Presidency. ”Meanwhile, the first order of business is to get this campaign out of the mud in the ditch,” James Reston wrote in the New York Times.

“Mr. Dukakis thinks Trident is a chewing gum, the B-1 is a vitamin and the Midgetman is anyone shorter than he is,” Senator John McCain of Arizona said. Jimmy Carter, with uncharacteristic bad manners, suggested that Bush was ”silly and effeminate.”

Middle East News

Palestinians are pressing for a Declaration of Independence for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But a well informed source close to the PLO leadership doubts very much the likelihood of a success.

“How can you have a real independent state under occupation? Are you dreaming? It’s an impossible dream,” the man argues.

“The proposal is a crazy idea since there is no chance whatsoever that it will be realized,” Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said.

“I have the sense that the idea is an abortive concept. All the camps in Israel view it as a great danger to our very existence,” Mr. Shamir added.

Likely or not to succeed, the PLO proposal is certain to infuriate those Palestinian organizations who are absolutely opposed to any dialogue with Israel and refuse the two States solutions. The PFLP-GC of Jibril, the PSF, and the Abu Nidal Organization come to mind…

Back to the Present (2008)

Yesterday, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch signed the deal in Tripoli, Libya. “This resolves the last major historical issue that has stood in the way of a more normal relationship between our two countries,” Welch said.

Last month, the Libyan Claims Resolution Act, sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, was introduced and unanimously approved by Congress on the same day.

“The Libyans didn’t believe that Congress would ever be helpful, and Congress didn’t think Libya would ever do it. We found a diplomatic way to accommodate both sides by turning suspicion into an asset,” Welch added.

The deal allows Libya to settle outstanding claims for U.S. air strikes on Tripoli in 1986. Libya claims that 40 of its citizens were killed during the bombing. The victims include Gadhafi’s 18 months old daughter. According to investigative journalist David Yallop, considerable evidence point to the fact that Gadhafi was the main target of the bombing in spite of US law forbidden the assassination of a chief of State.

Before you wonder about what the public reaction will be when it is found that the Bush administration is paying compensation to Libya, you must know that deal comes with an amazing trick.

No U.S. taxpayer money would be used to compensate Libya. Donations to settle Libyan claims will be placed in a “voluntary” fund.

Welch and other US officials are “optimistic” that donations to settle Libyan claims would be made by American companies eager to do business in Libya. That is subtle or what?


Palestinians Press for Declaration of Independence

The Ghostly Art of Telling Where George Was

U.S., Libya deal closes book on Lockerbie


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