Sunday, January 04, 2009

Children of a Lesser Allah

I don't know if there's a good guy in the Gaza Strip travesty; if there is one, it sure isn't young Mr. Bush, or Lord Cheney, or Keystone Kondi Rice, or, lamentably, Barack Obama, and it sure as h-e-double hockey sticks isn't Israel.

Speaking of perdition, somebody needs to throw another handful of clean coal in the brazier under Yasser Arafat, and hopefully someone has confirmed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's reservation for the spot next to Arafat's. Bush and Kondi and Lord Cheney and Bad Will Ambassador John Bolton must be looking forward to occupying adjoining rooms with a view of the inferno in the LBJ Hilton, because they appear bent on squeezing in as much last minute evil as they can before a house drops on them.

Never tired of watching its own horror show, the Bush team is reprising the scenario it ran in Lebanon: Cheney goads Bush into giving tacit approval for Israel to launch a military offensive against a group of sand colored people who, in terms of relative firepower, amount to an ant colony. Kondi does her hair up like a fright wig and drags out the ceasefire process until Israel a) has killed all the sand colored people it wants to kill or b) starts getting its tohkes kicked by the sand colored people and wants mommy to make them stop it.

Take Two

Dick Cheney says Israel didn't seek "U.S. approval" to begin the ground attack into Gaza. Heh. They didn't seek "U.S. approval" before they attacked Lebanon, either. They sought Dick Cheney's approval, and he gave it to them. Dick Cheney isn't the "U.S." He's just the vice president, and the president of the Senate. He's not in the military chain of command at all, and according to him he doesn't even work in the executive branch of government.

No word yet on whether Israel got Dick's permission to use cluster munitions on the sand colored people, this time or last time. Israel's Haareetz says the Israeli Defense Force is aiming the cluster ammunition at "open areas." I have trouble imagining Hamas placing suitable cluster bomb targets in the open. You might shell an open area to set off mines that could be buried there, but if you use cluster bombs to do that you'll create another minefield on top of the one you're trying to clear. Cluster bombs are made for killing people. Maybe the IDF is shelling open areas with cluster bombs as a humanitarian gesture, something to remind the Palestinians to stay in the closed areas where it's safer, but I doubt it. Journalist Jamal Dajani of Link TV, posting from the Israel-Gaza border, judges Israel's self described "surgical strikes" to be "as surgical as shooting chickens in a coop with a shot gun."

Mr. Bush blames the Gaza debacle on Hamas, saying it has "once again shown its true colors as a terrorist organization" with attacks on Israel. Bush didn't mention that Israel broke the ceasefire in November when it sent ground troops into Gaza. Cheney probably didn't let anybody tell Bush that part. Maybe it's a moot issue; Israel has had Gaza under a blockade since January 2008, six months before the ceasefire went into effect. Since a blockade is an act of war imposed by armed force, one has to marvel at how even the most adroit Rovewellian can say with a straight face that a ceasefire exists within a blockade.

But then logic has never been a requirement of Bush administration rhetoric. Kondi says that, "Hamas has held the people of Gaza hostage ever since their illegal coup against the forces of (Palestinian Authority) President Mahmoud Abbas." The "illegal coup" she refers to was the January 2006 election in which Hamas won a large majority of Palestinian Parliament and ousted the corrupt, self-serving Fatah party. Fatah, you may recall, was the political organization of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who built a personal nest egg of $1 billion and $3 billion out of public funds.

Kondi says that she won't settle for a ceasefire that allows Hamas to keep its rockets to defend itself with. Hamas makes the Qassam rockets themselves, since they can't afford to buy weapons from anybody. The rockets are simple steel filled tubes with no guidance system. The fuel is a mixture of sugar and fertilizer, and the warhead contains fertilizer and scavenged TNT. Qassam rockets are worthless against the F-16 fighter-bombers we gave the Israelis.

FOX News put fear and loathing merchant John Bolton on the air to say the Israelis has a right to use those F-16s to "eliminate" Hamas. After that, Bolton said, Israel should use the F-16s to attack Iran for us.

Bush neocons aren't the only U.S. politicos lifting their skirts for Israel. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "When Israel is attacked, the United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally." Dick Cheney must not have let anybody tell her that Israel attacked first either. On Meet the Press last Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prattled on about how generous the Israelis were when they gave the Palestinians control of the Gaza Strip in 2003. He didn't mention that Israel was giving back land the UN parceled to the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 when it established Israel.

It's too bad for the Palestinians they can't afford to set up a lobbying group like the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and to buy all of our politicians and our media like the Israelis have done.

Lonely at the Bottom

The Armistice Agreements that ended the 1948 Arab-Israeli War eliminated Palestine as a defined territory. The land not ceded to Israel was distributed to Egypt, Syria and Jordan, who essentially told their Palestinian Arab pals to go fish in a sand dune. In early December 2008, Egyptian president Mubarak blocked the Iranian Red Crescent from delivering food to Gaza to relieve Palestinians who had been reduced to eating grass. I reckon Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni hadn't heard about the grass eating business when she said, “There is no humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. Or maybe she doesn't think Palestinians eating grass constitutes a humanitarian crisis.

The Telegraph describes how the U.S. blocked the UN Security Council from passing a statement urging an immediate ceasefire on both sides on Saturday. Historian and journalist Gareth Porter exposes how the George W. Bush administration provoked Hamas to seize power in Gaza by forcing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to attempt to dissolve the democratically elected Hamas government."

I once had the audacity to hope that my country would become that shining city on a hill, a champion of the oppressed and abandoned everywhere. Human societies don't get much more oppressed or abandoned than the Palestinians are, but political regimes don't come any more malignant than the Bush administration has been.

It would be nice to believe that change is just around the corner, but the ear-splitting silence from Barack Obama, on a holiday surfing safari as the Gaza debacle unfolded, has me wondering whether the Israelis now own U.S. foreign policy trigger, stock and barrel regardless of who the American public puts in power. I don't buy Obama's "one president at a time" excuse. Bush, Cheney and the neocons have gotten away with atrocity after atrocity after atrocity for eight merciless years because people who could have stopped them didn’t want to speak out of turn.

I'd also like to believe that Barack Obama is more concerned with doing the right thing than with what the John Boltons and Sean Hannitys of this world have to say about him.

But just now, I'm more inclined to believe in Scientology.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. Israel murders women and children and the inconvenient innocent----it's that simple to me....proportionate to the calculations of exceptionalism of course.

  2. wkmaier8:31 PM


    Just finished watching the movie "The Battle of Algiers", circa 1965.

    Are we in tragedy, farce or some other theatrical form?

  3. Some other theatrical form, WK. Theater of the Absurd meets Circus Circus, or something like that.


  4. Anonymous2:16 AM

    I'd like to think that Obama is showing the common sense that a silence can indicate. He's letting others waffle about how much they love Israel, and its policies, whilst remaining personally silent.

    That silence is dangerous not for the Palestinians, but for Israel. The Palestinians have nothing to lose, but the Israelis must be worried as normally a US president (even a president elect) has announced that he is all in favour of their latest kitten fisting. This hasn't happened.

    Sooner or later the Israelis are going to need to replace the weapons equipment that they are wasting, and its not impossible that they might be surprised at the conditions that are required.

    At the end of the day Obama has the veto. He still might surprise us, starting the US and Israel governments to rejoin the human race. I guess we have to have hope, right?

  5. Anon,

    Like the song from The 12 Chairs goes:
    Hope for the best, expect the worst.


  6. Commander, Anon-

    A very wise man once said:

    "In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  7. Well said. Very well said.


  8. Commander, after reading this in my local paper - I have a new found respect for Adm. Blair.

    In July, Adm. Blair told a House panel the following:

    "I am in awe of the sophisticated strategies that American politicians can devise and pursue over many years. They involve very public activities -- speeches, programs, alliances -- but also backroom deals, and stratagems, tactical flexibility but strategic constancy, investment in intellectual and organizational capabilities that will not pay off for years.

    I have yet to see these same brilliant politicians come up with similar strategies to advance the national interest when they come into national office. Our national strategies show little of the depth, brilliance and effectiveness of the domestic political strategies this country produces."

    (water ski episode aside)

  9. Of all places to read a defense of Obama's silence, Counterpunch had one. But i'm not buying it. Were the man silent on all issues before his swearing in i would accept the story. But he's got no qualms about discussing what he'll do with the economy.

    Spin it any way you like, but he's pretty well trapped now.

    And i'd buy a fedora for dinner if he quashed foreign/military aid to Israel or even put restrictions on it.

  10. As long as we keep supplying the Israelis with F-16's, and bombs to drop from those planes, on Muslims in the MidEast, ---
    The Commander is right. We will have never-ending war. Because Israel continues to increase our list of enemies.

    In the context of "the economy" we can't afford to give economic and military aid to countries, like Israel, whose economy is in much better shape than ours.

    Our new President Obama will be facing as much opposition from Democrats as Republicans, on his domestic and foreign policy.

    His possible appointment of Leon Panetta, who has been very vocal against torture, to head the CIA already has Senators Feinstein and Rockefeller in a twit.

    I suspect that if somebody were shooting missiles or rockets at my house, I'd want to do what I could to put a stop to it. (Moving would be one option.)
    I also suspect if my children were forced to eat grass because they had no food, and no water, I would protect my family, and want to punish those responsible.

    That one side in a conflict "has a right to defend itself" and the other side does not --- just does not compute with me. Especially when one side is throwing rocks at the people dropping bombs.

  11. Terrorism is hardly more than a cover story to describe one of the parties involved in what is actually an endless property line dispute.

    Terrorism is the word that is supposed to make everyone obediently snap-to whenever it is invoked.

    "Hey there, slacker, I dont see you snapping-to. Are you with the terrorists?"

    "It works the same in all societies, democratic or not. Tell the people they are being attacked, and they will obey." -- Paraphrasing some famous Nazi whose name I don't remember. Was it Goebbels?

  12. It was Fatso Goehring, at his trial in Nuremburg.

  13. Quantum Mechanic12:40 PM

    Anyone heard anything about this?
    Depleted uranium found in Gaza victims
    Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:16:21 GMT
    Medics tell Press TV they have found traces of depleted uranium in some Gaza residents wounded in Israel's ground offensive on the strip.

  14. First I've heard, QM, thanks for the tip. I'm thinking armor piercing rounds. Wonder what they were piercing with them?

  15. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Obama bowed (groveled?) before the AIPAC conference. He will be Rahm Emmanuel's puppet. He will do what he promised Israel. Americans will continue to watch television.
    And finally, it may come to the situation where some of us ask ourselves, "Why should I risk my life for some who will not try to save their own?"

    No one is going to stop Israel's genocide. I keep trying to find out why.

  16. They don't care for the same reason they don't care when we use C-130 gunships to rip up towns in Somalia.


  17. General Quarters7:45 PM


    In the end, neo-Templar, Israel will suffer the same fate as the Crusader States for the same reasons. The Palestinians will endure miserably as they always have, first as pagans, then as Jews and Christians, and now as Muslims. I note that you quote HaAretz...HaAretz translated to english is The Land, and that distills it all down to a 2 word summary.

    GQ (Reporting from the safety of Krak des Chevaliers)

  18. OK this is a non sequitur at least to the current topic, but I don't know of a better way to communicate it to you Jeff.

    Did you hear about the new giant national water parks in the South Pacific?

    My advice: Don't bother trying to set up your next family snorkeling vacation in one of these places, unless of course your family also happen to be a group of Navy Seals or Navy or Air Force aviators that are in need of some weapons practice or some deep trench patrolling.

    Being aware of your general Naval background, and having grown up next to a naval base myself and having worked there as a civilian after that, and having tasted the water in the area (yech!! no joke!!) not to mention often reading about the kerosene (JP-7?) and halon spills and finding god knows what in the cedar streams a bit downstream from there, I have to think something is not quite on the level when 200,000 square miles of remotest South Pacific are gleefully designated by our president and dutifully reported by our state press as being something akin to a national wildlife refuge, and being a generally nice gesture to the environment and the fish and coral that need our protection too, way the heck over there.

    Here was the mainstream story:

    Several possible secondary (?) motivations (like subs) soon surfaced after a few quick mental checks, and Google searches, on the past and potential significance to any of our Commanders in Chief regarding the areas of Wake Island, Guam, American Samoa, the Mariana Trench, the Tongan Trench, not to mention "Pago Pago harbor, often considered the safest harbor in the Central Pacific" rivaling, I suppose, Pearl Harbor in its, um, serenity to put down anchor, and stuff.

    And of what possible use to a Commander in Chief are some atolls in the South Pacific, being so far, far away from anything else that can see (or hear) stuff happening there, (like sea-birds tweeting I suppose) now that their massive expanses of water are off limits to everything except Navy and Air Force (and the token university educational expedition)?

    Has the Dept of the Interior become little more than a PC term for military base administrator?


  19. Babe?

    Nobody gives a crap about the people called Palestinians or there would be a practical, pragmatic solution to this ugly game that the whole fucking ("Western relgion" influenced) world feels compelled to participate in.

    If you want to see the discourse turn vicious and ugly, bring up the subject with a Jewish Israeli or a Palestinian activist. Not an American, but someone born there. That's been my limited experience anyway.

  20. These water parks sound a lot like our used nuclear fuel memorials.


  21. wkmaier11:46 AM


    Any thoughts about doing a piece on the geopolitical strategy of Gazprom? Or the Kremlin, I get those 2 mixed up all the time.

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