The new chief of US intelligence Dennis Blair has confirmed the findings of a 2007 intelligence report that Iran has no nuclear weapons program.
Blair told the Senate Intelligence Committee that his organization has assessed that Tehran does not have nuclear weapons design and weaponization work.
A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), issued in November 2007 by the sixteen US intelligence agencies, clarified that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
The 2007 intelligence report was widely seen as a setback for Bush administration efforts to pressure Iran and halt its nuclear program.
The UN nuclear watchdog, which has carried out the highest number of inspections in its history on Iranian nuclear sites, has also found nothing to indicate that the program has diverted toward weaponization.
Blair also acknowledged that Tehran has made significant progress in its uranium enrichment program during the past two years.
"Although we do not know whether Iran currently intends to develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop them," said the retired admiral.
He, however, did not elaborate on how his organization can assess that Tehran intends at a minimum level to keep open the option to develop nuclear weapons.
The US official added that the intelligence agency believes Iran is unlikely to be able to produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon before 2013.
"US intelligence assesses that Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon, and does not yet have enough fissile material for one," he affirmed.
Blair confirmed that the international community remains divided in dealing with the country's nuclear drive. Both Russia and China are against the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities.
The UN Security Council, influenced by the Bush administration, has intervened in Iran's nuclear dossier, slapping three rounds of sanctions against Tehran.
Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), says the only aim of its program is the civilian applications of the technology.
Bite me. I'm sick to death of you condescending, self-delusional, sarcastic jerks trying to make yourselves look like uber-intellects by ragging on me. Go try to intimidate someone who cares.
Also, Israel is not a signee to the nuclear non-proliferation agreement, and as such the US is not supposed to supply them with nuclear arms as the US is party to the agreement.
I believe that having other countries in the Middle East will act as a deterrent to Israel's uber-aggressive and genocidal policies.
Iran having 1 or 2 or 10 nukes, does not even come close to the hundreds that Israel possesses illegally. ie. They got them from the US contrary to the US's agreement as party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Israel is wiping Gaza off the map as we speak. Israel has bombed the shit out of Lebanon repeatedly. Israel builds illegal settlements in Gaza. They steal their water, bulldoze their homes, uproot their olive trees, control their roads. Control most every aspect of their lives.
Israel has nuclear weapons, a modern army, an airforce and tanks. Hamas has homemade rockets and guns and rocks. Give your head a shake John.
Israel bombs hospitals and schools, targets civilians, and has killed thousands of children.
Israel is the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East and has been so since it's inception, when it first started its program of ethnic cleansing.
If any other nation in the world was doing what Israel is doing, it would be a pariah-state, a rogue nation without parallel. Israel makes North Korea and Iran look positively peaceful by comparison.
Who has Iran attacked? Whose children is Iran killing? Which nation is Iran occupying?
my heart grieves for you, and anyone else you convince
you're right about these insane allegations. Seriously!
However, it's too late for me to go tit-for-tat, as it's
already midnight here on the east coast. Let's just say
very quickly that Israel DOES NOT target civilians, they
warn them before bombing their buildings that the enemy
uses as hideouts. And Israel bombs Lebanon ""AFTER""
Hezbollah and Hamas militants fire rockets from their
soil, after Israel has REPEATEDLY warned the Lebanese
gov't to reign the terrorists in. I could go on, but
my eyes are stinging from this monitor's glare.
Good night, dear Mondo
In Jesus, forever!
the bloke who posted above is 41 years old
and lives in tiny little Rhode Island!
Israel has the nukes for defensive, not offensive purposes. It is the only thing keeping their surrounding foes from wiping them off the face of the earth. When Iran finishes developing their nuclear weapons or procures them from a rogue nation it will be the end for Israel.... and possibly the world as we know it.
HEADLINE: U.S. intel chief says Israel, Iran liable to clash in '09
February 15 2009, 7:25 AM
Israel and Iran are liable to enter into a confrontation or a crisis sometime this year due to Tehran's progress in its nuclear weapons program and Jerusalem's determination to thwart it, the head of U.S. intelligence told lawmakers on Thursday.
In a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the potential threats as foreseen by the 16 intelligence arms of the United States, Dennis Blair said that Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Shi'ite group which is backed by Iran, has beefed up its weapons arsenal in preparation for another round of fighting with Israel.
Blair said Hezbollah presents a formidable threat to U.S. interests, particularly if the organization feels Washington directly threatens Iran or acts against the group's targets, infrastructure, and leadership.
According to the intelligence assessment, Fatah has been weakened and is likely to enter Palestinian Authority elections mired in disunity and factionalism.
Blair added that a key challenge for the new Obama administration will be strengthening the moderates in the Arab world, in particular among the Palestinians, as well as the possible renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The task is even more daunting against the backdrop of the recent fighting in Gaza, which is likely to diminish the chances of peace in the region.
So long as Hamas rules Gaza and Hezbollah solidifies its hold on southern Lebanon, an Israel-Palestinian agreement becomes more difficult to reach, Blair said. Nonetheless, the former admiral recommended that the U.S. invest greater effort in advancing the peace process so as to create opportunities for the U.S. to engage in dialogue with wide swaths of the Arab public, particularly those with nationalistic and Islamic tendencies.
Blair noted that North Korea, which aided Syria in the construction of a nuclear reactor which was destroyed by Israel, is likely to resume exporting nuclear technology to a number of countries.
The intelligence chief added that Syrian President Bashar Assad wisely managed to cement his control over the country by relying on the traditional levers of power which he inherited from his late father, Hafez Assad. Assad has also widened his base of support by naming close associates to key posts in the Syrian ruling apparatus.
Really John. Israel has hundreds of nukes, and a formidable modern army thanks to American tax dollars.
One or two Iranian nukes aren't going to change the balance much at all. Perhaps their will be a bit of a deterrent.
For example, I might not squish that ant, if maybe it is going to release some sort of a stinging chemical when I squish it. I won't die, but it'll burn a little. So maybe I'll just try to let that ant live, as long as it leave me alone at picnic time.
Vince, if you didn't like me before, get ready to hate me now ....
February 15 2009, 7:55 AM
I do know about Deir Yassin, and although I am sorry
about the loss of lives in that "massacre", i am also
aware of Almighty God's Ways concerning His Chosen ppl
for His Chosen land. Perhaps you have not read the Old
Testament, where God has repeatedly Allowed His people
to go into the land that He has personally Designated as
theirs and either wipe out the current occupiers or send
Vince, like it or not, He Runs things! i don't question
Him, nor do i advise that you do. Unfortunately, you
have chosen a new path, one that leads away from the
Kingdom of God, and you not only question His Decisions,
but you go so far as to condemn them!
*takes a deep breath
No wonder i include you in some of my prayers, Brother.
the bloke who posted above is 41 years old
and lives in tiny little Rhode Island!
didn't Mr. Hitler claim to be a Christian? Back then the 'christian' thing to do must have been to try to eliminate the Jews. Now the 'christian' thing to do is to back those silly Zionists. I must say I can't properly keep up with what is 'right'.
When, in reality, a bunch of MEN...
Wrote some stuff down...
They SAID it was From...
-- An Invisible Man in the Sky.
Would you believe it if I were to tell you that...
I spoke with God, personally, just the other day...
He told me that I'm right and You're wrong...?
Would you believe it, John...?
You're willing to believe a bunch of superstitious nonsense...
That was written down a few thousand years ago...
Just because it's been put into a book called... The "Bible"...?
And, on top of that...
You're willing to overlook the Theological Position of Christianity...
Where the OT deity allowed a LOT of stuff to take place...
Just to show people how things WEREN'T Supposed to be Done...
He sent his "only begotten son"...
Everything was supposed to change after that.
-- "Love your neighbour"...
-- "Turn the other cheek"...
-- "Love your enemy"...
What's the word I'm looking for...?
That whole... NT... "GOSPEL"... thingy?
So, you're saying...
-- Scrap that Nonsense...!
The Violent and Jealous OT Deity...
Said it was, "Okay"...
And that's good enough for you...?
-- You "christians" certainly are...
-- A nasty lot of Loons.
"The world is full of sorrow, injustice, evil, disease, death and all manner of imperfection. The soul, too, is tainted with the imperfections of ignorance and limitation. Neither the world nor the soul could possibly be the creation of a perfect God, for imperfection cannot arise from perfection. If God had created the world or the soul, surely He would have made them perfect, and there would be no evil. To say that the world, with its obvious faults, is manifested from God is to malign Him. The only satisfactory explanation to this problem of evil is to assume that the world always existed and that the soul has been immersed in darkness and bondage beginninglessly. Furthermore, if God had created souls, they would all be equal, all alike, for He would not have shown preferences, denying to some what He granted to others. But we observe that souls are different. Therefore, God did not create the world or the soul. "
(Taken from Kauai's Hindu Monastery)
Worth a pondering, I would have thought.
This message has been edited by BlueJudah on Feb 16, 2009 1:08 AM
It's a point I've made repeatedly, but it falls on deaf ears--or in this case... blind eyes. Pro-Palestinians do not see any fault coming from that side of the conflict. Anti-Israelis do not understand the grave threat Iran poses under this dictator, who has vowed to push Israel into the sea. I think it's a great illustration of naivete.
part ways in our thinking on this. You have your perspective and I have mine. It all comes down to who do you wish to believe, doesn't it? As long as you continue to see only one victim and one bully in this age-old conflict, there will be no middle ground in our opinions.
We've seen this before, the sheer ignorance of facts. When it is brought up it is denounced as "bullying" somehow. The idea that all opinions have equal merit is asinine. I mean, yes, if the effort of digging into history is the same, then sure you can have different opinions of equal merit.
But this one is not the case. That Israel was founded upon terrorism isn't known by these folks - and they don't want to know it,and when confronted with it they deny it or excuse it.
Israel could build mass extermination camps (which Gaza is in a way) and start liquidating Palestinians (which the are in a way), and these people would not only excuse it, they would support and justify it. God's chosen? Bwahahaha. Only if their God is the devil himself.
Soldiers raped and killed Bedouin girl in the Negev
* Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
* guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 4 November 2003 02.48 GMT
For 54 years the fate of a young Bedouin girl who disappeared in the Negev desert was relegated to rumour and a single entry in the diary of David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister of the fledgling Israeli state.
"It was decided and carried out: they washed her, cut her hair, raped her and killed her," he wrote.
After that the case became one of the state's earliest secrets, and no more than hearsay passed between soldiers.
Now the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz has used previously classified army documents to reveal the full story of what Mr Ben-Gurion called a "horrific atrocity".
In August 1949, an army unit stationed at Nirim in the Negev shot an Arab man and captured a Bedouin girl with him. Her name and age remain unknown, but she was probably in her mid-teens.
In the following hours she was taken from the hut and forced to shower naked in full view of the soldiers. Three of the men then raped her.
After the Sabbath meal the platoon commander, identified by Ha'aretz as a man called Moshe who had served in the British army during the second world war, proposed a vote on what should be done with her.
One option was to put her to work in the outpost's kitchen.
Most of the 20 or so soldiers present voted for the alternative by chanting: "We want to fuck". The commander organised a rota for groups of his men to gang rape the girl over the next three days. Moshe and one of his sergeants went first, leaving the girl unconscious. Next morning, she complicated matters by protesting about her treatment. Moshe told one of his sergeants to kill her.
She was forced into a patrol vehicle with several soldiers, two carrying shovels, and they drove off into the dunes. When the girl realised what was about to happen she tried to run, but only made it a few paces before she was shot by a Sergeant Michael.
Her body was buried in a grave less than a foot deep.
A few days later the battalion commander, Yehuda Drexler, asked Moshe if he had carried out an order to return the girl to her village.
"They killed her," replied Moshe. "It was a shame to waste the petrol." He was ordered to write a report. Ha'aretz has obtained a copy.
It said: "In my patrol on 12.8.49 I encountered Arabs in the territory under my command, one of them armed. I killed the armed Arab on the spot and took his weapon. I took the Arab female captive. On the first night the soldiers abused her and the next day I saw fit to remove her from the world."
He and most of the soldiers at the outpost were tried in secret. Some said they were carrying out their commander's orders. The military judges rejected that line of defence. Moshe denied rape. "Morally speaking, it was impossible to sleep with such a dirty girl," he told the court.
He was acquitted of rape but convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The judges likened his stated willingness "to murder even women and children in cold blood" to "Hitler's methods in France".
Nineteen other soldiers received light sentences of between one and three years, mostly for "negligence in preventing a crime".
The appeal court reduced their sentences, saying: "At the time there was a general feeling of contempt for the life of Arabs ... and sometimes wanton events occurred in this sphere. All this helped create an atmosphere of 'anything goes'.
"We are convinced that this atmosphere existed at the Nirim outpost, too."
But the government and army understood the shame that would fall on the armed forces if the girl's fate became known to wider Israeli society, so the murder and trial were classified as secret.
The case was briefly resurrected at the trial in 1956 of Israeli soldiers and police officers who murdered 43 Arab civilians in Kafr Qassem, to help establish the precedent that there is no defence in obeying illegal orders.
Then it disappeared from view again.
Several years later members of a kibbutz near the Nirim base noticed that the wind had uncovered a small hand.
That story sickens me, and my heart grieves for the
horrible fate of the arab girl. However, pillage,
rape, torture, and murder all part of most wars
ever fought in this world's interesting history.
You may retort with, "John, they weren't even in
a war at the time, dunce", to which I would come
back with, "umm, you're kidding, right? Dude,
Isaac and Ishmael's descendants have been in war
.. and you also proved that Israel has its code of
morals. Those losers were tried, and sentenced!
If a fricken ARAB SOLDIER had done that to a jewish
girl, he would have been paraded through arab hoods
on a noble steed, and there'd be dancing and confetti!!
the bloke who posted above is 41 years old
and lives in tiny little Rhode Island!
Try going back and reading what he said again, Jackie
February 16 2009, 10:35 AM
He said his heart goes out to those who are maimed and killed. He said that war has been perpetual in that region for thousands of years. He did not condone what the Israeli's did and pointed out that they had been punished.
Why do you call him, and by extension any of us who hold those views, a scumbag for being realistic? That was a totally knee-jerk reaction that was surprising coming from you.
There are two sides to the conflict over there and both sides share the same guilt--both have taken lives of innocent people while fighting in war after war. All nations are guilty of that, unfortunately. There is no bully nation, nor is one side more the victim than the other.
Why do you call John a scumbag for saying he thinks the Muslim nations are at fault and that they probably applaud anyone who takes the lives of infidels, yet don't have a problem with many on this site who call Israel murderers and bullies? I thought John has as much a right to express his opinions as do the pro-Palestinian people at this site, or does he? Did it ever occur to you that Pro-Israeli people find the comments directed at Israelis just as horrific? We do.
I guess this is my answer. I've been trying to decide if I want to stay any longer at sites with such anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments expressed as the norm, and I guess I really don't. I have a machine full of viruses still on the bench at the PC shop because of Net 54, so I think this is a good time for me to just remove all of those sites from my bookmarks. I'll miss you, Jackie. Well, the Jackie full of light--not the one who calls people with other viewpoints heartless scumbags. God bless.
when i was a child
you know how children are
i wanted to be
like the morning star
morning is so innocent
trusting and fair
with mother love and angels
reflected on your hair
oh morning star
how warm you are
let me be like you
as i grew up
the morning star
faded into space
then i saw the evening star
standing in its place
i tried to turn away
terrified to find
father love and demons
entangled in my mind
i saw this other me
oh evening star
how cold you are
i've come to be
but you see that
once i thought them different
as the moon and sun
but now i know the morning star
and the evening star
icicle and flame
feminine and masculine
i am the same
so i hereby
my soul doth take my heart
to honor love and cherish
till death do us part
i will i will
with hope and fear and wonder
and what i have joined together
let no one put asunder
let no one put asunder
Don't want to lose your friendship, Dori sis. I just say things as I see them at times. I try never to take sides cos what side is ever perfect?
I AM A REALIST - imo, of course. I think I am anyhow.......
This message has been edited by BlueJudah on Feb 16, 2009 10:58 AM
To stick to that. Because in this there is no resolution. Frankly, one side is absolutely blind to it, and this is indeed a religious issue. Because if it was happening anywhere else, or in reverse, we would all be united in our disgust at the one-side atrocities.
When you look at the redemptive qualities of the Christian faith, held by one like John ........... it's really pointless trying to find anything good to say about it. Might as well just agree with him and conclude ........ yep, Christianity is evil through and through.
It's all about slaughter and bloodshed and even his God couldn't love without having his own son slaughtered.
"When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." -- Israeli Army Chief of Staff Raphael Eitan, 1983
"Before [the Palestinians'] very eyes we are possessing the land and the villages where they, and their ancestors, have lived. . . We are the generation of colonizers, and without the steel helmet and the gun barrel we cannot plant a tree and build a home." -- Famous Israeli Army Commander Moshe Dayan
Israel's official excuses for extinguishing over 1,300 Palestinian lives -- half of them civilian and one-third of them children -- are oft repeated by its apologists: Hamas' rocket fire made the invasion unavoidable, and its tactics made civilian casualties inevitable.
Do these positions dovetail with -- or decapitate -- history? Are they logical? Are they moral? Or are they smokescreens, designed to disguise troublesome facts about both Israel's strategy and its very origins?
The Reality behind the Rockets
Israel's first argument about Hamas' rockets fails on several levels.
It neatly -- and falsely -- posits Hamas as the attacker and Israel as the defender. The only problem with this pleasant fiction is that Israel has been expelling, occupying, and imprisoning Palestinians long before Hamas even came into existence.
As Israeli journalist Amira Hass wrote in January, "Gaza is not a military power that attacked its tiny, peace-loving neighbor, Israel. Gaza is a territory that Israel occupied in 1967, along with the West Bank. Its residents are part of the Palestinian people, which lost its land and its homeland in 1948."
But how did it "lose" its homeland? After unearthing their country's declassified archives, honest Israeli scholars have pointed to an Israeli campaign of rape, murder, and ethnic cleansing that entered full swing in 1947. Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, said to a colleague shortly after Israel's expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians, "They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?"
Why indeed? For one country to rain down rockets on another is an unprovoked crime. But for a people without a country to fire rockets on those who forcibly took their country -- and who then corralled them into camps, have isolated them from the world, and regularly slaughter them with weapons far deadlier than unguided projectiles -- is a rather different matter.
Just as we would not begin a 10-minute tape of a batterer abusing his wife at the nine-minute mark where she may have struck back, we cannot skip through decades of Israeli ethnic cleansing, occupation, and bombardment and finger Hamas rocket fire as the starting point.
Quite apart from historical considerations, the invasion cannot be justified by rocket fire because scarcely any rockets were being fired before Israel's own escalation. According to the Israeli military, in the ceasefire months of July, August, September, and October, the numbers of rockets fired from Gaza were one, eight, one, and two, respectively. Even those few rockets were likely fired by smaller militant groups not under Hamas' control. In short, Hamas abided by the truce -- a fact Israel recognized during those months. On November 5th, Israel itself broke the truce by launching a military operation that killed six Hamas gunmen.
On the moral level, too, the terror Israel unleashed on the Palestinian population is indefensible. A total of 23 Israelis were killed by Palestinian rockets from November 2001 to June 2008, according to a pro-Israel website. During the Gaza "war," a total of three Israeli civilians were killed by rockets. If Israel's recent rapid-fire slaughter of 600 civilians is "justified" by rockets that caused the death of a small number of Israeli civilians, then -- applying Israel's own logic -- is Hamas not now more "justified" in continuing to launch those rockets than ever before?
How can the Israeli establishment claim the moral high ground if it borrows from the Hamas formula but ups its application of the deadly dosage one hundredfold?
Blaming the Victim
Israel's apologists would respond here with their second argument: it is not Israel, but Hamas, that is responsible for Israel's killing.
This, too, is specious.
Perhaps it is quaint to insist on ideas that slip out of fashion at convenient intervals, but it should be an accepted principle that those who do the killing should be held responsible for it. Israel's partisans insist Israel is an exception (is Israel ever not an exception?) because Hamas "hides among civilians" or "uses civilians as shields" or "fires from civilian areas," thus absolving the attacker of culpability for civilian deaths.
The force of historical truth again intercedes. The people living in Gaza's squalid refugee camps are not there by choice or because of Hamas: they are trapped by Israel. Ethnically cleansed when Israel stole their lands in 1948, they fled to the tiny strip, which borders the sea. Then Gaza, too, was captured by Israel in 1967, leaving the people occupied by the Israeli military and surrounded by radical Jewish settlers who took the stolen land.
When this occupation "ended" in 2005 after decades of humiliation, the jailer simply moved from inside to outside the cell to better manage the inmates. Most of the Jewish settlers relocated to more stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank and Israel imposed a full-scale siege on Gaza, itself as a form of collective punishment, when Gazans elected Hamas, as the alternative choice, Fatah, was hopelessly venal.
The siege destroyed the economy and was never lifted even during the ceasefire. Israel barred Palestinians entry into Israel for employment, closed the sea route, and shut off fuel and food aid at will, inducing widespread suffering in one of the most densely populated spaces on earth. One Israeli official boasted of the devastating effect in 2006, "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." Let them suffer, the Israelis said at the time, but do not let them die. That would come later.
Even the Vatican, not often inclined to pro-Muslim utterances, was recently moved to describe Gaza as a "concentration camp."
Thus while Israel's apologists argue that Israel should be cleared of responsibility for civilian deaths because Hamas "chose" to engage in "civilian areas," the truth is that the Palestinians had no choice of any areas -- they are trapped within the confines of the cage Israel kicked them into by dint of ethnic cleansing, occupation, and the siege.
Even on the street level, Israel has herded Palestinian civilians for easy killing. Several extended families in one part of Gaza, Zeitoun, tell the same story: soldiers forced family members to congregate in one building, fired at it, and massacred the fleeing inhabitants even as they emerged with white flags in hand. Breaking army orders, one Israeli soldier who was in Zeitoun confessed to a British newspaper that his unit had been instructed to "fire on anything that moves." The unit was told to "shoot first and ask questions later," he said.
Israel did not provide Hamas with an empty meadow in Switzerland on which to duel. It did not bestow Hamas with its state-of the-art American weaponry to even the odds. It did not give civilians any exit avenues before, during, or after the "fighting." It even began its bombardment mid-day when children were out in the open switching classes. Israel, far from concerning itself with the fate of civilians, created a dense killing corridor over a period of decades and took advantage of it.
One can argue that even in the most difficult circumstances, militant groups should do their best to avoid mingling with the civilian population during active fighting. If the majority of Palestinian civilian casualties had occurred because Hamas was grabbing civilians left and right to use as shields, there should be abundant evidence.
But where is this evidence? For all its sophisticated spying equipment, satellites, reconnaissance drones, and cameras, the Israeli government has never produced any compelling proof of such a pattern. In fact, Israel officially banned reporters from even entering Gaza during its operation. Why hide the horrific practices of Hamas from the world's eyes?
The answer, of course, is that Israel was hiding its own horrors instead. In the few cases where this was not possible -- where international institutions, such as the UN, independent relief agencies, and Reuters reporters, were involved -- a pattern of a different kind emerged: Israel blew up civilians and civilian supplies, agency officials decried the attack, and Israel accused Hamas of having fired from nearby. Each time, agency representatives emphatically stated that Hamas was not operating in the area and demanded proof of Israel's claims. None was ever forthcoming.
Only in one case -- the killing of 40 civilians taking shelter at a UN building -- did Israel confidently claim that it had proof of Hamas fighters firing rockets nearby. But the Israeli military soon changed its story and was forced to invent a new excuse.
As if that weren't enough, it turns out that Israel itself repeatedly used Palestinian civilians as human shields.
Even in these specific cases where Israel should have exercised restraint for sheer public-relations purposes, it displayed absolutely none. Such is the arrogance afforded overwhelming power. We can only imagine under what cruel circumstances most Palestinians, far removed from international institutions or Western journalists, were ground to dust.
This combination of history and ground reality demolishes the credibility of Israel's excuse. For a bully to blame the victim is one thing -- commonplace, even, among colonizers. But for Israel to expel its victims from their homes, force them into inhuman camps, and then fault them for dying en masse when Israel decided to kill them in a cramped cage of its own design -- this is a truly novel achievement in the sphere of cruelty.
Israel is therefore no less responsible for killing civilians than slaughterhouse machinery is responsible for processing cattle.
Killing Civilians as a Strategy
The mountain of excuses offered by Israel strikes the honest observer as too tortuous to trek and too steep to scale. Puzzling and poring over its rationalizations is an endeavor that yields diminishing returns.
It is time to consider an obvious alternative to the official line: Israel did not "accidentally" kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians while "targeting" Hamas for launching aimless rockets. Rather, Israel purposely targeted all Palestinians because it wanted to teach them a severe lesson for not being defeated after 60 years of ongoing brutalization. The pile of civilian corpses produced by the invasion was not accidental -- it was integral -- to the administration of this lesson.
Advocating and applauding this approach last month was Thomas Friedman, who occasionally comments on Middle East affairs to puff and pout on Israel's behalf from his privileged perch.
Responding to the growing perception that Israel's stated aim of destroying Hamas outright was not feasible, Friedman defended Israel's Gaza strategy in a January 14th New York Times column by approvingly pointing to the example of Lebanon.
In Friedman's view, the 2006 Lebanon campaign, during which Israel killed about 1,000 Lebanese civilians and 250 Hezbollah fighters, convinced Hezbollah that trading blows with Israel was a bad idea.
To dismantle Friedman's fantasies about Lebanon -- what he smugly calls "the education of Hezbollah" -- would require another article. What is important for our purposes is to see how this "education" was carried out.
Hezbollah, Friedman asserts, "challenged Israel to inflict massive civilian casualties in order to hit Hezbollah fighters." These civilians, he continues, were "intertwined" with Hezbollah, and were also, by the way, "the families and employers of the militants."
Translation: the guilty mingled with the innocent and the innocent were practically guilty.
Therefore, concludes Friedman, "the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians. . . ." Israel was forced to inflict "substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large" in order to faze Hezbollah.
Translation: the only thing Israel could do -- "it was not pretty, but it was logical", Friedman avers -- was to strike at civilian populations and buildings in order to teach those Arabs a lesson ("educate") about the consequences of raising their heads.
This refreshing way of thinking neatly solves any moral problems Israel's actions might pose.
The innocent, as we have seen, were not really innocent: they were somehow related to the militants or related to someone who might have employed militants at the local bakery.
Therefore, it was permissible to kill women and children as part of a careful calculation to inflict "enough pain" and make militants think twice about future resistance.
Yes, the "education" of the Arabs is not "pretty" -- but who said tuition was free?
That Israel intentionally terrorizes and kills civilians should not surprise honest observers. Giora Eiland, the former head of Israel's National Security Council, bluntly stated what Friedman, with his penchant for unctuous prose, could not bring himself to openly say about the 2006 war:
The only good thing that happened in the last war was the relative damage caused to Lebanon's population. . . The destruction of thousands of homes of "innocents" preserved some of Israel's deterrent power. The only way to prevent another war is to make it clear that should one break out, Lebanon may be razed to the ground.
Can any honest person describe Eiland's logic of mass terror as "self-defense?"
That this logic was also applied in Gaza was confirmed by the news side of The New York Times. In an elliptical January 18th analysis, Times' correspondent Ethan Bronner, a pro-Israel journalist, writes about Hamas' tactical caution during the fighting:
The caution is at least in part because Hamas wants to keep ruling in Gaza, not return to its previous role as a pure resistance movement. Therefore, Israeli officials say, an offensive that caused average people to suffer put pressure on Hamas in real and specific ways.
This can easily be rephrased as, "Israeli officials launched an offensive that caused average people to suffer in order to put pressure on Hamas in real and specific ways." Friedman's prayers were answered -- and Eiland's ideology, implemented.
The Times also quotes an anonymous top Israeli military official as saying, "Hamas is the dominant organization in Gaza. They are the regime and feel very connected to the people. They do not want to lose that connection to the people."
How does one make Hamas lose "that connection to the people" in an offensive that "caused average people to suffer?" The question answers itself: kill the people.
Bronner writes that the logic behind the punishing offensive is popularly referred to within Israel as the Hebrew equivalent of "the boss has lost it" -- a kind of "calculated rage" that "evokes the image of a madman who cannot be controlled."
It is an "image" that long ago consumed Israel proper.
A madman is by definition someone who has gone insane. Israel is a state founded on ethnic cleansing -- a massive attack on civilians. Instead of confronting its original sin, it has simply repeated the same crime in various ways, each time believing that it will crush the Palestinians once and for all. Repeating the same action over and over again while expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity.
The reality of a "madman who cannot be controlled" is a traumatic one. The madman declares civilians and combatants alike guilty and subjects them all to "education" through indiscriminate killing. Though the madman arrogates the right to determine the guilt of others for acts that are both in response to and dwarfed by his own far greater atrocities, the madman himself goes unquestioned. Like a convicted batterer presiding over the trial and sentencing of his victims, the Israeli "madman" judges and punishes the very people it has brutalized and dispossessed.
Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude of allowing Israel to rain down its "calculated rage" on Palestinians is applauded not only by the Israeli military and Times newspaper columnists, but also by many American liberals, whose moral senses are conveniently swallowed up by the same serpent that slips away with their spines whenever the subject of the Israeli settler-state presents itself.
Who, then, will stand up for the Palestinians? Who will control the madman?
M. Junaid Levesque-Alam blogs about America and Islam at Crossing the Crescent and writes about American Muslim identity for WireTap magazine.
I don't see how it could be any clearer. What I repeatedly see from these that claim to be "non liberals", is relativistic thinking. Killing is okay if God tells ya to do it, or if Americans do it, or Israelis.