Compare and Contrast

Greenwald, in a long post on why it is important to hold team Obama to the fire, provides an example of what happens when only one side of a debate has anyone working for them:

We just witnessed the results of that dynamic with the ugly spectacle last week of a virtually unanimous Congress approving a completely one-sided Israel/Gaza Resolution. That Middle East war is an issue which, whatever else one might want to say about it, generates intense controversy, division and passion around the world. But not in the U.S. Congress. There, virtually the entire Congress (510 of the 535 members) — from the furthest left precincts of the Democratic Party to the furthest right-wing of the Republican Party, from all four corners of the U.S. and everywhere in between — looked at this war and just-so-happened to reach the same exact conclusion: not only is Israel 100% in the right, but the U.S. should involve itself publicly and squarely on Israel’s side.

Does anyone actually believe that, in the absence of extremely effective political pressure, 510 ideologically diverse members of Congress — at exactly the moment when worldwide opposition to the Israeli assault is growing in response to documented civilian horrors — would all have jointly decided that Israel was right to bomb and invade Gaza and that it is in America’s interests to insinuate itself on Israel’s side? Even Governors, such as Democrat Martin O’Malley of Maryland, ludicrously popped up to follow the pro-Israel script.

That happens for one clear reason: because one side of the debate (the AIPAC faction) is strong and aggressive in its criticisms and pressure tactics and the other side (the faction wanting an even-handed U.S. approach) is not.

And, just to drive the point home a little bit more, Ehud Olmert takes to the media to show us who is boss:

In an unusually public rebuke, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel said Monday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had been forced to abstain from a United Nations resolution on Gaza that she helped draft, after Mr. Olmert placed a phone call to President Bush.

“I said, ‘Get me President Bush on the phone,’ ” Mr. Olmert said in a speech in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, according to The Associated Press. “They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care: ‘I need to talk to him now,’ ” Mr. Olmert continued. “He got off the podium and spoke to me.”

Israel opposed the resolution, which called for a halt to the fighting in Gaza, because the government said it did not provide for Israel’s security. It passed 14 to 0, with the United States abstaining.

Mr. Olmert claimed that once he made his case to Mr. Bush, the president called Ms. Rice and told her to abstain. “She was left pretty embarrassed,” Mr. Olmert said, according to The A.P.

I am not sure what Israel has on us that they can extract billions of American taxpayer dollars every year and dictate our foreign policy, but it must be something pretty good. The craziest thing about this is the silence of the jingosphere. Had this been any other nation bossing around Bush’s Secretary of State, or, god forbid, France, can you imagine the wingnut Voltron that would have been formed in outrage? As it is, crickets.






153 replies
  1. 1
    gopher2b says:

    It must be gay sex photos of Uncle Sam. Has to be.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Zifnab says:

    Had this been any other nation bossing around Bush’s Secretary of State, or, god forbid, France, can you imagine the wingnut Voltron that would have been formed in outrage? As it is, crickets.

    Crickets fucking nothing. They’ve been up in arms labeling Norwegean doctors as secret double-agents of the anti-Semetic MSM. They’ve sent crack reporter Joe Sam Wurtlzebacker The Plumber deep into the Gaza strip to tell us how armies killing people is totally normal and everyone should just STFU and let the Israeli invading forces do their jobs. They’ve been on every news show that will take them, shilling for the Israeli government in their shrillest of voices. Wingnut Voltron has assembled and its swinging around its crazy sword like no one’s business.

    I don’t really think the right wing sees a major difference between the Israeli government and their own political movement. We give them $3 billion a year. We supply them with military aid – from advisers to tanks to nukes. They are, for all practical purposes, an American colony in the Middle East. And they’re pushing a policy – kill brownie – that the wingnuts are whole-heartedly for, no matter how many times it fails.

    There is no objection because, as far as Red State Strike Force is concerned, they ARE the foreign policy of the United States.

  4. 4
    Lupin says:

    I just watched Morgan Spurlock’s 30 DAYS, the one where he spent a month with a Navajo family, and reflected that the country who did that to these people deserves a heap of bad karma. Maybe payback’s coming, and I hear it’s a bitch.

  5. 5
    Keith says:

    Two Voltron references in a month! Methinks I’m gonna break out my Voltron (it’s the lion one, although the car one is the better toy, IMO) when I get home.

  6. 6
    Lola says:

    The wingnuts love Israel and they don’t even know why.

  7. 7
    joe from Lowell says:

    Had this been any other nation bossing around Bush’s Secretary of State, or, god forbid, France, can you imagine the wingnut Voltron that would have been formed in outrage?

    Can you imagine if this story had been told ABOUT the Israeli Prime Minister, instead of BY the Israeli Prime Minister?

  8. 8
    John Cole says:

    Thanks, Cleek. Thanks a fucking lot.

    You know, one of the main reasons I don’t post more about Israel/Palestine is because every time you do, some jackass will say something like that then and then I spend the next forty years being accused of anti-semitism or some other bullshit.

  9. 9
    Walker says:

    I just watched Morgan Spurlock’s 30 DAYS, the one where he spent a month with a Navajo family, and reflected that the country who did that to these people deserves a heap of bad karma.

    I have only driven through the Navajo nation once, but it was the most depressing sight I have ever beheld.

  10. 10
    4tehlulz says:

    You know Condi didn’t put out for her husband that night after that little display. Geez, only W could get cockblocked by Ehud Olmert.

  11. 11
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    I have pretty much avoided the I/P wars here because I know that I can’t change a thing and that wasting my breath on it here would be useless. Suffice it to say that I am not in agreement with our leaders and I was once an ardent Israel supporter. I gave that up a long time ago when I started examining things closely.

    While I believe Israel has a right to exist but that does not give them the right to become monsters. The ‘adult’ in this situation should be Israel and they are acting worse than the Palestinians.

    I write my reps stating that I am sick and tired of giving money and weapons to Israel so they can use them to indiscriminately kill women and children.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. And for those who say but… but… but teh [fill in the name] said that they are going to push Israel into the sea! Right. Sure… With the nukes Israel has I will bet that the Israelis are not going to be treading water any time soon.

    Knock off the poor Israel crap. They have made this mess they are in and they are reaping the rewards for their efforts. After all, they did create Hamas, right? Israel is a strategic ally and they know it, and that is why they have no problems spying on us.

    They don’t trust anybody, not even their main supporter. But they sure like to let us know who is boss as evidenced by Olmert’s tugging on W’s short leash to get his attention.

    Nuff for me on this topic.

  12. 12
    r€nato says:

    Philadelphia Eagles delenda est.

  13. 13
    jibeaux says:

    cleek’s posted that exact sentiment, before, methinks. I’m guessing he finds it the most succinct summation of his point of view. If you can’t defend yourself from charges of antisemitism based on a comment like that made by another person, I guess I would rule out a legal career…

    It’s profoundly weird the difference between the Congress on this issue, and the American public, which would seem based on the polling to advocate a much, much more neutral point of view on the whole conflict. Which I think is appropriate — I’m sure it’s a can of worms to say this, but I don’t think we can improve the situation over there in the foreseeable future, almost no matter what.

  14. 14
    Lupin says:

    Karma aside, I think that in the long term Palestinian bodies will prove to be more effective weapons that the military hardware we give Israel.

    Anyone who’s read Asimov’s FOUNDATION will understand that Israel’s present strategy is not only doomed, but in fact will help create the very opposite results it seeks.

    No one wants to move to Israel anymore, except a few hardcore nuts. Liberal and peace-loving Israeli are leaving the country. The demographic projections are grim.

    As American power declines on the international scene, Israel will be increasingly isolated, will suffer more backlash, boycotts, etc. South Africa redux.

    In 30 years, there won’t be a State of Israel because of today’s policies.

  15. 15
    The Other Steve says:

    I get the impression now just this past week based upon questions I’m hearing asked in the media, that the Israeli lobby in this country has overplayed it’s hand. They either need to wise up, or they’re going to encounter a backlash.

  16. 16
    Comrade Dread says:

    Article summary: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel said Monday that George Bush and the United States are my bitches. Suck it, Trebek.

    Philadelphia Eagles delenda est

    Screw the Eagles.

  17. 17
    Media Browski says:

    It’s the "lesser of two evils" analysis. As awful as Israel can be during these conflicts, the fact remains that supporting Hamas is even more politically impossible for those on every side (in the US at least.) What US congress-critter wants to go into their next election with the possibility of being called a "terrorist sympathizer" or capitulator?

  18. 18
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Lola,

    Oh, they do. They have a hard hunger for the end of the world and Israel is the only country that can produce and direct that particular global snuffpron.

    Now, why they want the end of the world so bad they are creaming their jeans, I don’t know. Just to prove they were right, I guess. *shrugs*

  19. 19
    cleek says:

    You know, one of the main reasons I don’t post more about Israel/Palestine is because every time you do, some jackass will say something like that then and then I spend the next forty years being accused of anti-semitism or some other bullshit.

    so, you disagree with that Greenwald thing you just quoted ? or, do you think Greenwald wasn’t talking about the disingenuous shouts of "anti-Semite!" that come up whenever someone dares criticize Israel ?

    and you gotta know, just quoting Greenwald on this topic is enough to get the reflexively-pro-Israel faction all excited. they don’t need me.

    and, if anyone gives you trouble for my comment, send em my way.

    cleek’s posted that exact sentiment, before, methinks.

    at least three times, yes.

  20. 20
    John Cole says:

    @cleek: No, I am saying that even having to deal with morons falsely accusing you of bullshit is a pain in the ass, and that it would be nice that if you had something to say, you would say it, rather than spouting “FUCK ISRAEL” and leaving me to pick up the wreckage.

  21. 21
    Zifnab says:

    @John Cole:

    You know, one of the main reasons I don’t post more about Israel/Palestine is because every time you do, some jackass will say something like that then and then I spend the next forty years being accused of anti-semitism or some other bullshit.

    It’s a well-known fact that a blogger’s opinions are identical to those of those in his commentary block. That’s why I have such a low perception of you ever time a wingnut hero gets a post in.

    And you don’t get accused of anti-Semitism because of guys like cleek. You can accused of anti-Semitism because you post opinions that don’t properly fellate the "Nuke Palestine" political platform. You don’t want to personally saw off every Iranian’s head with a rusty hacksaw. You don’t want to dump another hundred thousand US troops into Syria to finally get those WMDs. You don’t want to bomb Lebanon into a gray mist. You don’t want to exterminate everyone who has committed a thought crime against the Jewish People. Therefore, you must jack off to Hitler on the weekends and secretly desire to see the entire nation of Israel die in Islamic fire. QED.

    Any stance that isn’t 110% for Israeli military absolutism is the same thing as applauding the Holocaust. Cleek’s comments won’t encourage or discourage cries of anti-Semitism in the slightest.

  22. 22
    r€nato says:

    if people of another religion came to our country, took nearly all your land, kept you in poverty and constantly humiliated you, you too would probably seek any means possible to fight against them, including ‘terrorism’.

    If the Palestinians had tanks and jets, I’m sure they’d ‘fight fair’ with them. But, they don’t, so they use what they have at hand – rocks, automatic weapons and suicide bombers.

    Throughout the last 15 years, whether the Israeli PM has been a hawk or a dove or a centrist, Israel has continued to steal Palestinian land with ‘settlements’.

    Philadelphia Eagles delenda est. Also.

  23. 23

    Kevin K @ Rumproast says this:

    I don’t doubt that Olmert successfully exerted influence over Rice, but his boasting about essentially ordering the president of the United States to talk to him on the phone in the middle of his last policy speech didn’t ring true. I checked several articles about Bush’s speech in Philadelphia, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, and there was no mention at all of Bush interrupting his speech to talk to Olmert. You’d think after 9/11, with this iconic photo firmly implanted in nearly every American’s head, that would have warranted a mention in news coverage, but nothing. So I tracked down the full video of the speech at the White House site and, sure enough, his speech wasn’t interrupted at all. Olmert made the whole thing up.

    I’d say that’s about right. Olmert may not be aware of all internet traditions.

  24. 24
    Lupin says:

    I find it ironic (and moronic) that those who most want something are always the ones who end up destroying that very same thing.

    The hawkish neocons and likudniks who favor the current policy and hurl accusations of anti-semitism at their opponents are, in fact, destroying the State of Israel.

    Just as the uberpatriotic Cheney administration destroyed or at least severely impaired (the jury is still out) the United States.

    But then Caesar wanted to save the Republic…

  25. 25
    The Moar You Know says:

    I am not sure what Israel has on us that they can extract billions of American taxpayer dollars every year and dictate our foreign policy, but it must be something pretty good.

    Really? You don’t know? This is easy. It’s the Bible and Christianity.

    There’s one open atheist in Congress. There’s one Muslim in Congress. I don’t think the other 532 of them are Buddhists or Pastafarians.

    Jesus was a Jew – Christianity is innately bound right at its roots with Judaism and with the "Holy Land". Western society is always going to be tempted to intercede against the infidel Muslims until we get our asses spanked hard enough to stop. Obviously that hasn’t happened yet.

    Times like this I’m glad I’m an atheist. Not that it spares me from the fallout; I just can take satisfaction in knowing at least I’m not part of the problem.

  26. 26
    4tehlulz says:

    >>Olmert made the whole thing up.

    Jesus, what an idiot.

  27. 27
    thomas says:

    and Israel’s actions are different from ours, how?
    Why kill a fly with a fly swatter when a cannon is available.
    Collateral damage be damned

  28. 28
    Zifnab says:

    @Media Browski:

    It’s the "lesser of two evils" analysis. As awful as Israel can be during these conflicts, the fact remains that supporting Hamas is even more politically impossible for those on every side (in the US at least.) What US congress-critter wants to go into their next election with the possibility of being called a "terrorist sympathizer" or capitulator?

    Why does it always have to be the "lesser" of two fucking evils? Why does the United States ALWAYS have to take a side? Can’t we just step back and say, "We oppose all violence in the Middle East and openly condemn the killing of all civilians regardless of ethnicity or geographical location. We resolve to use what political capital we possess to bring about a peaceful solution that, in the long term, we believe is the only viable solution to the conflict. The End."

    There, you’ve washed your hands of the matter and you can begin to engage both sides as a neutral actor rather than an Israeli dog or a Hamas sympathizer.

  29. 29
    Michael D. says:

    You can criticize Israel and not be anti-Semitic. You can criticize America and not be anti-American. When I say “Fuck the US for what you did in Iraq.” I’m not anti-American

    This whole, “Dare not criticize X lest you be accused of racism/anti-X” has got to stop – and that seems to be PARTICULARLY true of Israel.

    Am I a racist because I think the Mugabe regime is a collective piece of dog turd?

    Of course, the same people who get pissed off because they are called anti-Semites for criticizing Israel are the same people who shout racism whenever anyone criticizes illegal immigration.

    So I guess we’re just fucked whomever we choose to criticize.

  30. 30

    @Zifnab:

    Why does it always have to be the "lesser" of two fucking evils? Why does the United States ALWAYS have to take a side? Can’t we just step back and say, "We oppose all violence in the Middle East and openly condemn the killing of all civilians regardless of ethnicity or geographical location. We resolve to use what political capital we possess to bring about a peaceful solution that, in the long term, we believe is the only viable solution to the conflict. The End."

    I would agree. The US should take its thumb completely off the scale and ended military aid to everyone, but especially ME countries. No good has ever come from our meddling. None.

  31. 31
    TCG says:

    Had this been any other nation bossing around Bush’s Secretary of State, or, god forbid, France, can you imagine the wingnut Voltron that would have been formed in outrage?

    I do believe that the President of France, by the way, is the current leader of the Free World.

    Bush has long since abdicated to Sarkozy, especially since the Russo-Georgian Conflict where Bush hung out on the beach volleyball court but Sarkozy went to Moscow, if not literally, then figuratively.

    What do wingnuts have to say to Bush taking a back seat to France?

  32. 32
    Cris says:

    if people of another religion came to our country, took nearly all your land, kept you in poverty and constantly humiliated you, you too would probably seek any means possible to fight against them, including ‘terrorism’.

    Speaking of the American Indians…

    The craziest thing about this is the silence of the jingosphere.

    Does Pat Buchanan no longer write for The American Conservative? When he had a monthly column in TAC, you could count on at least four editorials a year bemoaning our unconditional support of Israel.

  33. 33
    cleek says:

    No, I am saying that even having to deal with morons falsely accusing you of bullshit is a pain in the ass, and that it would be nice that if you had something to say, you would say it, rather than spouting “FUCK ISRAEL” and leaving me to pick up the wreckage.

    everybody knows there is no way to criticize Israel without being called an anti-Semite. i could go on for paragraphs about how i think Israel’s influence on US politics is poisonous to everyone but Israeli hard-liners, how generations of Americans have failed to get generations of Israelis and Palestinians to decide that war isn’t the way to go, how our military support and political cover for Israel is directly tied to Islamist anti-US sentiment, how none of this criticism has anything to do with the ethnicity of anyone involved. etc. etc. but it’s pointless; that would get me labeled an anti-Semite just as quickly because criticism of Israel isn’t allowed and the "anti-Semite" charge is the most efficient way for its defenders to shut down the conversation. so, i don’t bother. my shorthand suffices. the idiots will bring their bullshit accusations no matter what words are used.

    it is a pain in the ass. the whole fucking stupid situation is a pain in the ass. fuck the whole thing. fuck our cowardly politicians. fuck Israel’s influence. fuck Hamas, Hezbollah and all the rest of em. get the US out of there.

  34. 34
    r€nato says:

    Of course, the same people who get pissed off because they are called anti-Semites for criticizing Israel are the same people who shout racism whenever anyone criticizes illegal immigration.

    Speaking only for myself, it’s pretty difficult to find those who are gung-ho against illegal immigration, who also don’t spout anti-brown-people invective.

    Not the same situation with those who criticize the US’ nearly-unconditional support for whatever Israel wants to do (or wants us to do). I rarely hear Israel critics say, "fuck the goddamned Jews" after criticizing Israel.

    Philadelphia Eagles delenda est. Also.

  35. 35
    sashal says:

    If the Palestinians had tanks and jets, I’m sure they’d ‘fight fair’ with them. But, they don’t, so they use what they have at hand – rocks, automatic weapons and suicide bombers.

    Now you just justified the 9/11 act, Renato…

  36. 36
    Punchy says:

    Simple –Support the Izzys, and nobody says shit. Ask to consider both sides, and get run as a terrorist supporter, a Muslim plant, and a anti-Semite.

    Pollys do what it takes to get re-elected. they dont give a shit about anything else.

  37. 37
    cleek says:

    and, John, feel free to delete my comment, if you want to make your life easier. won’t bother me.

  38. 38
    r€nato says:

    Now you just justified the 9/11 act, Renato…

    last I heard, the Saudis were not an oppressed people whose lands had been stolen by Americans.

  39. 39
    Zifnab says:

    @sashal:

    If the Palestinians had tanks and jets, I’m sure they’d ‘fight fair’ with them. But, they don’t, so they use what they have at hand – rocks, automatic weapons and suicide bombers.
    Now you just justified the 9/11 act, Renato…

    If Afghanistan had had any skyscrapers in 2001, I’m pretty confident they wouldn’t have been left standing in 2002. Does that make you feel better?

    Bin Laden attacked civilians, and that’s bad. But holding our moral high ground becomes increasingly difficult when we run off and retaliate on other civilians. It’s not Renato’s fault that the Bush Admin decided the best way to handle a war crime was to commit another war crime.

  40. 40
    Andrew J. Lazarus says:

    As Jacobo Timmerman said, "There’s no business like Shoah business"

  41. 41
    Zifnab says:

    @r€nato:

    last I heard, Saudis were not an oppressed people.

    WOW, listen harder.

  42. 42
    Common Sense says:

    @r€nato:

    last I heard, Saudis were not an oppressed people.

    Surely the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia treats it’s citizens with the utmost respect for individual liberty. Monarchies are well known for preserving civil rights after all.

    whose lands had been stolen by Americans.

    No American troops in Mecca. Nope, none at all.

  43. 43
    wilfred the shoe throwing Norwegian says:

    These are the early days of a challenge to a master narrative. Two or three years ago the mere accusation of anti-semitism was enough to cripple a debate like this before it even got started. Not any more.

    Juan Cole has been calling for an America PAC, one aimed at asking some rock-bottom basic questions about what the best interests of the United States really are and how to go about achieving them. He is always worth a read, now especially.

    FWIW, this challenge is a real example of the power of the blogosphere. Remember that Israel has forbidden any journalists from entering Gaza, although al Jazeera, Press TV et al. have plenty of coverage. The mainstream media is complicit in the one-sidedness of this as well.

    Good on you, John. Fair play’s a jewel.

  44. 44
    r€nato says:

    Zif, while I would not want to live in Saudi Arabia, life there is hardly comparable to the plight of the Palestinians.

  45. 45
    Punchy says:

    You know, one of the main reasons I don’t post more about Israel/Palestine is because every time you do, some jackass will say something like that then and then I spend the next forty years being accused of anti-semitism or some other bullshit.

    John doesn’t see the irony in this? In a post about how special Israel is w/r/t the kid gloves it’s treated with, he bitches b/c Cleek decides not to play the kid gloves treatment?

    How fucked up is it that, on this website, I could literally say "FUCK (insert any country except Israel)!" and Cole doesn’t say shit. But insert Israel, and everybody freaks.

    Therein lies the fucked up part.

  46. 46
    r€nato says:

    excuse me, but Osama bin Laden’s beef against the Saudis (and the Americans who help keep the House of Saud in power) was not that they needed to liberalize their monarchical rule of the kingdom and free its people.

    His argument is that Saudi Arabia needs to be MORE tyrannical and absolutist.

  47. 47
    Tsulagi says:

    That’s pretty rich. Olmert saying that publicly just puts an exclamation point on that no leader or government, even allies like Israel, have any respect for our tard in the Oval Office. An international joke.

    But looking on the positive side, his admin and brilliant leadership can be used as a lasting example. When Putin was pissed telling Sarkozy (the guy who gives Palin starbursts) he planned to overrun Georgia and hang its president by his balls, Sarkozy said he could do that, but asked him if he really wanted to pull a Bush. Putin thought about it and replied he had a real point there. Shorter Sarkozy: Don’t be stupid like Bush.

    Just seven more days until that retarded spoiled brat is gone.

  48. 48
    Dervin says:

    How are things in the north of Israel? Has Hezbollah caused any problems lately? From what I’ve seen and read, nothing is going on (and this is a real question I’m asking, if there’s something going on, please let me know).

    Look at the parallels, an over-the-top Israeli reaction against Hezbollah actions (rockets and kidnapping soldiers). The whole world condemns Israel. The Brutal war ends up as a victory for Hezbollah. Lebanon is shattered still rebuilding, thousands of dead civilians. Followed by a truce that seems to be holding.

    Did Israel drive the price of "victory" for Hezbollah to an astronomically high price they aren’t willing to pay. Could Israel have beaten the fight out of Hezbollah?

    And if Hezbollah doesn’t want to fight Israel anymore, doesn’t it make sense for Israel to try the exact same thing against Hamas?

  49. 49

    John, your post: Spot.On.

    The "jingosphere" (great appelation, if you made that up) is a hoot. They clutch pearls over "sovereignty" and then look away when the Bushes kiss the Saudi rings in public. They look away when we outsource our foreign affairs to Israel.

    I really don’t get it, and it’s time they were called on it.

  50. 50
    kay says:

    It was the same when Bush attacked Obama in front of the Knesset in the middle of a US political contest. It was absolutely outrageous, and violated Pappy Bush’s "firm rule" regarding taking US political disputes overseas.

    Not a peep, from conservatives, about Bush’s actions and then his clumsy lie to cover those actions.

  51. 51
    wilfred the shoe throwing Norwegian says:

    Ask to consider both sides, and get run as a terrorist supporter, a Muslim plant, and a anti-Semite

    Yeah, but there are reasons for that: This is from Yahoo right now:

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli ground troops closed in on downtown Gaza City on Tuesday, battling Palestinian militants in the streets of a densely populated neighborhood

    Compare and contrast.

  52. 52
    Common Sense says:

    @r€nato:

    I’m trying to remember when I argued that Bin laden wanted to disband the monarchy.

    My point is that you are (intentionally or not) missing the fundamental reality of the situation when you claim Saudi citizens aren’t oppressed or that Americans haven’t set up a military presence in their lands. You are claiming the Palestinians are justified for their reactions, and that the Saudis are not. Whether Bin Laden finds the Saudi people to be a useful tool for his own ends, or whether they can be wielded in the same fashion as the Palestinians, is beside the point.

  53. 53
    r€nato says:

    …I was writing, before my 5 min. edit window expired…

    step back from 9/11 and look at the big picture. Both Western policy in the Middle East since WWI and the last 25 years of terrorism.

    Does Western ME policy justify acts like 9/11? No.

    Does it play a role in encouraging such acts? Hell, yes.

    I’m disappointed I have to say this to people who come here regularly, but take a look at the history of our involvement in Iran.

    Why do we have an Islamic theocracy in Iran? Because of the 1979 revolution against the Shah, who in turn was put in power by a US/UK decision to dump the democratically-elected Mossadegh 20some years earlier, who wanted to nationalize BP because Iranians were sick and tired of Westerners taking the lion’s share of the profits from Iranian oil.

    If the US and UK had not conspired to depose Mossadegh, we might have not only a democratic Iran but also a more democratic Middle East. Not to mention we might also have an Iran which does not train and sponsor Hezbollah.

    Either way, BP doesn’t have any holdings in Iran any longer, but we’re all far worse off for the meddling in which we engaged.

  54. 54

    Why do we have an Islamic theocracy in Iran? Because of the 1979 revolution against the Shah, who in turn was put in power by a US/UK decision to dump the democratically-elected Mossadegh 20some years earlier, who wanted to nationalize BP because Iranians were sick and tired of Westerners taking the lion’s share of the profits from Iranian oil.
    If the US and UK had not conspired to depose Mossadegh, we might have not only a democratic Iran but also a more democratic Middle East. Not to mention we might also have an Iran which does not train and sponsor Hezbollah.

    Exactly. Well stated.

  55. 55
    r€nato says:

    I’m trying to remember when I argued that Bin laden wanted to disband the monarchy.

    he does want to disband the monarchy. And replace it with an Islamic ‘republic’.

    As I said before, life in Saudi Arabia is not peaches and cream. However, Saudis enjoy an extensive social safety net and incredible national wealth.

    No, they do not enjoy the same freedoms we do and Saudi rule at times is harsh and even barbaric.

    Still, I do not think that any Saudi would even remotely compare their situation to that of the Palestinians.

  56. 56
    Cyrus says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    Olmert made the whole thing up.

    I don’t know about that. Olmert reportedly said "He got off the podium and spoke to me," not "He got off the podium in mid-sentence and spoke to me." If talking to Olmert was the first thing Bush did after that speaking engagement was finished, then Olmert’s statement was true.

    And even if Bush continued with a Q&A and some handshaking for a few minutes, is the "got off the podium" part the most important part of that anecdote? I’d say the rest of it seems more important. If the U.S. had to go back on its own resolution at Olmert’s request, (and if abstaining on your own resolution is unusual, which I sure would assume) then this is bad.

    tl;dr version: even if Olmert’s statement wasn’t true it could still have been truthy and that would be just as bad, despite the bad reputation of the concept of truthiness.

  57. 57
    r€nato says:

    My point is that you are (intentionally or not) missing the fundamental reality of the situation when you claim Saudi citizens aren’t oppressed or that Americans haven’t set up a military presence in their lands.

    I do not believe that I claimed either.

    I think we differ on the use of the word, ‘oppressed’. I don’t think that ‘oppressed’ applies well to the Saudis.

    I never claimed that we did not set up a military presence on Saudi soil. We did. We did not do so, however, by stealing Saudi land. We came there at the invitation of the Saudis and when asked to leave, we did so.

    US troops on Saudi soil, at the invitation of the Saudi regime, is nothing at all like Israeli settlement of Palestinian land.

  58. 58
    kay says:

    Bush is denying the sequence of events, but here’s what happened at the UN:

    "A few minutes before the scheduled vote at the United Nations, Rice’s staff told reporters she would make a few brief comments beforehand, but then abruptly canceled her press appearance, saying she would instead speak to Bush by phone.

    The vote was delayed while other ministers waited for Rice to finish the call. She then entered the U.N. Security Council chamber, huddled with Arab ministers who shook their heads as she spoke to them.

    Immediately after the vote, Rice left for Washington without talking to waiting reporters. Her spokesman did not return repeated calls and e-mail over why Rice had reneged on her promise to Arab leaders to back the vote.

    Rice joined her French and British ministers in drawing up the resolution and the three Western powers haggled with Arab countries for three days over wording, which Rice told the U.N. Security Council"

  59. 59
    r€nato says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if this public dissing of Condi makes her join the bandwagon of ex-Bush regime stool pigeons?

    if you think the Obama inauguration is going to be exciting, just think about all the Bush regime tell-all books, articles and interviews which will commence January 21st.

  60. 60
    Common Sense says:

    @r€nato:

    But the same justification was made for attacks committed by Saudi citizens as those by Palestinians. They had to use airplanes and box cutters because they didn’t have any other weapons. It was a response to foreign aggression on their own soil and Imperialistic attempts to make American puppet states in the ME. Though they surely wanted to, the poor kids just couldn’t fight a war with conventional weapons and tactics because they didn’t have the weapons or the manpower.

    I don’t argue that we brought this on ourselves. What I am saying is that there is NO justification for lobbing missiles into suburbs. None. On either side.

    I’m not excusing Israel either. While I think that Israel is doing far more than Palestine to alleviate human suffering, they have the resources and the responsibility to.

  61. 61
    gex says:

    Well, when the influence of the evangelical Christian right cannot be contained, this is what we will get. They want Armageddon. It’s not that they don’t hate the Jews as much as they hate everyone else that isn’t a Real American (TM). It’s just that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. For now.

  62. 62
    Lupin says:

    If Bush is denying it, then it must be true.

    Like the Mission Accomplished banner gig than he finally fessed up to.

  63. 63
    PK says:

    I am not sure what Israel has on us that they can extract billions of American taxpayer dollars every year and dictate our foreign policy, but it must be something pretty good.

    You know, one of the main reasons I don’t post more about Israel/Palestine is because every time you do, some jackass will say something like that then and then I spend the next forty years being accused of anti-semitism or some other bullshit.

    You have answered your own question.

    Oh, by the way. Fuck Israel!

  64. 64
    The Raven says:

    Rather than running for high ground, all parties seem to be digging ever deeper into the moral swamp. And the current US administration likes war.

  65. 65
    r€nato says:

    Common, those justifications were deranged. Just because they were made, doesn’t mean they made any sense.

    First of all, the attacks of 9/11 – as well as prior al-Qaeda acts of terrorism – were intended as a blow against the West in general, and as part of a religious war on behalf of a fundamentalist Islamic ideology. In fact it is remarkable how few acts of al-Qaeda terrorism have been directed against the Saudi regime.

    Palestinian acts of terrorism, on the other hand, have been directed specifically against Israel and almost never (if ever) against American interests, even though our support for Israeli policies on Palestine has been far, far more explicit than any support (if any) the US has ever had for Saudi domestic policy.

    Furthermore, I never said such acts by Palestinians were justifiable; however I do find them understandable. Again, how exactly are Palestinians supposed to get the Israelis to stop stealing their land and impoverishing/starving their people? Petition the Israeli government? Please.

    Relations between Palestinians and Israel were relatively peaceful during the Clinton era when the two sides were talking to one another… and Israel kept on settling (I call it ‘stealing’) Palestinian land.

  66. 66
    gex says:

    @gex: I should note that I am referring to the jingosphere here. Not our pols.

  67. 67
    gil mann says:

    I love that, in America, it’s off-limits to have a POV on the Israel/Palestine conflict as far left as that of crazy pinkos like… Olmert’s wife and kids.

    Seriously. I don’t know what they think about this particular incursion, but they were totally against the one into Lebanon, and I think the kids, at least, are members of a pro-Palestinian human rights group (they have those in Israel, because so many Jews are anti-Semites).

    Feh. Every day I wade deeper into "let ’em kill each other" territory. Pretty horrible of me, but hey, they’re not giving me much to work with. Maybe there’s a 2-state solution somewhere down the line but that won’t happen until radical Islamists and Zionist settlers do us all a favor and stop existing.

    God really needs to start issuing deeds in triplicate to avoid this sort of unpleasantness.

  68. 68
    Observer says:

    If AIPAC really is so powerful that they control 510 out of 531 members of Congress it is time to see what it would take for them to champion health care and tax reform.

    Or maybe this is just another stupid "Jews Rule The World – see?! see?!" kind of sentiment. Maybe Congress genuinely has no sympathy for an organization, dedicated to perpetual misery of innocent people, that can’t even get their Arab "brethren" to help them with anything more than UN posturing and the occasional riot of front of an embassy.

  69. 69
    wilfred the shoe throwing Norwegian says:

    God really needs to start issuing deeds in triplicate to avoid this sort of unpleasantness

    Not really. And while it may very well be necessary for both sides to kill each other the issue at hand is to decide what the best interests of the United States and how they can best be served.

    That’s the issue for Americans to work on. Forget Palestinians and Israelis – ask yourself what the real interests of this country are and if they are being served by one-sided, unconditional support for Israel.

    Two years ago you couldn’t even ask the question.

  70. 70
    r€nato says:

    Or maybe this is just another stupid "Jews Rule The World – see?! see?!" kind of sentiment.

    you know, Observer, this is just the sort of argument which Cole is talking about.

    One can talk about the disproportionate influence of the pro-Israel lobby in DC without necessarily believing that the worldwide Jewish conspiracy controls all banks in the world.

    DC pols live in mortal fear of pissing off AIPAC. It’s a fact that you can hardly get elected without kowtowing to them.

    Oh by the way, Abe Foxman is an asshole. And Philadelphia Eagles delenda est. Also.

  71. 71
    Robin G. says:

    Personally, I find the American paternalism towards Israel to be kind of degrading. Why do we have to save them from their mistakes, or clean up their messes?

    What we’re doing right now has neither justification nor solvency. Is it so impossible to just stand out of the way for a little while, give calls for the end of violence on both sides, and then (with our hands as clean as is possible, given history) send our people in as diplomats in a few months to try and get everyone to sit at a table for a few minutes?

    To stand up in favor of something that has fairly clearly devolved into a one-sided massacre is morally wrong. And, perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t work to solve *any* of the problems. It merely assures continued violence against Israel and the US, and destroys the remaining shreds of our credibility in the process.

    Given that Israel must have us by the balls in some fashion (probably very good intelligence on undeniable, even more outrageous war crimes than have been made public, possibly combined with conspiracy against "friends" and the selling of weapons that were not supposed to be sold), there isn’t a damn thing we can do here beyond a hearty call for an end to the violence and putting our name on some largely symbolic resolutions. If we can’t even manage to do that, then for the love of God can we at least keep our heads down and not make the situation even worse?

  72. 72
    wilfred the shoe throwing Norwegian says:

    Maybe Congress genuinely has no sympathy for an organization, dedicated to perpetual misery of innocent people,

    Curiously enough, however, this same Congress was bitterly divided about a war to oust a far more murderous Arab than anybody in Hamas has shown to be and one who persecuted his own brethren unmercifully.

    Yet in that case many people spoke out. Here, none.

    That’s a singularity, and a singularity invites questions. Maybe you don’t like the answers, but the questions are necessary.

  73. 73
    Observer says:

    r€nato, there are lobbies with far more influence than AIPAC who come nowhere close to mustering that kind of overwhelming response from Congress.

    Today, Eric Traegar summed up the more likely explanation. And it doesn’t require someone believe AIPAC really has 96% of Congress in their pocket.

  74. 74

    Here is the false strawman being perpetrated by people like Observer.

    If you don’t support Israel’s military action that means you support Hamas

    Thats a bunch of bullshit. I support peace. And that means calling a spade a spade. As long as either side can kill with impunity and avoid any criticism in its wake they will continue to press that advantage. I condemn Hamas for shooting rockets into Israel AND I condemn Israel for collectively punishing the innocent civilians living in the Gaza strip which is against the Geneva Conventions.

    Its just like the war in Iraq. Wingers always wanted to define people who were against the war or wanted us to pull out as "appeasers" or "terrorist sympathizers". And all that leads to is the quelling of dissent when the truth is we need MORE dissent. That 22 members of the House voted present instead of voting no on the resolution shows you how scared they all are to be labeled anti Israel or anti semetic. There is no other way to look objectively at the facts of this situation and come to any other conclusion. That doesn’t mean there is a Jewish Conspiracy but it does mean that the Israeli lobby is strong and far reaching in this country.

  75. 75

    “I said, ‘Get me President Bush on the phone,’ ” Mr. Olmert said in a speech in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, according to The Associated Press. “They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care: ‘I need to talk to him now,’ ” Mr. Olmert continued. “He got off the podium and spoke to me.”

    …wut?

    Fuck Bush for doing it,

    Fuck Olmert for ordering about the American President whoEVER that may be,

    and FUCK the Israeli political situation that would have him doing such a thing in the expectation that he’d be able to pull the American President off a damn PUBLIC STAGE and order him about.

    I mean seriously what the hell? I’m not quite sure I read that or was just imagining it. The President takes orders from what now?

  76. 76
    Zifnab says:

    @r€nato:

    Zif, while I would not want to live in Saudi Arabia, life there is hardly comparable to the plight of the Palestinians.

    Poor is poor, imprisoned is imprisoned, and dead is dead, no matter what country you are in. I’m not going to start passing judgments on which flavor of shit tastes better.

  77. 77
    gil mann says:

    Not really.

    Way to fact-check my tossed-off bit of smartassery there, perfesser.

    As far as the rest of it goes, that’s all well and good, but you might want to keep in mind that we suck eggs when it comes to knowing what’s in our own self-interest, even if you limit the discussion to the lower 48. It’s not like Israel’s our one blind spot.

    Oh, and the Iraq thing sort of nullifies any moral standing we might have had on this issue, so if anybody actually gives a fuck what we think, well, they’re a lot more forgiving than I am.

  78. 78
    fledermaus says:

    I am not sure what Israel has on us that they can extract billions of American taxpayer dollars every year and dictate our foreign policy, but it must be something pretty good.

    Hey the wingnuts need to get their war porn from somewhere.

  79. 79
    Suzan says:

    Bush didn’t get off the "podium" when he was told "America is under attack." He just kept reading My Pet Goat.

    Dodging shoes must have improved his reflexes.

  80. 80
    Zifnab says:

    One can talk about the disproportionate influence of the pro-Israel lobby in DC without necessarily believing that the worldwide Jewish conspiracy controls all banks in the world.

    And the media, don’t forget the media.

    There’s a core argument here about how certain low-population interest groups (favored corporations, the mega-rich, foreign nationals and influential immigrants, media figures, religious figureheads) have an unbalanced level of influence on DC politics. AIPAC represents at the outside – what? – a few million Americas? In reality, that’s probably closer to a few thousand political insiders. And yet they command billions of tax dollars, a sizable slice of the US war machine, and they’ve got strong ties throughout various federal departments and bureaucracies. All this leverage to serve an interest group that serves the interests of maybe possibly 1% of the US Population at the outside.

    They aren’t alone. Coal industry execs get to write EPA policy. Military contractors have a strong hand on the Pentagon defense spending. The handful of NRA lobbyists gets to define gun laws from Detroit to Dallas to Dover to San Diego.

    The bottom line is that broad American interests are not being served by the American government at large. Disproportionate influence is the name of the game in DC and AIPAC wasn’t the first to figure this out, much less the most influential. Complaints against AIPAC reflect a stronger national disgust the citizens of this country have with a country that simply refuses to listen to the greater constituency.

  81. 81
    ColinLaney says:

    Dual loyalty can no longer be dismissed as an anti-Semitic slur. It’s a fact — and a problem — in Americanpublic life.

  82. 82
    Rick Taylor says:

    The craziest thing about this is the silence of the jingosphere. Had this been any other nation bossing around Bush’s Secretary of State, or, god forbid, France, can you imagine the wingnut Voltron that would have been formed in outrage? As it is, crickets.

    I had the same reaction, wondering why their was so much support among the right wing for nation building in Iraq. John Derbyshire argues we should have rubbled the place and left to set an example which is cretinous, but at least consistent. But he’s in a minority.

    I remember sitting down with my in-laws for a holiday dinner over a year ago. The conversation went to politics, and they started talking about how muslims are different than you and me, that they only understood force, and that’s why we had to stay in Iraq, because they’d see our leaving as weakness and attack.

    So I asked them, ok, if this is a war between Christianity and Islam, if that’s really what’s at stake, why did we begin it by overthrowing a secular dictator, who was hostile to muslim fundamentalists?

    Silence. Then, "Was Saddam a secular dictator." Yes he was. "Are you sure about that?" Yes I am. "Huh." The most open minded of them had to admit that was a good question and they hadn’t thought of it before.

  83. 83
    Ed Drone says:

    There, you’ve washed your hands of the matter and you can begin to engage both sides as a neutral actor rather than an Israeli dog or a Hamas sympathizer.

    That "wash my hands of you" thingy didn’t do much for Pontius Pilate, did it?

    Ed

  84. 84
    AhabTRuler says:

    Silence. Then, "Was Saddam a secular dictator." Yes he was. "Are you sure about that?" Yes I am. "Huh." The most open minded of them had to admit that was a good question and they hadn’t thought of it before.

    Head * Desk. Repeat.

  85. 85
    The Other Steve says:

    Zif, while I would not want to live in Saudi Arabia, life there is hardly comparable to the plight of the Palestinians.

    How do you know?

  86. 86
    libarbarian says:

    I really like "Jingosphere".

    I vote we keep using it until it becomes yet another internet tradishun we are all aware of.

  87. 87
    jibeaux says:

    leaving me to pick up the wreckage.

    So far, JC, the wreckage cleek has caused stands at 1) John Cole.

    Anyway, he’s more than capable of defending himself, so onward to provoking others!

    If the Palestinians had tanks and jets, I’m sure they’d ‘fight fair’ with them. But, they don’t, so they use what they have at hand – rocks, automatic weapons and suicide bombers.

    Here’s the thing, and so maybe I’m a little cynical about the motives of Hamas. Hamas can’t beat Israel in any sort of conventional fight. Everyone knows this. Israel has nukes. And Hamas isn’t trying to beat Israel in any sort of conventional fight. Hamas is trying, and succeeding, in provoking Israel into a ridiculously disproportionate response that gets a lot of civilians needlessly killed. Hamas likes this response. More rockets, they say. Hamas’ survival depends on Israel killing Palestinians and hardening Palestinian support for Hamas. Because if Palestinian support for Hamas depends on Hamas’ ability to build roads and schools and work productively towards a two state solution, well, Hamas is shit at that. And they aren’t actually interested in a workable two-state solution or a better standard of living for their people, they’re taking more of a, let’s call it a long view, where a high birth rate for Palestinians just lets them keep this nasty conflict open and festering and ugly, and Hamas in power, for a long time.

    Israel and Hamas drives me crazy, because it’s so incredibly predictable that they will repeat the cycle of playing into each other’s crazy-ass hands, and away from the solutions that everyone with an ounce of logic in their heads knows would benefit everyone.

  88. 88
    jibeaux says:

    You know, speaking just as a woman, Saudi Arabia is definitely in the top 5 places I wouldn’t want to live.

  89. 89
    Zifnab says:

    @Ed Drone:

    That "wash my hands of you" thingy didn’t do much for Pontius Pilate, did it?

    Worked great. Now, when you ask "Who killed Jesus?" the answer is invertibly, "TEH JOOS!"

  90. 90
    Punchy says:

    That’s a singularity, and a singularity invites questions. Maybe you don’t like the answers, but the questions are necessary.

    Way too cryptic. Can you just say what the heck you mean and not add such layers of "huh?’ to your posts? Kthxbuoy

  91. 91
    Face says:

    I’m not going to start passing judgments on which flavor of shit tastes better.

    I’m so stealing this line.

  92. 92
    Comrade Darkness says:

    If AIPAC really is so powerful that they control 510 out of 531 members of Congress it is time to see what it would take for them to champion health care and tax reform.

    Any chance we can get Hamas to come out unconditionally against single payer healthcare in the U.S.?

  93. 93
    Incertus says:

    @jibeaux: There’s that and the hope that they’ll drive Israel so nuts that they will do something that will so alienate the world community, including the US, that no one will get their back anymore. Hamas is playing the long game here, and the shitty thing is Israel’s response gives Hamas legitimacy.

  94. 94
    4tehlulz says:

    There’s that and the hope that they’ll drive Israel so nuts that they will do something that will so alienate the world community, including the US, that no one will get their back anymore.

    Is this a bug or a feature?

  95. 95
    John S. says:

    Why do we have an Islamic theocracy in Iran? Because of the 1979 revolution against the Shah, who in turn was put in power by a US/UK decision to dump the democratically-elected Mossadegh 20some years earlier, who wanted to nationalize BP because Iranians were sick and tired of Westerners taking the lion’s share of the profits from Iranian oil.

    Golly, sounds an awful lot like what happened in Cuba. Just change some of the details (1979/1959, Shah/Batista, BP/United Fruit Company) and it’s like a Mad-Lib for disastrous American foreign policy based on greed.

  96. 96
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Israel and Hamas drives me crazy, because it’s so incredibly predictable that they will repeat the cycle of playing into each other’s crazy-ass hands, and away from the solutions that everyone with an ounce of logic in their heads knows would benefit everyone.

    Being that it is 100 times easier to destroy than build, all it takes is 5% of crazies on both sides to perpetuate this forever. I view the remaining 95% on both sides as hapless victims, who in better circumstances would live perfectly peaceably.

    If we can’t in a time of internal peace keep our supposedly democratic government from giving away trillions to wealthy systematic thieves, we can hardly criticize others in a time of strife for not managing far more. I second or third the vote for withdrawal so our influence can actually accomplish something again. Pilate did what he had politically had to and so should we. (btw, I don’t know why the Xtians complain… based on their own story, Jeebus had to die to pave their free ride to heaven, didn’t he? Would they now prefer he died of old age or something and left them in the supernatural lurch?)

  97. 97
    jibeaux says:

    @Incertus:

    Yup, although it’s hard to imagine what that would be, short of nukes or maybe bayonetting babies in the streets. Israel always reacts disproportionately and it hasn’t hurt them here, so far.

    Plus, there’s the fact that even if no one gets Israel’s back, they’re pretty decent at taking care of themselves. I support withholding all our funds to Israel. I just don’t think it will do any good.

  98. 98
    liberal says:

    @Observer:

    r€nato, there are lobbies with far more influence than AIPAC who come nowhere close to mustering that kind of overwhelming response from Congress.

    Uh huh. What’s your metric for "effective"?

  99. 99
    liberal says:

    @jibeaux:

    Plus, there’s the fact that even if no one gets Israel’s back, they’re pretty decent at taking care of themselves.

    Really? They only have nuclear weapons, the strongest military in the region (by far), and the strongest economy in the region (corrupt petrostates notwithstanding).

    I support withholding all our funds to Israel. I just don’t think it will do any good.

    It may or may not improve the situation in the middle east. It would, OTOH, certainly be good for Americans, since taking sides in these kinds of nasty conflicts can have repercussions.

  100. 100
    liberal says:

    @Observer:

    Today, Eric Traegar summed up the more likely explanation.

    You link to Commentary, of all places?

    ROTFLOL!

  101. 101
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @jibeaux: I support withholding all our funds to Israel. I just don’t think it will do any good.

    It will do US some good when the clusterbombs they are dropping in the strip start reading "made in china" rather than "compliments of the people of the united states".

    I’d take that for a start.

    I’ll agree it would have made more of a difference twenty years ago if their policy decisions could not take into account that they have a guaranteed mindless bully looming behind them. Now, probably not so much.

  102. 102
    onceler says:

    ha, wow, multiple people here can’t tell the difference between the demographics and per capitas of Saudis (where such things can even be evaluated and kept track of!) and Palestinians. how dumb are you people? Saudi Arabia is a brutal, tyrannical dictatorship, with a fairly high standard of living and yes, social safety net. the Palestinians are nearly all of the lowest lower class, barely any income, barely any education, physically and mentally stunted due to malnutrition, with a much lower life expectancy and much higher rates of infant mortality and the like. nobody makes Saudi’s walk through checkpoints to travel or work. nobody chokes off their water supplies. nobody refuses to let them import medicine and food. and on and on and on.

  103. 103
    wilfred the shoe throwing Norwegian says:

    How many more days?

    Arguing that Iraq shows signs of becoming an inclusive state — it even "declared Christmas a national holiday" — Rice said that if the country eventually emerges as a democratic, multiethnic state that has friendly ties with the United States, "that will be more important than what anybody thought in 2002 or 2003."
    Rice added: "That’s not to say that it didn’t come at great cost. I myself will be haunted by the lives that were lost. I will always think about the people I visited at Walter Reed or at Bethesda and wonder what their lives are like. I also know that nothing of value is won without sacrifice."

    Where to begin? I know – Christmas Eve. In Iraq. With a legless Tiny Tim.

    What did we do to deserve these people?

  104. 104

    Did Israel drive the price of "victory" for Hezbollah to an astronomically high price they aren’t willing to pay. Could Israel have beaten the fight out of Hezbollah?

    Or, it could be that Hezbollah got exactly what it wanted from Israel’s invasion: a large slice of the political power in Lebanon.

    That doesn’t bode well for the idea that an Israeli invasion is going to topple Hamas.

  105. 105
    Zifnab says:

    That doesn’t bode well for the idea that an Israeli invasion is going to topple Hamas.

    If anything, it makes Fatah look that much more feeble and useless.

  106. 106
    all is vanity says:

    @ 14

    Doesn’t matter to a narcissist because they know that they will be dead of old age before that happens. Until then they do whatever they want.

  107. 107
    kay says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    This makes a lot of sense to me. It’s rarely laid out that way, and maybe it should be. The US as not just NOT succeeding at this, but as an actual long-time impediment to peace. Without the big gun behind them, it could have gone BETTER for Israel, because they would have had to rely on internal politics/power, and that is LIMITED. It escalates, and continues to escalate, because the backer’s "limits" far exceed the reality of that country. They didn’t have to deal, so why should they?
    This could be true regardless of original, or eventual, intent.

  108. 108
    david says:

    Lola

    The wingnuts love Israel and they don’t even know why.

    ==========

    They hate/fear Arabs, Israel pisses off Arabs, they love Israel.

  109. 109
    cleek says:

    It escalates, and continues to escalate, because the backer’s "limits" far exceed the reality of that country. They didn’t have to deal, so why should they?

    i like this idea.

  110. 110
    kay says:

    @cleek:

    We did "more/more" (Clinton). More money, more diplomacy
    Then we did "more/less" (Bush). More money, less diplomacy

    No nation goes along with "less/more". Less money, more diplomacy. The aid seems to be the price of admission, in all of our dealings, and that’s understandable.

    That leaves less/less.

  111. 111
    Mooser says:

    Yes, I know Condi is a Bush Republican. But I would be amazed if the Obama administration did not make some invidious comparisons and draw some negative conclusions about how Israel will deal with them.

    I mean the incoming administration could get the idea that the Israelis were racist, male chauvinist back-stabbers. That would be a pity.

  112. 112
    AhabTRuler says:

    It escalates, and continues to escalate, because the backer’s "limits" far exceed the reality of that country. They didn’t have to deal, so why should they?

    Israel spends about 9% of GDP on the IDF, and has spent as much as 24% of GDP in the past. While the loss of US military and political support would have an impact on the defense capabilities of Israel, I don’t think it would have as big an impact as y’all think.

    Also keep in mind that Israel is involved in many big ticket items like missile defence, satellite launch capabilities &c. Such items, as well as the F-15’s, F-16’s, Apaches, are helpful, but not critical to the ability to operate in Gaza and the West Bank.

  113. 113
    Throwin Stones says:

    Can’t John McCain just sit them all down and tell them to Stop the Bullshit?

  114. 114

    Here, let me second cleek. Fuck Israel. Seriously, fuck ’em. What has Israel ever done for the United States? Nothing as far as I can see except attempt to get us involved in stupid shit like the 1956 Suez Crisis, attack our ships and kill our sailors, the (1967 Liberty Incident), spy on us, (the Pollard case), and consume billions of dollars in American foreign aid. Boy, with friends like this, well, you know the rest. The only reasons ever offered for our mindless and unconditional support of Israel are the Holocaust, Christoid Fundamentalist Bullshit about the role of Israel in the end times, or the canard that Israel, as somewhat of a democracy, is deserving of our support, regardless of how repugnant their behavior.

    As far as being called an anti-semite, give me a break. The Israel lobby defines an anti-semite as anyone who doesn’t salivate when they ring a bell. If you’re not on your knees kissing their asses (or pulling a Larry Craig) you’re an anti-semite in their eyes.

  115. 115
    TenguPhule says:

    If the Palestinians had tanks and jets, I’m sure they’d ‘fight fair’ with them.

    Yes, fairly butchering civilian targets.

    Do we want to end the bloodshed or just make the body count bigger?

  116. 116
    TenguPhule says:

    What has Israel Egypt, or any African Nation ever done for the United States?

    Yeah, that’s the spirit. Every other country must be our bitch because we’ve given them a shitload of money at some time or the other.

  117. 117
    TenguPhule says:

    Why does it always have to be the "lesser" of two fucking evils? Why does the United States ALWAYS have to take a side?

    We *were* a sorta neutral party before the Bushbots threw in support behind Sharon. Then everything went to hell on our diplomatic front as Israel apparently had some juicy shit on the GOP and made them their bitch.

  118. 118
    Comrade Darkness says:

    If I were at the bar and happened to mention to my companion that perhaps a fourth beer would be a bad idea since he is planning on driving home and he started shrieking at me that I was f***ing nazi for my suggestion, I’d probably not define him as a friend. For some reason, the U.S. keeps buying the drinks, night after night. Is it just me, or is that where we’ve been the last decades?

    Israel has learned from the past and is working harder this skirmish to manage their image.

    Given the last five years of "you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists" flap we’ve been getting domestically I wonder if Israel’s promoters are unaware of how inured to this tactic the public have grown. Couple that with U.S.’s short historical memory that is quickly forgetting the collective guilt that birthed the current unilateral diplomacy, and I think they risk overplaying their hand.

  119. 119
    TenguPhule says:

    while I would not want to live in Saudi Arabia, life there is hardly comparable to the plight of the Palestinians.

    Unless you’re a Palestinian living in Saudi Arabia, in which case you’re most likely the local equivalent of dog shit. It never ceases to amaze me how so many Middle East States can rally crowds to "the Palestinian plight" when they treat the Palestinian camps in their own countries like crap.

  120. 120
    TenguPhule says:

    Given the last five years of "you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists" flap we’ve been getting domestically I wonder if Israel’s promoters are unaware of how inured to this tactic the public have grown.

    You could have something there. Israel’s initial rise in violence and stupidity directly corralates to Bush’s ascendency. And given how ineffectual our fucking Democrat opposition is, maybe they’re just putting their chips on the horse that they think will win, given past examples.

  121. 121
    TenguPhule says:

    this same Congress was bitterly divided about a war to oust a far more murderous Arab than anybody in Hamas has shown to be and one who persecuted his own brethren unmercifully.

    Shorter wilfred: I can’t see the difference between condemnation and declaring war.

    So yeah. If Hamas is staffed by people like wilfred, no wonder.

  122. 122
    liberal says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    While the loss of US military and political support would have an impact on the defense capabilities of Israel, I don’t think it would have as big an impact as y’all think.

    Which misses the point. To wit:
    (1) Ceasing to fund Israel isn’t just about (or even primarily about) trying to alter Israeli behavior. It’s to get ourselves out of an entanglement that doesn’t not benefit us, and could cause us harm.
    (2) Yes, Israel could probably keep their military spending/GDP ratio at the current level w/o our aid, but they’d have to pay for it out of their own pockets, and it would change their incentives. Would it change them enough to make them abandon their plans for a Greater Israel? (Viz, slow annexation of large chunks of the West Bank.) Perhaps not.

  123. 123
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:

    We were a sorta neutral party before the Bushbots threw in support behind Sharon.

    BS.
    (a) As people here tirelessly point out, we give Israel huge amounts of aid, military and otherwise—coming in at many percentage points of Israeli GDP. Certainly we were not neutral under Clinton.
    (b) We’ve never seriously conditioned that aid on Israel dismantling the settlements or even slowing their growth.

  124. 124
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Shorter wilfred: I can’t see the difference between condemnation and declaring war.

    Shorter TenguPhule: I’m apparently unaware that, in attention to the purely symbolic condemnation, Congressional opposition to substantial military aid to Israel is slim to none.

  125. 125
    liberal says:

    @liberal:
    "doesn’t not benefit us" ==> does not benefit us

  126. 126
    Comrade Stuck says:

    I am Pro Israel as far as defending it’s right to exist, but not a lot of things they do toward that end. Saying "fuck Israel" does not cause me to knee jerk to Anti-Semitism, something which I’ve never really been able to completely get my head around anyways. But I don’t much respect those saying that and only that, without making a cogent argument for their position. I take it as people not believing Israel is worth all the headaches that come with the US support financially and morally. I basically agree with the financial support we provide for self defense, but often not the moral part per Israeli excesses on killing and oppressing Palestinians. My anger mostly goes toward our leaders IE Bush/Cheney for not standing up to Israel when it gets off the rails. like many times the past eight years. If we are supplying the weaponry Israel is using, then we have a moral obligation to say so when they are being used the wrong way.

  127. 127
    AhabTRuler says:

    @liberal: actually, the point addressed specifically discussed Israel’s ability to escalate the situation because of US support. I have argued that a loss of US support will not hinder Israel’s ability to escalate military situations.

  128. 128
    Thlayli says:

    Fuck the fucking Eagles!

    (sorry, Steve)

  129. 129

    @Tenguphule

    What has Israel Egypt, or any African Nation ever done for the United States?

    Yeah, that’s the spirit. Every other country must be our bitch because we’ve given them a shitload of money at some time or the other.

    Yes, that sounds pretty good compared to the way things are now, which is that we give Israel lots of money and we’re their bitches to such an extent that according to Ehud Olmert he can say "shit" and George W. Bush will say "How many bags full, Mr. Olmert?".

    C’mon Tenguphule, explain to us all how our mindless and unconditional support of Israel, a nation which spies on us, killed our sailors and takes billions of dollars in US foreign aid is good for us. What does America get out of it? Give us all a cogent argument as to why American support for Israel is a good thing for the United States that doesn’t reference the Holocaust, Fundamentalist Christoid bullshit from the Book of Revelations or touchy-feely bullshit about how Israel is plucky little outpost of democracy ‘n goodness surrounded by a bunch of evil brown people who don’t believe in Jebus.

  130. 130
    Emma Anne says:

    @Michael D.:

    When I say “Fuck the US for what you did in Iraq.” I’m not anti-American

    But Cleek didn’t say "fuck Israel for what they are doing in Gaza". If you just said "fuck the U.S." then yeah, I’d think you were anti-American.

  131. 131
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    But they sure like to let us know who is boss as evidenced by Olmert’s tugging on W’s short leash to get his attention.

    And then bragging about it to the world.

  132. 132
    kay says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    I took Comrade Dread’s "enabler" point and made it narrow, so used money, just for the sake of brevity. I think his argument is broader than that. "Clout" is maybe a better word.
    That if they had to rely on their own accrued reputation: accumulated power and influence, rather than having such a big backer, they might have made different decisions.

  133. 133
    kay says:

    @kay:

    And, it’s "Comrade Darkness", not "Dread". I apologize to the various Comrades.

  134. 134
    AhabTRuler says:

    @kay: I disagree. Money is a good example because the incredibly high percentage of GDP that Israel has spent in the past demonstrates the lengths to which Israel will go to defend itself. Israel does not depend on us to "enable" anything. If we continue to provide them with aid and support, they will take it. If they lose it, they will likely have to change their plans, but not in the ways you are thinking. Remember that to the Israeli leadership this isn’t escalation.
    Furthermore, the loss of US support would merely amplify the perception that Israel can only depend on itself and its own actions to defend itself, and cannot be swayed by external world opinion.
    Outside of this point, I think that the good Comrade Stuck most precisely captured my take on the situation.

  135. 135
    TenguPhule says:

    Give us all a cogent argument as to why American support for Israel is a good thing for the United States that doesn’t reference the Holocaust, Fundamentalist Christoid bullshit from the Book of Revelations or touchy-feely bullshit about how Israel is plucky little outpost of democracy ‘n goodness surrounded by a bunch of evil brown people who don’t believe in Jebus.

    Because the alternatives are worse. At least, that’s how the theory goes.

    Much the same reasoning for our aid to Egypt, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Taiwan and a whole shitload of countries that aren’t helping us in any real material sense at home.

    Do we want access and/or influence with the government? Or do we let Russia and China have them in the Great Game?

  136. 136
    TenguPhule says:

    shorter liberal: I am unaware that there is no substantial resistance to ANY military aid we provide to other countries.

    Fixed.

  137. 137
    TenguPhule says:

    Certainly we were not neutral under Clinton.

    Compared to the current regime? We were fucking mediators.

  138. 138
    TenguPhule says:

    It’s to get ourselves out of an entanglement that doesn’t not benefit us, and could cause us harm.

    Now the question is, would that cause more harm in the process?

  139. 139
    Svensker says:

    Would people get all upset if someone said Fuck the Swedes? Aside from a few Swedes, that is? It’s time to move on from the "special relationship" with Israel. If what they’re doing is in line with U.S. interests (and not special interests), then fine. If not, why should I have to care about them? Any more than Chuck Schumer would care about a "special relationship" with Sweden. It’s time for Israel to stand on its own feet. And get its hand outta my pocket.

    BTW, I’m sick of being told I’m a bad person if I don’t approve of Israeli actions. I don’t approve of the Norwegian government’s actions much either — what does that make me?

  140. 140
    kay says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    Furthermore, the loss of US support would merely amplify the perception that Israel can only depend on itself and its own actions to defend itself, and cannot be swayed by external world opinion.

    That’s the way it’s supposed to go, right? That’s the conventional US-backed/small state relationship, as seen from the US perspective? That our support offers the weaker state (in this case, Israel) room to move? The latitude that comes with borrowed clout? It works for us, too, because they’re moving in a direction we want them to go. It’s almost the definition of "ally".

    I just don’t think it’s working.

  141. 141
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Olmert’s off to jail soon anyway, I expect — or will negotiate a deal to keep his ass out of jail, as is common in a political climate that makes Illinois look squeaky-clean.

    I described this elseblog as the equivalent to a leaving party where everyone gets liquored up and jolly for a while, then one person who’s had too much starts spouting off shit. Israeli pols know that the open bar only lasts another week, and some of them have drunk too deeply.

  142. 142

    […] John Cole has more, and so does Thers. […]

  143. 143
    parsnip says:

    Will anyone really give a crap about all this when Israel’s tarum in Gaza ends in a week or two?

  144. 144
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Well goddamn, Tenguphile done queered another I/P thread. That might be a record, TP. BTW, I laughed out loud at this:

    Do we want to end the bloodshed or just make the body count bigger?

    Were you being ironic or are we supposed to separate this from your normal rhetoric about killing everyone? (Except Jews, of course.)

  145. 145
    John Raifsnider says:

    The pervasive use of the ‘f’ word in place of dialog and thoughtful exchange of concerns and solutions tends to dissipate what positive energy we have left for good to be supplanted out of this and other tragic conditions. Irrational, thoughtless, destructive words make no more sense than do physical bombs that blow precious human bodies to bits. It’s a sign of the social disease we’ve been infected with, a succumbing to brutal society of which war itself is the logical outcome. Please let us not spiral further into futility through the language of popular madness. Opting to use thoughtful terms to express frustration, you could try "copulate this" or "fecundate that." Obviously this would make no sense–which of course is the point. Empty, nonsensical, destructive angry expletives, as with all raw obsessive hate words, just leave an ugly mess inviting retaliatory curse bombs and bomblets that simply worsen rather than resolve the root causes of our present conflict and pain. Every diminishment of goodwill destroys just so much more hope for the future. And we become the thing we hate in the end.

  146. 146
    scooter says:

    Israel is a failed state. Last I checked, they need over 60 billion a year of Us Taxpayer money just to keep going.

    That is a failed state.

    They are sitting on prime real estate, they have a sweatshop oppressed minority labor force built in, and they can’t even make a go of if.

    The US is worse than broke, continuing to dump money down that rathole is weapons grade stupid, Israel has nothing to offer.

    US taxpayers, regardless of their politics, or retarded superstitious space god delusion need to think about what it costs them for Israel to have free health care and college education, and start thinking about their own kids.

    The free ride is over, cut them off, and let them take care of themselves for a change. They’re over sixty years old, I think i’s time they get the fuck out there , quit whining, and start handling their own problems.

  147. 147
    The Raven says:

    I get it, Scooter. Let’s have…a final solution! Krawk!

    Sheesh, hominids. Oh, well, good eating for corvids.

  148. 148
    comrade akaoni says:

    Have any of the usual suspects in the jingosphere even touched this story yet? They usually discover at least some talking point they can all parrot to counter an inconvinient truth but I haven’t seen a thing yet.

  149. 149
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:
    Shorter TenguPhule: I’m completely unaware that military and other aid to Israel is indeed outsized, if reasonable metrics are used.

  150. 150
    liberal says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    Money is a good example because the incredibly high percentage of GDP that Israel has spent in the past demonstrates the lengths to which Israel will go to defend itself.

    It isn’t "defending" itself. It’s committing the fundamental war crime of slow ethnic cleansing.

    Furthermore, the loss of US support would merely amplify the perception that Israel can only depend on itself and its own actions to defend itself, and cannot be swayed by external world opinion.

    With that reasoning, the claim "we cannot cutoff aid to regime X" is practically unfalsifiable.

    Fail.

  151. 151
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Now the question is, would that cause more harm in the process?

    No.

    SATSQ.

  152. 152
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Compared to the current regime? We were fucking mediators.

    …insert cliche about low expectations/standards here…

  153. 153
    Morphius says:

    @zifnab Comment #39

    If we continue to believe the Bin Laden / 9-11 / 19 hijackers theory, how can we accurately understand the rest of our World?

    The towers (1,2, & 7) were demolished. Physical Indisputable Fact. Only an absolute jelly-brained moron could believe otherwise. How can you have a valid opinion about anything, when this eludes you?

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