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Ralph Nader: US Has "Inescapable Responsibility" for "Israeli Government's Escalating War Crimes"
We speak with former Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader, who In a wrote a letter to President Bush this week harshly criticizing the White House for its response to Israel's bombardment of Lebanon.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has issued an urgent appeal to the international community to intervene saying his country has been "torn to shreds." While many countries have called on Israel to halt its military assault, the Bush administration has so far openly rejected calls for a ceasefire. U.S. and Israeli officials have reportedly agreed the bombings will continue for another week.
In a letter to President Bush this week, former Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader harshly criticized the White House for its response to the crisis. Nader is perhaps the most well known Lebanese-American in the world. He ran against George W Bush for president twice - in 2000 and 2004. He is also the most prominent consumer advocate in the country.
* Ralph Nader, independent presidential candidate for 2000 and 2004.
AMY GOODMAN: In a letter to President Bush this week, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader harshly criticized the White House for its response to the crisis. Ralph Nader is perhaps the most well known Lebanese American in the world. He ran against George W. Bush for president twice, in 2000 and 2004. He is also the most prominent consumer advocate in this country. Ralph Nader joins us on the telephone right now. We welcome you to Democracy Now!, Ralph Nader.
RALPH NADER: Good morning, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what you wrote to President Bush.
RALPH NADER: I wrote him a letter that basically described the need for him to get advice from his father and Brent Scowcroft and James Baker about how he should deal with this Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which of course violates a whole range of international treaties and Geneva Conventions, to which the United States has been a longtime signatory. And the first priority that Bush should adopt is to recognize that the U.S.'s indiscriminate support of Israel's indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon -- ports and hospital and roads and wheat silos and residential areas -- puts a responsibility on the President, who is shipping a lot of tax dollars to Israel, as well as a lot of weapons, to put a stop to this through a ceasefire and to take a stronger initiative in resolving the core problem, which is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
AMY GOODMAN: You also take on the issue of President Bush's father and where he should go for advice.
RALPH NADER: Yes, I wanted to draw a contrast as to just how extreme and messianically driven President Bush is, even in comparison with his father and his father’s key advisers, Jim Baker and Brent Scowcroft, both of whom opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Bush, in 2004, was quoted as saying, quote, "I trust God speaks through me," end-quote. We’re dealing here with not just a phenomenally ignorant man, but a messianically driven man, and so when the Prime Minister of Israel visits the White House, he, Bush, knows who the puppeteer and who the puppet is, but he doesn't like to appear like a puppet, so he embraces messianically anything that Israel chooses to do militarily and to, in the words of the combat reservists who have refused to serve in the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli combat reservists, they refuse to serve in Gaza and the West Bank and in their words they, quote, "We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people," end-quote. And that is exactly what George W. Bush's unqualified support, weaponry, diplomatic cover, vetoes in the UN against UN resolutions, is providing the Israeli military regime an opportunity to do, the Palestinians and anybody in the area that the Israeli military regime wants to dominate, damage.