Saturday, January 31, 2009

Evidence that no evidence exisits at Gitmo

Daily Kos: Gitmo Prosecutor Calls it Quits in Disgust

A more serious take on GITMO; In black and White and video.

Jon's Take on Where to Put Our Terrorists

The Daily Show: Guantanamo Baywatch - The Final Season - Joost

<a href="">The Daily Show: Guantanamo Baywatch - The Final Season</a>

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Purple Hearts: A Cold-Blooded Decision |

Purple Hearts: A Cold-Blooded Decision |
"Purple Heart awardees are entitled to enhanced benefits, including exemptions from co-payments for hospital and outpatient care. They are also fast-tracked for getting appointments for medical care and psychological services.

Soldiers come home to few psychological services and virtually no individual therapy. It isn't uncommon to wait several months to see a therapist, and then only once a month. MTBI sufferers may see as many as seven different therapists.

The military has made little effort to deal with MTBI and PTSD. Soldiers suffering from PTSD outnumber amputees at Walter Reed Hospital 43 to 1, but there is no PTSD center. After diagnosis, sufferers usually go to the hospital's psych division, where they are housed with bipolar and schizophrenic patients and tanked up with drugs. A study by Veterans for America (VFA) found that some soldiers were taking up to 20 different medications at once, some of which canceled out others.

The military has lost 22% of its psychologists over the past several years, mostly to burn-out. Soldiers have difficulty finding private therapists because the Department of Veterans Affairs pays below market rates and even cut those reimbursements in 2007. About 30% of private psychologists won't take on military patients because they can't afford to. The situation is worse for the National Guard and Reserves, who make up almost 50% of the troops deployed in both wars and who, according to VFA, "are experiencing rates of mental health problems 44% higher than their active duty counterparts." Health care for such troops is generally inferior - and more expensive - than that offered full-time regulars.

Many soldiers are also reluctant to report their symptoms because they are afraid it will keep them from getting a promotion or landing a job once they leave the military. Only 53% of those diagnosed with MTBI sought help and, according to the Rand Study, "roughly one-half got minimally adequate care."

Worse, solders who report behavioral difficulties may find themselves discharged from the service, with the consequent loss of medical care. They may even be billed for their recruitment bonus."

Army suicides at record high, passing civilians -

Army suicides at record high, passing civilians -

"Why do the numbers keep going up? We cannot tell you," said Army Secretary Pete Geren. "We can tell you that across the Army we're committed to doing everything we can to address the problem."

It's all about pressure and the military approach, said Kim Ruocco, 45, whose Marine husband was an officer and Cobra helicopter pilot who hanged himself in a California hotel room in 2005. That was one month before he was to return to Iraq a second time.

She said her husband, John, had completed 75 missions in Iraq and was struggling with anxiety and depression but felt he'd be letting others down if he sought help and couldn't return.

"He could be any Marine because he was highly decorated, stable, the guy everyone went to for help," Ruocco said in a telephone interview. "But the thing is ... the culture of the military is to be strong no matter what and not show any weakness."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Swords to Plowshares? Not So Much!

'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Killer Jobs Programs

Our work is definitely cut out for us here!

"The economy is heading south and people are being laid off. Congress-critters and governors, and politicians in general, are being asked to come up with "shovel-ready" projects that will put people to work."

"There are other Pentagon jobs programs that go right into every congressional district. They include military bases and military procurement. They say all politics is local, and in this time for intensive economic recovery planning congress-critters are interested in military procurement now more than ever.

Remember the peace dividend? Forget it. War pays better dividends, and you need to buy a lot of stuff to fight a war. So if the country is at war, and it is at war thanks to some people who profit from it, and if you need even more stuff to fight wars yet uninitiated, then military procurement has to be high on the jobs program list in every US congressional district."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A message from Military Supporters of the Consitution to Congress

t r u t h o u t | To Support and Defend: A Message to US Senators and Representatives

I despair when I think of the personal sacrifices made by so many in US wars and conflicts since 1776. If our forefathers were here to see, they would surely be angry and disappointed. And I think they would issue a clarion call for redress and setting an example for the world by punishing those who are guilty. The only way our nation can right itself is for Congress to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.

I, therefore, call on my elected representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives to bring criminal charges against President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, legal counsel William J. Haynes, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former legal counsel David Addington, and potentially other high officials and uniformed officers. There is no other option if you are to carry out your responsibilities. Citizens of the United States and of the world are watching you. Do your duty. Support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Emptywheel » This Miracle Brought to You by America’s Unions

Emptywheel » This Miracle Brought to You by America’s Unions

Sullenberger is a former national committee member and the former safety chairman for the Airline Pilots Association and now represented by US Airline Pilots Association. He--and his union--have fought to ensure pilots get the kind of safety training to pull off what he did yesterday.

Then there are the flight attendants:

One passenger, Elizabeth McHugh, 64, of Charlotte, seated on the aisle near the rear, said flight attendants shouted more instructions: feet flat on the floor, heads down, cover your heads.

They are members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Yesterday's accident should remind all of us that flight attendants are first and foremost safety professionals--they should not be treated like cocktail waitresses.

There are the air traffic controllers:

The pilot radioed air traffic controllers on Long Island that his plane had sustained a “double bird strike.”

They're represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Someday, they'll rename National Airport for the work these men and women do to keep us safe in the air.

There are the ferry crews:

As the first ferry nudged up alongside, witnesses said, some passengers were able to leap onto the decks. Others were helped aboard by ferry crews.

They're represented by the Seafarers International Union. They provide safety training to their members so they're prepared for events like yesterday's accident.

There are the cops and firemen:

Helicopters brought wet-suited police divers, who dropped into the water to help with the rescues.

They're represented by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association and Uniformed Fire Officers Association (IAFF locals).They're the men and women who performed so heroically on 9/11--and they've been fighting to make sure first responders get the equipment to do this kind of thing.

Bob Corker and Richard Shelby like to claim that union labor is a failed business model.

But I haven't heard much about Bob Corker and Richard Shelby saving 155 people's lives.

Update: Sullenberger's union membership corrected, UFOA added.

Daily Kos: ADL's Foxman levels charges at Bill Moyers, Moyers responds

Daily Kos: ADL's Foxman levels charges at Bill Moyers, Moyers responds: "Dear Mr. Foxman:

You made several errors in your letter to me of January 13 and I am writing to correct them.

First, to call someone a racist for lamenting the slaughter of civilians by the Israeli military offensive in Gaza is a slur unworthy of the tragedy unfolding there. Your resort to such a tactic is reprehensible.

Earlier this week it was widely reported that the International Red Cross 'was so outraged it broke its usual silence over an attack in which the Israeli army herded a Palestinian family into a building and then shelled it, killing 30 people and leaving the surviving children clinging to the bodies of their dead mothers. The army prevented rescuers from reaching the survivors for four days.'

When American troops committed a similar atrocity in Vietnam, it was called My Lai and Lt. Calley went to prison for it. As the publisher of a large newspaper at the time, I instructed our editorial staff to cover the atrocity fully because Americans should know what our military was doing in our name and with our funding. To say 'my country right or wrong' is like saying 'my mother drunk or sober.' Patriots owe their country more than that, whether their government and their taxes are supporting atrocities in Vietnam, Iraq, or, in this case, Gaza.


Daily Kos: Pete Seeger Restores "This Land is Your Land"

Daily Kos: Pete Seeger Restores "This Land is Your Land": "Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:52:28 PM PST

The 'subversive' verses from Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land were sung by the American people today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

One of our great national anthems has been restored."

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Tomgram: Andy Kroll, Will Public Education Be Militarized?

Tomgram: Andy Kroll, Will Public Education Be Militarized?

The Duncan Doctrine

The Military-Corporate Legacy of the New Secretary of Education
By Andy Kroll

"Disturbing as well is the prominence of Duncan's belief in offering a key role in public education to the military. Chicago's school system is currently the most militarized in the country, boasting five military academies, nearly three dozen smaller Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs within existing high schools, and numerous middle school Junior ROTC programs. More troubling yet, the military academies he's started are nearly all located in low-income, minority neighborhoods. This merging of military training and education naturally raises concerns about whether such academies will be not just education centers, but recruitment centers as well."

TPM: News Pages | Talking Points Memo | Gaza truce takes hold; Israeli pullout begins

TPM: News Pages | Talking Points Memo | Gaza truce takes hold; Israeli pullout begins

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The American Conservative -- Another War, Another Defeat

The American Conservative -- Another War, Another Defeat

"The campaign in Gaza is said to have two objectives: 1) to put an end to the rockets and mortars that Palestinians have been firing into southern Israel since it withdrew from Gaza in August 2005; 2) to restore Israel’s deterrent, which was said to be diminished by the Lebanon fiasco, by Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and by its inability to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

But these are not the real goals of Operation Cast Lead. The actual purpose is connected to Israel’s long-term vision of how it intends to live with millions of Palestinians in its midst. It is part of a broader strategic goal: the creation of a “Greater Israel.” Specifically, Israel’s leaders remain determined to control all of what used to be known as Mandate Palestine, which includes Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians would have limited autonomy in a handful of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves, one of which is Gaza. Israel would control the borders around them, movement between them, the air above and the water below them.

The key to achieving this is to inflict massive pain on the Palestinians so that they come to accept the fact that they are a defeated people and that Israel will be largely responsible for controlling their future. This strategy, which was first articulated by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s and has heavily influenced Israeli policy since 1948, is commonly referred to as the “Iron Wall.”

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jewish Dissenters Speak Out Over Gaza |

Jewish Dissenters Speak Out Over Gaza |

The Heart of the Problem is America's War Economy

Memo to Obama: How to Convert to A Peace Economy |

Depak Chopra
"Unless it can make as much money as war, peace doesn't stand a chance. Since aerospace and military technologies remain the United States' most destructive export, fostering wars around the world, what steps can we take to reverse that trend and build a peace-based economy?

1. Scale out arms dealing and make it illegal by the year 2020.

2. Write into every defense contract a requirement for a peacetime project.

3. Subsidize conversion of military companies to peaceful uses with tax incentives and direct funding.

4. Convert military bases to housing for the poor.

5. Phase out all foreign military bases.

6. Require military personnel to devote part of their time to rebuilding infrastructure.

7. Call a moratorium on future weapons technologies.

8. Reduce armaments like destroyers and submarines that have no use against terrorism and were intended to defend against a superpower enemy that no longer exists.

9. Fully fund social services and take the balance out of the defense and homeland security budgets."

Daily Kos: Naomi Klein: Boycott and Divest from Israel

Daily Kos: Naomi Klein: Boycott and Divest from Israel

"The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause - even among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves ... This international backing must stop."

Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. But they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal: surrendering them verges on active complicity."

Life for a Palestinian Under Jewish Occupation

Palestine Inside Out 204804-1 : C-SPAN Video Library | Created by Cable. Offered as a Public Service.

The realities of life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Author Saree Makdisi, UCLA professor, discusses his book on this subject and offer his solution to the problems. A direct link to this video is available on CSPAN at

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Juan Cole's advice on What to do about Gaza (and War in general)

Informed Comment: On the Uselessness of Street Protest; <br> And the Usefulness of Web 2.0 Lobbying
Here is a good description of how AIPAC works:

The US Congress generally abdicates its responsibilities when faced with large powerful single-issue lobbies such as the National Rifle Association, the Cuban-American pro-boycott organizations, and the Israel lobbies.

So Congress has ceded Israel, and indeed, most Middle East, policy to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its myriad organizational supporters, from the Southern Baptist churches to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

The Israel lobbies take their cue on what is good policy from the Israeli government and the Likud Party.

So, US Israel policy is driven by . . . the Israeli rightwing. That is why Congress voted 309 to five to support Israel's war on the people of Gaza, with 22 abstaining.

Single issue lobbies succeed in US politics when there is no organized opponent on the other side of the issue spending as much money and doing as much lobbying.

If all those people waving useless cardboard posters in the air really want to change things, they have to change the US domestic political equation. And it can't be done with easy things like boycotts (which is negative, not positive action).

The Obama campaign, which, despite rightwing denials, really did make a breakthrough in raising small sums on the Web, has shown a way forward to fight pernicious single-issue lobbies. Politics has been a high-stakes poker game played by millionaires and billionaires (look at the US senate), where most of us can't even get into the swanky casino much less actually play some cards. The Web 2.0 now allows people to get into the game for $50. And if 50 poorer people give that amount, it is like one wealthy person giving the $2500 allowed for support to a politician's campaign. But that new model of Web 2.0 giving can only work if it is organized and consistent with regard to purpose.

Dennis Kucinich also benefitted from this broader Web 2.0 support last year, raising $700,000 in his primary to defeat a wealthy former mayor who had a war chest of $350,000, which I think in the old days would have been decisive.

Consistency is important. AIPAC often arranges for small-town congressmen only $4000 or so per campaign. [pdf] Even its major contributions in 2008 are actually chump change as the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs points out. But a lot of US congressional races, which happen every two years, are close, and $4000 is very welcome, especially when there are no costs to signing AIPAC letters and supporting AIPAC positions because there is nobody to speak of on the other side. And if the money comes in every campaign, along with lots of office visits and letters and local community support, it builds loyalty over time.

AIPAC gets in before the ground floor, introducing potential candidates to big donors and has its supporters in the Democratic party machine, e.g., vet candidates. Tom Hayden, a leftist American if there ever was one, had to be approved of by the Bermans to amount to anything in southern California Democratic politics, and it led to his taking an unfortunate stand on the 1982 Lebanon War of which he came to be ashamed. If all this is true for Hayden, imagine how it is with some used car salesman in southern Indiana.

Vindictiveness works. AIPAC has a reputation for actively punishing representatives who step out of line on the Israel-Palestine issue. Paul Findley, Charles Percy, William Fulbright, Roger Jepson, Pete McCloskey, Earl Hilliard, and Cynthia McKinney were all successfully ousted by AIPAC-coordinated campaigns. US political races are often close and AIPAC apologists deny that they made the difference when they are criticized, but boast that they made the difference behind closed doors. Professional lobbyists have told me that in the late 1980s representatives declined to sign letters criticizing Israeli policy, actually citing Percy.

Joe Lieberman would make an excellent object lesson when he next runs for the Senate. Saxby Chambliss too.

Coordination works, even with supposedly charitable groups outwardly forbidden to directly participate in politics. Southern Baptist churches and some proportion of synagogues are networked to get out literally millions of emails to Congress and the media on Israel-related issues. This networking seeps over into political work, since congregations get the cue as to how they should spend their campaign contributions.

So if opposition to things like the Gaza war is going to be effective, something like a Peace Public Affairs Committee would have to be established. It would then coordinate peace-oriented synagogues, Presbyterian Churchs, Catholic churches, Mennonite and Quaker communities, mosques, Buddhist congregations, Unitarian Universalists, etc., to get out emails to congress and the media demanding a genuine peace process and a rollback of Israeli colonization of the Palestinians.

It would also coordinate the lobbying of those existing small PACs which are more narrowly focused but which have a strong interest in the peace process--J Street, the Peace Action Politica Action Committee, the Arab American Political Action Committee, the National Iranian American Council, etc., etc. should also be involved.

A Peace Lobby is not partisan. Libertarians, Socialists, Greens and segments of the Republican and Democratic parties would all be constituents. It is not sectarian. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Unitarian Universalists and others would all be constituents. No one owns peace. 90% of Americans have a vital interest in it. At a time when the US is the sole superpower, it is unconstrained by rival powers and therefore its leaders and the 10% who benefit from war are horribly tempted by it. Since international conditions do not produce restraint at this juncture, it is especially important that domestic politics throw up barriers to ever more ruinous wars and to US support for the ruinous wars of others.

I underline that such an organized push in American politics for more equitable policies in the Middle East is not anti-Israel, but rather intended to help Israel find a way forward with its neighbors that does not involve continued displays of sado-masochistic politics on both sides. Make no mistake. AIPAC and other rightwing Israel lobbying organizations are enablers and drug dealers, hooking Israeli politicians on the high of power and violence, and we can only heal Israel and Palestine by cutting off that supply.

Such an effort would also have wider implications for US foreign policy. In the coming two or three decades, the US military industrial complex will want to fight several ruinous wars on major oil-producing and gas-producing states not in the US political orbit, such as Iran. At the moment, the US public is helpless before such ambitions, because the War Lobby is even more effective than the Israel lobbies are.

Photos from both sides in Gaza

For Arab Clan, Days of Agony in a Cross-Fire -\

More background on the Red Cross reports on Civilian deaths in Gaza:

upate on pro israel resolution

TPM Election Central | Talking Points Memo | More House Members Stand Up to Israel Than in '06: "More House Members Stand Up to Israel Than in '06
By Elana Schor - January 9, 2009, 6:04PM

The House just approved its version of the praise-filled pro-Israel resolution approved yesterday in the Senate. And though I've yet to see a co-sponsor tally that would show any senator courageous enough to resist the lure of AIPAC, the stiffened-spine caucus in the House reached 26 members today: 4 who voted no and 22 voting 'present' in a gesture of stoic disapproval.

Compare today's outcome to 2006, when the combined total of no and present votes was only 12, and we could be seeing a slow but welcome shift of the dialogue towards political leeway for lawmakers to criticize Israel. The Minnesota Independent has the statement of Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), who wasn't present to vote in 2006 but pointed out that the resolution is 'void of any relation to the hellish reality that is being inflicted on the citizens of Gaza right now.'"

Palestine: A strategic View from Juan Cole

Informed Comment

This is scary! A widening conflict in the Middle East sits on a knife's edge above these possibilities. Remember that although its not "official" we know that Israel has about 200 nukes. If they were to use them on Iran the radioactive fallout would almost certainly drift across the Iranian border into Iraq and sicken thousands of American troops along with tens of thousands innocent civilians.

Note also that the country and political leaders showing restraint are in Iran, not the present US administration, with the exception of Petraeus. The US State Department does keep issuing apologies and corrections for Rice's statements.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lind: If Israel Bombed Iran
US Army in Iraq Could be Lost

Iran's PressTv is alleging that its building in Gaza took Israeli fire, wounding two of its employees. An Israeli spokesman denied that the building had been targeted.

Iranian preachers had stirred up crowds over Gaza, and such incidents have the potential to provoke more severe tensions.

On the other hand, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has intervened to stop Iranian suicide bombers from leaving the country and heading toward Palestine / Israel. Hard line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called for such practical action against Israel, but the Supreme Jurisprudent foresaw that this step would risk widening the war and stopped them. Rumors of a rift between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have proliferated for some time, but this is the first time they have been clearly visible in public on a major policy initiative.

In fact, Iran seems to be restraining Hizbullah in Lebanon, as well. This article speculates that the Iranians do not want to derail the possibility of better relations with the US under Obama.

This restraint, however, depends on Israel not directly attacking Iran. William Lind argues that if Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party gets elected on Feb. 10, he may well bomb Iran. In that case, Lind says, Iran might well have the tools to cut the US military off from its supplies that come up from the Persian Gulf through the Shiite south of Iraq, allowing it to be effectively killed.

It may be in part to forestall an escalation of attacks on US troops in Iraq, as called for by junior Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr again on Friday as 2000 of his followers rallied in Baghdad, that Gen. David Petraeus has underlined that there are important realms for US/Iran cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Petraeus sounds as though he is already in an Obama administration; can you imagine W. saying something so sensible? Gen. Petraeus is wisely holding out an important incentive to the Iranians, many of whom would very much like to improve relations with the US.

Israel Denounced for Maintaining A "Concentration Camp" in Gaza | LaRouche Political Action Committee

Israel Denounced for Maintaining A "Concentration Camp" in Gaza | LaRouche Political Action Committee:

"International Committee of the Red Cross today charged Israel's military with 'failing to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded' in Gaza, after a team found 15 bodies, starving and wounded adults, and four children 'emaciated but alive,' cowering next to their dead mothers in shattered Gaza homes, four days after the area had been shelled."

I listened to this report on NPR yesterday and the Red Cross Spokesperson said the children were so weak they could not stand by themselves.

Red Cross denounces Israel's curbs on Palestinians ahead of Blair conference - Middle East, World - The Independent

Red Cross denounces Israel's curbs on Palestinians ahead of Blair conference - Middle East, World - The Independent

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which prides itself on its neutrality, said that Israel's "harsh security measures" came at an "enormous humanitarian cost" and that the "dignity of the Palestinians is being trampled underfoot day after day, both in the West Bank and Gaza".

The agency said as a result of the "retaliatory" closures of Gaza since Hamas seized control there in June, 823 sick people had been prevented from leaving the Strip. Three of these cases, in which the ICRC had directly intervened, had subsequently died because of administrative and security clearance delays.

The Red Cross said Israel had the right to protect its population but "the balance between [its] legitimate security concerns and the right of the Palestinian people to live a normal life has not been struck".

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Amnesty vs. AIPAC: Senate to Consider AIPAC Resolution Endorsing War in Gaza

Robert Naiman: Amnesty vs. AIPAC: Senate to Consider AIPAC Resolution Endorsing War in Gaza:

"The Senate could consider as early as today a resolution promoted by AIPAC intended to effectively endorse the continuation of the Israeli military assault in Gaza. (You can find the text of the draft resolution on AIPAC's web page.)"

In particular, the resolution does not call for an "immediate ceasefire," but for a "durable and sustainable ceasefire," which is the Bush Administration's code for continuing the war - the excuse the Administration has given for why the war must go on. Nor does the resolution call for ending the blockade on Gaza, even though the blockade is also an act of war.

Call your Senators now. Urge them to insist that any resolution passed by the Senate call for an immediate ceasefire and for lifting the blockade on Gaza.

Last Friday, Amnesty International USA sent an "urgent" letter to Secretary of State Rice, calling on her to end the Bush Administration's "lopsided response" to the ongoing Israeli military attacks on Gaza that have reportedly killed more than 600 Palestinians, including some 200 children. "Amnesty International USA is particularly dismayed at the lopsided response by the U.S. government to the recent violence and its lackadaisical efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," the letter said. Amnesty urged the Bush Administration to "go beyond rhetoric and exert concrete pressure on both parties to immediately cease unlawful

US Senate supports Israel's Gaza incursion

The resolution now goes to the House, where there is likely to be more friction (unlike the Senate, many House members have spoken out against the assault.) You can use the same link for contacting the House.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Palestinian Territory through the Years (in green):

Israeli Journalists Show Greater Range of Opinion than US

Daily Kos: Two Sides from Inside Israel

Here are excerpts from two recent opinion pieces. Obviously, two pieces can never do justice to this complex situation. For one thing, they do not represent Palestinian points of view. But these two illustrate the level of internal public debate for which the Israeli media - but not the American - are willing to provide a forum.

Both are from the left of center widely read Haretz:

Here is the first by Gideon Levy:

Our finest young men are attacking Gaza now. Good boys from good homes are doing bad things. Most of them are eloquent, impressive, self-confident, often even highly principled in their own eyes, and on Black Saturday dozens of them set out to bomb some of the targets in our "target bank" for the Gaza Strip.

They set out to bomb the graduation ceremony for young police officers who had found that rare Gaza commodity, a job, massacring them by the dozen. They bombed a mosque, killing five sisters of the Balousha family, the youngest of whom was 4. They bombed a police station, hitting a doctor nearby; she lies in a vegetative state in Shifa Hospital, which is bursting with wounded and dead. They bombed a university that we in Israel call the Palestinian Rafael, the equivalent of Israel's weapons developer, and destroyed student dormitories. They dropped hundreds of bombs out of blue skies free of all resistance.

n four days they killed 375 people. They did not, and could not, distinguish between a Hamas official and his children, between a traffic cop and a Qassam launch operator, between a weapons cache and a health clinic, between the first and second floors of a densely populated apartment building with dozens of children inside. According to reports, about half of the people killed were innocent civilians. We're not complaining about the pilots' accuracy, it cannot be otherwise when the weapon is a plane and the objective is a tiny, crowded strip of land. Our excellent pilots are effectively bullies now. As in training flights, they bomb undisturbed, facing neither an air force nor defense system.

But all of this is well hidden from the pilots' eyes. They are only doing their job, as the saying goes, only following orders like bombing machines. In the past few days they have excelled at this, and the results are there for the entire world to see. Gaza is licking its wounds, just like Lebanon before it, and almost no one pauses for a moment to ask whether all this is necessary, or unavoidable, or whether it contributes to Israel's security and moral image. Is it really the case that our pilots return safely to base, or are they in fact returning to them as callous, cruel and blind people?

A more familiar sounding view from the same Daily by ri Shavit:

Operation Cast Lead is a tragic campaign. Tragic, because it is causing the deaths of hundreds and injuring thousands. Tragic, because it is causing physical and emotional injury to innocent Palestinians, including women and children. Tragic, because like every war it creates intolerable human hardship and heartbreaking suffering.

But the tragedy of Operation Cast Lead is unavoidable. It derives directly from the fact that the Palestinians did not take proper advantage of the historic opportunity given to them in 2005. It derives from the fact that when the Palestinians achieved self-government for the first time in their history they misused it. It derives from the fact that the Palestinian need to destroy Israel is still stronger than their need to build Palestine.

Israel-hating Israelis call Operation Cast Lead a war crime. They record the names of each and every Palestinian killed, denounce each and every Israeli action and portray their state as a bully. While the Egyptians are saying that Hamas is largely responsible for the tragedy of Gaza, Israel-hating Israelis place the whole responsibility on their government and military. While the international community silently understands that a sovereign state is duty-bound to protect its citizens' lives, Israel-hating Israelis believe that Israeli lives can be forfeited. ...

The real motivation of Israel-hating Israelis is not genuine concern for the Palestinians, but rather a form of reverse racism. By showing forgiveness toward Palestinian fascism they turn their backs not only on Israelis but also on moderate, freedom-loving Palestinians. Those who blame Israel for everything and exonerate the Palestinians of everything are neither serving the cause of peace nor helping to end the violence and occupation. All they are doing is proving the extent to which they are blinded by their burning self-hatred. posted by Mary at 8:48 PM | 0 comments