Thursday, July 13, 2006

the neverending catastrophe

This is the most horrible thing that no one wants to talk about. Sandy Tolan in Salon describes it:
"Under the pretext of forcing the release of a single soldier "kidnapped by terrorists" (or, if you prefer, "captured by the resistance"), Israel has done the following: seized members of a democratically elected government; bombed its interior ministry, the prime minister's offices, and a school; threatened another sovereign state (Syria) with a menacing overflight; dropped leaflets from the air, warning of harm to the civilian population if it does not "follow all orders of the IDF" (Israel Defense Forces); loosed nocturnal "sound bombs" under orders from the Israeli prime minister to "make sure no one sleeps at night in Gaza"; fired missiles into residential areas, killing children; and demolished a power station that was the sole generator of electricity and running water for hundreds of thousands of Gazans."
Already the only international airport in Lebanon has had its runways torn up by rocketfire and at least 19 civilians have been killed as the war spreads to Lebanon. The level of overreaction has made it hard for even the most sympathetic in the international community to question just where this is all headed. Why must we say that no amount of suffering by innnocent Palestinians is too much to justify the return of a single Jewish soldier?

Senator Joe Lieberman was asked whether his religion and his support of Israel were playing into the voter backlash he is experiencing, a rhetorical opening he deferred on as he was ducking into his limo, intimating that this was too portentous an inquiry to be answered extemporaneously. Later his surrogates developed this theme in a series of recent editorials, one of which quoted a Jewish blogger (Ezra Klein) out of context to fit this mock-heroic narrative. The question of unalloyed support for every action the state of Israel undertakes is an important question and one which should not be excluded from public discourse by thought-terminating cliches like "it's the only real democracy in that region" or "Palestinian = terrorist". Support without questions asked encourages this overreaction, alienating Israel more and more from world opinion.

No, Senator, as Joe Conason points out there are many other things to be upset with you besides the appalling moral tragedy in Mesopotamia that you continue to cheerlead for:
"Mrs. Lieberman signed up with Hill & Knowlton in March 2005. The firm’s clients included GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharmaceutical giant that manufactures flu vaccines along with many other drugs. In April 2005, Mr. Lieberman introduced a bill that would award an array of new government “incentives” to companies like GSK to produce more vaccines—notably patent extensions on other products, at a cost of billions to governments and consumers."

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