Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shooting ourselves in the foot - updated with videos

Hamid Shalizi reports at Reuters:
KABUL (Reuters) - More than a thousand Afghans signed up on Thursday to say they wanted to go and fight Israel in the Gaza Strip, many of them blaming the United States which has some 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, for supporting the Jewish state.

Accusations by Taliban militants and some Muslim clerics that Israel and its main ally, the United States, aim to destroy Islam have a strong impact on public opinion in Afghanistan, where Washington plans to almost double its troop numbers this year.


"The acts of Israel against the innocent Muslims of Gaza are barbaric and inhumane and widely helped by the Americans," Assam said, adding that nearly 10,000 people across Afghanistan had so far volunteered to fight in Gaza.
Drizek's diary on Daily Kos comments on this:
As you may have heard, the US Senate and House yesterday voted nearly unanimously in support of Israels attacks on Gaza, which are responsible for killing of 800 Palestinians and destroying large amounts civilian infrastructure. Israel is using American planes, helicopters and bombs, payed for with American money. As a result, the Muslim world sees the US and Israel as being one and the same and equally responsible for that is happening.
I share with you one of the principles of the just war theory (ideas that go back to Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, and Grotius) in the words used at Wikipedia:
The anticipated benefits of waging a war must be proportionate to its expected evils or harms. This principle is also known as the principle of macro-proportionality, so as to distinguish it from the jus in bello principle of proportionality.
Additionally, once war is launched:
The more disproportional the number of collateral civilian deaths, the more suspect will be the sincerity of a belligerent nation's claim to justness of a war it fights.
Why is US foreign policy so determined to make things worse in both the near and long terms?

Is it completely impossible to support the right of Israel to exist in peace without supporting the extreme right wing of Israeli politics? Does AIPAC have photos of all our congressional reps in compromising situations? [That is not just a snarky comment; have you heard any other explanation why we must always roll over to Likud?]

Acts of Hope has posts on Israeli opposition to the current actions in Gaza here, here, and here. Opposing what is happening right now does not make you anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, or even non-Israeli.

Yes, Hamas is a horrid organization (which, nonetheless, is also one of the few sources of any social services in Palestine, thanks to the situation that has been created - and that is why they got voted in) that is guilty of terrorism. I offer them no support. Hamas retaliation is being used as the excuse for the current attacks, but who started this round? And where is the proportionality?
With three civilian fatalities in hundreds of rocket salvos since Dec. 27, the damage in Israel is less physical than psychological. The current attacks are reminiscent of the Hezbollah missiles during the 2006 war with Lebanon that strained the mettle of residents of northern Israel.
--Joshua Mitnick in Christian Science Monitor, 7 January 2009
Paleo points to a NY TImes article:
Fred Abrahams, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, who has studied both the Kosovo and Lebanon conflicts, said he was concerned that Israel was not paying enough attention to international legal requirements for "distinction and proportionality — first, to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and second, whether an attack will have a disproportionate effect on the civilians in the area."

Even if a target is legitimate, he said, "you can’t drop a 500-pound bomb in an area crowded with civilians."

This was also the first conflict he could remember when civilians could not flee the war zone. Gaza’s borders are shut both to Israel and to Egypt, and civilians, he said, "are fish in a barrel."

. . . .

Human rights groups are also concerned about the Israeli use of white phosphorous, which creates smoke on a battlefield, at low altitudes or crowded areas, because it can burn like a kind of napalm.

The Bush Years. Utter. Disaster.

But even when Bush is gone, Congress will probably do anything AIPAC asks them to.

All lives matter - on all sides.

This horror is not helping.
I got these from Juan Cole's post today. I commend his entire article to you.

Michael Heart's "Song for Gaza" (We will no go down):

--the BB

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