Plumbing The Depths

“”There is a huge gap between us [the Jews] and our enemies [the Palestinians] not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.” ~ Israeli President Moshe Katzav, 05/23/2001.

             Picture: Thirty-foot high Israeli barrier built to shut out their ‘alien’ neighbors.

It’s ironic, that seven years after uttering those words, on 1st July 2008, Moshe Katzav was forced to step down as president of Israel following a plea bargain in which he admitted several counts of ‘sexual harassment and indecent acts’. The actual allegations were far more serious, involving a number of rapes.

We know that power corrupts, but infinitely more consequential is its ability to dehumanize. This convenient de-valuing of individuals, groups, or nations to further a purpose, whether by utilizing one’s power to force another into a sexual act, brutally incarcerating 3.8 million Palestinians, or, equally brutally suppressing and eventually exterminating six million Jews, is surely the very root of human immorality.

Morality; culture; sanctity of life; conscience.

Throughout this world, those charged with upholding these values are they who, by their continual abuse of power, reduce them to meaningless political slogans.

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Quote Of The Day

US President George W Bush addressing the crisis in the world’s financial sector:

“Wall Street got drunk. It got drunk and now it’s got a hangover. The question is, how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments?”

Later, an interpretation by the White House press secretary:

“He said that Wall Street was dealing with very complex financial instruments and that the markets didn’t fully understand the risks that those instruments posed to the system.”

I’d never have guessed.

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Another Gaza?

One of the most frustrating aspects of the US presidential election campaign of late has been the lies of both candidates with regard to the situation in Iraq.

McCain smirks as he repeatedly affirms “the surge has worked. Violence in Baghdad is down…..”

Conversely, Obama doesn’t accept the surge has been a success, but still insists it’s fine to pull US troops out within sixteen months.

The truth of Iraq is somewhat different from the portrayal of the American media and politicians. McCain may well argue US military deaths have drastically reduced since the surge, and that alone constitutes success. Many Americans, those who don’t give a damn for Iraq or its people, would certainly agree. It’s hard to blame them when virtually every news channel in the US blatantly and deliberately ignores the continuing death toll of Iraqis, while rejoicing in the lower mortality rates of its own invading forces.

McCain is wrong when he states the surge has been successful. It hasn’t brought peace to Iraq, only subjugation. Many parts of Baghdad, and other Iraqi cities, are segregated into enclaves surrounded by concrete walls.

Europe once forced its Jews into ghettos. Almost six centuries later, the Americans have constructed ghettos in Iraq. Shiites and Sunnis are walled apart. Access in and out restricted to pass-holders only.

It’s a policy that has worked fine for the Israelis, confining and restricting Palestinians with concrete barriers and checkpoints at every turn. America has learned from Israel’s stratagems and employed similar tactics in Iraq.

Only, there weren’t enough troops in the country to deal with the insurgency and build the ghettos, so they invented ‘the surge’, and imported enough military manpower to ensure the job could be done adequately.

George W Bush was right to say it was only a temporary measure. Once the citizens were walled in, a lesser number of troops could maintain control, using US/Israeli style terror tactics as required. Tactics already used twice in Fallujah to devastating effect in 2004, leading “….to the destruction of approximately 75 percent of the city, thousands of civilian deaths, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people…..” according to an IPS report last Monday.

Is Fallujah about to experience yet another atrocity? Certainly, its citizens seem to think so.

Until quite recently, Fallujah was hailed as a model of security by the US media. A shining example of the success of the ‘surge’.

Two days ago, IPS reported:

“In the face of U.S. military claims of improved security, violence has been rising by the day this month. The city has now been placed under tight curfew while U.S. and Iraqi military forces prepare for a new offensive, according to the local Azzaman daily.

Iraqi security forces have established new checkpoints around the city and are forbidding movement of people and traffic. Pick-up trucks are roaming the city warning residents that al-Qaeda has once again infiltrated Fallujah.

Iraqi police officers insist that the situation is under control despite the “occasional incidents that take place all over Iraq.” The indications on the ground belie these claims………Iraqi police and troops from other areas are being deployed in the city in what police officials say is a build-up for a huge offensive. U.S. occupation forces are on the ready in nearby bases.

The government in Baghdad has made it clear that direct U.S. military involvement is critical for an “imminent offensive” in Fallujah, sources in the Iraqi military have been quoted as saying in Iraqi media…….everyone IPS spoke with in the city expressed fear of an impending attack.

There are meanwhile no signs of improvement of any other kind in Fallujah. Walls now divide the city into sectarian sections, with poverty, unemployment and suffering on all sides.”

The surge has not worked. McCain is wrong, and worst of all, he knows it. The American people are not being told the truth. Meanwhile, Obama spins the situation for his own political gain.

Fallujah remains America’s Gaza.

[1] “IRAQ: Fallujah Braces for Another Assault” IPS, July 21st 2008

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