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The humanitarian catastrophe imposed on civilians in Gaza, the Iranian-supplied rockets fired into Israel by Hamas, and the Israeli missiles landing in densely populated neighborhoods of Gaza City are among the consequences of eight years of Bush administration policy in the Middle East. The disasters of war in Gaza come as the culmination to a long skein of bad decisions, and those errors will burden President-elect Barack Obama with a tangle of crises that he will have to begin addressing immediately.
Bush took office in 2001 assuming that whatever the Clinton administration had attempted in the Mideast was wrong and not to be pursued. Since Bill Clinton had invested a great deal of time, energy, and prestige in a failed attempt to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement at Camp David, Bush in his first term took a passive stance toward that central conflict.