A Penetrating Glimpse Of The Obvious

Thirty six years ago, on September 12, 1982, a Lebanese Maronite militia invaded two refugee camps occupied by Palestinians.  As The New York Times remembered on the 30th anniversary of the disaster,

In the ensuing three-day rampage, the militia, linked to the Maronite Christian Phalange Party, raped, killed and dismembered at least 800 civilians, while Israeli flares illuminated the camps’ narrow and darkened alleyways. Nearly all of the dead were women, children and elderly men.

That reference to the flares points to the miserable truth behind the blood and broken bodies:  the people on the spot, those militiamen handled the killing.  They pulled the triggers, broke the women, shattered the bodies. They were guilty of those crimes; they did the worst that human beings can do.

But there were others who stood aside, hands nominally clean while the predictable result of their actions and their studied inactions played out in Sabra and Shatila.

After the fact, the Israeli government ordered an investigation into the massacres, and they got a real one.  It concluded that

Israeli leaders were “indirectly responsible” for the killings and that Ariel Sharon, then the defense minister and later prime minister, bore “personal responsibility” for failing to prevent them.

Sharon didn’t fire a single shot; no blood spattered the shoes of his colleagues, and the Israeli soldiers on the front lines in Lebanon did nothing more than stay out of the way.  But as the report concluded, those in charge in Israeli knew what would happen if the Maronite militias gained free rein in the camps, and they let events unfold anyway. They were guilty not of murder, but of enabling the killings, of giving permission for an atrocity.

Adam, below and elsewhere, has laid out a compelling case that Donald Trump is similarly guilty of complicity in the ongoing racist and anti-Semitic violence occurring now in America’s civic space.  When you tell armed and angry supporters that they have enemies, that those enemies are ruthless, relentless, and Jewish or Black or Brown, then for all that Trump himself never slams home a magazine, he’s the man giving those who do kill a target list and permission to go after it.

What I want to add to that is that this responsibility, this complicity in the slaughter of innocents lies with the entire public apparatus of the Republican Party.  They have had every opportunity to push back on Trump’s white supremacy, his barely-coded demonization of Jews, his overt and explicit racism.  Concerned Jeff Flake and sincere Susan Collins — and the more important figures, the Paul Ryans and the Mitch McConnells and the Mitt Romneys and the rest — all had opportunity after opportunity to say no.  Just no: that this isn’t what the Republican Party is about; that it’s dangerous and hateful and so on.

Instead we got the pieties, “incivility” policing and the rest.

And now we have a body count of at least ten in just the last two days, not even to mention the assassination campaign that fortunately did not succeed.  They were all victims of exactly the kind of hatred Trump explicitly fomented as recently as last night — after the two deaths in Louisville, KY.

Democrats’ condemnation is important, because the country has to hear that hate is vicious, deadly, and to be reviled.  But as a matter of effectiveness, the Republicans have a far greater duty here: they can hold Trump priorities hostage, and they give permission to the GOP “tribe” to recognize that there are, there need to be, lines beyond which our politics should not go.

That’s the duty the Republican party has entirely failed. It’s why the current GOP must go, root and branch.  And it is why each Republican in power — the elected officials and their staffs, the party apparatus, all of them — bear exactly the same kind of indirect responsibility carried by the Israeli commanders and politicians who presided over those massacre.  It didn’t take a genius to realize that a nightly incitement to violence would end in actual murder. As it has, repeatedly over the last two years, and ten more times in the last two days.

I got nothing more. The US government is in the hands of a cabal that is, so far, willing to trade street murder for tax cuts and Supreme Court seats.  That rule has to end.  Which we knew.  Hence the PGO.

Images: Nicholas Poussin, Massacre of the Innocents, before 1665.

Mattia Pretti, Pilate washing his hands, 1663.



Normalizing Anti-Semitism

Yesterday the President and the Chair of the Judicial Committee, Charles Grassley, repeatied lies about George Soros. Today Rudy Giuliani joined in this mainstreaming of anti-Semitism.

1) The accusations against Soros come out of organized anti-Semitism. They use Soros as a stand-in for the unacceptable formulations that have been used by anti-Semites for centuries. Don’t use these accusations, and don’t go to websites that promote this stuff.

2) I take this somewhat personally because back in the 1990s and early 2000s, when I was working in countries that had been part of the Soviet Union, the Soros Foundation funded work to help those countries become democratic. The foundation still funds work along those lines.

George Soros grew up in Communist Hungary. He knows what unfreedom is like, which is why he set up his foundation to do that kind of work.



Late Night Open Thread: Date Night!

Have a nice dinner out…

 
… and maybe take in a movie!

 
Pick your subjects carefully, though…



(Zippo) Lighter Side Open Thread: BURN YER NIKES!!!

The tweets Pharyngula posted turned out to be a “hoax” (joke). So are these, but aren’t they glorious?

Plenty of 100% genuine all-‘Murkan stupidity to go around, folks!


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Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Another Bannon Comeback Failure

Up with the rocket and down with the stick, as my Irish granny used to say… but the cycles are getting shorter. This particular publicity attempt was over before most people even knew to complain about it…


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Our Failed Meritocracy / Media: “OMGarosa!!!

(This was scheduled to pop up at 10am this morning, but FYWP… )


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This Is What You Do When You Don’t Have A Real Argument

Two of the key people in the Obama administration for the negotiation of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), were investigated by an Israeli private intelligence agency trying to find dirt on them, The Guardian reported today.

The agency talked to reporters in order to find whether Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, advisors to President Obama, had shared sensitive information. Presumably they found nothing, or we would have heard about it.

This has been the modus operandi of the JCPOA opponents all along. On Twitter, they indulge in ad hominems and personal attacks rather than present a coherent argument. They set up straw men with views that misrepresent the case for the agreement. They all seem to have the same talking points and slogans (“sunset clauses,” “give Iran nuclear weapons”) in what I might have called an echo chamber if they hadn’t seized on that accusation first.

Back in the summer of 2015, they tried to set up a phony controversy about “secret side agreements.” Several of the supporters of the agreement, including me, responded strongly and, I think, managed to squash their propaganda before it fully bloomed. For that, we were attacked again and again on Twitter.

All the opponents have is lies and false accusations. This latest exposure of their dirty tactics is of a piece with the tactics they have used all along. It’s an indication that they have nothing else.

 

In case you were in doubt, Rudy says the quiet part out loud.

 

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner.