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Posts Tagged ‘geneva conventions

The Idolatry of Lesser Gods: Bogeymen and Heroes in the Bush Age

with 2 comments

No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts. No just and loving god looks upon them with favor. — President Obama, speaking at the Fort Hood memorial service on November 10, 2009

Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard Obama speak at the memorial for the 13 slain soldiers at Fort Hood. I listened to another mourner call the shooting rampage a “mini 9/11.” I listened to Obama.

At the risk of committing blasphemy, I’m going to state the obvious. When it comes to honoring tragedy, violence and death, Americans rise to the occasion. But only so long as these can be turned into a cause, of sorts: a cause for waving the flag and waxing patriotic about how great we are, as a people and a country — a cause, ultimately, for uniting against a common enemy. Because  without our enemies, we’d be nothing.

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More than 200 demonstrators gathered at a Lafayette, California hillside in 2007 to voice their support for Bush and the Iraq War. The more than 3,000 crosses in the background represent the soldiers killed in Iraq.

I say this not to dishonor the victims of this horrible tragedy, but because it is incomprehensible that the American people have not embraced, with an equal degree of passion and mourning, the estimated 738 innocent American lives that have been lost — due to the simple inability to afford medical care — since the November 5th shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

Traditionally, Americans don’t rally around common enemies like poverty, racism or injustice. Quite the opposite, in fact. Our enemies are whatever bogeyman currently embodies our centuries-long hatred of other races, of other cultures,  and most especially of non-Christians.  And — as we learned during the Bush-Cheney Administration — it makes no difference whether these enemies are real or imaginary. The important thing is that we have them.

Without our enemies, around whom would we unite? Against what would we fight? What would be our common cause? Certainly not a reverence for the living.

If we’ve learned nothing from the health care wars of 2009, it’s that here in American, there are some folk who wouldn’t give a slug nickel to buy a poor man 5 minutes with the doctor — and who would, in fact, fight to the death to ensure he doesn’t get a red cent. By no coincidence, these are the same folk who have proved they don’t give a rat’s ass how big the price tag, when it comes to war.

The proof of this is in the pudding of the last 8 years. The rabid mobs who took to the streets this summer in protest against health care reform are the same folk who raised nary a squeak over the trillions of their grandchildrens’ futures that were mortagaged by Bush, Cheney & Co. Not a single pip was heard over the trillions that have been squandered to foot the bill for two wars that were waged on false pretenses and lies — wars which have accomplished little more than generating new armies of enemies, while making billionaires out of oil men, defense contractors and the myriad other for-profit agents of modern warfare. 

And in the wake the shootings at Fort Hood, we’ve learned something else. Americans easily unite to shed tears and decry the tragedy of 13 soldiers whose lives were brutally cut short by an irrational act of insanity. Yet we, as a people, are unable to extend this same level of sadness and outrage over the 123 Americans whose lives are brutally cut short each and every day — lives that could be saved, were these human beings simply given access to medical care.    

child-of-warIn America, we readily unite around our wars, our enemies and our soldiers. We generously open our pocketbooks to bullets and bombs and missiles. And we turn a blind eye to the repercussions of our purchases — millions maimed and slaughtered, falsely imprisoned and tortured, the women and children forced by American mercenaries into servitude and sex slavery, the uncounted number of babies born grossly deformed and dead in the wake of our depleted uranium bombs. Even as we don’t dare look our deeds in the eye, we rejoice in their righteousness. 

Yet, we fracture at the prospect of peace; ridicule peacemakers as weak; label them “terrorist appeasers.” We resent humanitarian causes, squabble over whose job it is — and isn’t — to protect and care for the sick, the oppressed, the hurt, the weak and the hungry. 

It should come as no surprise, then, that we were unable, as a country, to unite during the summer of 2009 to ensure that — never again — would any American citizen suffer fear, hunger, destitution, bankruptcy or homelessness due to medical bills  — or, worse, that any American citizen would die for simple a lack of money to pay for medical care. It should come as no surprise, but yet it caught us all by surprise to find our nation split in two, with many citizens taking to the streets with guns and threats of violence, sedition, assassination and lynching. 

Could it be that — for all our claims of being a godly nation — the moral pulse of our country is driven less by love than by hatred? Could this be the reason why Christians want to embed their religion into our laws, post their commandments in our national parks, plaster their piety on bumper stickers — cramming their hypocritical holiness down the throat of every non-Christian — so that we may, as a country, legitimize greed, ignorance, fear and intolerance? So that we may, on paper, divide the godly from the godless — and, in doing so, elevate our wars, our hatreds, and our petty missions into something they’re not? Is this why — whenever our leaders have attempted to pass legislation to protect people from racism, discrimination, lynching and hate crimes, or to protect the earth, feed the hungry or heal the sick — the Christians are the ones who take to the streets, armed to the teeth in protest? 

Could this be the reason why the American people seem almost obsessed with the need to know that the tragedy in Texas was not a random act of insanity but was, indeed, the long hand of the Muslim bogeyman reaching out to get us?  

Here, the tension is palpable. Patriotic Americans everywhere are waiting with bated breath — flags in hand — for the answer to that question. The media and our leaders wait with us, their fingers on the trigger, ready at a moment’s notice to shoot the answer to this all-encompassing question: Was Nidal Hasan’s shooting rampage part of a *gasp* Muslim terrorist plot?

They hope the answer is yes. 

They hope the answer is yes: permission granted to loathe and fear Muslims. Permission granted to believe that all Muslims are secretly planning to wage jihad against America. Permission granted to label all Muslims — and anyone who resembles, sympathizes or socializes with Muslims — as terrorists. Permission granted to elevate them all to the status of enemy.  And because all foreigners look alike to Americans, permission granted to fear and loathe all foreigners. 

They hope the answer is yes. Otherwise, Nidal Hasan’s rampage wouldn’t be so different than that of a disgruntled, white Protestant American worker who — perhaps suffering one more ounce of burden, stress or perceived injustice than he could handle — simply snapped. He succumbed to insanity; we went “postal” and slaughtered innocent people. 

By the same token, what if Nidal Hasan were, indeed, on a self-appointed mission from God? Americans have never, in the wake of similar tragedies, waged war against postal workers or factory workers. Nor have they persecuted Christians in the wake of crimes by men such as Timothy McVeigh, Jim Jones, Warren Jeffs and others who have committed equally heinous acts, including mass murder, under the delusion that they were on a mission from God:

Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.” — George W. Bush in early 2003, before the US-led invasion of Iraq began, speaking to French President Jacques Chirac, in the hope of drawing his country into the “coalition of the willing.”

I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.George W. Bush four months after the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, speaking before a Palestinian delegation in Egypt during the Israeli-Palestinian summit, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq began. 

As the child and grandchild of World War veterans, I am grateful to those who lay their lives on the line to protect America and our allies from real enemies. But being an American does not commit me to leave my mind and my conscience on the doorstep every time the decision is made to go to war. History has already shown — and one day the history books will catch up: America’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan — be they Christian crusades, wars for oil, or a crude mix of the two — were unnecessary and avoidable.  

Had the shoe been on the other foot — had, say, Timothy McVeigh et al been accused of flying suicide planes into the heart of Afghanistan, we would have responded exactly as the Taliban did in the wake of 9-11:  Show us the evidence that these people committed this horrible crime, and we will turn the criminals over to the courts for prosecution. Specifically, America was told:

“Punishment must only be brought once clear evidence of the crime has been established, and that must come through the relevant judicial channels.”

Judicial channels. What a novel concept. The Bush cabal cast such quaint notions aside, in what was to be their first successful abuse of the “state secrets” priviledge to deny accountability for their actions. To provide evidence that al Qaeda was responsible for 9-11 would have been “in conflict with the imperative of keeping intelligence information secret.”

The United States is going to do nothing that jeopardises the investigation,” opined Condi Rice.

The American people take encouragement from the fact that this government will not have loose lips,” bragged White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

But “In the near future,” promised Colin Powell, “we will be able to put out a paper, a document, that will describe quite clearly the evidence that we have linking him to the attack.” Of course, these documents never materialized. And the American people, it seems, didn’t really care, anyway.   

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"I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world..." Bush memo, dated February 7, 2002

And as the 8 years wound on, around the world, in dark, secret places, America accumulated prisons full of accused bogeymen — prisoners for whom, we were assured, the normal judicial channels and international law didn’t apply. Indeed, to have provided things like evidence, formal charges and jury trials against any man on the planet accused of terrorism would have also been “in conflict with the imperative of keeping intelligence information secret.” These bogeymen were so very bad, that they didn’t even deserve the normal channels of justice. In fact, these men were so evil that the only way to proving their crimes was to torture them into making confessions.   

Imagine a court of law in Podunk, USA pronouncing a man guilty of murder, yet refusing to allow the evidence of his guilt, based on the argument that to do so would jeopardize the police investigation. Or that the only way to proving his guilt was to torture him — beat him, starve him, keep him awake for weeks on end, cut his genitals, rape him with broom handles, suffocate him with water, threaten to torture or kill his wife, his sons, his daughters — whatever means were necessary to making him ‘fess up.     

It would be equally unjust, under the scenario above ( with Timothy McVeigh being accused of flying a suicide mission into the heart of Afghanistan)  if Afghanistan simply refused to follow judicial channels and, instead, chose to invade American soil and kill tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Or if Afghanistan were to go on a worldwide crusade to round up and imprison whatever Christians they deemed terrorists. No evidence necessary, of course, beyond whatever confessions could be extracted under torture. After all, as we now know, Christians can and do commit heinous crimes under the delusion that they are on a mission from God. 

My heart goes out to the victims and the families who suffered from the brutal violence and murders commited by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. My gripe is not with those who fight real enemies. My gripe is with people who hurt innocent people. My gripe is with those who try to elevate ignorance, fear, intolerance, indifference, greed and violence into something they are not. Namely patriotism, capitalist enterprise, or a mission from God. There is nothing noble or heroic in murdering or allowing harm to come to innocent people, no matter what your religion, nationality or office, and no matter how justifiable your fear, anger or rage.   

A blind reverence to those institutions and individuals who claim license to kill innocents flies in the face of all gods. Obama got that much right yesterday.    

No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts. No just and loving god looks upon them with favor. — President Obama, speaking at the Fort Hood memorial service on November 10, 2009

Similar words were spoken 3 years ago, by the United States Conference for the World Council of Churches, in their criticism of the Bush Administration’s response to the 9/11 attacks:

We are citizens of a nation that has done much in these years to endanger the human family and to abuse the creation. Our leaders turned a deaf ear to the voices of church leaders throughout our nation and the world, entering into imperial projects that seek to dominate and control for the sake of our own national interests. Nations have been demonised and God has been enlisted in national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous.

 

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by Mantis Katz for canarypapers

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The Children of Palestine: A Photo Essay on Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza

with 28 comments

UPDATE JUNE 5, 2010. This page gets linked to by a lot of lunatic sites. Pearls before swine. I considered removing this post, just to avoid fueling the fires of the racist, anti-semitic, xenophobic, tea-bagging, hood-wearing, “take back my country” mob who visit here and somehow feel vindicated in their hatred and violent rhetoric after viewing these photos. Earth to anti-semites: I’m not on board with you. I don’t hate Jews. I don’t hate anyone, and neither should you. Problem is, you do hate. You wish ill-will and death on total strangers based on… what? Their ethnicity? Their skin? The country they were born to? Their religion? Your religion? Don’t even try to make like you’re serving some greater cause. It was a cause like yours that murdered the innocent children you see on this page.

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I could write until I’m even bluer in the face, but the fact is, I’ve been profoundly ill over the past month and don’t have the mental or physical energy I’d like to devote to writing on Israel’s deplorable, reprehensible, illegal slaughtering of the citizens of Gaza. Here, I’m going to work from the axiom that a picture is worth 1,000 words, prefacing the horrors, below, with some comment on one of Israel’s more reprehensible lies: “human shields”

Israel would like the world to believe that the pictures of these children serve as further indictment and evidence of Hamas terrorism. What a clever propaganda ploy: blame the deaths of women and children on the enemy. Tell the world that Hamas is using these people as “human shields” so that, when the photos of mangled babies, children and women arrive over the news wires, it can all be blamed on Hamas, not on Israel’s bombs, which are blasting Gaza’s hospitals, mosques, universities and homes into oblivion.

GRAPHIC CONTENT) The body of one of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell, lies in the mortuary of  Al-Shifa hospital, on January 5, 2009 in Gaza City. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

January 5: The body of one of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell, lies in the mortuary of Al-Shifa hospital, on January 5, 2009 in Gaza City. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city.

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Of course, it goes without saying that it would be difficult to engage in a wanton, fullscale bombing campaign on one of the most densely populated regions on earth — with 1.5 million people packed into 146 square miles — without killing babies and children, who comprise nearly half of the entire population. It also goes without saying that those who persist in blindly supporting Israel’s hideous war crimes would need some justfication for condoning the killing and maiming of the innocent women, children, babies and, yes, men that compose the “collateral damage” of Israel’s bombs and the “human shields” of their propaganda campaign.

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSAnd speaking of propaganda, check out the photo, left,  of NY Mayor Bloomberg, visiting an Israeli child in the hospital — the photo-op intended to leave us with the impression that this child is somehow a victim of the war, which is a lie. This is simply an Israeli child in the hospital (perhaps getting his tonsils removed?) , as contrasted with the photos, below, which are real-life photos of children maimed and killed by Israel — just over the past 2 days, alone!

I encourage you to look at these photos with both eyes open, and then write your legislators, write to your editors and, most importantly, write to Obama, via change.gov. He needs to hear our outrage over the ongoing U.S. support of Israel’s reprehensible behavior, both in general and, specifically, their genocide campaign against the people of Palestine.

A wounded Palestinian boy is treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli missile strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, consolidating their grip in the territory's northern half without quelching the rocket fire that provoked Israel's bruising, 10-day-old offensive. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. From AP Photo by HATEM MOUSSA.

January 5: A wounded Palestinian boy is treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli missile strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

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A dead Palestinian infant is brought to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli tank shell hit a house early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, consolidating their grip in the territory's northern half without quelching the rocket fire that provoked Israel's bruising, 10-day-old offensive. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

January 5: A dead Palestinian infant is brought to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli tank shell hit a house early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

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Wounded Palestinian children arrive for treatment at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, consolidating their grip in the territory's northern half without quelching the rocket fire that provoked Israel's bruising, 10-day-old offensive. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

January 5: Wounded Palestinian children arrive for treatment at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

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A relative reacts in front of the bodies of three children killed by an Israeli tank shell, Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, consolidating their grip in the territory's northern half without stopping  the rocket fire that provoked Israel's bruising, 10-day-old offensive. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

A relative reacts in front of the bodies of three children killed by an Israeli tank shell, Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.

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An ambulance worker carries the body of a boy from the Al-Samoni family as he arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza city, Gaza Strip. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

An ambulance worker carries the body of a boy from the Al-Samoni family as he arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza city, Gaza Strip.

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Palestinians carry a boy into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, wounded during the Israeli army operation in Gaza, Sunday Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against the Hamas group gained momentum. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

January 4: Palestinians carry a boy into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, wounded during the Israeli army operation in Gaza, Sunday Jan. 4, 2009.

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Palestinian medics carry the body of a boy, killed by an Israeli shell, at the hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli troops and tanks split the Gaza Strip and ringed its main city on Sunday in an offensive against Hamas militants but civilians trapped in the Palestinian enclave suffered more bloodshed. At least 34 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed on Sunday as Israeli shells slammed into houses and Gaza's main shopping district, medical sources said. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

January 4: Palestinian medics carry the body of a boy, killed by an Israeli shell, at the hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009.

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A Palestinian medics wheel a boy, injured during the Israeli operation in Gaza, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, cutting the coastal territory into two and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against Hamas militants gained momentum. From AP Photo by MAJED HAMDAN.

January 4: A Palestinian medics wheel a boy, injured during the Israeli operation in Gaza, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009.

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A wounded Palestinian boy is carried into a hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled in Gaza on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the most serious fighting in the conflict in decades. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A wounded Palestinian boy is carried into a hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009.

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January 4: A wounded Palestinian boy is helped as he arrives at a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza.

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A Palestinian medic carries a wounded boy into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009 as Israeli troops continue its ground assault in Gaza. The half dozen hospitals in Gaza cannot cope with more patients and casualties are overflowing out of regular wards into corridors as Israeli troops push deep into Gaza. At least 40 people have been killed since Israel launched the night-time offensive yesterday after eight days of air strikes in which at least 485 Palestinians died and more than 2,400 were wounded, Gaza medics said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

A Palestinian medic carries a wounded boy into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009.

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A wounded Palestinian boy is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area, medics and witnesses said. Israel has so far carried out over 700 air strikes in Gaza within the last week and over 400 Palestinians are reported to have been killed. From Getty Images.

A wounded Palestinian boy is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

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Palestinian doctors attend to a wounded boy in Beit Lahia hospital in the northern Gaza Strip on Januray 3, 2008. Israeli artillery on Saturday bombarded the Gaza Strip in a dramatic escalation of the campaign against Hamas after a week of air attacks which have left more than 450 Palestinians dead. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

January 4: Palestinian doctors attend to a wounded boy in Beit Lahia hospital in the northern Gaza Strip .

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A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl, killed by an Israeli shell, at the hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli troops and tanks split the Gaza Strip and ringed its main city on Sunday in an offensive against Hamas militants but civilians trapped in the Palestinian enclave suffered more bloodshed. At least 34 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed on Sunday as Israeli shells slammed into houses and Gaza's main shopping district, medical sources said. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

January 4: A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl, killed by an Israeli shell, at the hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009.

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A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of a relative that was killed in an Israeli air strike  in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, cutting the coastal territory into two and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against Hamas gained momentum. From AP Photo by FADI ADWAN.

January 4: A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of a relative that was killed in an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009.

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A wounded Palestinian girl is tended to as she arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza city, Gaza Strip. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

January 5: A wounded Palestinian girl is tended to as she arrives at the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza city,.

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Palestinians try to get an ambulance to transport a badly wounded girl (top) and a man following Israeli artillery shelling in Gaza City on January 4, 2009. Israeli troops pushed deep into Gaza today with thousands of soldiers and scores of tanks battling Hamas fighters and moving toward the capital on a mission to end militant rocket attacks. At least 19 Palestinians were killed in the new fighting as trucks and cars packed with families fled Gaza City and other towns ahead of the biggest Israeli military operation since its 2006 war in Lebanon. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

Palestinians try to get an ambulance to transport a badly wounded girl (top) and a man following Israeli artillery shelling in Gaza City on January 4, 2009.

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A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of her brother who was killed after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip January 4, 2009. Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled on Gaza City's outskirts on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the worst fighting in the conflict in decades. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A Palestinian girl cries during the funeral of her brother who was killed after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip January 4, 2009.

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GRAPHIC CONTENT)  A wounded Palestinian girl is carried into a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza . Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area. From Getty Images.

January 4: A wounded Palestinian girl is carried into a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza .

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GRAPHIC CONTENT)  A body of Palestinian girl is carried into a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza . Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area. From Getty Images.

January 4: A body of Palestinian girl is carried into a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza .

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A Palestinian woman sits on the floor beside her baby wounded by an Israeli tank shell, at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009. An Israeli tank shell killed three Palestinian children in their home in eastern Gaza City on Monday, medical officials said. They said several other Palestinians were wounded in the incident in Gaza's Zeitoun neighbourhood. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the report. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A Palestinian woman sits on the floor of the Shifa hospital in Gaza beside her baby, who was wounded by an Israeli tank shell on January 5, 2009.

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A Palestinian baby wounded by an Israeli tank shell is treated by doctors at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009. An Israeli tank shell killed three Palestinian children in their home in eastern Gaza City on Monday, medical officials said. They said several other Palestinians were wounded in the incident in Gaza's Zeitoun neighbourhood. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the report. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A Palestinian baby wounded by an Israeli tank shell is treated by doctors at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009.

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GRAPHIC CONTENT) The bodies of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009 lie in the mortuary of  Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

January 5: The bodies of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009, lie in the mortuary of Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City.

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GRAPHIC CONTENT) A relative sits next to body of one-year-old baby Farah Al-Helo as she lies on the body of her uncle Mohammad Al-helo, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009, at the mortuary of Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

A relative sits next to body of one-year-old baby Farah Al-Helo as she lies on the body of her uncle, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009.

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A Palestinian father carries his wounded baby daughter into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009 as Israeli troops continue its ground assault in Gaza. The half dozen hospitals in Gaza cannot cope with more patients and casualties are overflowing out of regular wards into corridors as Israeli troops push deep into Gaza. At least 40 people have been killed since Israel launched the night-time offensive yesterday after eight days of air strikes in which at least 485 Palestinians died and more than 2,400 were wounded, Gaza medics said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

A Palestinian father carries his wounded baby daughter into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009, as Israeli troops continue its ground assault in Gaza.  The half dozen hospitals in Gaza cannot cope with more patients, and casualties are overflowing out of regular wards into corridors as Israeli troops push deep into Gaza.

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A wounded Palestinian baby is carried into a hospital in Gaza January 4, 2009. Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area, medics and witnesses said. Israel has so far carried out over 700 air strikes in Gaza within the last week and over 400 Palestinians are reported to have been killed. From Getty Images.

A wounded Palestinian baby is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area, medics and witnesses said. Israel has so far carried out over 700 air strikes in Gaza within the last week and over 400 Palestinians are reported to have been killed. From Getty Images.

January 4: (two photos, above) Medical workers carry wounded Palestinian babies into the Al-Shifa hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

A wounded Palestinian woman lies with her baby at the Al-Shifa hospital on December 28, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. On the second day of cross-border conflict, Israel's air force continued to launch attacks along the Gaza Strip, destroying many buildings belonging to Hamas, including holy mosques, civilian homes and vehicles, work shops, police compounds and a prison, increasing the number of Palestians killed to over 270. From Getty Images.

A wounded Palestinian woman lies with her baby at the Al-Shifa hospital.

Palestinian boys wounded by an Israeli tank shell wait for treatment at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009. At least three children were among a dozen Palestinian civilians killed on Monday as Israeli troops pressed home a ground assault on Hamas militants in the face of French-led diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire. The deaths included three children from the Samouni family and their mother when a tank shell hit their home in Gaza city, Palestinian medics said. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Palestinian boys wounded by an Israeli tank shell wait for treatment at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 5, 2009.

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From right to left, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero Waldner, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and EU Foreign policy chief Javier Solana pose for a photograph at Livni's office in Jerusalem, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and smuggling tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, killing at least seven children as they pressed a bruising offensive against Palestinian militants. From AP Photo by DAN BALILTY.

January 5, 2009: Congratulatory spirits prevail among European and Israeli power elites, posing for a photograph at the Jerusalem office of Tzipi Livni, one of three candidates for Israeli Prime Minister in the upcoing Feb. 10 elections.  (PHOTO: From right to left, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero Waldner, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and EU Foreign policy chief Javier Solana).

After all, it took Israel only 18+ months of starving the people of Gaza, and depriving them of medical supplies, water and fuel — along with the two Israeli bombing campaigns (in August and on Nov. 4, 2008, in which Israel broke the terms of the ceasefire) — to finally  provoke Hamas into returning fire (with its pathetically weak arsenal of rockets, sticks and stones) on November 5th, thereby giving the Israel the necessary justification to kick this well-planned war and propaganda campaign into high gear. If all goes according to plan, the politicans up for election in early February will reap the benefits of showing the Israeli people how very committed their parties are to slaughtering Palestinians. The contest boils down to this: which politician promises to slaughter the most Paliestinians? From the expression on her face, candidate Tzipi Livni (above) is feeling a surge of confidence in the wake of the deaths over the past 2 days.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (R) meets in his Tel Avivi offices with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg January 4, 2009 in Tel Aviv, Israel. They meet on the day that Israel begins what it calls it's 'second stage,' the ground troops, of their massive military campaign against Hamas assests in the Gaza Strip. One Israeli soldier has been reported killed and dozens wounded after Israel launched a wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. From Getty Images.

January 4, 2009: Still more jubilation from Livni’s opponent, Israeli Defense Minister candidate Ehud Barak (r), as he hams it up for the cameras in this January 4 photo-op with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (l) in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Israel's Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu talks to Israeli children holding a goat during a visit to a shelter in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. Israel rejected mounting international pressure to suspend its devastating offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza Strip. From AP Photo by SEBASTIAN SCHEINER.

Israel’s third candidate in the upcoming election, Benjamin Netanyahu, takes a different tack altogether in this tender photo-op from last week, as he talks to Israeli children while holding a goat, presumably hoping to impress upon Israeli voters, and the world at large, that he is *not* part of  a cruel terrorist state that slaughters innocents,  but that he really likes children, and (much like his crony, George W. Bush) is rather fond of goats, too.

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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For more reading:

The Guardian: Gaza: the logic of colonial power (by Nir Rosen) As so often, the term ‘terrorism’ has proved a rhetorical smokescreen under cover of which the strong crush the weak ….

The Nation: This magazine continues its usual offering of quality journalism in its coverage of this war.  Scan through the headlines to find articles on Israel, Palestine and Gaza.

Chris Floyd: This site offers an excellent collection of reputable news articles on the Israeli attack (along with news articles on the other wars). Today’s installments include an article on Israel’s use of phosphorus shells over civilian populations — a *special* type of bomb that inflicts hideous burns to the flesh. Using these chemical weapons over civilian populations is illegal according to the Geneva Conventions, but Israel has so managed to sidestep this law through clever semantics. (NOTE: Chris Floyd’s website, dubbed “Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the American Imperium,” is an important addition to any newsgatherers “favorites” list. You may need to scan down the page to find the beginning of the articles.)

More reading from the blogs:

Lenin’s Tomb: A credible and informative blog, sourced with sound links, with analysis and history of the Israeli-Palestine conflicts.

Dennis Perrin’s view on Israel, Palestine and Hamas:
http://dennisperrin.blogspot.com/2008/12/killing-floor-expands.html

Jon Schwarz talks about why the UN caves on Israel:
http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002750.html#more

Bernard Chazelle on the attack as dangerous political strategem:
http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002751.html