When Congress returns from its month-long vacation in September, President Bush will ask members to agree to a package of more than $63 billion in military aid and weapons to our “allies” in the Middle East. Why such generosity? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice explains that the money will “bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.”
Anthony DiMaggio, professor of Middle East politics at Illinois State University, finds this a spurious argument. He writes that although “the aid initiative has been billed in the media as a major effort to stem terrorism, promote stability, and further cement American power in the region, . . . there is no available evidence suggesting that states like Iran or Syria have plans to attack any American allies in the region” (Counterpunch, August 5).