Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Real Problem With Israel And The Palestinians

As we learn today that the Egyptian government has fired on Palestinians fleeing Gaza through the Egypt crossing, it's time to reflect on the views from the wingnut section of the universe. There's a distinct chunk of people out there who honestly believe that the problem with Israel is that they haven't killed enough Palestinians yet.

No, really, that's the argument. That's the sentiment you're seeing on wingnut blog after wingnut blog. Jules Crittenden mocks "liberal hand wringing" and bemoans:
I don’t know about you, but I sure hope Palestinians lobbing missiles and Israelis retaliating doesn’t amount to a serious challenge of Obama’s ability to lead the free world, or we’re in trouble.
Nice guy, Jules. The guys at Power Line seem to think the problem is those terrible Hamas guys keep ending up in places where Israeli airstrikes have no choice but to flatten Palestinian civilians.
Hamas' conduct is illegal and evil. Under the circumstances, the Bush administration's instruction to Israel to avoid civilian casualties at best represents a kind of confusion regarding the challenges Israel faces on each of its borders. The challenges are akin to those the United States faces in its own engagements in the region, so it is hard to believe that the problem is one of intellectual clarity rather than political cowardice.
If only the Israelis would just have enough balls to turn Gaza into a parking lot, this whole thing would be over. And that's the mild stuff compared to the completely unhinged Pamela Geller over at Atlas Shrugs, who honestly believes that Hamas's rockets are in fact proof of the Second Holocaust and completely fails to see the irony in wanting to exterminate Palestinians from the face of the Earth.

If only the Palestinians would have the grace to just die already. Rounding up a million and a half people, putting a huge concrete wall around them, starving them out and then dropping bombs on them until they stop complaining about their "merciful" conditions is a perfectly logical thing to some people.

And folks wonder why there's no peace in the Middle East.

Thanking Dubya

Condi Rice still carries the "work wife" torch for her boss, as she explains to CBS that Americans of all stripes will soon "start to thank the President for what he's done" over the last eight years.

"So we can sit here and talk about the long record, but what I would say to you is that this president has faced tougher circumstances than perhaps at any time since the end of World War II, and he has delivered policies that are going to stand the test of time," Rice said in an interview that aired on CBS' "Sunday Morning."

The secretary of state brushed off reports that suggest the United States' image is suffering abroad. She praised the administration's ability to change the conversation in the Middle East.

"This isn't a popularity contest. I'm sorry, it isn't. What the administration is responsible to do is to make good choices about Americans' interests and values in the long run -- not for today's headlines, but for history's judgment," she said.

"And I am quite certain that when the final chapters are written and it's clear that Saddam Hussein's Iraq is gone in favor of an Iraq that is favorable to the future of the Middle East; when the history is written of a U.S.-China relationship that is better than it's ever been; an India relationship that is deeper and better than it's ever been; a relationship with Brazil and other countries of the left of Latin America, better than it's ever been ...

"When one looks at what we've been able to do in terms of changing the conversation in the Middle East about democracy and values, this administration will be judged well, and I'll wait for history's judgment and not today's headlines."

On its face, Rice's protestations are equal parts stupidity and delusion. She's been the weakest Secretary of State in modern history, serving as the Bush administration's Apologist-In-Chief more than anything else. Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Georgia, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Cuba, the EU, Haiti, Indonesia, and pretty much the entire continent of Africa -- all places where our foreign policy has made things worse and in many instances has cost thousands of lives if not hundreds of thousands. Arrogance, ineptness, stubborness, stupidity, ignorance...these are the hallmarks of Bush foreign policy, and while Colin Powell certainly has his own crimes to pay for, Condi Rice bears a large butcher's bill herself, first as Bush's intel wrangler, then as Bush's cleaning crew.

But as ridiculous as Condi Rice's argument is (her assumption that Bush's policies will "stand the test of time" is both delusional and horrifying) she's correct on one level: I do thank Bush for being such a singularly terrible leader in every sense of the term that America chose to elect Barack Obama specifically to fix all the things Bush fucked up.

So, she's right on that account. We'll soon be thanking Bush for not being President anymore, and that soon will be about 12:01 PM on January 20.

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right

A second day of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza has brought the death toll to over 275. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that the assault on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, will "continue for some time".
Israel will call up 7,000 reserve soldiers, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during the weekly Cabinet meeting. He told ministers he planned to present the measure to two Knesset committees, which must approve the action.

Meanwhile, Israeli ground troops and tanks were deployed around Gaza. However, there is no indication of a ground operation inside Gaza.

The U.N. called for a halt to hostilities, but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the Cabinet meeting that the operation "is liable to continue for some time, perhaps more than can be foreseen at the present time."

Hamas, too, showed no signs of backing down.

For a second day, black plumes of smoke rose above Gaza City as makeshift ambulances screamed down rubble-strewn streets, taking wounded Palestinians to hospitals already crowded with hundreds of patients wounded this weekend.
It's clear at this point Israel has decided that with the cease fire expired as of December 19 and the US in no position to do anything during the transition, that the time for restraint has ended. Lebanon was too difficult a target to deal with in 2006, but the lessons the Iraelis have learned from that seem to be to pick on a much weaker target and to start the PR war early.

It's sad, really. Neither side is right, and the death toll willcontinue to rise...and the worst part is that the one country that could influence Israel to stop -- the United States -- has zero credibility after killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, putting anything Israel has done to shame.

Just how many wars will Barack Obama have to deal with on January 20?
Related Posts with Thumbnails