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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Comments

It was a way of saying to President Obama: 'You inspired tricked us three years ago, and in this spirit we are trying to personify hopes that have been largely dashed.'

Fixed.

You weren't inspired. You. Were. Played. And, heroic action in the Middle East or no, you're still being played.

This is politics. You do not get to back people because you like them. If someone murders someone else using political power, you reject that person or you support his policies -- you cannot do both. The person is the power.

Posted by John Caruso at 11:06 AM

It certainly made it crystal clear who my real enemies are.

I ranted here before about this, I suspect, but again: Republicans and Democrats are rivals. You, the reader and the Democrats are enemies. The reader is also the enemy of the Republicans as well. The lions quarreling over the choicest bits of explorer will happily work together to add you to the menu.

As far as ridiculously naming a boat full of heroic people sticking up for something larger than themselves after obama's deceitful and empty words and hoping that obama will be "moved" by it: well, the nobel peace prize sure didn't do the trick. Why the fuck would they think a boat name would?

In reality though, the reason that they probably did it was for its symbolism if the boat gets seized and/or the people on it harmed. They won't admit that, but that's probably the reason that they named it as they have. And that's probably a large reason why obama's state department is so pissed about their mission: the boat's name ridicules him and it will ridicule him even more if it is seized and/or the people on it harmed. I'm glad that they named it that, he deserves it and a lot more for what he's done and for the people that have been harmed by his policies and deceit.

Z

One of the few better names I could come up with would have been the SS Nobel Peace Prize.

Agreeing with Qchris: if the boat was more directly mocking him, it would work better as a wake-up call to his supporters.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/23

And in this post, which calls for massive civil disobedience in DC this summer to resist the Tar Sands pipeline, look for the paragraph that asks people to wear their Obama buttons. Just felt like a stake through my heart (though I respect and revere every name on the list, and haven't the wherewithal or the courage to join them).

I share the sentiment, Catherine. Also phrases like "you’d suspect that there’s no way the Obama administration would ever permit this pipeline"--why in the world would anyone who's paying attention suspect any such thing? (Because, as they say straight out, "we very much still want to believe in the promise of that young Senator.")

Z: In reality though, the reason that they probably did it was for its symbolism if the boat gets seized and/or the people on it harmed. They won't admit that, but that's probably the reason that they named it as they have.

I'm sure the protection factor crossed their minds (though I think it won't give them any), but the statements I've seen about this both last year and this year seem sincere, straightforward and unambiguous. Here's what Ann Wright said last year:

Many of us would like to see our boat renamed "The Audacity of Hope" as that is what we want to see from the Obama administration-- courage to challenge the Israeli government on the siege of Gaza. It would be a really brave, bold move as every U.S. presidential administration since the formation of the State of Israeli in 1948 has blindly given free-rein to Israel in whatever actions it wishes to undertake no matter if the actions are a violation of international law.

I'd love to believe what you're suggesting, but I'd have to see at least some evidence somewhere that it's the case--and all the available evidence says just the opposite. The only hopeful thing I see in Wright's statement is "Many of us", which I take to mean that there were at least a few people who saw how grotesque it was to use that name...but not enough to prevent it from happening this time around.

I think that Z is right (see above comment).

I certainly hope (pardon the word) that the choice of a name was profoundly strategic, and not as simple minded as others have suggested. And if it WAS that simpleminded, then the global-wide mocking that Z suggests here will be a wonderful unintended outcome.

Obama certainly deserves much more than our limpid anger & frustration.
Where ARE the street protests?

As for Obama buttons at the Tar Sands demo? Just makes me choke on my lunch.

To those on the ships. Please remember that Israel was far more lenient to the previous flotilla than International Law requires. Attempting to breach a blockade is an act of war against the blockading country. Any ships that do not turn aside when ordered to are subject to capture. Once captured, the ships are legally the property of the blockading nation. Israel gave them back, it didn't have to. The crews of the ships, by attempting to breach the blockade can be held as prisoners of war until the end of hostilities (until there is peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis). So can any passengers who resist the capture of the ships. If the passengers or crew resist with potentially deadly force again (stabbing, clubbing, etc.) the Israeli soldiers are within their rights to use deadly force back (again).

This isn't a game, you are quite literally going to war with Israel. If you choose to go to war, stop whining about how unfair it is when you lose.

Oh, and to the U.S. citizens, when you get back, you might just be eligible for prosecution under Federal laws that make it a crime to commit an act of war against a country with which the U.S. is at peace.

All in service of trying to break the blockade so that Iran can ship thousands of tons of heavy weapons to Hamas. Fun.

Looks like our comments may have crossed in midstream, Helen.

...the global-wide mocking that Z suggests here will be a wonderful unintended outcome.

And I'd be overjoyed if it happened, but I don't see any chance that it will. But what is happening, right now, is that for every Obama fan who hears it, the name of that boat reinforces the notion that Obama is (or ever was) on their side--at worst a wavering ally who needs to be reminded of his true values so he'll come back to them. That's one of the most destructive illusions in the world today, and it's a shame to see the people on the boat helping Obama by giving it credence.

Oh, and for the record, Obama's Nobel was the second Nobel peace prize awarded for not being George W. Bush. Al Gore's was the first. I voted for Obama twice. I still think giving a Nobel to any newly elected, first term President who had yet to do anything is an insult to all the genuine peacemakers who won it in the past and turns it from a genuine honor into what amounts to fan mail.

Yes, just like those so-called "Freedom Riders" in the 1960s got what was coming to them.

It's fitting that Bob is doing his best to rationalize away Israeli killing nearly 5 years to the day after I wrote this:

[O]ne of the worst things about Israel is the corrosive effect it has on those who claim to support it (both Jewish and otherwise). It exerts an irresistible magnetic pull on the moral compass of those who embrace its self-aggrandizing mythology, rendering them capable of depths of ethical blindness or outright malevolence that are all the more repellent for the self-righteousness in which they're so typically couched.
Please remember that Israel was far more lenient to the previous flotilla than International Law requires.

Bullshit. Nothing justifies murder.

Attempting to breach a blockade is an act of war against the blockading country.

No it's not. By definition, the blockading country is the aggressor and has committed an act of war -- in Israel's case, a war crime. Defying criminal behavior is not an act of war against Israel because Israel's citizens and territory were not harmed -- and, indeed, the only reason they could be at risk was because Israel betrayed its citizens by putting them at risk.

If the passengers or crew resist with potentially deadly force again (stabbing, clubbing, etc.) the Israeli soldiers are within their rights to use deadly force back (again).

Israel responded with deadly force immediately. Defending onesself with makeshift, crap weapons did not justify murder. But hey, thanks for making it clear your position is so wholly foul and vile pretty much up-front.

I voted for Obama twice.

K' dude, like I said, we already knew your views were vile; no need to belabor the point.

Whenever I read someone thinking/saying that the Israelis wouldn't dare kill the Americans on this flotilla (Furkan Dogan, bless his courageous young heart, doesn't count; he was a treasonous Turk), I wonder how old they are. And I think of the U.S.S. Liberty. God, the IDF (was it called that, then?)would have sunk the ship if they'd had more time and the Liberty defenses had been knocked out, as I'm sure was the Israelis' plan.

"an insult to all the genuine peacemakers who won it in the past"

Oh no. You mean like Teddy "Shoot the Swarthy Spaniards in the Gut" Roosevelt and Henry "Killing Machine" Kissinger? On a good day the award had a checkered past.

Wait Bob, there's a state of *war* between Israel and the Palestinians? Is that a civil war do you imagine (does that mean your buddy Obama has to order NATO airstrikes on Jerusalem to "protect civilians" in Gaza?) or do you categorize it as two warring states, or..? I ask because the next logical step would be in asking how anything Hamas does by way of fighting the IDF becomes delegitimized.

Speaking of Kissinger, he was on Colbert pushing his poxy book on China. Couldn't bring myself to watch, but I'm sure no mention was made that Kissinger's primary income for a number of years now has been serving as a liaison for businesses trying to curry favor with the powers that be in China. So Condi Rice, Henry the K... if you should really be dangling from a war crimes hangin' rope, the liberals at Comedy Central will let you push your book.

But when good people like them act as though there's even a remote possibility that the calculating shitbag in the White House cares about what they're saying, it just shows that they're still clinging to the illusions he so artfully deployed to co-opt them in the first place—and worse, it reinforces those illusions for other people.

In 2006, I held the hand of my dying father, a lifelong liberal Democrat, and told him the Democrats had won back the House and Senate, and that he had been right and my cynicism was wrong, the Bush years were over now and people would come to their senses. I knew as I did it that it was a lie, that nothing would change. And now as things get even worse and worse, beyond my worst imaginings, I wonder if he would have still believed. I hope not. The audacity of hope.

That's one of the times when reinforcing illusions is the right thing to do. Thanks for sharing.

Lifelong liberal Democrats I understand; they had every reason to be thrilled with Obama and it's not surprising that they continue to believe in him (even if they're disappointed). They're operating from a different frame of reference. What makes me despair is watching progressives--actual progressives, many of whom had abandoned the Democrats years ago--line up behind empty vessels like Obama, and continue rationalizing that decision even in the face of constant contradictions. Which is why, ironically, nothing recent has done more to take away my hope than the name of this boat.

QChris: The Kissinger interview was a fucking lovefest. To this day, the only person I've seen raked over the coals by either Stewart or Colbert was Hugo Chavez -- a man the U.S. government tried to murder (and, by implication, intended to murder and rob hundreds of thousands of people in the subsequent coup). Kissinger was treated with more respect than even petty Republican shills or the exquisitely irrelevant Jim Kramer.

Note that even the man that mainstream serviles claim is the best satirist of our age couldn't even make the comparison between the Weiner scandals (non-hypocritical, non-coercive (no rape), non-cruelty (no leaving anyone on theird deathbeds)) and the Republican sex scandals or the failure to prosecute even the most low-level of the financial meltdown criminals or the Bush administration. I watch both programs, but the thing to remember about them is that they are milquetoast satirist generally speaking -- and clowns first. They can be biting and enlightening, but their first job is to clown, and clowns do a LOT of ass-kissing.

Hm. Maybe that's the difference between a clown and a jester.

“Bullshit. Nothing justifies murder.”
Since the definition of “murder” is “the wrongful killing of a human being”, that statement is a tautology. If a killing is justified, then it’s not murder. These killings were justified, therefore they were not murders. Sorry, you don’t just get to assume murder when what you are trying to prove is that it was murder.
These killings were the same type of self-defense that any soldier has a right to. Just like the killing of German soldiers in Germany in WWII while they attacked the invading Americans was not murder.
“ ‘Attempting to breach a blockade is an act of war against the blockading country.’ ”
“No it's not. By definition, the blockading country is the aggressor”
Actually, no. A blockade can be established as an initial act of a war (e.g., Egypt blockading the Port of Eilat in 1967 to start the 6-day war). But it can also be a response to aggression by another country (e.g., a British blockade of Germany in WWII). The aggressor is the country (or people, for people without an actual country) that starts the war. Not the person who starts the blockade.
“and has committed an act of war”.
That part is true. Whether as an initial act, or as part of an ongoing war, a blockade is most certainly an act of war.
“in Israel's case, a war crime.”
That part is not true. Nothing about this blockade is a war crime. It has been properly announced, a route for humanitarian aid is provided, and the blockade is part of an armed conflict in which the enemy tries to bring in weapons and other war materiel, by sea. Therefore, the blockade is not a war crime.

continued

“Defying criminal behavior is not an act of war against Israel because Israel's citizens and territory were not harmed -- and, indeed, the only reason they could be at risk was because Israel betrayed its citizens by putting them at risk.”
I’m sorry if you don’t understand the meaning of the term, but “act of war” has a specific meaning under international law. There are certain actions which are acts of war, regardless of whether anyone is hurt by them. Both blockading a port and attempting to breach a blockade are acts of war, regardless of who started the war. Thankfully it is not considered an act of war by or against the flag country of the blockade runners (unless government ships of the flag country are involved).
This is exactly the point I am trying to make to the naïve twits on the flotilla. They think that because they aren’t armed or smuggling weapons that this isn’t serious. This isn’t like holding up a sign at a rally. They are going into a war zone to do something that the soldiers are legally entitled to use any necessary force to stop. How much force the soldiers can use depends on how much force the passengers and crew make necessary. They can’t just blow them out of the water without warning, but a ship that resists capture is subject to attack. If they fight well enough that the Israelis despair of capturing the ship without taking high casualties, then they can sink it.
Whether you agree with the need for airport security or not, whether you are carrying weapons or not, if you try to run through airport security without being searched you will be stopped by force. If you try to kill the security guards, they can use lethal force to defend themselves. This is no different. Better analogy. The cops have a roadblock that you think is illegal. They try to stop you when you try to drive through it. You try to kill one. The cop that guns you down to stop you from killing another cop hasn’t committed a crime by gunning you down, even if you were right all along about the roadblock being illegal.

A lot of people have trouble with the concept that it can be simultaneously 1) legal for a soldier to try to capture your ship, 2) legal for you to try to kill the soldier to stop it, and 3) legal for the soldier to kill you to protect himself or for that matter if killing you is the only way to capture the ship. But that’s how war works. Two sides can fight one without either committing war crimes. If the Jihadis on the ship had managed to kill an Israeli soldier, that would not have been a crime (barring a fake surrender or other perfidy). They would be in the same legal position as any other captured enemy soldiers: POWs for (up to) the duration of hostilities, but not criminals.
Blockades and blockade running occurs under the rules of war (see San Remo manual). Get out of the civilian mindset that whenever there is violence, one side or the other must be committing a crime.
“Israel responded with deadly force immediately. Defending onesself with makeshift, crap weapons did not justify murder. But hey, thanks for making it clear your position is so wholly foul and vile pretty much up-front.”
The Israelis did not use deadly force until after at least two of them were severely wounded by the Jihadis. The second they were within reach of the Jihadis (even before they reached the deck) they were swarmed, beaten with metal pipes and stabbed. One of them was thrown from one deck to another. He’s lucky to be alive.
The deadly force used by the Jihadis justified killing them in self-defense, which is not murder. Daggers are not makeshift weapons. If someone tries to kill a policeman or soldier with an iron bar or a knife in America, or any other civilized country, the policeman is not required to put his gun down and go look for a club while his more poorly armed opponent beats him to death. The issue is whether the Jihadis used potentially deadly force, not whether the Israelis were better armed.
“ ‘I voted for Obama twice.’ ”
"K' dude, like I said, we already knew your views were vile; no need to belabor the point."
LOL, once in the primaries, not twice in the same election.

@Catherine. Sorry, Catherine, the Libertyers are the anti-Semite equivalent of the Birthers. They have no evidence on their side. All of the "damning" evidence they cite to show that this was anything but a tragic and stupid friendly fire incident is purely made up. They lie about the position and statements of the Captain of the Liberty on the issue, they lie about what the American agents listening in on Israeli military communications said about it, etc.

Over here in reality, the Israelis had no reason to attack the Liberty even if the Israelis were evil. The reasons made up by the Libertyers don't hold water. "The Liberty saw Israeli ground forces doing nefarious deeds". The Liberty wasn't in a position to see any nefarious deeds, even if there had been any. "The Liberty intercepted Israeli radio communications about attacking Syria". The Americans were fully informed in advance by the Israelis that the Israelis might attack Syria. Also, the Americans would have known it anyway, because we knew Syria had been shelling Israel from the Golan Heights. "The Israelis were going to sink it so that they could blame the Egyptians". Which cunning plan was foiled when the Israelis informed the American ambassador to Israel about the attack, and that Israel had done it, as soon as the higher-ups in the government knew about it (within hours of the attack).

The biggest reality gap in the thing is that even if the Israelis had been as evil as the Libertyers think they are, they would have no reason to attack _and then stop attacking_.

They could easily have sunk the Liberty. Heck, it was only luck that the attacks up to that point didn't sink it. By luck, the Israeli torpedo attack hit in just the right place. A bit to either side and the ship would have gone down.

No American forces were in a position to stop them, and the Liberty couldn't have stopped them either.

The only thing that stopped the attack was that the Israelis in the torpedo boats realized that it was an American ship before it was too late.

Oh, and did I mention the international coverup conspiracy including the US Navy, CIA, NSA, Congress, Senate, Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama, oh, and all but a few of the survivors of the Liberty?

Apologies to the anti-Semites who think that Jews have godlike powers of omniscience so that we never make mistakes, but we are just as capable as anyone else of making a mistake, even a big one like mistaking an allied ship for an enemy ship.

But before you get too smug, remember that the U.S. has bombed Canadian troops (mistook them for Taliban) as well as many other friendly fire incidents.

Bob - What "country" does Israel claim to be blockading? I've asked you this already and you've ignored me.

Israel is cutting off people who it neither allows to become citizens nor to become independent from doing trade with the rest of the world, with the odd murderous ramapage against them, such as Operation Cast Lead.

On the USS Liberty:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident

http://www.gtr5.com/

http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ussliberty.html

What's your source that this was "friendly fire", Bob? (And by the way, wouldn't the term "friendly fire" be used in reference to other combatants on your side? The Liberty was not in combat, nor was the United States in combat in that conflict, and the ship was in international waters.)

@John Caruso
Sorry, John, barking up the wrong tree here. My beliefs are internally consistent and don't depend on whose ox is getting gored. Hamas and their supporters are terrorists, useful idiots, and dupes because of their actions, not because they are the opposite side from me.

When they do something that is an act of war, but not terrorism, I don't call it terrorism. For example, capturing (not kidnapping) Gilad Shalit was an act of war, not an act of terrorism. Holding him without Red Cross visits is a war crime, of course, but not terrorism.

Oh, and that's also why I call the Jihadis who attacked the Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara "Jihadis" instead of "terrorists". They weren't soldiers, since they weren't part of any regular armed forces, but they weren't terrorists, since they targetted soldiers, not civilians. I don't think I've ever said they tried to murder the soldiers, just to kill them.

Likewise, the fact that the killings on the Mavi Marmara were justified has nothing to do with who the opposing sides were. If Iran were at war with India and Israelis and Americans tried to breach an Iranian blockade of India, then tried to kill (with knives and metal clubs) the Iranian soldiers who came to capture the ship, then the Iranian soldiers would be justified in killing, in self-defense, the Israelis and Americans who were attacking them.

It's not a rationalization, it's just a dispassionate analysis of the laws of warfare.

@Quizmasterchris

Teddy Roosevelt won the NPP for his roll in brokering a peace in the Russo-Japanese war. The point is, the Nobel prize for X is supposed to be for outstanding contributions in the field of X. You don't have to have exclusively promoted peace to win the peace prize, just made _an_ outstanding contribution to it. Giving it to Kissinger was way premature, but at least he negotiated a peace treaty, even if it didn't last.

It shouldn't be given because "we hope you will contribute in the future". It would be like giving an undergrad physics student, the day before his first class, the Nobel prize for physics because you hope he will make outstanding contributions to physics in the future.

Bob -

I'm fully well aware of why Roosevelt was awarded the NPP (you are not teaching me anything on that count) - for helping broker an end to a war that did not involve him. Less than 10 years earlier, however, Roosevelt helped fan the flames of war against Spain and took evident racist glee in personally participating. I know of no retraction or reflection on his part pertaining to that. Furthermore the US was still continuing a brutal and (in spirit if not result) genocidal occupation of the Philippines as an offshoot of the war with Spain at the same time Roosevelt was awarded for being a supposed peacemaker.

Giving a sociopath like that a peace award several years later for any reason not connected to an abandonment of that path and direct involvement in comforting the afflicted of the conflict that he egged on and participated in strikes me as perverse.

But then I'm not an Obama voter.

Once again you dodge any and all questions of mine pertaining to what status you think the Palestinians have and how this might affect a right to resist, or, y'know, exist. We're talking about not letting people you occupy trade with the rest of the world, while bombing their police stations and schools. You say tomato, I say terrorist state (as is fairness my country, the USA, a terrorist state).

The IDF is a military force which commits atrocities against civilians with a depressing regularity. Why then are they "your side"? Do you live in Israel (even at that a decent number of Israeli citizens balk at supporting the IDF with a blank check)?

Still waiting for your links that support the idea that the IDF had no idea they were attacking an American ship in international waters. Among the many other people who agreed with the ENTIRE crew of the Liberty that they were deliberately attacked was the then-Sec of State Dean Rusk, who was overruled on pursuing the matter by LBJ.

Not content to defend the IDF and Roosevelt and Obama you also have Henry the K's back. He "negotiated a peace treaty" did he?

"Branfman asserts that Kissinger prolonged America's war-making to such inhumane lengths that by the time Saigon fell, 20,853 Americans had been killed and 8 million murdered, maimed or homeless war victims in the Far East had been created. Almost as many Indochinese war victims as Lyndon Johnson during his reign. In 1969 Averill Harriman, Clark Clifford and Cyrus Vance lead those pressing for negotiations with the North Vietnamese. The US could have ended the war then with more dignity and saved countless -- COUNTLESS -- lives. Instead the war ended in 1975, six long years later. Kissinger violated the U.S. Constitution by secretly bombing Cambodia and Laos without the authorization of Congress. Kissinger’s representatives regularly perjured themselves before Congress

Branfman:

Kissinger orchestrated the most massive bombing in world history, dropping 3,984,563 million tons on an area inhabited by some 50 million people, twice the 2 million tons dropped on hundreds of millions through Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He dropped 1.6 million tons on South Vietnam, as many as Lyndon Johnson at the height of U.S. involvement; quadrupled the bombing of Laos, from 454,200 to 1,628,900 million tons; initiated widespread bombing of previously peaceful Cambodia, including B52 carpet bombing of undefended villages, for a total of 600,000-1 million tons; and vastly expanded the bombing of civilian targets in North Vietnam. Much of this bombing struck civilian targets throughout Indochina.

... Two million people in Khmer Rouge zones, as estimated by the U.S. Embassy, were driven underground by massive U.S. bombing that featured regular B52 carpet-bombing of undefended villages.

In North Vietnam, Kissinger conducted the most savage B52 bombing of urban targets in history, as the New York Times reported in 1972: "United States military leaders are being permitted to wage the air war as they want in Indochina. There appears to be less concern with the civilians this time in view of the freedom given the air commanders and the attempt to cut off food, clothing and medical supplies.""

And more at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/libbyliberalnyc/2011/06/01/corporate_media_hearts_henry_kissinger_oldest_war_criminal

You might also be interested in learning:

"Lê Đức Thọ and Henry Kissinger were jointly awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in negotiating the Paris Peace Accords.[2] However, Thọ declined to accept the award, stating that there was still no peace in his country."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Duc_Tho#Nobel_Peace_Prize

Not for two more years, at least, and of course Vietnam then had to deal with Khmer Rouge attacks and dioxin birth defects in the food chain and to this day people getting limbs blown off from ordinance that still litters the country. Kissinger is still killing.

I say this as the son of a PTSD-ed and two Purple Hearts-awarded Vietnam vet (had the military put him elsewhere he was the right age to have been killed on the Liberty) who has visited Vietnam, visited its museum of American war atrocities and literally shaken hand/stump with a fellow my age who as a boy lost a leg, both hands and an eye to one of Kissinger's unexploded war toys. That's the sort of background which does not allow for the defense of HK nor his like.

OT, but I think you might find this hilarious:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/can-liberals-start-their-own-tea-party/2011/06/22/AGTWYthH_blog.html

Liberals intending to form their own tea parties, BUT the person organizing the group says "it isn't about primaries". So, it is about begging and pleading and stern looks and finger waggling.

(Is that off-topic? It feels on to me....)

Yeah, I saw that today as well. I'll be surprised if we even see stern looks from these people; it just looks like yet another Judas goat organization leading the stragglers back to the Democratic blades. This was my favorite part:

After the rally, the group will hold house meetings around the country in a bid to crowd-source the group’s platform, asking for ideas and collecting input from economists and activists.

"Join us and then tell us what our platform is!" It's hard to imagine a better encapsulation of the pathetic fecklessness of ostensibly liberal Democrats.

Albert:
Sickening. Only the primaries matter. Fuck those people for slurping up money that should go to better causes.

Due to unpleasant adventures in Reality(tm), we find ourselves more Dark Side than usual tonight, folks! Here we go:

“Bullshit. Nothing justifies murder.” Since the definition of “murder” is “the wrongful killing of a human being”, that statement is a tautology. If a killing is justified, then it’s not murder.

. . . Which is why the statement refuted the implicit privilege you invoked by claiming that some version of International Law that exists only in your fevered dreams grants the privilege to murder.

Sorry, you don’t just get to assume murder when what you are trying to prove is that it was murder.

More accurately: you don't get to claim privilege to murder when you have no ethical justification to kill -- and I say this with no apologies.

These killings were the same type of self-defense that any soldier has a right to.

Soldiers who assault others unprovokedly are not protecting themselves -- they are putting themselves in harm's way in order to commit murder. Such soldiers deserve death. Again, you lie implicitly by claiming that the ship's crew presented anything close to a threat to the soldiers. Your capacity to cheer murder is nothing short of vile.

The aggressor is the country (or people, for people without an actual country) that starts the war.-

No. It is possible for multiple countries on both sides to be aggressors. Some of Britain's actions pre WWI and II, as well as the U.S.' actions before Pearl Harbor, have been justifiably claimed to be "aggression." Two countries can both spoil for war. There is a distinction between the aggressor in a tactic and the aggressor in an overall war.

And if Israel is at "war" with Palestine, you've given the game away since Palestine is occupied and invaded by Israel aggressively, without provocation, which evaporates your facile defense of murder.

It has been properly announced, a route for humanitarian aid is provided

WTF? So the lying aggressors in a war define their own formal style of "announcement" and thus justify further aggression -- do you read the bullshit you type? And if your overall action is evil, how the hell is providing relief for your action mollification? Read what you wrote: if the blockade was just, why would humanitarian aid be necessary?

The only way you can justify murder is by claiming that there's a) a war and b) that everyone helping Palestine is committing war against Israel -- but if (a) is true then (b) must be a lie since Israel started, and benefits from, the war.

I’m sorry if you don’t understand the meaning of the term --

And I make no apologies for calling bullshit on your passive-aggressive immoral cant. If the war is unjustified, then the aggressor has no legal recourse when the victim attempts to survive. Running a blockade is NOT an "act of war" because it offers no hostility towards the invading country where the latter is unjustified. By your specious logic, any country on earth could declare war on any other country then claim all third parties interacting with their target are, unilaterally, at war with the aggressor and be completely justified.

They think that because they aren’t armed or smuggling weapons that this isn’t serious.

Congratulations. You've finally moved from almost comically diabolical immorality to plain-old idiocy. The crew took their mission very seriously. But hey, since you're backing murderers, it's no surprise you'll malign persons better than yourself.

How much force the soldiers can use depends on how much force the passengers and crew make necessary.

. . . and you give the game away again. If proportionate force were called for, the soldiers would still be guilty of murder since none of the crew had formal weapons. Lie more please.

The Israelis did not use deadly force until after at least two of them were severely wounded by the Jihadis.

And there we are -- lies compounded with an implicitly racist ad hominem. Oh, I knew we wouldn't have to wait long for the bigotry to surface.

Daggers are not makeshift weapons.

The fuck they aren't. Are you truly stupid enough to believe that pathetic blades compare to even modern crowd control methods? I can't believe you're that dumb and still able to type -- so I must conclude you're lying again. And, trust me, it's better to be dumb than to advocate murder.

"K' dude, like I said, we already knew your views were vile; no need to belabor the point." LOL, once in the primaries, not twice in the same election.

That was obvious. You misunderstood the point.

The boarding was illegal. The ships were in international waters. If your incredibly stupid -- I'm being generous here, since it's obviously not stupid but self-serving and lie-filled -- conceptualization of international law were correct, then any nation on earth could flaunt the concept of international waters by claiming to blockade every other nation on earth. Just announce and and voila: no international waters matter!

So let's see if Bob can go deeper. He's already lied. He's displayed some basic bigotry and racism. He's backed murderers. Is there further to fall?

@quizmasterchris

"What's your source that this was "friendly fire", Bob? (And by the way, wouldn't the term "friendly fire" be used in reference to other combatants on your side? The Liberty was not in combat, nor was the United States in combat in that conflict, and the ship was in international waters.)"

Well, the Israelis said so. The NSA transcripts of the Israeli communications at the time say so. The breaking off of the attack before the ship sank says so. The US Naval court of inquiry, the Joint Chief’s of staff report, and the CIA says so. As do the Clark Clifford Report, the testimony of Secretary McNamara before the Senate Foreign Relations committee “it is thoroughly clear, based on the investigations report, that it was not a conscious attack on a U.S. vessel”.

And if you want to play semantic bullshit games about the definition of “friendly fire”, you can try, but the fact is that:
From Wikipedia: "Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death."

Note: “or otherwise friendly forces”. The USS Liberty was an American ship. Not engaged in that war, but definitely friendly to Israel. Note that the term is “friendly fire”, not “someone-else-in-combat-that-isn’t-an-enemy-at-the-same-time-that-the-guy-getting-fired-upon-is-in-combat fire”.

And if that isn’t enough, I’m going to kick in the fact that there is no such term as “neutral fire”.

The Liberty was a friendly fire incident. The paranoid conspiracy is what happens when a few liars decide to tell a bunch of anti-Semites what they want to hear. Shockingly, the anti-Semites don’t look too closely at claims that make the Jews look evil, no matter how stupid and insane the claims are on the face of them. That’s how you get things like the blood libel. Look it up. I bet you’ll believe that one too.

Anyone who wants the actual truth about what happened, and about the specific lies that the libertyers tell, can find it here:

http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/uss-liberty---the-truth/blog-246997/

“Bob - What "country" does Israel claim to be blockading? I've asked you this already and you've ignored me.”
I wasn’t ignoring you; I just didn’t notice the question. Israel is blockading Gaza. You don’t have to be a sovereign nation to be a belligerent government or to be at war. The U.S. didn’t recognize the Viet Cong as a sovereign nation, but we blockaded their ports. Gaza has a government which is at war with Israel, even if Israel doesn’t recognize it as a country (and vice versa). And to answer part of your earlier question; no, it isn’t a civil war. Rather a rude one actually. Kidding aside, it’s not a civil war because the Palestinians (not talking about the Israeli-Arabs) have never been part of the nation of Israel.
To answer another part of your question, I categorize it as a war between one state and one quasi-state (or perhaps group with aspirations to statehood). As to your “next logical step”: what Hamas does by way of fighting the IDF becomes delegitimized the same way the attacks of an actual state would be. That is, when they use terrorism, perfidy, or other war crimes to fight. A Hamas attack on an Israeli military target is a legitimate act of war, or would be if Hamas followed the laws of war. Wear uniforms, locate your military bases separate from your civilians, don’t use ambulances to transport troops and weapons, don’t use mosques as ammo dumps, etc.
The laws of war derive from the knowledge that civilians are vulnerable. The idea is that if you can’t win without breaking the rules, you are going to lose anyway, because the enemy won’t play by the rules if you don’t. Then you lose anyway, but you lose a lot uglier.
“Israel is cutting off people who it neither allows to become citizens nor to become independent from doing trade with the rest of the world, with the odd murderous rampage against them, such as Operation Cast Lead.”
Israel is cutting them off from the hundreds of thousands of tons of heavy weapons Iran would be sending them; which Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups would use to kill Israeli civilians. They don’t allow them to become civilians because the Palestinians would vote in a government that would commence the next Holocaust. They don’t allow them to become independent because the order of most to least desirable Palestinian status for Israel is 1) Peaceful independent Palestinian state, 2) Status quo, 3) Palestinian terrorist state lobbing missiles and preparing for the next war of attempted genocide against Israel. Unfortunately, the order of most to least desirable Palestinian status for the majority of Palestinians is 3) 2) 1). They’d rather the status quo than give up on attacking and eventually taking over Israel. Israel would rather the status quo than put a terrorist state on both sides of it that plans to destroy it. Since neither side can force the other to accept their favorite solution, the status quo will remain until the Palestinians decide that having a peaceful state, and giving up the rest of Israel permanently to the Israelis, is better than the status quo. Or until they destroy the Israelis, whichever comes first.

@No One of Consequence

Sorry, after reading your last post I've come to the conclusion that you are simply batshit insane. So I'm not going to bother answering most of it.

Other than to say, as I said, proportionate force does not require identical weapons. It just means that if you use a potentially deadly weapon to try to kill someone, they get to use whatever potentially deadly weapon they want to kill you. You lift up your knife to stab someone, then them blowing your brains out with a .357 Magnum is perfectly legal.

Oh, and to mock you for the bit about "international waters". Mock, mock. Go read the San Remo manual.

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/385ec082b509e76c41256739003e636d/7694fe2016f347e1c125641f002d49ce

Particularly lines 118 (blockading activities are kosher anywhere but neutral waters), and 14 (dashing your hopes that international waters are "neutral waters"). Basically, if you declare intent to breach a blockade, the blockaders can capture you as soon as you leave the waters of your port and go into international waters. Like I said, the Israelis were nice (or just didn't want to schlep that far). They waited until the flotilla was close to Gaza, rather than taking them as soon as they left Turkish waters.

You have these weird ideas about how things should work and whose right are superior to other people's rights and so on, go study up on what the law of blockades actually says. But don't bother addressing any other comments to me. If you want to talk law and reality, that's fine, but I have no interest in arguing with your fantasies about what the law is.

They could call it the Green Tea Party.

I actually think it's useful that we've got ourselves a hasbara mascot. I've always wondered how everyday Germans could rationalize away (when they weren't participating in) Nazi atrocities, and now we've got someone to demonstrate the principle and remind us all just what repugnant depths someone can reach when their mind is twisted by ethnic and nationalistic allegiances. I think "Bob" is a far too pedestrian name for such a hard-working creature, though, so henceforth he shall be known as Wilbur the Hasbara Donkey.

For anyone interested in San Remo--the new favorite document of Wilbur and the rest of his hasbara herd--you can read Craig Murray's response here. You may also want to read this account from the Turkish report on the Israeli assault, since Wilbur and friends prefer that you not hear about little details like these:

The Israeli soldiers shot from the helicopter onto the Mavi Marmara using live ammunition and killing two passengers before any Israeli soldier descended on the deck. During the attack, excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate force was used by the Israeli soldiers against the civilians on board. The Israeli military action was of excessive disproportion to such magnitude that the United Nations Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission used the terms ’totally unnecessary and incredible violence.. unacceptable level of brutality.’

Or read the UN report (PDF) on the execution-style murders carried out by Wilbur's Israeli commando heroes; here's just a small sample of the viciousness Wilbur is happy to defend if it can help his beloved Israel:

"From the evidence of passengers and analysis supplied by a forensic pathologist and ballistic expert, six of the deceased were the victims of summary executions," [panel chairman Karl T. Hudson-Phillips] said in the statement.

The panel report also cited forensic analysis indicating that Dogan was shot five times, including once in the face while he was lying on his back. "All of the entry wounds were on the back of his body except for the face wound, which entered the right of his nose," the report concluded. "According to forensic analysis, tattooing around the wound in his face indicates that the shot was delivered at point-blank range."

That's what Obama voter Wilbur would have us excuse as self-defense: a 19-year old boy shot from point blank range in the face, after having been shot five times from the back.

And Wilbur is willing to defend cold-blooded murder like this for one reason and one reason only: because it makes Israel look bad. I'm sure it makes him feel like a real Ubermensch to do his small part for the Fatherland.

They could call it the Green Tea Party.

Perfect.

"Shockingly, the anti-Semites don’t look too closely at claims that make the Jews look evil, no matter how stupid and insane the claims are on the face of them. "

Question: If you talked about your problems with a Hamas military activity, and my response was that you just hate all brown people and want to make them look as evil as possible, would you bother taking me seriously?

I've been coming to the conclusion that we need to focus on more small, focused, single issue groups. The NRA has success. The ACLU does work. AARP has been useful. Contrast that to groups like MoveOn, that don't seem to have any clear goal. A healthcare group that backs a far right authoritarian simply because they support universal healthcare would be a step in the right direction, I think.

Empty, meaningless conversation stoppers used by people protecting cherished beliefs they vaguely sense they can't defend:

-you're batshit insane (Chomsky gets this a lot; the fisticuffs equivalent would be talking shit as you run away from the fight)
-you're being irresponsible (Lupe Fiasco got this from O'Reilly recently; he was gonna say "know your role, negro" but with the wisdom he gets paid for went with the propaganda version)
-you're unserious (anyone who makes a serious argument)
-I find that offensive (I get this a lot, but only cuz it's late June in southern Japan and my deodorant can only fight off this heat for a few hours.)

Mx. Hasbara Donkey:

It seams that you are using a lot of esoteric definitions to justify your claims. This is a tell that you have no solid ground to stand on. This is not only bypassing the debate on whether the esoteric definitions are correct and legitimate but it also bypasses the content of the actions in question. Any moral judgment on somebodies actions needs to be made on the persons actions rather then on the persons status or where those actions fit in a broad categorization of actions.

The situation in Gaza is literally dire for a large population. People lack basic necessities and other material necessary for the preservation of life. Israel is putting the entire population in this situation because of the alleged atrocities of a portion of that population. This is group punishment and even worse then punishment by association. In the course of its punishment, Israel is using human (civilian) shields, direct targeting of civilians, disproportionate use of force, and the generation of inhumane conditions. The situation is not much better for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israel is committing crimes (morally defined, I don't care about the legal definitions in this case) against the Palestinian people, both belligerents and non-belligerents alike, on a daily basis. If Israel was interested in protecting its own population from violence it would be working to make peace with the belligerents instead of taking actions with the effect of and designed to prolong hostilities. There is no equivalence between an established, well defended, and economic prosperous nation with sophisticated military tools committing naked acts of aggression and an oppressed, loosely bound, poorly equipped (both in military and in civilian goods) people using whatever equipment they can find with the at-least excuse of trying to gain freedom from said aggression. It is the policy of my nation, the United States, to not negotiate with anyone who fails to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounces violence, and agrees to abide by previous agreements. I'm waiting for my nation to demand of Israel to recognize the right of Palestine to be an independent and sovereign nation, renounce violence, and agree to abide by it's previous agreements.

The attempt to provide civilian aid to Gaza by sea has been misrepresented by you. There has not been another way to provide the aid. The offer by Israel is insufficient to meet the needs of the population. There is no indication that these people intended to harm Israelis. Rather there is every indication that their intention was to aid Palestinians. Finally, murder (morally, not legally defined) did occur by IDF personnel against poorly armed civilians without any justification. The people of Gaza have the right to live in peace, security, and in prosperity and others have the right to aid them in their endeavors to gain such. Israel has no moral right to keep this population in violence, fear, and poverty.

You have also been personalty insulting not only to the brave men and women who are the David against Israel's Goliath but also against the people who comment on this blog. There is nothing that says that supporting the plight of the Palestinians in deed or in word somehow necessitates being against Jewish people. If you cannot see how supporting Palestinians and Israelis can be consistent then that is your failing and you are racist for it. You are also racist in ignoring the scores of genocides and attempted genocides that have occurred since WWII in claiming that the next Holocaust will be one against Israelis. I'm also tempted in asking you, for the purposes of embarrassing you, how many people died in the German Holocaust of WWII.

Wilbur -

Stop accusing everyone who doesn't agree with Israeli extremism of being an anti-Semite. It displays the weakness of your argument on its own merit.

New revelations in attack on American spy ship
Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn't tell full story of deadly '67 incident

http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-liberty_tuesoct02,0,43090.story

The Liberty was not a "friendly fire" incident because A) the Liberty was not engaged in ANY combat, nor was the US engaged in ANY combat in that theater and B) the Liberty was in international waters, at a location where no combat was taking place. Israel had to go to some trouble to go try and sink an American intelligence gathering ship in international waters which wasn't engaged in any action with anyone.

If Israel is such a friend of the US, why are so many Israeli spies operating in the US against us?

http://www.alternet.org/world/130891/breaking_the_taboo_on_israel's_spying_efforts_on_the_united_states/

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/1212-06.htm

"Israel is blockading Gaza."

And what is Gaza? You are still dodging the substance of my question. Is it a part of Israel? In that case if the Israeli government is attacking its own citizens, depriving them the vote and depriving them of non-weapon supplies supplied by a civilian group as charity then we should likely be considering "regime change" as in Libya, where Gadafi has not even been accused of denying any civilians in his country access to basic goods. Perhaps Israel could do with a "no-fly zone" so that Gazans, who have no air force, do not face bombing campaigns.

Is Gaza a different country? If so then why do the Israelis not recognize that? Why do they occupy the area militarily? And what would be, then, the legal justification for Israel patrolling Gaza's territorial waters, or the international waters beyond those?

Supporters of Israel need to stop pretending that it's moral and just to hold the entire Palestinian population in a permanent status limbo in which you can claim they are or are not under Israeli jurisdiction dependent upon which scenario would screw them over more in any given situation. This is basic and intentional intellectual dishonesty which undermines any of your appeals to international law in the defense of the IDF.

"You don’t have to be a sovereign nation to be a belligerent government or to be at war."

Well, no, actually one would have to be in some form of organized armed force connected with a government in order for the delivery of non-weapon materials to be considered an "act of war" according to what you outlined above. A multinational civilian crew with basic non-weapon cargo coming into a port has never been considered an "act of war" as you outline above. (There are in fact even international treaties agreeing that civilian ships have a right to seek the nearest port should they be in distress.) Better yet of course the ship was attacked and boarded while still in international waters, not in Israeli territorial waters. Had this been Somalis and not the IDF we'd be calling the attack "piracy." I'm curious as to what entity you think Israel would have the right to declare war against because of this.

From the Chicago Tribune story:

"Their anger has been stoked by the declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel, including some quoted in this article for the first time, which strengthen doubts about the U.S. National Security Agency's position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots -- communications, according to those who remember seeing them, that showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel."...

"Except for McNamara, most senior administration officials from Secretary of State Dean Rusk on down privately agreed with Johnson's intelligence adviser, Clark Clifford, who was quoted in minutes of a National Security Council staff meeting as saying it was "inconceivable" that the attack had been a case of mistaken identity.

The attack "couldn't be anything else but deliberate," the NSA's director, Lt. Gen. Marshall Carter, later told Congress.

"I don't think you'll find many people at NSA who believe it was accidental," Benson Buffham, a former deputy NSA director, said in an interview.

"I just always assumed that the Israeli pilots knew what they were doing," said Harold Saunders, then a member of the National Security Council staff and later assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs.

"So for me, the question really is who issued the order to do that and why? That's the really interesting thing."

...

"The survivors interviewed by the Tribune uniformly agree that the Liberty was flying the Stars and Stripes before, during and after the attack, except for a brief period in which one flag that had been shot down was replaced with another, larger flag -- the ship's "holiday colors" -- that measured 13 feet long.

Concludes one of the declassified NSA documents: "Every official interview of numerous Liberty crewmen gave consistent evidence that indeed the Liberty was flying an American flag -- and, further, the weather conditions were ideal to ensure its easy observance and identification.""

[This in addition to the fact that the Israelis claim they also did not note the disntinctive US Navy number and other ship ID, and in addition to the fact that they thought the ship was an Egyptian horse transport ship half its size. Why sinking a horse transport in international waters becomes a reasonable act is beyond me.]

"The transcript published by the Jerusalem Post bore scant resemblance to the one that in 1967 rolled off the teletype machine behind the sealed vault door at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, where Steve Forslund worked as an intelligence analyst for the 544th Air Reconnaissance Technical Wing, then the highest-level strategic planning office in the Air Force.

"The ground control station stated that the target was American and for the aircraft to confirm it," Forslund recalled. "The aircraft did confirm the identity of the target as American, by the American flag.

"The ground control station ordered the aircraft to attack and sink the target and ensure they left no survivors."

Forslund said he clearly recalled "the obvious frustration of the controller over the inability of the pilots to sink the target quickly and completely."

"He kept insisting the mission had to sink the target, and was frustrated with the pilots' responses that it didn't sink."

Nor, Forslund said, was he the only member of his unit to have read the transcripts. "Everybody saw these," said Forslund, now retired after 26 years in the military.

Forslund's recollections are supported by those of two other Air Force intelligence specialists, working in widely separate locations, who say they also saw the transcripts of the attacking Israeli pilots' communications."

It goes on and on. Clearly and evidently Israel attacked the US on purpose, without provication, in international waters, and Israel's supporters in the US are still happy to lie about that and call the victims themselves liars, even when the victims were American service people.

I happened to look through the comments on the Craig Murray posting I cited above, and who should I see but our friend Wilbur the Hasbara Donkey there declaring that "The people of Gaza are at war with Israel". Yes, by the same token the people of the Warsaw Ghetto were at war with Germany--and just as deserving of their fate, by Wilbur's chosen ethical system (say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, but at least it's an ethos).

There's more to say about that than I want to put in a comment, so I've made it a separate posting.

"What makes me despair is watching progressives--actual progressives, many of whom had abandoned the Democrats years ago--line up behind empty vessels like Obama, and continue rationalizing that decision even in the face of constant contradictions. Which is why, ironically, nothing recent has done more to take away my hope than the name of this boat."

John, do you have a direct email in case we want to write to you directly?

Re the above, are you talking about the Nation and the Progressive post-Obama election, or others whom I would not be likely to know?


I'll write to you directly, Catherine. To answer your question, I was talking about the usual suspects (which does include plenty of people at outlets like the Nation and the Progressive).

Sorry, after reading your last post --

Again with the passive-aggressive inanity. Someone find this twit a dick, please. If you can't man up on the internet you're hopeless. Non-gender-neutral references aside, your lies would work better if you could actually state them with confidence. I mean, does your bullshit even fool you at this point?

So I'm not going to bother answering most of it.

Translation: the troll is simply too stupid to even bother manufacturing cant. Interestingly enough, when I pointed out the mental incompetence of the trolls on this site, I was good enough to actually cite examples. How pathetic that you cannot even manage copy/paste.

proportionate force does not require identical weapons

Which is a good thing I didn't use the term "identical." Strawman fail. The Israeli murderers weren't threatened by their victims and, in order to engage their victims, attacked the same in international waters and thus put themselves in harm's way. Better lies please.

John's last post demolishes your misuse of Sam Remo; y'know, schooling others in law works better when you actually know the law yourself.

Of course, you're too chickenshit to address the logical inconsistences of even asserting that Israel is at war with -- oh, who was that again?

Btw, I can think of nothing more "anti-semetic" than wanting to murder semites. Guess what? That includes arabs. Since Israeli hawks are maintaining violent conflict, it is actually these particular traitorous Israelis (not all Israelis) that are costing lives on both sides -- making them, and Hasbara Donkey here, the anti-semites. (This isn't a shocker since Zionists had no problem selling out the Jews and working with fascists back in WWII.) If any of the regulars on this blog had there way, everyone in Israel and Palestine both would be living in peace right now.

Why do we get the all-or-nothing dipshit trolls here? It's never a minor point or a questionable set of ethics. It'll be quiet as an abandoned church and then suddenly someone will pop on defending rape and murder with the zeal of a petulant narcissist.

(As an upside, though, watching QChris and everyone else say knowledgeable things gives me a go-to place when I need to get people informed on these particular issues.)

"If I regret anything when it comes to this creature, it's that I ever entertained the notion, even briefly, that he retained enough of a conscience that the killing he'd be doing once he became president might actually trouble him somewhat." I second that emotion.

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