Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A terse response

I caught up too late with comments on another blog concerning one of my posts on this blog. My initial post,
No apologies, please, excoriated the waste of American lives and the mutilated bodies of young soldiers, along with the thousands of dead Iraqis -- all for nothing.

Here is the comment that piqued my interest:
"I wonder if Ms. Wright would’ve opposed U.S. battling the Nazis in World War II, allowing the Nazis to kill even more millions of Jews, Gypsies, etc. After all, Germany never attacked the U.S. Also, since the U.S. helped install Iraq's Saddam Hussein in the first place, why did the U.S. not have a moral obligation to remove him?"

You got that right about WWII. This country's security was never in jeopardy in either of Europe's so-called World Wars -- not in No. 1, nor in No. 2. The U.S. was under no threat from Germany and in no danger of Hitler carrying on a war 3,000 miles from his shores. He could hardly handle the blitzing of that little island just across the pond. Europeans have been killing off one another since forever. We had no reason to meddle in yet another of their ludicrous and centuries-long squabbles. Of course, the Great WWII has been sanctified by all those ridiculous Hollywood movies, and by the men who fought in it and, understandably, don't want to think of their efforts as worthless. If ever there was an "entangling alliance" that we could have stayed out of, this was it.

And where did the ignorant notion come from that this country went to war to "save the Jews," or any of Hitler's other victims? This is obviously a trope that has become popular as we move further away in years from the actual conflict. Churchill and Roosevelt weren't conferencing over such matters to alter these events, even though there were rumors of atrocities going on.

And the justification for invading Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein is a new one. So, whenever we install a dictator in a country, that gives us an automatic right to return to that land, kill off endless numbers of its population, turn its society and culture upside down, while taking out the dictator we originally installed? This is so dumb, that it's un-effing-believable! Such a policy could keep the U.S. busy at war for the rest of its history. A "moral obligation" to kill Iraqis, so that we could murder the country's leader? What kind of twisted rationalization is that?

By the way, the blog being referenced is made up of "black conservatives." Most of the responding comments were pretty much along the lines of the above quoted one. They are heavy into justifying "collateral damage," i.e., our unfortunate soldiers and the unlucky Iraqi people. Ho-hum, somebody's got to die, after all.


Wrecking what was left of the West
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Friday, March 26, 2010

The wholesale irrelevance of public opinion

Glenn Greenwald has been in his cups lately in drawing attention to the rank hypocrisy of America's wonderful rightwing "patriots." In "The GOP's newfound love of public opinion," he describes the Republicans who expressed outrage over the manner in which the health care bill was handled by the Democrats.

Greenwald writes, "One Republican leader after the next stood up yesterday to depict the health care bill as a grave threat to democracy because it was enacted in the face of disapproval from a majority of Americans." He cites Rep. John Boehner, who claimed, "We have failed to listen to America ... failed to reflect the will of our constituents. And when we fail to reflect that will -- we fail ourselves and we fail our country." Not to be outdone by Boehner's bluster, Rep. Mike Pence thundered, "We're breaking with our finest traditions ... the consent of the governed."

Can you imagine such dutiful concern for the people's preferences, coming from Republicans? These hysterical outbursts were instigated by the notion that the health care bill should never have been deliberated, because it was opposed by a majority of Americans. Greenwald retorts, "Of course, these are the same exact people who spent years funding the Iraq War without end and without conditions even in the face of extreme public opposition, which consistently remained in the 60-65% range." He reminds us that "the wholesale irrelevance of public opinion was a central tenet of GOP rule for eight years."

He recalls a recurring theme of the contemptuous Vice President Cheney who, when told in 2008 that two-thirds of American citizens said the Iraq war was not worth fighting, simply brushed off the people's opinion. Cheney expressed the prevailing GOP view of the American public, that their opinion did not matter in the slightest. Greenwald writes, "The view of our political class generally is that public opinion plays a role in how our government functions only during elections, and after that, those who win are free to do whatever they want regardless of what 'the people' want."

George W. Bush actually spelled this out by explaining, in 2005, why no one in his administration had been held accountable for the fraud that led to the war. He obnoxiously claimed that the 2004 election itself was that "accountability moment." Greenwald asserts, "Watching these same Republicans now pretend that public opinion must be honored and that our democracy is imperiled when bills are passed without majority support is truly nauseating."

And, again, in another column, "Rampant patriotism breaches on America's right," Greenwald cites the rightwing Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds who, during the Bush years accused opponents of the Iraq war of being "unpatriotic" and, in fact, committing "treason." Reynolds said of those who opposed the war, "They're not so much 'antiwar' as just on the other side."

However, today, Reynolds sees things differently. Greenwald quotes him: "If I were the Israelis, not only would I bomb Iran, but I'd do so in such a way as to create as much trouble for China, Russia, Europe and the United States as possible." Observes Greenwald, "Calling on a foreign country to act in a way that creates 'as much trouble as possible' for your
own country seems to be the very definition of being 'on the other side,' does it not?" And, "The action Reynolds is endorsing -- Israel's bombing of Iran -- likely would, according to America's top military official, directly result in the
deaths of American soldiers."

That official is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, who warned on March 11, that an Israeli attack on Iran might lead to escalation, undermine the region's stability and endanger the lives of Americans in the Persian Gulf "who are under the threat envelope right now."

"By Reynolds' own standards," reasons Greenwald, "blithely endorsing such outcomes would seem, definitively, to place
one 'on the other side.'" So, who's "unpatriotic" now, and just who's guilty of "treason?"

During Bush times, when war opponents criticized Gen. David Petraeus, they were denounced for "endangering the troops," through their lack of respect for Petraeus' command. Yet, after Petraeus' recent remarks about how Israel's conflict with the Palestinians endangers the lives of American troops, the ADL's Abraham Foxman and others of his ilk condemned Petraeus, calling his remarks "dangerous and counterproductive," just stopping short of dumping the "anti-Semite" label on him.

Greenwald contends that Petraeus' remarks were, indeed, counterproductive "for those who want the U.S. to blindly support Israeli actions even when doing so directly harms American interests." What kind of person, asks Greenwald, would condemn the Commander in charge of the welfare of our troops "all in the name of serving the interests of a foreign government?" It is the peak of hypocrisy that the rightwing super patriots are ready to revoke their standards when it comes to Israel, and readily do so at the expense of their own country.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Ethnic ties as strong as ever

Another truly brilliant insight from the pen and brain of Pat Buchanan. In The Wars of Tribe and Faith, he describes nationalist reality, as the Globalists continue on their hapless journey to undo the ties that bind, and to foist alien systems on the world's populations. Following is Buchanan's complete column:

• • •

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, most Americans likely had never heard of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan. Yet the ethnonationalism of these Asian peoples, boiling to the surface after centuries of tsarist and communist repression, helped tear apart one of the great empires of history.

There swiftly followed the collapse of Yugoslavia. Yet, if one knew nothing of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires or the First and Second Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, one would likely have been surprised by the sudden emergence of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo on the map of Europe.

What the splintering of the Soviet Union and of a Yugoslavia whose baptismal certificate dated to the Paris peace conference of 1919 revealed was the accuracy of Arthur Schlesinger's insight in his 1991 Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society:

Nationalism remains after two centuries the most vital political emotion in the world -- far more vital than social ideologies such as communism or fascism or even democracy. ... Within nation-states, nationalism takes the form of ethnicity or tribalism.

Ethnic ties, Schlesinger wrote, might prove more powerful and historically important than the forces of globalism and democratism, which then seemed ascendant. He only neglected to mention religious faith as often a "far more vital" emotion than ideology.

And though the Iraq elections have been hailed as a triumph of democracy, they would seem to prove him right. Kurds voted for Kurds, Shia for Shia, Sunni for Sunni on a slate led by Ayad Allawi, a secular Shia who campaigned on a unity ticket. The election results resemble a national census.

In the struggle between Allawi and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to put together a government, both are courting the Kurds, whose near-term goal is Kirkuk, control of which would mean control of 40 percent of Iraq's oil reserves. If the Kurds, who have been forcing their way into Kirkuk and pushing Arabs out, can annex the city, they will have the economic base of a Kurdistan nation, the dream of a people whose kinfolk are spread across Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The Kurds are using democratic means for ethnonational ends. Maliki's strength is in the Shia south and the capital, Baghdad, that has been slowly cleansed of Sunni.

Among Allawi's weaknesses is that the Shia majority may not support as Iraq's prime minister a Shia secularist whose strength comes from a Sunni minority that was the bulwark of the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein. Among the Shia are leaders who spent the Iran-Iraq war in exile in Iran, and whose ties to the Iranian Shia seem stronger than any ties to their Sunni countrymen.

Hence, as we indulge in self-congratulation for having brought democracy to Iraq, Iraqis seem to be using the process to advance ethnonational and sectarian ends that are the antithesis of U.S. democracy. We see democracy as an end in itself. Many in that part of the world see it as a means of establishing their ascendancy and hegemony over other religious and ethnic minorities.

In 2005, George W. Bush, then promoting global democracy as the answer to all of mankind's ills and an essential precondition for any permanent security for the United States, demanded free elections in Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine. The winners: the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas. A perplexed Bush refused to accept the results or recognize and talk to the winners.

Before the invasion, most Americans were probably unaware of the tribal and sectarian divisions in Iraq that may yet produce a new Saddam to keep that country from coming apart in sectarian and civil war.

And how many Americans were aware of the ethnic divisions in Afghanistan, among Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and Pashtun, before we invaded? A program is underway to bring more Pashtun into the army and police, lest the Pashtun in the south feel invaded and occupied by alien tribes.

Globalization is no longer on the march, but on the defensive. Economic nationalism is rising. Across the Third World, we see an upsurge of ethnonationalism and fundamentalism, especially among the Islamic peoples. From Nigeria to Sudan to Mindanao, Muslims battle Christians, as Christians are persecuted in Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan.

In India and Thailand, Muslims battle Hindu and Buddhists. In the Northern Caucasus, they fight Russians.

Ethnonationalism, that relentless drive of peoples to secede and dwell apart, to establish their own nation-state, where their faith is predominant, their language spoken, their heroes and history revered, and they rule to the exclusion of all others, is rampant.

In China, Tibetans fight assimilation and the mass migration of Han Chinese into what was their country, as do the Uighurs in the west who dream of an East Turkestan breaking away and taking its place among the nations of the world.

In speaking of the rising tribalism abroad, Schlesinger added, "The ethnic upsurge in America, far from being unique, partakes of the global fever." Indeed, separatism and secessionism seem to be in the air.
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The last accepted colonialism

From an Indiana University press release, we learn of Professor Rafael Reuveny's statement concerning recent developments in the Middle East. Professor Reuveny, formerly a resident of Israel, who came to the US in 1992, served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and is the author of several books on the Middle East, including The Last Colonialist: Israel in the Occupied Territories since 1967 [Independent Review]. Following is the full press release of March 15:

• • •

Indiana University
Monday, March 15, 2010

IU Professor: U.S. must immediately stop funding Israeli colonial project

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Vice President Joe Biden's rebuke of Israel over proposed settlement expansion in Greater East Jerusalem is not only ineffective, it's hypocritical, said Professor Rafael Reuveny, a researcher on Middle East violence and political economy at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington.

"The United States has been funding the Israeli colonial project for decades," Reuveny said.

While Israel annually receives billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and weapons, money and easy loans are then passed on to Israeli settlers to build homes and businesses in Palestinian territory. "It is terribly difficult for Palestinians who have very few rights in their homeland," Reuveny said. "Not only has such colonialism come to be rejected everywhere else in the world, it defeats U.S. and Israeli interests and gravely risks their national security."

As the United States struggles with security problems resulting from Israel-induced anti-Americanism, Israel faces a demographic bomb. "Because Palestinians have one of the highest fertility rates in the world, they will become the majority within approximately 10-15 years," he said. "When that happens, Israeli colonial control will resemble South Africa or Rhodesia, essentially creating a system of apartheid. As a result, international pressure will mount for a bi-national state, which is a receipt for endless violence in the Middle East and around the world."

According to Reuveny, who first arrived in the U.S. from Israel in 1992, the only way to secure peace is for Israel to dismantle all settlements, evacuate all settlers, and return to the 1967 border. "Obama's idea to freeze settlement expansion in order to bring about peace is not going to do a thing, similar to if we simply freeze the level of heroin consumption in order to bring about detoxification," he said. "By now, many Israeli citizens have come to agree with this, but religious Zionist settlers and the Israeli right wing do not, as in other efforts toward decolonization since 1945."

History has shown, he said, that a "cold-turkey," full-scale withdrawal is the only way to end wars of decolonization. "As Israel's bankroller, it is time for the United States to stop enabling Israel and force an immediate West Bank decolonization by cutting financial and military support to Israel if it does not comply. In 1991, George H. Bush was not afraid to stand up to Israel. And it worked."

Pointing to President Obama's speech in Cairo promising to bring peace to the region, Reuveny said the president has the opportunity to finally end this long-suffering conflict that plagues the world.

"He will then, undisputedly, deserve the Nobel Peace Prize," Reuveny said.

See Why don't you leave, already? [On the systematic bulldozing of Palestinians' homes and farmlands]
• • •


Since it is unusual for someone in as high a position as General David Petraeus (CENTCOM Commander) to engage in any verbiage other than obfuscation or outright lies, his recent remarks before the US Senate are worth noting. Although his comments are nothing more than obvious observations known to any conscious citizen, there appears to be a ring of sincerity in them.

Excerpts from

Statement of General David H. Petraeus,

U.S. Army Commander

Before the Senate Armed Services Committee

March 16, 2010

The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR [Area of Responsibility of CENTCOM]. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. ...

Unresolved issues of disputed territorial boundaries and disagreements over the sharing of vital resources, such as water, oil, and natural gas, serve as sources of tension and conflict between and within states in the region. ...

Finally, because we want lasting conditions of security and prosperity, we must seek long term, enduring solutions to the challenges in the region. To this end, we work to address the root causes of instability rather than apply quick fixes to their symptoms.

Israel First? by Joe Klein

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"This is starting to get dangerous"

You mean there has been an intention, by some, at least, to resolve the mess this country has made in the Middle East, and to resolve what has become almost affectionately known as the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" Apparently so, as we learn from a remarkable report of events furnished by Foreign Policy magazine.

As conveyed by reporter Mark Perry, General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in the Middle East, in January, sent a team from US Central Command (CENTCOM) to the Pentagon, to brief the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen. This briefing consisted of explicit concerns expressed by Petraeus himself. Perry writes:

The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that envoy George Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) "too old, too slow ... and too late."

Perry calls the briefing "unprecedented." He declares, "No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue."

On instruction from Petraeus, the military team conferred with senior Arab leaders. Perry reports:

"Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling," a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. "America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding." But Petraeus wasn't finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command -- or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations.

Didn't you always think that this area was well, sort of, kind of part of Petraeus's operations? (As it turns out, the paper was actually sent to Mullen; it is assumed that it was forwarded to the White House.)

Apparently, Petraeus thought it a sensible idea, since US troops are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, that the US appear to Arab leaders to be "engaged" [as opposed to being a puppet?] "in the region's most troublesome conflict," i.e., Israel-Palestine.

Given the fact of the thousands of American soldiers who have already dropped like flies throughout this pointless atrocity, Vice President Biden's angry retort to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, upon learning that Israel will be constructing new housing in East Jerusalem, is pitifully weak. As reported in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Biden wailed, "This is starting to get dangerous for us." Starting to get dangerous? I think most would agree that we're well past the danger point for over 4,000 dead soldiers and tens of thousands of limbless and blind ones. What tough talk from Biden to the man who is really in charge of things. And, Biden dared to continue, "What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan."

According to Yedioth Ahronoth:

"The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel's actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism."

Perry writes: "The message couldn't be plainer: Israel's intransigence could cost American lives."

Perry seems to harbor the hope that the US military, which he calls the country's most "powerful lobby," can assert itself above all those other lobbies with which we're so familiar, and deliver Petraeus's message. Perry interprets that message as a "stark warning," that is: "America's relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America's soldiers."

Far more likely, instead of the assertion of American power, we shall witness yet another round of groveling, bootlicking politicians offering grand apologies for a "misunderstanding," as everything falls back into place again and returns to business as usual ... and our soldiers go on dying.


Suddenly the 'special relationship' is… embarrassing, by Philip Weiss

Israel is putting American lives at risk, by Paul Woodward

The Poodle Gets Kicked [Biden, that is], by Pat Buchanan

Humiliating America, by Eric Margolis

Israel First? by Joe Klein

Read more!

New immigration TV ads

Here is a notice from Californians for Population Stabiliation (CAPS), an organization that has worked tirelessly, in spite of the bricks thrown at them over the years, to impact immigration reform. The new ads tie the massive unemployment in this country to a lack of immigration enforcement by a government that is still admitting more than a million foreign workers a year.

• • •

Californians for Population Stabiliation (CAPS) and its partners in the Coalition for the American Worker launched two new TV ads asking why the President and congressional leaders have cut job site enforcement of immigration laws at a time when at least 8 million jobs are held by illegal foreign workers and so many Americans are unemployed.

While President Obama says his top priority is jobs he apparently does not mean jobs for Americans. The Country faces the highest unemployment rate in decades. Americans desperately need jobs. Yet the Obama Administration is reducing worksite enforcement of immigration laws even though worksite enforcement opens jobs for Americans.

When illegal workers are caught, they're not often deported, which means they can take another American job. Also, the U.S. continues to admit more than a million foreign workers a year to take American jobs. Good paying jobs. Our ads ask viewers to call the White House at 202-456-1414 and tell the President that Americans want their jobs back!

• • •

Go to the CAPS website to view the ads.


Immigration and the SPLC: How the Southern Poverty Law Center Invented a Smear, Served La Raza, Manipulated the Press, and Duped its Donors, published by CIS

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

If it's war, then it can't be a mistake

Jack Hunter offers one of the best appraisals of the film, The Hurt Locker. Following are excerpts from "Why 'The Hurt Locker' Hurts":

• • •

The char
acters in this film do not talk about “victory,” or “winning” or the politics of the situation in which they find themselves. Indeed, given the everyday situations these soldiers experience, notions of victory seem almost laughable. The closest thing to political commentary is when an Iraqi taxi driver is manhandled by American soldiers, Renner’s character remarks “If he wasn’t an insurgent, he sure the hell is now.” Former CIA terrorism expert Michael Scheuer recently criticized “Obama’s brass” for “continuing to reassuringly chant the Bush-Clinton-Bush lie to Americans that Islamists attack us because of our way of life not because of our interventionism.”

Though still hard for some Americans to comprehend, Scheuer’s observation that US foreign military intervention breeds Islamic terrorists would not be considered controversial, but fairly obvious, to the soldiers in this film.

The film’s intention is to make us think about the Iraq war in realistic terms, and it accomplishes this, or as much as any Hollywood production possibly could. ... It is not the soldier’s job to ask questions. Soldiers simply do their duty, and hopefully, survive. Asking questions is our job. When leaving the theater after seeing this movie in July, my first, obvious question was “was Iraq worth all that?” Virtually everything we were told about our reasons for invading Iraq — Saddam Hussein being behind 9/11, possessing weapons of mass destruction or threatening the U.S. — turned out to be untrue. ...

Why do so many continue to still say the Iraq war was “worth it?” If this is true, then any war our government can possibly conceive of could be considered “worth it.” Americans too often tend to justify war for its own sake. As citizens we neglect our important role of questioning our government, and that neglect has translated into too many de facto endorsements of the reckless use of our military. It seems we would rather eternally send more soldiers into even more “hurt lockers” than ever confront and deal with gross government incompetence on foreign policy. As with Vietnam, if Iraq wasn’t a mistake, it’s hard to imagine Americans admitting any war was a mistake. ...

If our government decides to go to war — too many Americans assume that it is their patriotic “duty” to support those wars without question. This is obscene, as the only thing standing between a soldier and a bad government decision is the American public. With the invasion of Iraq, Americans did not “support the troops” — we needlessly abused them. “The Hurt Locker” is a movie about that abuse.
• • •
Read complete article here.


Six Questions for Michael Scheuer on National Security, (former CIA), Harper's magazine

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Why don't you leave, already?

See, this is how it works. We bulldoze and destroy your olive groves and homes and all that you require for a livelihood, and eventually you will get the idea to leave for good. Why do you persist in staying here, when you know we will return, after you've done your best to restore your home and possessions, and bulldoze you again? How many decades, or is it centuries, will it take to stamp you out of this land? Why don't you go, damn it!

What follows is a description of habitual actions in Gaza, as the citizens of the region never know at what time of day or night to expect destruction of their lands and possessions. These are events that don't get reported in the American press, because they're so routine that they're boring. Who would care to hear yet another sob story like this one?
• • •

Homes and livelihoods gone in an instant

a Abu Sbaih, 47, lives with her sister and one niece on family land roughly 700 meters from the “green line” boundary between Israel and Gaza. Until 18 February 2010, they had nearly 600 olive, fruit, date and nut trees, an agricultural cistern, a water well, various vegetables and a house.

Around 8:00 am that morning, approximately five Israeli military bulldozers and upwards of 10 Israeli tanks, accom
panied by more than 50 foot soldiers, invaded the farming region, according to locals. “We were in our home when we heard the Israeli tanks and bulldozers approaching. We ran off immediately,” says Sbaih.

s all destroyed. Look, our clothes are buried,” she shouts, pulling at a sweater caught beneath the concrete block pile.
Household belongings are strewn on top of and beneath the pyramid of rubble. A gas range, several cooking pots, a plastic water bottle filled with olives, another with olive oil — both from their land and their destroyed olive trees — denote where the kitchen once stood.

“We were self-sufficient. Twenty people lived off this land. We had our own water source and we grew all our own vegetables: onions, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, radishes, beans …” Nothing, save a stray sprig of green onion, remains. “Now we have no electricity, no shelter, no water. I walk one hour both ways every day to bring jugs of water for drinking,” says Sbaih.

But for her, it is the loss of their trees that hits the hardest. In the hour or less it took the bulldozers to raze all their property and possessions, Radia Sbaih’s trees were cut to the ground and plowed into the valley. Haggard limbs studding the earth and thick ground-level stumps are all the evidence of the 10 dunams (a dunam is the equivalent of 1,000 square meters) of formerly thick growth. “They were healthy trees, many over 50 years old. And so many fruit trees: guava, orange, lemon, pomegranate, date, almond, sugar cane, cactus fruit …” recalls Sbaih.

An Israeli warplane thunders over and Sbaih comments, “It’s normal, they’re always over us.” The roar is accompanied by the continual whine of Israeli “drones” (unmanned aerial vehicles) patrolling the skies.

Sbaih’s words and losses are echoed by the two other families half a kilometer south. Moin Abu Said says, "When the bulldozers and tanks came, I was taking my son Nassim to school, around 7:30 am. I heard the noise of the invasion even from the school.” Abu Said returned to find the house that he had worked eight years to build completely flattened. “We only lived in it one month,” he says in disbelief. Like most in the border region, this is not the first time Abu Said’s land has been razed. “Ten years ago they bulldozed everything, but we replanted. Now it’s all gone again.”

• • •

The arbitrary repetition of this barbarism is at the heart of the strategy to get these stubborn people to leave Gaza for good. Needless to say, over the years, thousands of Palestinians have left the region. Women like Sbaih learn to suffer the losses, and determine to start the journey towards subsistence again. But what does it do to the spirit of the boys who grow into men experiencing these degrading acts over and over, throughout their youth – those "superfluous young men," in the words of Harvard's Martin Kramer?

In addition to maintaining a high level of fear is a design to emasculate, and to let these Palestinians know who the real men are. Do you think such repeated humiliating brutalities might incite enough anger to wreak revenge, even without the promise of 72 virgins?

Homes and livelihoods gone in an instant


Will Israel Join the March of Folly? by Uri Dromi, New York Times

The Prime Minister is failing in his duties, by Haaretz Editorial Staff

Anywhere but here: IDF protest in NY today gets ink, by Philip Weiss

Israel and Its Neighbors: Leveling the Playing Field, by Michael Neumann
Read more!

Monday, March 08, 2010

"Cold cases" versus "warm cases"

The black blogger Constructive Feedback (CF), after informing us about the FBI's focus on civil rights "cold cases," i.e., alleged civil rights crimes of the past, then asks whether this agency, or any other, will pursue the thugs who are killing blacks today. He writes: "In our conditioning we are made to believe that the White man who killed a Black person back in 1952 is a greater threat to our community than the Street Pirate who murdered two people last month and is still on the loose."

CF calls it "repulsive" when blacks who commit crimes against others are not held to a standard of "full equality." It is shameful that there are those whose brand of racism fails to ask of blacks "equal measure that is asked of his long time oppressor." Apparently, black inferiority is implied in the very nature of this approach to today's black criminals, since they are too "damaged" to be expected to uphold societal standards. But, of course, CF reasons, black inferiority is the activists' currency.

Here's how the cold case business came about. To show a determination to go after alleged criminals who have gone unpunished for their deeds, in 2007, bills were introduced in the House and Senate "to provide for the investigation of certain unsolved crimes." These laws granted agents of the FBI and Department of Justice authority to plow through old alleged crimes committed against blacks prior to 1969, i.e., during the civil rights period. [See Far from a "post-racial" society: Dredging up the past forever and Dredging up the past-Part 2.]

Over the recent decades, we have witnessed clever blacks who have profited off every conceivable angle involving race. It comes as no surprise that there have always been even cleverer white elites who have made lucrative livings off the story of blacks, as well. One of these whites is Jerry Mitchell, "investigative reporter," who, last year, was recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant of a half million dollars. With this tidy sum, Mitchell is expected to continue his lifelong hobby of "ferreting out crimes of the 1960s."

I wonder if Mr. Mitchell might consider Constructive Feedback's suggestion, and apply his energies and this financial windfall to pursuing atrocities being committed among blacks in the here and now. Perhaps he could put aside his passionate interest in "cold cases," and pursue, instead, that which CF calls "warm cases."
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No apologies, please

While our rightwing "patriots" rant about the moral and physical superiority of the USA! USA! USA!, and spend so much of their time ostentatiously, very ostentatiously, thanking the troops for their "service" in Iraq and Afghanistan, we're not supposed to notice that these very patriots don't give a damn about the fact that not one of the thousands of soldiers who are gone forever died in the protection of this nation. It is uncool to emphasize the fact that they died for a foreign policy that was designed to protect somebody else's nation.

Nor do these loyalists care about the rest of those young soldiers who are not only left without arms that they can never wrap around a woman, but also without sexual organs that were blown away. The essence of their life wiped out for nothing. (Or is that too delicate a matter to bring up?) Is it also too delicate to mention the fact that only cold-blooded villains would have used government to rob these naive, young men of so much in an era when the U.S. need never have waged war against any country?

Is it likely that we will ever hear an apology to these men, or to the millions of innocents who happened to be in the way of U.S. imperial arrogance, as its missiles and drones and other life-exterminating devices exterminated life?

In his review of former Governor Mitt Romney's new book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, Connor Boyack outlines several U.S. interventions abroad that have led to unfortunate and often unintentional catastrophes for civilians. He quotes the shallow (and might we say hollow) George H.W. Bush who, as Vice President in 1988, proclaimed, after a U.S. Navy missile destroyed an Iranian civilian airplane, killing all 290 passengers including 66 children, "I will never apologize for the United States. I don't care what the facts are. I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy."

Are such people part of the human race?

After detailing a multitude of instances of U.S. troops, driven by American hubris, stamping around the world, destroying ordinary people's institutions and livelihoods, Boyack asks:

Should America offer no apology for any of the aforementioned atrocities? Should our government be able to wash its hands so easily of these actions by merely declaring them necessary for "protecting America’s interests," "spreading democracy," or some similarly pathetic response? And should the ignorance and/or arrogance of current politicians be tolerated when they declare that "we should not apologize for America"?

Read complete article here.
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The Southern Poverty Law Center, again

In a post of 10/21/09, Exposing the charlatans at the Southern Poverty Law Center, I offered a profile of this intrusive, self-appointed "anti-racist" Watchdog of America's thoughts and social habits. I discussed its "hit list," to which the SPLC applies its own inscrutable standards, and the organization's regular practice of character assassination as it links and smears individuals and groups.

Joining what is now becoming a chorus of voices speaking out against the arbitrary practices of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Reason magazine's Jesse Walker reveals the weak evidence offered by the SPLC in its disparagement of various activists and groups. Citing "scaremongering" for fundraising as the primary goal of the SPLC, Walker writes:

As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible.

Read complete article here.


‘Hate group’ masquerading as advocate of human rights?

Immigration & the SPLC: Stopping 'Hate' Is Really about Stopping Debate

Immigration and the SPLC: How the Southern Poverty Law Center Invented a Smear, Served La Raza, Manipulated the Press, and Duped its Donors, published by CIS

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