Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Palestine

The Summer of 2010 … let the Nightmares Begin

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Yes, summer 2010 is here, or will be shortly depending on exactly where on the globe one is. At the very least the summer solstice, the longest day of the year is here, so in an astronomical sense the year is half over. And in fine old Doug’s Darkworld tradition, I thought I would review some of the bad things that might very well blow up in our faces this summer. Summer is always a traditional time for war, and this summer is no exception. And starting wars are especially something that governments like to do if they are losing their grip on a situation or desperately want to divert attention away from something.

And this summer, there’s at least three or four somethings that are slowly but surely undermining the west, especially the USA’s grip on power. The first of course is the economy. Despite all the fabulous efforts to massage the situation and make things look good, the recovery looks more like a twitching corpse than any sort of recovery. Doctor Obama: “See, he’s fine, he just moved!” Nurse Concerned Citizen: “Um, I think that was just a post-mortem spasm Doctor.” Doctor Obama: “Nonsense, he’ll be up and around in no time! And you’re fired!” OK, got carried away with myself there. In any event with bank failures run at double last years already alarming pace, not to mention national economy failures in Europe, there’s only so much longer that the western economy can be kept inflated with borrow and spend tactics (conveniently renamed “stimulus recovery packages.”) And there’s be nothing like a war to ram through “emergency measures” that could do for our taxes what the Patriot Act did for our constitutional rights.

In another completely media massaged and underrated economic catastrophe, the Gulf Oil Leak  is just that … an environmental and economic Chernobyl in the making. Anyone notice how as the leak becomes “old news” and thus no longer front page news, the evidence about the amount of oil that is leaking keeps rising? Yes, as the leak worsens, or more accurately it becomes harder to conceal what a disaster this is, press coverage is falling off? Very clever, but it doesn’t change the ugly fact that this is a monstrous event that is going to hurt millions of people at the bottom of the economic ladder very hard. And may very well effect the health of millions of people as well, crude oil is toxic, and huge numbers of people are already exposed … and just think what a hurricane might do. Again, nothing like a war to put news of what could easily become the largest environmental catastrophe and mass poisoning in history on the back pages.

There’s a couple other back burner things that are putting the pressure on so to speak too. The war in Afghanistan is not going well, that’s becoming harder and harder to hide.  The fact that the USA fired one of their biggest rockets in their propaganda arsenal to further justify the war shows how desperate it is. The Soviets discovered decades ago that Afghanistan has vast untapped mineral wealth, this was not some amazing new discovery as it was presented as. And only in the small print did anyone mention that the corruption, war, and utter lack of infrastructure in Afghanistan make it unlikely that any of this wealth will be accessible in the near further. And almost nowhere did anyone mention that doesn’t this wealth belong to the people of Afghanistan and how the hell is it that the west somehow is entitled to exploit it? And Israel has a few minor propaganda problems of its own to deal with, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain the fiction that the current government of Israel wants peace, and somehow the people in their occupied territorials are the problem. I recommend this article for understanding how the current Israeli regime fears the political normalization that peace with the Palestinians would bring.

And why do I bring up Israel anyhow? Well, a fleet of US and Israeli warships has just moved through the Suez Canal. Apparently headed for the Persian Gulf, since it seems unlikely that the USA would be sending an aircraft carrier to fight Somalian pirates. And the USA if anything has ratcheted up its propaganda war against the Iranian regime and done all it can to forestall any sort of diplomatic solution to the “problem.” I say “problem” in quotes since as a signatory to the NPT Iran is allowed to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, it’s the USA that keeps insisting that somehow Iran can’t be allowed to do what so many other nations in the world are doing. There’s also some other “peace flotillas” heading for Gaza, which has to be alarming the Israel regime. I say “peace flotillas” in quotes because some of these are being sent by people with an inimical interest in the whole affair. There are those in Iran and elsewhere who want the USA and Israel to get involved in yet another land war in the Middle East … not of course because they are evil Muslims or they hate our freedoms,  but because they think they can win.

So am I predicting more war in the Middle East this summer? Maybe, the signs don’t look good. It’s looked grim for years though, and more than anyone I know that predicting the future is a fool’s game, the future has a nasty way of surprising everyone. Still, when one has a situation where militaristic nations seem to be hell bent on war, and they have good “motives” for doing so, it’s time to take cover. In any event I just wanted to get this niggling worry out of my system so I can get back to blogging about Romans, cosmology, space exploration, history, and other fun stuff. And as a chance to remind everyone that war is bad, people die, they never turn out the way people predict, and if we don’t stop this “murdering in the name of freedom” madness it’s going to be the death of us all eventually. Or at the very least the death of the American Empire, which might be a good thing, but I’m not sure I want to be there when it happens.

(The above image was taken during World War One and is thus Public Domain under US copyright law. It’s an image of German war dead at the Battle of Verdun. one of the bloodiest battle in history. The French “won” the battle since the Germans didn’t achieve their goal, and it only cost them a mere 163,000 dead. The Germans lost 143,000 dead but failed to capture Verdun or inflict disproportionate losses on the French. Of course such losses could never occur again, we’re too smart now. The 500,000 American dead and wounded in our recent wars don’t count since of course most of them were only “slightly” wounded, what’s a little brain damage or hearing loss to our brave boys and girls anyhow? It’s worth it to make Afghanistan the Saudi Arabia of Lithium, right?)


Written by unitedcats

June 21, 2010 at 4:51 am

Posted in enviroment, History, Iran, Peace, War, World

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Gaza Remembered

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Well, honestly, I have been pretty unimpressed by the arguments people have presented justifying Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip. And the more I look into the history of the region and the history of the current “war,” the more unimpressed I am. Most if not all of them seem to be predicated on the idea that Muslims/Arabs are somehow less than human. The “Muslim/Arab=Terrorist/Sub-human” line has been repeated by so many voices over the last few decades that for all practical purposes many in the west and Israel think it’s a statement of fact.

And once one has that as a base to work from, it’s really easy to convince people of all sorts of other nonsense. It makes it easy to blame all the violence on the Muslims/Arabs…and to ignore or even justify Israel’s appalling history of violence. It makes it easy to convince people of things like “they use their own children as human shields.” I mean, to actually believe that human beings would do something like that as a standard practise with widespread support of their friends and families defies all logic, Israelis and Americans who support Israel’s wars would never believe such claims if they were made about Israelis or Americans…but since they already know that Muslims/Arabs are sub-humans who don’t value human life…it’s easy to believe it about them. See how slick and insidious this is? For the record, both sides have a well documented history of using human shields to achieve their ends at times. Welcome to modern war, except of course war has always been this way.

Moving right along, let’s look at how this current round of “fighting” started. On June 19 last year Hamas and Israel signed a cease-fire. Hamas was to stop its rocket attacks and refrain from attacks in Israel, Israel was to relieve the crippling blockade of supplies going into Gaza and refrain from attacks in Gaza. Guess what happened? For four months the rocket attacks essentially stopped, dropping from hundreds a month to a handful a month. And the few that were launched were fired by splinter groups, not Hamas. This is more than a 98% reduction in attacks, combined with the fact that Hamas loudly encouraged Palestinians not to attack Israel, it sure sounds like a good faith effort to stop the rocket attacks. I mean, if the goal was to stop the rocket attacks, seems like a 98% reduction is a good start, nu?

So Israel lifted the blockade? No. They allowed the supplies going into Gaza to increase from 50 tons a day to 70 tons a day. Sounds generous until one knows that prior to the Israeli blockade of Gaza 500-600 tons of supplies a day flowed in. This was, at best, a token gesture on Israel’s part, and very quickly put Hamas under tremendous pressure to resume the attacks. Israel also continued a propaganda war against Hamas and accused them of violating the cease fire in other ways, all without providing any evidence. And Israel launched attacks in the West Bank, while not technically a violation of the cease fire, it clearly wasn’t helping the situation.

Then the fun begins. On November 4 2008, while the world was watching a certain election in a certain important western nation…Israel launched a military attack inside of Gaza, killing six Hamas militants under the claim that Israel was intercepting weapons being smuggled into Gaza. Gee ,what an incredible coincidence that this took place on a  day guaranteed not to be noticed in the western media? Hamas announced that this premeditated attack and the failure of Israel to lift the blockade meant that Israel was in substantial violation of the cease-fire agreement…and the rocket attacks resumed. Even then as the violence escalated Hamas offered to resume the cease-fire under the original terms, but Israel rejected all offers until on December 19 Hamas formally said they would no longer abide by the cease-fire. And on December 27th Israel launched their now bloody  ongoing operation in Gaza. An operation that was in the planning and preparation stages long before the cease-fire was even signed mind you.

I’m sorry, but a 98% reduction in attacks through diplomacy puts the lie to any claim that this military operation is about “stopping the attacks.” And the facts and the time line put to lie the claim that it was Hamas that started this round of fighting, or that Israel had “no other options.” If a 98% reduction in rockets wasn’t a really good start to a diplomatically achieved peace, I don’t know what is. It’s a safe bet that invading Gaza isn’t going to acheive better results.

What a bloody mess. I’d say I don’t know how it’s going to end, except I’d be lying. This is Israel’s seventh try at achieving peace and security by waging war on a neighbour or in the occupied territories since 1973, the last time Israel was actually attacked and forced into war. Of the previous six operations, only two even partially achieved their stated objectives, and all of them decreased Israel’s security in tangible ways. The Israeli invasions of Lebanon radicalized the Muslim population of Lebanon and directly inspired the creation of Hezbollah for God’s sake. If that alone isn’t proof that the idea of achieving peace through war is really stupid, I don’t know what is. And I can safely say that this seventh attempt to acheive peace and security for Israel by waging war on non-Israelis will not make Israel any more secure, and will make Israel less secure in unpredictable and unpleasant ways.

The blitzkrieg, or “shock and awe” as its current proponents call it, ceased to work in about 1942. With few exceptions it has achieved nothing since then, and it’s never succeeded in pacifying an occupied population. In fact in some ways this has played into Hamas’s hands, they now have every incentive to fight to the last man, what have they got to lose? Whether the Israelis kills their women and children through starvation or war, the result is the same. They might as well go out fighting, as would almost anyone in the same circumstances.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Credit: Raising Yousuf. Another view of Gaza, and another of my endless efforts to remind people, including myself, to try looking at things from different perspectives.)

Written by unitedcats

January 14, 2009 at 9:30 am

Posted in History, Propaganda, War, World

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