But this quote from President Bush -- characterization of US insistence on a conditional ceasefire in the Irsrael-Lebanon firefight as "chance for broader change in the region" -- sounds errily like the rhetoric surrounding the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Robert Blecher reminds us of these words from then Secretary of State Colin Powell, who said US victory in Iraq "could fundamentally reshape the Middle East in a powerful, positive way."
However, today's apology to Britain over the use of British airfields to deliver "'bunker-busting' bombs from the United States to Israel" falls into the "it almost never happens" category. The denial that the US is working with Israel, consequently, requires a suspension of disbelief.
President Bush, on the invasion of Iraq, in a 6 November 2003 speech:
This is a massive and difficult undertaking -- it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes... The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution. (Applause.)
Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe ... [a]s long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export.
Therefore, the United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East... the advance of freedom leads to peace. (Applause.)
The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country.
The Asia Times characterized the speech thusly:
Bush's speech reflected the "transformationalist" agenda embraced by Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser, who in August set out US ambitions to remake the Middle East along neo-conservatives lines by using US military power to advance democracy and free markets. It is a policy for political transformation of Arab countries deemed vital to victory in the "war on terrorism".With Tony Blair in the US to meet with Bush, the BBC notes another case of deja vu:
Trawl through the BBC News website's archives, and you will find an article about Mr Blair flying in to the US to meet Mr Bush.
They had been expected to discuss Iraq, but a flare-up of violence between Israel and its neighbours was distracting them.
Mr Blair told reporters travelling with him that he and Mr Bush would "obviously be looking at ideas that can lead to a ceasefire".
That article was written more than four years ago, in April 2002.