Monday, December 29, 2008

Understanding The Airstrikes

First a little bit of history. Remember our brave and visionary leader Mr Tony Bliar? Back in 2003;

Tony Blair, in an attempt to convince critics at home that his "special relationship" with the United States President is not a one-way street, will tonight urge George Bush to keep up maximum pressure for a Middle East peace settlement.

How well did that go? A disaster. Since the axis of Bu$h/Blair the middle east has been worse than ever; over a million dead in Iraq, the ongoing Turkey/Kurdish conflict, Israel/Hezbollah, Lebanon in ongoing various states of turmoil. And Tony 'peace' Bliar is doing such a great job as peace envoy using his 'special relationship' with the US to broker peace (not). What a fuck-up. There are things we can do from here to promote justice in the Middle-East and one thing is to make sure we never forget the shameful complicity of the Neo-Labour party in the ongoing violence, corruption and death.

So how are we to understand the broader context of what is going on? So here are a few links of interest;

The excellent Helena Cobban writes;

The casualty rate is tragic, tragic-- for Palestinians and for all of humanity. ... But at a cynical, Realpolitik level, these casualty levels are not, actually, all that bad for Hamas and its attainment of its political goals. They severely undermine Abu Mazen, Hosni Mubarak, and all the other cast of corrupt and US-supported leaders in the region. These raids will also not succeed in snuffing out Hamas, a movement which is as much an idea of religiously-buttressed resistance, as it is an actual political party. You can't snuff out such a movement simply by killing even hundreds of its members or supporters, or scores of its leaders. Israel pursued the leadership-decapitation strategy through much of the 1990s and early 2000s. It killed three or four successive generations of Hamas leaders with its broad strategy of assassinations-- but the movement as a whole only dug in deeper.

So what does it feel like to have loved ones in the bombing zone?

A little later I called my mother, only to hear her crying on the phone. "The planes are overhead" she cried "the planes are overhead". I tried to calm her down- planes overhead mean the "target" is further away. But in such moments of intense fear, there is no room for rationality and logic. There is you, and there are war planes; and nothing in between, besides orders and a video game screen.

And now we have right-wing US pundits using the same logic Bin Laden used to justify attacks on civilians to cheer-lead these airstrikes;

The question is whether the Palestinian people are educable. Which brings me back to the first point: the Palestinians voted to put in power — i.e., vest with the power of a quasi-sovereign government — a terrorist organization which thinks legitimate governing consists of bringing about the annihilation of its sovereign neighbor and, meantime, targeting the said neighbor’s civilian population with bombing attacks. When you do that, you make yourself a target.

and wingnut Bin Laden;

The American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. ...This is why the American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us.

Scary how wingnut propagandists will always find a reason to justify killing civilians.

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