I arrived at school yesterday evening and settled in. It was surprisingly painless, for which I commend the staff. I also talked to a few of my friends; one of them spent the summer interning in Washington with a consulting firm, and had some verrry interesting things to say about it:
First off, he worked a lot with AIPAC people, and has a low opinion of them generally. He doubts that any of them would have the intelligence to run a spy network for Israel, aside from the fact that AIPAC really dislikes the present government. The average AIPAC staffer is young, liberal, and disconnected from the real world. Not my first choice for a Mossad agent.
That would fit the asessment provided by Honest Reporting on the whole issue. It's sounding fishier and fishier the more I hear about it.
The other thing my friend mentioned was that in his work for the consulting firm, he got to attend a number of committee hearings in Congress, in particular one dealing with Israel's planned disengagement from Gaza. (I'm having trouble finding it on Google.) His take was that the congressmen generally read prepared statements written by their staffers, and then embarrass themselves asking questions to the experts giving testimony. Former envoy Dennis Ross had just given his recommendation on what the U.S. should do (basically, get out of the way), and the minority leader asked him whether his view is restricted by his own perceptions of the subject.
Let's think about this for a moment... Dennis Ross, who for nearly a decade was negotiating with Arafat almost constantly, now says to cut him loose, and some blowhard thinks he knows the Palestinian Authority better than Ross does. Sure thing, bub.
The Democrats are complaining that the U.S. isn't getting involved in the process, that we should be pushing for human rights, democracy, etc. in Gaza. Almost every expert who testified said: the Egyptians are already doing a great job. Do not come in and mess everything up! Right now there are no negotiations because there is nobody to negotiate with. Arafat is on his way out, but nobody has managed to take control yet, so the PA is breaking down into anarchy.
I should be able to get more info when class starts and I see some more of my friends. A lot of them got work in key locations over the summer, so we'll see what they have to say.