TITLE

White Lie

AUTHOR(S)
Kaplan, Lawrence F.
PUB. DATE
April 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;4/21/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 15/16, p22
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
As Saddam Hussein's regime crumbled, the question that was being asked by commentators across the globe was who would be next. And, when U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took to his podium to declare that the U.S. would hold Syria" accountable" for its weapons shipments to Iraq--a charge backed up by Secretary of State Colin Powell--it seemed the team of U.S. President George W. Bush had finally provided the answer. The ubiquitous General Wesley Clark reported that "many `policy types' in Washington are now speaking openly of Syria as the next target." Actually, there is no such faction. When Bush insisted in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, that "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," he was said to have cast the international scene in "black-and-white" terms. This was meant as a criticism, a plea for nuance that took issue with the president's decision to place countries like Iran in the black column when they really belonged in the gray one. The more intriguing question, though, has always concerned countries that didn't merit inclusion in the axis of evil, such as Saudi Arabia and Syria, nations that simultaneously clamp down on and sponsor terrorism and to which neither toppling by force nor coddling without condition seem adequate responses. Nevertheless, the Bush team placed the Saudis and the Syrians in the white column and lavished them with praise for a year and a half. If there was ever a regime that doesn't belong in the white column, it is Syria under Bashar Al Assad. But that does not necessarily mean it belongs in the black column either. As far as U.S. policy goes, there are two Syrias: a good one and a bad one. It thus came as something of a surprise to many when, in the midst of the war with Iraq, Syria began supplying Saddam with anti-tank weapons, night-vision goggles, and suicide bombers. Even as the good Syria has been playing nice, the bad Syria has, if anything, gotten worse since the September 11 attacks.
ACCESSION #
9535834

 

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