The White House Press Corps has been questioning Press Secretary Josh Earnest on the effectiveness of the President's foreign policy efforts. In response to a question during the July 14 press briefing Earnest defended the administration's meaningful interventions that he said have "substantially improved the tranquility of the global community."
He may want to start taking a subscription to the Carroll County Times to gain more insight to current world events. Page A2 of the Wednesday, July 16 edition had three headlines that do not corroborate the notion that American diplomacy is enhancing tranquility or our national security interests.
The lead headline for that page on that day was "Mideast cease-fire in ashes." A second story was headlined "Ukraine sees Russian role in airstrike on town." Finally, there was a story headlined "Dozens killed in militant attack, Nigerian airstrike."
The story on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict related that more than 140 rockets had been fired from Gaza on Tuesday after Israel had accepted a cease-fire sponsored by Egyptian diplomacy. Israel responded to the rocket attacks with airstrikes on Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas, the militant group controlling Gaza, that they would pay a price for the decision to spurn the cease-fire proposal, according to the article.
The report noted that since July 8 Hamas has launched more than 1,100 rockets into Israel. It is difficult for us to understand the terror that must accompany air raid sirens going off any time day or night, with mere seconds available to seek shelter.
Retired Col. Tony Shaffer offered some pointed comments on this continuing crisis on Newsmax TV after the Hamas rejection of the cease-fire. He suggested that if "Hamas was actually concerned about its Palestinian people, it would've take the deal."
In Shaffer's view, Hamas seeks to increase the bloodshed in the hopes of provoking the United Nations to intercede against Israel and in support of Hamas. He further noted the Hamas practice of "hiding weapons, these missiles, in the basements of common everyday folks, hoping that the Israelis will strike those houses."
It would seem that Israel uses its weapons to protect its people. In contrast, Hamas uses its people to protect its weapons.
There has been much speculation over whether Israel will send ground troops into Gaza to root out Hamas forces. On July 15, Earnest in his press briefing warned against such an invasion since it would put more civilians at risk.
All Hamas has to do to halt Israeli air strikes and prevent ground troops from invading is stop firing rockets into Israel. Hamas may in fact be seeking to provoke ground forces going into Gaza.
As American forces have experienced in Iraq since our invasion of that country several years ago, ground based military operations in an urban environment are about as messy and bloody as military operations can become. The tangled terrain of that environment tends to narrow the technological gap between forces as compared with fighting in more wide open locals.
I appreciate the clear unequivocal stand being demonstrated by Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper on this situation.
According to a report on Yahoo news Canada, Harper said, "The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification." He accused Hamas of deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region. He called upon other world leaders to support Israel as the best way to stop the conflict.
I wish other world leaders would follow the leadership of Harper. I agree with him that standing with Israel is the surest way to convince Hamas that they will gain nothing from their attacks.
Michael Zimmer writes from Eldersburg. His column appears on Fridays. Email him at email@example.com.