June 6, 2010

Steve Benen asks the correct question about Liz Cheney's latest attack on President Obama over him daring to point out on Larry King's show this week that maybe people dying is not such a good thing, Can't Deaths be "Tragic"? Liz Cheney is really a piece of work. I would really love to see Markos get a chance to lay into her on the panel of This Week but I'm not getting my hopes up. Cheney has the art of filibuster and just plain mean down well enough that I'll be surprised if he gets some shots in without being talked over by her or not given a chance to respond or cut off by the host if he tries.

On CNN last night, Larry King asked President Obama about the Israeli raid on the flotilla intended for Gaza. The president responded by calling it a "tragic situation," adding, "You've got loss of life that was unnecessary."

According to Liz Cheney, this was a terrible thing to say. Greg Sargent flags her latest complaint:

Yesterday, President Obama said the Israeli action to stop the flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was "tragic." What is truly tragic is that President Obama is perpetuating Israel's enemies' version of events. The Israeli government has imposed a blockade around Gaza because Hamas remains committed to Israel's destruction...

President Obama is contributing to the isolation of Israel, and sending a clear signal to the Turkish-Syrian-Iranian axis that their methods for ostracizing Israel will succeed, and will be met by no resistance from America....

Yes, for Liz Cheney, we've reached the point at which characterizing violence and death as "tragic" is somehow offensive to delicate right-wing sensibilities.

It's quite a conservative discourse we have.

As Steve noted, President Obama did express concerns for the security of Israel with rockets raining down on cities on their border and called those concerns "legitimate" and asked how this is "perpetuating Israel's enemies' version of events"?

Steve's right but it doesn't matter how pro-Israeli a line President Obama takes, it's never going to be enough for the likes of Cheney.

Transcript of the segment from Larry King that got Cheney worked into a lather below the fold.

KING: A couple of other things. Former President Carter has condemned the Israeli raid against those ships in the -- the flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza.

Where do you stand on that?

A former American president has condemned it.

OBAMA: Well, you know, the United States, with the other members of the U.N. Security Council, said very clearly that we condemned all the acts that led up to this violence. It was a tragic situation. You've got loss of life that was unnecessary. And so we are calling for an effective investigation of everything that happened.

And I think that the Israelis are going to agree to that -- an investigation of international standards -- because they recognize that this can't be good for Israel's long-term security.

Here's what we've got. You've got a situation in which Israel has legitimate security concerns when they've got missiles raining down on cities along the Israel/Gaza border. I've been to those towns and seen the holes that were made by missiles coming through people's bedrooms. So Israel has a legitimate concern there.

On the other hand, you've got a blockade up that is preventing people in Palestinian Gaza from having job opportunities and being able to create businesses and engage in trade and have opportunity for the future.

I think what's important right now is, is that we break out of the current impasse, use this tragedy as an opportunity so that we figure out how can we meet Israel's security concerns, but at the same time start opening up opportunity for Palestinians, work with all parties concerned -- the Palestinian Authority, the Israelis, the Egyptians and others -- and -- and I think Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process once we've worked through this tragedy -- and bring everybody together to figure out how can we get a two-state solution, where Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side in peace and security.

KING: It's premature, then, to condemn Israel?

OBAMA: Well, I -- I think that we need to know what all the facts are. But it's not premature to say to the Israelis and to say to the Palestinians and to say to all the parties in the region that the status quo is unsustainable. We have been trying to do this piecemeal for decades now and it just doesn't work. You've got to have a situation in which the Palestinians have real opportunity and Israel's neighbors recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns and are committed to peace.

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