David Love: In many ways, the handling of the flotilla tragedy mirrors Israel’s policy of Occupation of the Palestinian territories: inhumane treatment and a disproportionate use of force against those who have been labeled as terrorists.
Ivan Eland: Just as he must have been pleased with Bush’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq generating more Islamist radicalism, bin Laden would like to bait the United States into attacking its affiliate local groups around the world for the same reason. Foolishly, Obama is obliging him.
Carl Bloice: The purpose in this case is to underscore the contention that the cruel blockade of Gaza is to prevent the smuggling of arms and weapons-making material into the enclave. It is not and never has been. The aim of the blockade is to make life miserable for the 1.4 million Palestinians there in the hope of undermining the Hamas government, which was duly elected four years ago. Gaza is being held for ransom. That’s collective punishment and it’s against international law.
GAry Coseri: The Zionist state demands the right to exist as a Zionist state—a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, bristling with nuclear weapons. Did Yahweh come out of the clouds and declare that this state alone can break all the rules of international decorum with impunity, without censure?
John Peeler: But suppose there were no violence by the activists, just a refusal to comply with what they held to be an illegal seizure of their ships in support of an illegal blockade and an illegal occupation. The Israeli government and military are manifestly completely unprepared for that. They know only how to respond to Palestinian violence with disproportionate force.
Jim Fuller: Israel’s perpetual claims to victimhood, and a supposedly resulting right to brutalize the people of Gaza, Lebanon, and any other peoples it chooses, have worn through at last, at least in the finally opened eyes of a large and growing minority in this country. The claim is a tactic, not a truth.
Congressional Candidate Marcy Winograd (CA-36) questions why her opponent Jane Harman chooses to remain silent in the aftermath of an Israeli assault on the Free Gaza flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to over a million Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza.
Winograd stops concert to condemn the actions of the attackers of the flotilla carrying aid to Palestinians in Gaza.
Patrick Henningsen: Just as every cracking wooden fence requires a white wash, so every unsavoury event needs a good cover-up. After the massacre, it’s reported that the Coalition Soldiers removed the bullets from the walls, plastered over the bullet holes, and then tied the hands of the dead victims behind their backs and gagged them.
Ivan Eland: The U.S. government’s inability to distinguish between al-Qaeda, with global ambitions, and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, with their local goals, has merely made more enemies, including those who would begin attacking the United States. How are Americans being made safer by this war?
Ivan Eland: Although the Iraqi constitution creates a fairly decentralized state, the most worrisome development for Iraqi unity is Barzani’s increasing demands. Barzani’s electoral gains—and because of Iraq’s post-election political stalemate, his ability to be a king-maker in selecting Iraq’s next prime minister—make him and the Kurds more strident in their quest for autonomy, or maybe even independence, and to grab the ethnically-mixed but oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
David Love: And as far as the U.S. is concerned, a laissez-faire policy of shoulder shrugging has not worked in the Mideast, and neither has the appearance of siding with one party over another. Obama realizes that if there is any hope for stability in the region, he must deal with the Israel-Palestine conflict. Hotheads and peddlers of extremism have a vested interest in the status quo, and would like nothing more than to derail any attempts to transform today’s sad state of affairs.
Sherwood Ross: Morocco has shown its disrespect for international law by illegally occupying the western Sahara and also by forging a pact with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to receive kidnapped terror suspects upon whom Morocco’s secret police inflict grotesque tortures. If Rabat will accept a prisoner kidnapped from another country without a prior legal hearing, how safe are you going to be?
John Peeler: Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel didn’t go so well. When the Interior Ministry announced plans for a major expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem just as Biden was helping to organize renewed—if indirect—negotiations with the Palestinians, he, on instructions from the White House, promptly condemned the plan, a condemnation, which was amplified in a long, “tough” conversation between Secretary of State Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Ivan Eland: Unfortunately for the United States in Afghanistan, however, the label of “foreign occupier” is an albatross the U.S. will likely never be able to shake or mitigate. Although the Taliban is often brutal (but may now be toning this down in its own realization that it must win greater public support) and unpopular, so is the U.S. occupation and the corrupt client government of Hamid Karzai.
Whether people support Malalai Joya, or passionately disagree with her, few would challenge her right to speak – and it is this right that is being ignored, with impunity, by an administration whose actions indicate no will to respect the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it is a party.
Ira Chernus: Sometimes, as the Breaking the Silence report indicates, the level of brutality grows beyond comprehension: a five-year-old child beaten; a nine year old who “posed no danger” shot to death; another child with both arms and both legs intentionally broken. The Yediot Aharonoth article offers a series of such horrifying incidents. When the full report is available on the Breaking the Silence website, it will be surely include even more heart-breaking tales.
Joseph Palermo: What the United Kingdom is dealing with is the hangover of the crimes of George W. Bush, crimes that have been conveniently swept under the rug on this side of the pond. Blair was Bush’s poodle and now he finds himself in the hot seat defending the actions of his former master. Seeing a former Prime Minister grilled is a wonderful thing. We’d never see a U.S. president in a similar predicament because, ironically, the president is now more of a monarch than any executive in Britain.
Ira Chernus: On this Martin Luther King Day, then, American Jews face a choice. They can dwell on one casual, misinformed, easily misinterpreted remark that King made and use it to justify continued Israeli intransigence and violence. Or they can remember the words in which he summed up a lifetime of nonviolence, on the last night of his life — “I’m not fearing any man!” — and call on their own government to demand at least a start toward ending the conflict: a genuine halt to all settlement expansion.
Ira Chernus: In tough political times, Israeli leaders know that they always hold one winning card, if they know how to play it right: the fear card. The same anxiety-driven “rally round the flag” effect that works in so many nations — as we saw vividly in the U.S. after the 9/11 attack — has a well-proven track record in Israel.
Linda Milazzo: Monday night, in remembrance of the one-year anniversary of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead that killed 1,400 Gazans, and in solidarity with the 1,400 international peace pilgrims converging in Egypt from 42 countries for the planned Gaza Freedom March, Los Angelenos gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate for a solemn candlelight vigil.
Emily Spence: We can be assured that, eventually, the ongoing military rampage will lead to a third world war if Russian or Chinese leaders, finally, reach a limit to the threats that can be endured from western imperial hubris. In fact, how can anyone anywhere embrace an increasingly extensive war trajectory? Moreover, we cannot accept the untimely deaths in the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands. They weigh too heavily on the national conscience — that is if one can even exist after so much unbridled wanton carnage.
David Swanson: Let’s face it, if James Cameron had made a movie with the Iraqi resistance as the heroes and the U.S. military as the enemies, and had set it in Iraq or anywhere else on planet earth, the packed theaters viewing “Avatar” would have been replaced by a screening in a living room for eight people and a dog.
Joseph Palermo: And after urging the United States military to do the dirty work Kuperman believes there would be an international deterrent effect from the U.S. military aggression “because the American military has global reach, air strikes against Iran would be a strong warning to other would-be [nuclear] proliferators.”