Archive for July, 2006

Cries and screams

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Extended quotation from the Angry Arab

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert: “Hezbollah used Qana as base to launch 100s of rockets”, so we decided to kill all the women and children who are launching these rockets. I proudly announce to the Israeli nation that we have succeeded in killing a large number of the women and children of the enemy today, and will kill more tomorrow…. [the rest is here]

Birth pangs

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Delivery room photos here.

Terrorism at Qana

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Bobo forgets to ask one little question


Left: Dead child is removed from rubble at Qana, Lebanon after Israelis bomb shelter, killing 54 civilians, including 37 children. Right: David Brooks pontificates on Hezbollah terrorism.

Last Friday, ebullient Newshour pundit David Brooks explained the facts of terrorism to host Jim Lehrer:

DAVID BROOKS: Well, I think [the US] always had a strategy.

JIM LEHRER: You do?

DAVID BROOKS: I think, on the overall, the strategy has always been this two-prong strategy: first, weaken Hezbollah; then, bring in the international force to build a new reality and to strengthen the Lebanese government. That’s always been the strategy. The implementation is the hard part, and it’s always been the hard part.

JIM LEHRER: And it always will be, right?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, of course, because the terrorists just have to destroy. We have to build. And so the odds are against us even now. [emphasis added]

Brooks got it partly right, terrorists destroy. But Brooks fails to consider just who will clean up after Israeli terrorism. Who will weaken the Israeli program to destroy Lebanon and its population?

Let’s see if Brooks reviews in the coming days the moral implications of the “implementation” of the American strategy to turn the Israeli terrorists loose on the Lebanese people.

Make it a parking lot

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

Feelings in favor of genocide in America

I want to pick up the genocide theme from the last post a little bit by asking this question: How many readers of this blog of ever heard a acquaintance, neighbor, friend, or relative express a sentiment similar to this: “We should just wipe all those hostile Muslim countries in the Middle East off the map and make it a parking lot”?? How do seemingly decent people get onto such a power trip?

Just a little while ago, a close neighbor of mine, a union man, told me, “If the Iraqis don’t like what we’ve done for them, we should pull out of there, surround the country, and nuke ’em into a sheet of glass.”

He was dead serious. I teased him with a zieg heil sign, but his conviction was unshakable. Ignorant as they are, these are extremely common, serious, heartfelt sentiments in America.

Many of these same folks well up with pride that the US was able to remove Saddam Hussein, clearly justified because Saddam was a killer who filled mass graves. That the US supported him in doing that is irrelevant, and the contradiction in opposing one form of mass murder while calling for another is lost in extreme cognitive dissonance. It amazes me how so many people in America can carry with seeming ease such deep contradictions. Perhaps pro-Israeli propaganda strongly reaches people here. And maybe the psy-ops operation known as Fox News is highly effective.

And just what is it that happens on Fox News and in other right wing media that stirs up such intense appeal for genocide, hence elimination of opposition to the American agenda? I very much like Media Matters for exposing the media expressions of notions favoring slaughter as legitimate policy. Yesterday, for example, they added to their voluminous collection of posts on the ejaculations of Fox News bully Bill O’Reilly:

Bill O’Reilly declared that “[t]he reason we’re not winning in Iraq” is that the U.S. is “not tough enough” to take actions like “level[ing] Fallujah … and blow[ing] the hell out of it.”

Yeah right, Bill. The US simply has not killed enough yet, that’s our problem. I guess he forgot that the US did level Fallujah in November 2004.

A poster in the comments section under this item gave an excellent run-down of similar O’Reilly remarks:

  • O’Reilly: You know in a sane world, every country would unite against Iran and blow it off the face of the Earth. That would be the sane thing to do. [link]
  • O’Reilly: You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead. [link]
  • O’Reilly: We cannot intervene in the Muslim world ever again. What we can do is bomb the living daylights out of them. [link]
  • O’Reilly is not alone in his use of Fox News to promote genocide. Here’s how smarmy Neil Cavuto’s guest a few days ago, Richard “Bo” Dietl, chairman and founder of private investigation firm Beau Dietl & Associates and a former detective with the New York City Police Department wants to solve the Middle East crisis:

    Dietl: I believe Iran is going to stay kind of mute, because they understand — and they did all see what we did in Iraq. And let’s not be fooled by America. America is the strongest army there is on the Earth, and that we could go into Syria, into Damascus — Damascus, and make a parking lot out of that tomorrow.

    There you have it, the parking lot again. Perhaps these neo-Hitlers are want of a place to park (and refuel?) their SUVs.

    Facts of Israeli morality

    Friday, July 28th, 2006

    Genocide a-okay to certain CNN guests

    Heard on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now, July 28

    After one guest on the show, Ibrahim Hooper from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, pointed out that “if any other country on Earth” [besides Israel] treated an entire population as “terrorist” and threatened to destroy it, “it would be called genocide”, Jed Babbin, a former Pentagon official in the first Bush administration, complained that it was “bizarre” for Hooper “to apologize for the terrorists who have been raining death” due to rocket attacks.

    Babbin concluded, “It is not the Israelis’ fault — I’m willing to kill as many people as it requires to take out Hezbollah. That’s the fact.

    Friday Garden Blogging

    Friday, July 28th, 2006

    Muggy & stormy


    Lightning-laced downpour at 2:10 pm

    We had a direct hit by a strong storm cell this afternoon:

    SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME
    206 PM EDT FRI JUL 28 2006

    THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CARIBOU MAINE HAS ISSUED A

    SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…

  • SOUTHERN PENOBSCOT COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL MAINE…
  • CENTRAL HANCOCK COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST MAINE…
  • * UNTIL 245 PM EDT.

    AT 203 PM EDT…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING PENNY SIZE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR VEAZIE…OR ABOUT NEAR BANGOR AND MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH…

    IN ADDITION TO LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS CONTINUOUS CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM. MOVE INDOORS IMMEDIATELY! LIGHTNING IS ONE OF NATURES NUMBER ONE KILLERS. REMEMBER… IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER YOU ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.

    Looks like nearly an inch, about 20 mm, of rain fell in about a half hour. I just checked the radar and we’re under the gun for more pretty soon.

    On a sad note, my trusty Olympus C-5060 is very ill with system failure. It does just barely function in program mode, so I was able to take the pretty-good picture you see above. But I can’t get it’s macro focus mode to work any more. Oly will be retired and replaced by next week. He’ll be sorely missed.

    Israel “bombing everything that's moving''

    Friday, July 28th, 2006

    US brand of “diplomacy” endorses terrorism


    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Rome, shows her feeling that too many Lebanese are still alive

    “I can still remember seeing the people who were driving with the fear in their eyes, with everything, every precious thing they have in their cars…. My God, this is too terrible.”

    That and the title of this post are quotes from Malak Khaled, an eyewitness to the Israeli bombing and who is currently internally displaced in Lebanon. She was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein on Flashpoints for Thursday July 27.

    She described how thousands of people are attempting to evacuate through a landscape where main bridges are reduced to rubble and Israeli warplanes buzz over the fleeing civilians. This causes incredible fear because of the Marwaheen massacre two weeks ago where “an Israeli missile incinerated a car and a small truck full of families leaving their Lebanese border village of Marwaheen near Tyre after the Israeli army used loudhailers to tell residents they had just hours to go. Pictures showed charred bodies of children strewn across the road.”

    Download and listen to that entire interview, and the two others in the program. They will rip out your gut.

    Meanwhile, the Green Light continues to shine brightly for the slaughter, as Israel explains that it’s offensive “will continue for several more weeks,” according to Major-General Udi Adam.

    Here’s more, the clear message Rice transmitted in Rome:

    Haim Ramon, the Israeli justice minister, told army radio on Thursday: “We received yesterday in the Rome conference permission, in effect, from the world – part of it gritting its teeth and part of it granting its blessing – to continue the operation, this war, until Hezbollah’s presence is erased in Lebanon and it is disarmed.”

    Ramon also said that “everyone who is still in south Lebanon is linked to Hezbollah, we have called on all who are there to leave. Bint Jbeil is not a civilian location, we have to treat it like a military zone”.

    Malak Khaled, in the interview cited above, expresses anguish over the thousands of civilians stuck in the areas Israel de facto has declared a free-fire zone. Juan Cole has posted a commentary by Patrick McGreevy using the notion of hominus sacres–“those without rights who can be killed without it being called the murder of a human, homicide”–to describe Israeli terror:

    Look at this logic: since Israel has asked civilians to leave, any that disobeyed have forfeited their status as civilians. Because the United States and its British followers have blocked the resolution to stop the killing, Israel will continue until Hezbollah “is no longer present.” But remember Hezbollah has been redefined to include all those “still in south Lebanon.” This crude logic renders all the people of southern Lebanon hominus sacres.

    It is monstrous that the US and Israel wish to continue the slaughter, now far, far beyond any issue of captured soldiers. After two weeks of meeting resistance, the issue for these allied super-militaries is denying Hezbollah a perception of victory, a perception that resistance to the neocon agenda is worthwhile or even possible.

    There is no other way to describe the US-Israeli policy–it is terrorism if we take the US definition of such seriously–as pointed out by former ambassador Edward Peck in a Democracy Now! interview today:

    you can google U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2331, and read the U.S. definition of terrorism. And one of them in here says — one of the terms, “international terrorism,” means “activities that,” I quote, “appear to be intended to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.”

    That describes US-Israel policy to a tee.

    Defending Lebanon

    Thursday, July 27th, 2006

    CNN lets slip just who is under attack

    Does Lebanon have a right to defend itself after all?

    In a little departure from the usual triumphal analysis of Israeli military tactics that are standard fare on the US news channels, Anderson Cooper 360 carried last night this report from the “other side” by correspondent Michael Ware:

    COOPER: …CNN’s Michael Ware broke the news today that there may be other groups or at least supporters of one other group who have joined the fight against Israel along the side of Hezbollah.

    Michael Ware joins me now.

    Michael, what do we know? What group is this? Who are these people?

    MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what’s emerging, Anderson, is that Hezbollah are not the only Lebanese to have taken up arms against the Israeli Defense Force in Southern Lebanon. From just ordinary villages picking up weapons to defend their homes, to members of political parties.

    Members of political parties are joining the fight. We’ve seen today from the political party of the speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri, saying that they have been involved in every major battle so far in this war.

    There’s speculation as to whether this is organized or whether this is being done ad hoc on a village by village basis. However, it’s clear that Lebanese themselves have joined into this fight. Not necessarily with Hezbollah, but certainly alongside.

    COOPER: Michael, what are the implications of this for the Lebanese government? I mean, if you have supporters from this group, Amal, joining in the fight, what does that bode for the Lebanese government?

    WARE: Well, what defense analysts here, even Lebanese army generals and senior officers, say is that essentially the army’s incapable of defending Lebanon. Particularly against the most sophisticated conventional army in the region, being the Israeli Defense Force.

    So by and large they’ve contracted out the defense of the country to Hezbollah. So what we’re seeing here is that very much the government, its weaknesses are being more and more exposed. So this is going to be much more difficult for the government to get a handle upon. And it’s going to be much more difficult for the Lebanese army to step into this breach.

    But don’t forget, this is also the political currency of Lebanon. The constituency of the speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri, his party, the Amal movement, comes from Southern Lebanon. If their local supporters do not see their — their leaders helping protect them against the invasion, then they will definitely lose traction.

    COOPER: Michael Ware reporting from Beirut, some troubling developments. Appreciate that, Michael. We’ll check in with you tomorrow, as well.

    All right. When we come back we’ll talk to retired Brigadier General James “Spider” Marks about the fighting on the ground right now in South Lebanon, said to be intense. We’ll have the latest information when we return live from the Lebanese-Israel border. Stay with us. [emphasis added]

    Well, Cooper (holding fort on the Israeli side) does find the defense of Lebanon a “troubling” development, especially the evident widespread support amongst the disparate Lebanese population for what is viewed as Hezbollah’s heroism.

    Seems like owners of the US media should be perceiving language sympathetic to Lebanon as a bit too much to be telling the American public. Let’s keep watching and see if the memo comes down from on high at CNN to stop presenting crazy notions about the “defense of Lebanon”.

    Democrats committed to violence

    Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

    Letter to Hastert condemns Iraqi PM for wanting Israeli killing in Lebanon to stop

    As far as stopping war is concerned, perhaps the worst thing that could happen is a Democrat take-over of Congress. Get this:

    Senate Democrats press Iraqi PM on Israel remarksIn a letter to [Iraqi Prime Minister] al-Maliki, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York called the Iraqi leader’s comments troubling.

    “Your failure to condemn Hezbollah’s aggression and recognize Israel’s right to defend itself raise serious questions about whether Iraq under your leadership can play a constructive role in resolving the current crisis and bringing stability to the Middle East,” the letter said.

    The key phrase there is “recognize Israel’s right to defend itself.” The Iraqis–all of them, it’s one of the few things that unites them–don’t see pummeling of Lebonese civilians and infrastructure as part of “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

    However, the Iraqis do seem to recognize Hezbollah’s “right to defend” Lebanon. I personally do not condone rocket attacks. But then, I am not in a position where I must survive against a vastly more powerful military force that wants to kill me. But I do believe that al-Maliki has it exactly right on Lebanon:

    What is happening is an operation of mass destruction and mass punishment and an operation using great force that Israel has — and Lebanon does not.


    Everything we tell you about Iraq is wrong

    Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

    Last month’s glowing Republican reports revealed again and stronger than ever as complete BS

    This is from a USA today story on war critics from military towns that mentions a pro-war, conservative Republican Congressman from my home state of Minnesota:

    Rep. Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn. In a debate last month in the House of Representatives, Gutknecht defended the U.S. presence in Iraq. “Now is not the time to go wobbly,” he said. He visited Iraq last week hoping to meet some of the 2,900 Minnesota Guard and Reserve members stationed there, and returned shaken. “It’s a much more dangerous place than I thought,” says Gutknecht.

    Now he’s calling for a phased U.S. troop withdrawal and more Iraqi involvement in enforcing security.

    “I don’t think ‘stay the course’ sells,” Gutknecht says.

    I had expressed fears that the Rovian panic-button line where the Republicans last month bet the farm “that the American people will see their war in Iraq in just this way–stay in it for victory or withdraw for `defeat”’–therby creating a big November disappointment for Democrats playing on out-of-Iraq sentiments. We still have to wait and see.

    Suddenly, however, we do have a situation where just a few weeks past those Congressional debates and Bush’s War Council & surprise Iraq visit, Iraq is rapidly deteriorating and spiraling out of control. Today, with Iraqi Prime Minister Malaki in Washington, there is a report out saying more US troops are on the way just to shore up an utterly failed attempt to clamp down on mayhem in the Iraqi capital.

    Back on June 14, the White House promised to launch operation “Forward Together”, a giant sweep of Baghdad, along with Iraqi forces.

    The President will provide, through the Commander, MNF-I, 12 battalions (approximately 7,200 troops) of Coalition forces in Baghdad to support 36 battalions of Iraqi Army forces (approximately 26,000) and nearly 23,000 Iraqi police who will work together to secure the city. Their goal will be to deny terrorists safe haven in areas around Baghdad and to deny terrorists freedom of movement in the city.

    Result? Skyrocketing uncontrolled violence with over 3,000 dead in one month.

    In this report, Patrick Cockburn says,

    While the eyes of the world are elsewhere, Baghdad is still dying and the daily toll is hitting record levels. While the plumes of fire and smoke over Lebanon have dominated headlines for 11 days, with Britain and the US opposing a UN call for an immediate ceasefire, another Bush-Blair foreign policy disaster is unfolding in Iraq.

    In a desperate effort to stem the butchery, the government yesterday imposed an all-day curfew on Baghdad, but tens of thousands of its people have already run for their lives. In some parts of the city, dead bodies are left to rot in the baking summer heat because nobody dares to remove them. I drove through empty streets in the heart of the city yesterday, taking a zigzag course to avoid police checkpoints that we thought might be doubling as death squads. Few shops were open. Those still doing business are frantically trying to sell their stock. A sign above one shop read: “Italian furniture: 75 per cent reductions.”

    Iraqis are terrified in a way that I have never seen before….

    Cockburn goes on to say that, “Baghdad is now breaking up into a dozen different hostile cities,” and “The Iraqi government is a prisoner of the Green Zone”.

    Cockburn also has significant quotes from Iraqi government ministers, “Iraq as a political project is finished,” and, “The parties have moved to plan B”.

    With all this in the background, the Malaki-Bush meeting today had an air of continuing unreality, “And, God willing, there will be no civil war in Iraq,” said Malaki.