Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ariel Sharon Hospitalized; Prognosis Grim

For the two or three people out there who don't read Drudge.

This looks ugly:

"Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a 'significant' stroke with 'massive bleeding' in his brain late Wednesday night... Sharon was rushed to the hospital shortly before 11 P.M. Wednesday night after complaining of chest pains, less than three weeks after suffering a mild stroke and the day before he had been set to undergo a heart procedure. Sharon's personal physician said that he expected him 'to emerge from [surgery] safely.' Channel 10 quoted hospital sources as saying that while the bleeding in the prime minister's brain is extensive, it is not in the brain stem itself."

I'm actually not a huge Sharon fan. He was an extremely brutal general. Yes, the Palestinians were also brutal, but the accounts I've read suggest he went way further than necessary, in the process exacerbating an already horrible situation. Worse, he managed to personally spark a round of violence in Jerusalem and Israel before getting elected as Prime Minister by marching a crowd of people into a heavily Palestinian area waving an Israeli flag -- he was then swept into office on a wave of popular opinion, but at the expense of ending what had been a decently long lull in violence. On the opposite side of the coin, his caving in on the Gaza thing left me deeply disappointed.

Nevertheless, this stroke does not bode well, especially coming as it does so soon before the elections, scheduled for March, and when Iranian hostility and rhetoric are getting ramped up. While not a perfect leader, he did a lot of things right, including the security fence, rocket attacks on Hamas leaders, and his apparent willingness to do what needs to be done about Persian nuclear aspirations. More, he is a symbol of stability in a region that has very little. I would have voted against him when he was first elected, but I would have voted for him in March. I fear the power grab that will probably erupt if he dies or becomes incapacitated.