Richard Armitage dramatically broke ranks with his neoconservative allies yesterday, saying in a radio interview that he feared it was impossible to eliminate Hezbollah through airstrikes, and that by attempting to do so, “you’re going to end up empowering Hezbollah, and perhaps introducing an element into the body politic in Lebanon that will take some great period of time to recover from.” Armitage also criticized the Bush administration for refusing to talk directly to Syria.
According to a database search, no major media outlets have yet printed Armitage’s remarks. Listen:
Armitage was Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan when the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon was bombed in 1983, and served as second-in-command at the State Department under President George W. Bush. In 1998, he signed the Project for a New American Century letter to President Clinton urging regime change in Iraq.
The Bush administration has thus far “giving a tacit blessing” to the escalating Mideast violence. During crisis talks in Rome yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bucked the “entreaties of nearly all of her European and Arab counterparts” to push for a ceasefire.
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