From the White House press briefing July 27:
Q In terms of world opinion, you keep saying the “what if” game, if it seems as though the strategy is to isolate Hezbollah. Is there a risk with the United States and Israel gets isolated in terms of world opinion by not saying, let’s cut the shooting now, cut the rockets now, and work it out? I hear what you’re saying about —
MR. SNOW: Let me counterpose. There’s an even greater danger that if the U.S. looks ineffective in doing this, that you not only have a loss in terms of world opinion, but credibility. And you cannot — we’ve said it many times, you cannot run foreign policy on the basis of public opinion polls. Quite often there are perceptions that people may get from fractional coverage of the situation that don’t expose the real realities on the ground. We are in very constant consultation with people in the region to try to find out exactly what the facts are.
From The New York Times:
Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements.
The Saudi royal family and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington.
Listen. Some where at this moment in Israel or Lebanon or Iraq, a father like me is wailing in agony because his child is dead from an explosion or gun shot.
With each birth of my daughters I thought my heart would swell and explode through my chest because I was so filled with so much love and happiness by their arrival. I love my life, but if I ever had to trade it to keep one of them safe from harm, I would make that bargain with a glad heart for I love them so.
And some where in Lebanon or Israel or Iraq, a father who felt the same way about one of his children is holding a still-form. No torment in hell holds worse suffering.
Listen. Close your eyes and listen. You can hear his screams even here on the other side of the world.
The world should stop spinning in orbit to hear such a tormented soul’s cry of despair.
Dear Lord, people are dead because the president failed to listen. Children are dead. They cannot listen. They cannot hear their father’s cries. They cannot hear their mother’s desperate screams to come back to them. They cannot hear their brothers and sisters calling out their names.
Listen. Diplomacy begins with listening to each other. George W. Bush just wants to speak and have people follow his orders rather than listen.
Listening never killed anybody.
He did not listen to those who warned of the dangers of invading Iraq.
He did not listen to the screams of the tortured.
No, he believes he can govern by photo ops. They do not require him to listen.
So when Bush’s spokesman speaks of a “greater danger,” what danger is he speaking of? There is no danger in asking people to stop killing each other and to sit down and listen. What is more dangerous than the bombs dropping and the gun shots flying? Snow claims that the administration is in consultation with people, but certainly the Lebanese people will no longer listen to us. They are going to listen to Hezbollah for standing up to those that sent the bombs that were dropped on them.
The same is true for the Israelis and the Iraqis. They are not going to want to listen to those that shipped death and destruction their way.
And so the world trembles at the anguish of the fathers and mothers with their children dead. You can hear them, but Bush cannot. He does not listen.