It was just 6 months ago that the Bush Administration was criticizing Russia for using disproportionate force against the Georgians in its effort to counter Georgian aggression against Russian soldiers and civilians in South Ossetia this past Summer.
But now the White House and the State department are not saying a word about the disproportionate force used by Israel in its current battle with Hamas in Gaza, where civilians are dying by the dozens. As of this posting, there have been more than 800 people killed and thousands wounded, including many women, children and elderly. On the Israeli side, there have been fewer than 20 dead at this point. Is that what the U.S. calls proportionate.... or a measured response?
Israel should have the right to defend itself, but it should not be allowed to use indiscriminate force or to violate international law. But once again, the green light from the U.S. to operate as they please, and this Country's efforts to constantly cover for Israel, has given the Israeli's carte blanche to do whatever they want, without fear of being held responsible by the international community.
In addition to the lopsided casualty figures, Israel has not been very picky about what targets to hit. So far they have attacked a clearly marked UN truck, killing the driver, and they have also bombed several UN facilities.... including UN schools, killing as many as 40 people at one school where civilians had sought shelter. Entire apartment blocks have been flattened. Israel is tightening its grip around Gaza city, and the number of casualties will likely begin to rise even faster.
All this for what? Yes, there are the rocket attacks from Hamas Terrorists. I am not defending Hamas... I am annoyed by both sides. But it seems as if Israel is falling into the trap of Hamas. Once again Israel is trying to destroy an ideology with tanks, bombs, warplanes, artillery, and helicopter gunships. But you can't kill an ideology this way. In fact, the rocket fire, which Israel had set out to stop, has continued despite the carnage. Israel should have learned after its disastrous war in Lebanon 2 years ago against Hezbollah, that these efforts rarely have the desired outcome. After the war in Lebanon, Hezbollah - in some ways - came out stronger. The same could happen with Hamas. Hamas strives on chaos and war. This is where Hamas derives its power and strengthens its legitimacy. Hamas uses Israeli military action as a billboard to its people saying- "look at what the evil Israelis are doing to us... they killed an entire family today". These events only serve as tools for recruiting more militants.
I waited for several days to post on Israel & the conflict in Gaza because I am fatigued by this conflict. That's on top of being exhausted by the political coverage of the past few months. This particular conflict is just draining and annoying to me. The constant state of chaos and conflict in the region can be traced back to 1947 and 1948 and Western colonialism, when Britain and the U.S. mishandled the "official" creation of Israel. The Palestinians, who have every right to their own land, have been alienated and exploited (often by their own) ever since.
It doesn't help when Israel is killing Palestinians with bombs, warplanes and attack helicopters from the U.S., nor does the fact that Israel receives billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money every year. In addition to that, the U.S. constantly protects Israel in the UN, no matter what Israel is accused of doing. This lack of balance has made it difficult for the U.S. to be respected in the region as an honest broker. This is why the U.S. has never been able to negotiate a lasting peace. Over the past 40 years, U.S. peace efforts have been only partially successful. As long as the U.S. is seen as being biased in favor of Israel.... seen as not being even-handed, then not much will change. The Bush administration's lack of leadership and Obama's silence this week have ironically been very revealing for me. Obama is signaling that his "Neo-Con Light" foreign policy team plans to maintain business as usual...in many ways a continuation of the last 8 years. Foreign Policy analysts are starting to pickup on what I have been saying here for months... that Hillary Clinton is a hawk, and that having her on Obama's foreign policy team will not be much of a break from the Bush Administration. Some say Clinton's foreign policy approach could be even more hardcore. Hear what Foreign policy analyst Hillary Mann Leverett had to say this week about Obama's silence and about what future U.S. foreign policy might look like under Clinton. Leverett is a former State Department Analyst and former member of the National Security Council, and she was commenting on Keith Olbermann's Countdown on MSNBC. I couldn't agree with her more.
"There is a lot of fear that Hillary Clinton and the advisers that she is bringing with her (as Secretary of State) will make us long for the Bush days"
This is what I have been saying here, even before the Primary elections, back in 2006 and 2007. This is why I am critical of Obama's sharp turn to the right, or his perceived turn to the right as compared with his campaign rhetoric. When you have Neo-conservative warmongers...and members of the dreaded PNAC with their crazy view of the world, praising your choice for Secretary of State and expressing fondness for your National Security team.... then it just proves the point that the Obama Administration may not be the Change that anyone had been hoping for.
Hear a great discussion from NPR's Onpoint, which describes in detail the political and socio-economic conditions for Palestinians in Gaza. Americans, and in fact, most Westerners, don't understand the blockade that Palestinians have been living under for the past several months.