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Open Thread… this and that. 31 July 2006

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
43 comments

bint jbail

Olmert promises wider war… and the so-called cessation of air strikes in the south … lasted a few hours. Called in to support the ground troops. (CNN/Nic Robertson reports that wider war is happening, much artillery, flights, troop movement.)

I doubt any one was surprised.  The power of their weapons and the US as an unquestioning backer gives them the power to be evil.  Sorry, just my take.  Not going to waste time hiding it.

Scary when a child of collaborationists in an apartheid society is considered some ice floe of sanity.  Very scary.  That would be Condi.

  

I caught the BBC World News – they walked a camera thru Bint Jbeil.  Devastation – as far as one could see.  Jenin Rules.  The reporters said the IAF pounded it for days.

Lebanon Updates  Link to a map with July 12 -29 tracking.

Editorial from The Daily Star (Lebanon).  Somebody has to say it. 

Hezbollah (report at TDS) has claimed to have struck another Israeli ship – Israel denies it.

Bob Parry on Moral Clarity, the USA and the Mid-East.

************************************************************************

More to come on the Blahhggers, BlogSnots etc., til then: 

 Stop Me Before I Vote Again has been rumbling and ragging on that party tool and elections bleat machine, Kos.

Shhh! I’m hunting twolls!

Another kosnik bites the dust

To the pure all things are pure

While at SMBIVA I noticed a posting that Kos has banned ”PA Progressive”, whom I remember from the Casey / Pennachio threads – before I was banned.  And landed on this tid bit at his/her site.  And this tid bit too.

This too from Rogouski at Counterpunch[apologies, I forget who posted the link to the preceding post...]

Have fun.

***********************************************************************

UPDATE, 10:30 pm PT

Dahr Jamail, War Crimes and Consequences (Iraq) … and

also from Dahr Jamail, Civilians bear the brunt … (Lebanon)

UNIFIL officials expect Israelis to begin to level whole villages (Blanford to The Daily Star).  NO shock, they took along the reconfigured tanks, the sort used in GAZA and Jenin.

**********************************************************************

Update, 2 AM, PT.

These from Angry Arab gave me a laugh …

Grand (never) Ayatullah Sistani issued a statement agaisnt Israeli aggression in Lebanon. It reads: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • Comments (27)
  • And this:

    The Syrian president ordered an increase in the level of “preparedness and alertness” of the Syrian armed forces. The preparedness and alertness of the Syrian armed forces is measured on a scale from 0 to 5. So yesterday, it went up from -80 to -70. I took notice.

    posted by As’ad @ 5:09 PM link

    *******************************************************************

    UPDATE, 7:00 am

    Israeli Amb to the UN… Gillerman is on Wash Journal.  God forbid you call in with a criticism.  Shakes his finger at American citizens.  And at Pres Carter.

    Carter opinion piece in the Wapo today.  Gillerman called Jimmy Carter a “not very good president” who is now an “embarrassment”.  Love how powerful men like Gillerman get with an F-16, or two, in their shorts.

    Jon Lee Anderson is up in The New Yorker with The Battle for Lebanon.

        – Angry Arab on the Jon Lee Anderson article.

    And last, poor old Pat Buchanan has one chock full of quotes… I have to laugh, I agreed with Pat along about 1991 too, something he said about the [now] former Yugoslavia.  ;)

    ************************************************************************

    UPDATE, 7:30 am

    Have to laugh.  That finger Gillerman shakes, it snaked itself back around.  WSJ editorial page shakes a very big finger at the Israeli war machine.  Read a certain why, it is entertaining.  The problem is, the leadership of Israel – and that of the US – are like caged, crazed animals when laughed at.

    So, Iran in October?   You know the tarnished war making nations wanna bring out the really big guns and blow away a big nation. 

    Wishes, lies and dreams, we are fully delusional.

    ***********************************************************************

    Transition 30 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
    42 comments

      Troop withdrawal from Hebron

    Casting around for photos I landed on this article (7/26) from Palestine Chronicle.  I don’t embrace all of it, but certain points are salient.  Certainly the transition of “Bismarkian” warfare and the further references to “4th generation warfare”, (which is not new – and the article does refer to Lind)….   I don’t presume to know much… but clearly – the US has been a fool in Iraq and Israel met itself coming in Bint Jbeil on Wednesday. 

    My own private guess, Qana paid for that humiliation (and for it’s own 1996 history).  By this afternoon, Israel is claiming it was a “mistake”.  That is not what they said this morning – and I listened to all the usual suspects, including Ayalon who called it a Hezbollah war crime.

        Red Cross in Qana, screen capture [le figaro]

    One of the longstanding scenarios has always been that we were being drawn in.  However it came about, we are mired.  And now with our buddy, mired as well.

    Bismarckian warfare seems to have become ineffective in the Arab-Israeli context, because Israel no longer poses the threat that it once did to the Arab regimes, and the Arab regimes much prefer Israel to the rising non-state actors growing within their own borders.

    William Lind has also argued that non-state actors such as Hamas and Hizballah can checkmate the Israelis as long as these Muslim parties never formally assume power. If Muslim parties were to assume the power of states, then they would immediately become targets for traditional Bismarckian warfare. However, as long as Muslim movements retain theirnon-state identity, they are strategically unconquerable.

     The commentary on the various media is worth a glance as well:

    Time and space, as we experience them, are contracting because the global diffusion of technical and scientific knowledge is permitting events in one part of the world to increasingly influence events in other parts of the world, and events that once took years or even decades to unfold can now occur within mere months or weeks.

    As a consequence, the disenfranchised peoples of the world are developing the ability to affect the lives of the more privileged members of humanity, which means that anything that Israel does to the Palestinians or Lebanese will have effects upon Israel that are more direct and more negative than ever before, and that further, these effects will occur in an accelerated time scale.

    And I agree with the close, this is where we have been headed, having to deal with a cornered animal, Bush and all the war mongers:

    In the end however, Israel’s loss of power will make it even more dangerous, because the more threatened the Israelis feel, the more likely they will launch destructive wars against the Palestinians and Israel’s other adversaries.

    Finally, the same can be said of the U.S., with respect to its loss of global power. Instead of becoming more careful with its use of force, the erosion of America’s global dominance will likely make the U.S. government more aggressive, as it attempts to re-assert its former position relative to its adversaries and competitors.

    And it is precisely because America and Israel are losing influence over global events, that an American attack upon Iran in 2007 becomes more likely.

    God help us all.

    *************************************************************************

    Oh yes.  How could I forget… on the Flip Side:   

    the small prickless wonder [that would be the Dkos campaign operatives] wars:  Richard Silverstein appears to have been banned… from Dkos[thanks to observer]

    Pop that campagne!  Rejoice Richard! [I left a comment which awaits moderation].

    Dkos, and its related satellites, exists as a campaign operative’s tabloid sheet.  They have ZERO interest in real people, actual voters, and certainly NO INTEREST in liberals. 

    They are interested in fluffers, campaign workers, Hill staffers, congressional aides, and other interested and paid parties to flesh out the threads.  And, they persist in using “liberal” to sell their wares.

    ”Banning” at Kos is activating a hunting license.

    ************************************************************************

    Via ABC News… a 48 hour cessation in the aerial bombardment.

    JERUSALEM Jul 30, 2006 (AP)— Israel has agreed to a 48-hour suspension of aerial activity in south Lebanon while it investigates an attack on a Lebanese village that killed a number of children, U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Sunday. [...]

    The stunning bloodshed pushed American peace efforts to a crucial juncture, as fury at the United States flared in Lebanon, which said it no longer would negotiate a U.S. peace package without an unconditional cease-fire. U.N. chief Kofi Annan sharply criticized world leaders implicitly Washington for ignoring his previous calls to stop the violence.

    The attack in the village of Qana brought Lebanon’s confirmed death toll to more than 510.

    In frankness, I think what happened at the UN offices in Beirut scared them just a little, not as a single incident, but should it spread from city to city, to US Missions and Embassies around the Muslim world…. Then, the stunning demand from the IDF for the UN to clear more Lebanese villages. 

    Blood thirsty?  Just a little.

       Tyre ... Saturday

     And while i have not put up any pictures (other than mild stuff) from the many demonstrations against the war, against Israel and against the US, it is getting uglier. 

    And no one should be surprised.  But it seems Olmert and Rice and a few others are surprised. 

    However, more interesting is this, Tanya Reinhardt, a link found at Danny Schechter News Dissector:

    Lebanon’s people know what every Israeli old enough to remember knows: that, in the vision of Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding leader, Israel’s border should be “natural”, that is, the Jordan River in the East, and the Litani River of Lebanon in the north. In 1967, Israel gained control over the Jordan River, in the occupied Palestinian land, but all its attempts to establish the Litani border have failed so far.

    As I argued in Israel/Palestine, already when the Israeli army left southern Lebanon in 2000, the plans to return were ready.(12)

    But, in Israel’s military vision, in the next round, the land should be first “cleaned” of its residents, as Israel did when it occupied the Syrian Golan Heights in 1967, and as it is doing now in southern Lebanon. To enable Israel’s eventual realization of Ben Gurion’s vision, it is necessary to establish a “friendly regime” in Lebanon, one that will collaborate in crushing any resistance. To do this, it is necessary first to destroy the country, as in the US model of Iraq. These were precisely Sharon’s declared aims in the first Lebanon war. Israel and the US believe that now conditions have ripened enough that these aims can finally be realized.

    Sorry.  Not a post-holocaust nation, not anymore… not at all.  Clear, cleanse, even blitzkrieg they have used.  Amazing.

    *************************************************************************

    Riverbend is back:

    Is this whole debacle the fine line between terrorism and protecting ones nation? If it’s a militia, insurgent or military resistance- then it’s terrorism (unless of course the militia, insurgent(s) and/or resistance are being funded exclusively by the CIA).

    If it’s the Israeli, American or British army, then it’s a pre-emptive strike, or a ‘war on terror’. No matter the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. No matter the children who died last night- they’re only Arabs, after all, right?

    Right?

    ************************************************************************

    HRC at the NY Pro Israel rally last week.On the Flip SIde, Hillary is on C-Span, yes what else?  Road to the White House….  God help her.  Her speech at the DLC Denver Conversation of a few days ago. 

    Viewed a certain way, it’s a scream.  She has clearly been sent to some sort of speech-making tutorial class.  Smile as you speak and moderate the voice and facial gesticulation (what she is doing is beyond mere “expression”), depending on content.  It did not really work.  But she thinks it has.

    She and Bill… shallow as can be.

    ************************************************************************

    UPDATE:  4:30 pm, PT

    A snip from a post at Angry Arab:

    The question now is whether this tragedy will be enough to prevent others.”


    In reply, I wrote this:


    “Today is a day when we Arabs really should be spared the language and terminology of the American press. “Accidents” and “tragedy” are not the words. Not today, Mr. Dickey. Not any day, Mr. Dickey.

    As`ad”

    posted by As’ad @ 4:17 PM link

    ************************************************************************

    Update, 7:30 pm, PT

    Old Boss, New Boss, American Boss, Iraqi Boss

    “For sure there are cases of children who have committed serious crimes and even terrorism that promoted the killing of innocent people – but they are in special jails,” Obaid said.

    He said there were no children among the prisoners released by the government last month. Local groups such as the Prisoners’ Association for Justice (PAJ), Relief for Innocent Children Victims of War (RICVW) and Campaign for Innocent Victims In Conflict (CIVIC) say differently.

    “They do not want the issue to have international repercussions, so they release the adults in front of the cameras and the children behind it,” said Farouk Saleh, spokesperson for RICVW.

    “We have received information that seven children were among the prisoners released, five from Anbar governorate and two from the capital, Baghdad, but we have reached only three of them,” added Saleh. 

    And of course, because we know very well what we are producing:

    Dr Emaad Abdul-Hassan, a psychiatrist in Baghdad, has offered his services to the PAJ especially for child prisoners. He’s found serious psychological problems and an increase in aggression and brutality among these patients – in particular, a desire for revenge.

          mondodisotto photo, 2003 Irak

    ************************************************************************

    UPDATE, 7:40 pm

    I caught John Roberts from S Lebanon (or maybe he was over the border in israel) on CNN.  Speaking with an IDF spokesman – Spigelman was the name, with an Australian accent.  The 48 hour cessation of aerial bombardment, at least from that officer, is so the Lebanese clear out of the villages the IAF plan to bomb.

    And much talk about the Katyusha rockets.

    Roberts also gave the count of dead children at Qana as 19, out of “nearly 60″.  They have to obfuscate.

    And somehow this is related… I heard both Vilsack and Hillary at the DLC Conversation.  It was MIND NUMBING.  And can be summed up, Platitudes are us.  And, George Bush, alone in 5 years, wrecked the nation.  And, we do wars neater.

    Then caught Dodd at some flapdoodle in Florida.  Typical Irish pol bombast.  Not enoough.  And he lauded Israel.  Said Bill Nelson is a great fighter for Israel.

    Not enough – and in fact wrong.  Hillary’s refrain is, ”Democrats did it once, and we can do it again”….  seems to me that invites jokes. 

    But, not to worry, ’06 should be a blow-out and ’08 a piece of cake.

    *************************************************************

    UPDATE:  9:00 pm

    Almost have to laugh, it is so clear that America and her friend, Israel, thought there would be no blow back. 

    We may be at the early edges of blowback.  Real blowback.  Not just a single, spectacular, killing tragedy… but a global response, thru-out the Arab and Muslim nations.  Fools that we are…

    GAZA, July 30 (Reuters) – Palestinian protesters stormed the main U.N. compound in Gaza City on Sunday during a demonstration against Israel’s bombing of southern Lebanon that killed around 60 civilians, witnesses and U.N. staff said.

    Hundreds of members of the Islamic Jihad militant group, some throwing stones and others firing assault rifles, attacked the compound at the end of a rally, witnesses said.

    At least five people were wounded, police said. [...]

    Witnesses in Gaza said extensive damage had been caused to the U.N. compound, from where the world body directs its relief and aid operations for the Gaza Strip’s 1.4 million people.

    The attack came hours after thousands of Lebanese demonstrators attacked the U.N. headquarters in Beirut, smashing windows and ransacking offices.

    ***********************************************************************

    UPDATE:  10:00 pm, PT

    Took three DLCers to produce this sludge.  Clinton, Vilsack and Carper… their imprimatur at the least.

    Leaves out a lot, but for a 99 cent Hallmark card, you too can have the American Dream.  Even as NAFTA, CAFTA and the Wars Without End (just for starters) kill any hope of it.

    Pathetic.

    *************************************************************

     palestina 2004 [mondodisotto.it]

    Open Thread: War Continues. 29 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
    28 comments

           Norwegian UN observer, Israeli occupied Lebanon, 90s

    From Reuters Alternet (full text): 

    BEIRUT, July 29 (Reuters) – An Israeli air strike hit Lebanon’s main road to Damascus on Saturday just 1 km from the border with Syria, cutting the highway in both directions, witnesses and security sources said.

    Three air strikes hit the road between Lebanese and Syrian immigration offices, but on the Lebanese side of the border, they said. There was no information on casualties.

    The Israeli military said it had struck the road to cut arms supply routes from Syria to Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

    “The military attacked the road from Lebanon to Syria to prevent the smuggling of weapons,” an army spokeswoman said.

    Israeli aircraft have been pounding southern Lebanon, southern Beirut and other parts of the country in an 18-day-long war against Hizbollah.

    ***********************************************************************

    Gore Vidal in The Progressive… from an interview he sat for in April so before some of the latest madness.  A snip or two tho… ;)

    Q: Talk about the role of the opposition party, the Democrats.

    Vidal: It isn’t an opposition party. I have been saying for the last thousand years that the United States has only one party—the property party. It’s the party of big corporations, the party of money. It has two right wings; one is Democrat and the other is Republican.

    Q: What can people do to energize democracy?

    Vidal: The tactic would be to go after smaller offices, state by state, school board, sheriff, state legislatures. You can turn them around and that doesn’t take much of anything. Take back everything at the grassroots, starting with state legislatures. That’s what Madison always said. I’d like to see a revival of state legislatures, in which I am a true Jeffersonian.

    ************************************************************************ 

    And arms dealers the world over stand up and cheer! – the refrain for war…

    Asia Times takes a look at some nefarious deals and dealing for our 51st state (or is that Israel, and poor Iraq is 52nd?).  We are in the middle of the dark and nasty arms deals…  No shock!

    But the latest and most interesting development on the small-arms front in Iraq was the news in May that the Pentagon has secretly shipped tens of thousands of small arms to Iraq from Bosnia-Herzegovina in the past two years, using a web of private companies. At least one supplier is a noted arms smuggler, Viktor Bout, blacklisted by Washington and the United Nations.

    The US government arranged for delivery of at least 200,000 Kalashnikov machine-guns, together with tens of millions of rounds of ammunition, from Bosnia to Iraq in 2004-05, according to a report by Amnesty International, which investigated the sales. But though the weaponry was said to be for arming the fledgling Iraqi military, there is no evidence the guns reached their intended recipient.

    While I am in the neighborhood of weaponry, Asia Times takes a look at the Syrian military… land sea and air.  I have no idea what is coming, but just read a not very substantial article in the Telegraphe (UK) that might well have been a float and yet made me so nervous. 

    Who knows.  Trapped forever on the Champs de Mars.

        Fallujah 4/10/04  [AFP]

    From the Toronto Star:

    The roar across Israel’s hot blue sky was unmistakeably different.  I glanced at Capt. Doron, standing beside me at the border, the pine trees in Lebanon just a short walk away.

    “F16,” he explained. “Now you’re using F16s to bomb Bint Jbeil?” I asked incredulously.   “No,” he said flatly, peering into the distance. “They’re flying further north in Lebanon.”

    Then, the loud crack as the F16 attack aircraft, the “biggest bang” in Israel’s arsenal, unleashed its massive payload.

    Capt. Doron counted. “One two three four five …”  The sound of a deafening explosion travelled back to us from a few kilometres away.

    “Bint Jbeil,” he said, his own eyebrows now arching in surprise.

    ***********************************************************************

    via Reuters (full text):

    QANA, Lebanon, July 30 (Reuters) – An Israeli air strike on a south Lebanon village on Sunday killed at least 35 civilians, including 21 children, witnesses and rescue workers said.

    They said several houses in the village of Qana collapsed and that a three-storey building where about 100 civilians were sheltering was partially destroyed.

       

    GAZA – Round up piece from the Irish Examiner:

    Israeli tanks and troops pull out of northern Gaza 

    Israeli troops and tanks pulled out of northern Gaza early today after a bloody two-day sweep, killing 29 Palestinians, but Israeli aircraft pounded the area.

    The Israeli army killed five Palestinians yesterday, including a 75-year-old woman and a child, and the body of a militant was found after the Israelis pulled back.

    The raid produced the bloodiest violence since Israel launched its Gaza offensive a month ago, but the world’s attention is focused on Lebanon, where Israeli forces have been fighting Hezbollah guerrillas since July 12.

    and a blog, A Voice from Gaza [thanks bayprairie]:

    You know this silly plane called….hmm never knew the word in English will look it up and write it here. It is the one that takes pictures and monitor the movement on the ground. This has a sound of a bee. and it affects the satellite image. So if it is there, it is kind of annoying. Guess what? Only few months ago..This stupid plane started to actually targed people and bomb them.

    It drops the bomb right straight on the target, while the Apache has to be away a little bit and has to have an angle to hit.

    You know this not silly plane called F-16? This just hit a house that was evacuated few minutes before. Man….You know to bomb a house in a crowded residential area with a F-16 means at least 5 houses around that one will have at least broken windows, and broken door frames and will have sharp and killing debris. Doesn’t sound that bad..Does it?

    I don’t want to follow more on news…I am sure the night will continue as long as the several silly planes are around.

    His latest entry is on Qana, the south Lebanon village where now the count is up to 50.

    Qana..

    I cant even stand any of the statements that concern “both sides”     I cant stand “peace”, negotiations”. Sorry, if you expect me to be rational…
    Olmert is so proud and celebrates with Rice the Qana acievement.
    What is wrong with those people. Did you know that 21 of them are under the age of 10. do u know that it was a big house and the 58 were sleeping! 50 raids…Qana recieved
    So, If you like Hizbollah…you are bombed? Is there any other explanation!?

    Qana of 1996…100 civilians in shelters were burnt
    Qana of 2006 … about 60 … in their houses. the first hour of July 30th

    Did you see reporters crying live? in the 1996 one and today’s!

    forgive me..just needed to say something..

        Israeli tanks massing on the border with lebanon

    israeli tanks massing on the border with Lebanon July 28 [Reuters]

    ************************************************************************

    Issacharoff, a deputy from the Israeli Embassy is on Wash Journal. I can barely stand his voice… but latest is Rice decides Beirut not too safe for her (my take anyway) .. from Reuters:

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Her diplomatic mission in jeopardy after Israel’s bombing of a Lebanese village, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice canceled a visit to Beirut on Sunday, saying she had work to do in Israel to get a truce.

    Rice, who returned to the region on Saturday in a new push to bring the warring sides together, said she was “deeply saddened” by the Israeli bombing of the village of Qana in southern Lebanon, killing 40 civilians including 23 children. [...]

    She spoke after Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said, after the latest Israeli bombing, he could not hold any talks on resolving the Middle East crisis before an immediate ceasefire.

    “There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now,” Siniora told a news conference in Beirut.

    Hundreds of protesters chanting “Death to Israel, Death to America” stormed the U.N. headquarters in Beirut after the bloodiest single attack of the war.

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was in no hurry to strike a ceasefire before Israel had “reached the main objectives” set forth by the Jewish state.

    WORKING ON TRUCE   Continued…

    ***********************************************************************

    From Angry Arab:

    At this time: all Arab TV networks are covering live the recovery of bodies–children and women mostly–from the Israeli massacre in Qana. You saw them digging out children from under the rubble. Viewers were warned about the images. AlJazeera’s correspondent, `Abbas Nasir, broke down. Even the pro-Bush AlArabiya TV had to interrupt its Saudi stock coverage to go to Qana.

    Al-Manar a aussi annoncé que le Hezbollah avait bombardé des avant-postes israéliens le long de la frontière. La milice aurait tiré au moins 47 roquettes dimanche sur le nord d’Israël, blessant légèrement dix civils.

    Selon Tsahal, des roquettes Katiouchas sont tombées sur Nahariya, Kiryat Shemona et une région proche de Maalot. Mais elles ont atterri sur des zones non habitées, et il n’y aurait pas eu de blessés

    Open Thread: The Rully Big Bully Boyz. Bush and Blair :: Small Boyz on the radar screen/Jerome 28 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
    29 comments

      the rully big boyz bush and blair

    Oh they found their way to the East Room.  In a truly tough world, they still manage to appall… AP via NYT and as soon as the transcript is up at WH.gov will post it. 

    Right now, Blair is explaining Nine One One to us.  They have hit the heights.

    What a pair.

    … and this from the tag end of the last thread (many links there ) belongs with the Boyz.  Our Condi.  Be proud.  She said a prayer for peace and then played Brahms (Sonata for Violin and Piano in D Minor, Opus 108).

    Bow down.

    *************************************************************************

    From the NYT post event:

    The two leaders, who earlier talked privately at the White House, announced what they described as a practical plan to try to stop the violence and address what they saw as the underlying cause — Hezbollah militancy — of the current conflict, as well as criticizing Iranian and Syrian support for the group.

    “This is a moment of intense conflict in the Middle East,” Mr. Bush said. “Yet our aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity and a chance for broader change in the region.”

    Mr. Blair said that the plan includes sending Ms. Rice back to the region on Saturday, and bringing forward a United Nations meeting to Monday about an international stabilization force that will allow Lebanon’s government to deploy its own army in the south.[...]

    The Israeli military said it carried out more than 180 aerial strikes in Lebanon during the 24-hour period that ended this morning, and there were no signs of a letup during the day today.

    Hezbollah, meanwhile, maintained its rocket fire on northern Israel today. About 50 rockets hit northern Israel as of the afternoon, though only a few minor injuries were reported.

    ************************************************************************

    Norman Solomon at FAIR takes a look at the NYT, Wapo, and LA Times over the last weeks.  And some commentary on a hit carried out in Sidon Lebanon in May 2006:

    The situation in Lebanon is also more complicated than its portrayal in U.S. media, with the roots of the current crisis extending well before the July 12 capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.

    A major incident fueling the latest cycle of violence was a May 26, 2006 car bombing in Sidon, Lebanon, that killed a senior official of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian group allied with Hezbollah. Lebanon later arrested a suspect, Mahmoud Rafeh, whom Lebanese authorities claimed had confessed to carrying out the assassination on behalf of Mossad (London Times, 6/17/06). [...]

    In Lebanon, Israel’s culpability was taken as a given. “The Israelis, in hitting Islamic Jihad, knew they would get Hezbollah involved too,” Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a professor at Beirut’s Lebanese American University, told the New York Times (5/29/06). “The Israelis had to be aware that if they assassinated this guy they would get a response.”

    And, indeed, on May 28, Lebanese militants in Hezbollah-controlled territory fired Katyusha rockets at a military vehicle and a military base inside Israel. Israel responded with airstrikes against Palestinian camps deep inside Lebanon, which in turn were met by Hezbollah rocket and mortar attacks on more Israeli military bases, which prompted further Israeli airstrikes and “a steady artillery barrage at suspected Hezbollah positions” (New York Times, 5/29/06).

    Gen. Udi Adam, the commander of Israel’s northern forces, boasted that “our response was the harshest and most severe since the withdrawal” of Israeli troops from Lebanon in 2000 (Chicago Tribune, 5/29/06).

    *************************************************************************

    UPDATE, 2:50 pm, PT

    The transcript of the “press availability” of Blair and Bush.  SO many nuggets.  If people were not suffering and dying it would be a scream.

     I think we should demand that they pull Jesus from their hankie pocket.  We are way past white bunnies under the Big Tent to shock and awe the children…. The Bush and Blair show is just not enervating enough. 

    Both christians, right?  They should produce Jesus, as part of the Troika for War.  Troika + Israel.

    Here is a snip from W (italics are mine):

    And I — look, we care deeply about the lives that have been affected on both sides of this issue, just like I care deeply about the innocent people who are being killed in Iraq, and people being denied a state in the Palestinian Territory. But make no mistake about it, it is the goal and aims of the terrorist organizations to stop that type of advance. That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to evoke sympathy for themselves. They’re not sympathetic people. They’re violent, cold-blooded killers who are trying to stop the advance of freedom.

    And this is the calling of the 21st century, it seems like to me, and now is the time to confront the problem.

    And of course, we’re going to help the people in Lebanon rebuild their lives. But as Tony said, this conflict started, out of the blue, with two Israeli soldiers kidnapped and rockets being fired across the border. 

    Blair falls into a long, long ramble about 9/11 (I found it offensive) and at times he drifts to repetitious gibberish but there is this – you think these Boyz lack … confidence?:

    It’s nonsense, the propaganda is nonsense. And we’re not going to defeat this ideology until we in the West go out with sufficient confidence in our own position and say, this is wrong. It’s not just wrong in its methods, it’s wrong in its ideas, it’s wrong in its ideology, it’s wrong in every single wretched reactionary thing about it. And it will be a long struggle, I’m afraid. But there’s no alternative but to stay the course with it. And we will.

    Absolute mess…  and messy madmen.

    *************************************************************************

    LEVITY BREAK AHEAD: 

    Jerome Speaks…. 

    … more to come, have not read the slobber yet, but based on his earlier sludge… welll… I am continuing to breathe, shall we say.

    ADDENDUM:  I read it finally.

    Well.  I am going to post a cogent comment from the thread at MyDD….  But, I will add that so-called liberal (but it is not) progressive (but it’s not) left (but it most assuredly is NOT) Blahhhging has been very poorly served by the men (and women) who are cashing in.  

    They are welcome to cash in as party apparatchiks (punditry, yes men, yes women and screaming diversions), and I may comment on what I see… which is sub-standard, unethical screamers ”demanding” ethics and accountability from MSM – and from a pol, or two (no more than a very small number). 

    Other than that, they are propagandists. And there is a whiff that just does not go away, for one thing, they complicate every time they pick one of their mouths and open it…

    Here from “vachon”

    Re: Blogging on it all (none / 0)

    Your past is your past.  Since you aren’t running for office, it’s none of my business.  Normally, I wouldn’t comment on it except now you’ve brought it up.

    I am frustrated that you can’t go into detail about your experience with the SEC.  As a former trader myself, however, I’m a bit shagrinned that you would do the “I lost money too” line to wave away your behavior.  I don’t know if what you did was illegal, unethical or just plain dumb.  But it’s a big deal since the gamut of possibilities you have opened yourself up to is so wide and potentially so important to what you do here.

    Look, I have a past that I’m not proud of (people in AA usually do) that would probably look devastating on a police blotter had I ever been caught.  I don’t run away from it, minimize it or wave it like a red cape for people to investigate.  So, I’m sympathetic with your situation.  But.  The lack of details is going to keep this issue, or non-issue alive:  people don’t like to be swindled.

    That’s my 2 pixels.

    by vachon on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 04:25:44 PM EST

    UPDATE:  1:30 am Saturday,

    FURTHER Addenda:

     Lee Siegel updates his ”blogofascism” in TNR, or whatever it was.  Frankly he makes good points, and here are a couple (emphasis mine):

    A good fight is certainly not something I mind–if you dish it out, et cetera. Yet, having been stung by my charges of dictatorial bullying, the left-liberal blogs proceeded to prove my point.

    They bunched together in a corner of the schoolyard and solicited one another’s approval by heaving bigger and sloppier mudpies.

    It wasn’t a good intellectual and rhetorical fight at all. But, beyond the blogofascist aside, I had made an argument that I waited futilely for someone to address. I had questioned the effectiveness of blogospheric rage and suggested that blogger fanaticism had a lot to do with the inability of bloggers to apply themselves to serious reflection.

    And this, which gave me a laugh, considering Blahhggs are campaign operative tabloids:

    The question the blogosphere has to ask itself is whether it truly has become a rejuvenating alternative to the status quo in journalism and politics or a dumping ground for the mainstream’s worst aspects–political extremism, narcissistic fantasy, cowardly herding.

    Or, as Burt Reynolds put it in Sharky’s Machine,

    “You know, Frisco, when we used to flush the toilet upstairs, we always wondered where it came to.” 

    Yes, not a pretty  picture.  Cesspools rarely are.

    ************************************************************************

    UPDATE:  3:40 pm. PT

    Pilger in The New Statesman.

    The catastrophe in the Middle East is a product of such an imperial tyranny. It is clearly a US-ordained operation, with the long-planned assault on Gaza and the destruction of Leba non pretexts for a wider campaign with the goal of installing American puppets in Lebanon, Syria and eventually Iran. “The pay-off time has come,” wrote the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe; “now the proxy should salvage the entangled Empire.”  [...]

    Watching this unfold in Washington – I am staying in a hotel taken over by evangelical “Christians for Israel” apparently seeking rapture – I have heard only the crudest colonial refrain and no truth. Hezbollah, drone America’s journalistic caricatures, is “armed and funded by Syria and Iran”, and so they beckon an attack on those countries, while remaining silent about America’s $3bn-a-day gift of planes and small arms and bombs to a state whose international lawlessness is a registered world record.

    Pilger closes his article with Orwell…

    I think Orwell got it right in this passage from Nineteen Eighty-Four, a tale of the ultimate empire:

    “And in the general hardening of outlook that set in . . . practices which had been long abandoned – imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions . . . and the deportation of whole populations – not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.”

    Really, Bush and Blair should be forced to produce Jesus.   Being christians and all. Do they ever let us forget that? 

    And managing to evoke, over and over, such worry and concern for those under the Israeli aerial bombing runs.  Bloody evangelicalism.

    ************************************************************************

    From Nur al-Cubicle – as those dogs, Bush and Blair today said they cannot do what is ”popular”, they must do what is ”right” – that was out of Bush’s bloody mouth….  Make them produce this Jesus they believe in.  Really… not kidding here.  Sick of the xtian games.

    Friday, July 28, 2006

    Israel targets refugees

    A Jordanian cameraman for Germany’s N24 TV and his driver were killed when Israel directed artillery fire at a 50-car convoy of refugees organized by the Red Cross. The convoy was evacuating the sick, elderly and others from Rmeish.

    1 Comments:

    biddy said…
    First the UN, then the Red Cross what the hell is their problem?
    4:05 PM  

    ************************************************************************

     UPDATE, 6:15 pm

    The bottom line, the US Come to Jesus Jamboree… US plans 4.6 billion in armaments sales to the ME countries (that figure is for Arab sales, x-Israel).

    ************************************************************************

    UPDATE:  1:00 am Satruday…

    “It’s a global movement, it’s a global ideology,” Mr. Blair said. “We’re not going to defeat this ideology until we in the West go out with sufficient confidence in our own position and say, this is wrong. It’s not just wrong in its methods, it’s wrong in its ideas, it’s wrong in its ideology, it’s wrong in every single wretched reactionary thing about it.”

        Tyre [Getty photo via BBC]

    Looking over the photos (NYT, Reuters, AP) of the global protest to the unnecessary war on Lebanon… the pics are not pretty.  This from Malaysia, simply a massing of demonstrators, is mild.  And, as it is Malyasia and the caption says they broke thru a cordon while Condi was there, I guess playing Brahms following her peace prayer just did not do it.  Again, if playing the Pharisee, please bring Jesus along.  So we can have a real show:  The Second Coming.

        malaysia anti USA anti war demonstration Friday 7/28

    And if this, at the close of Norman Solomon’s article from FAIR is at all accurate (and I have no reason to disbelieve it),  for shame...

    “Of all of Israel’s wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared,” Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, told the San Francisco Chronicle (7/21/06).

    “By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we’re seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it’s been simulated and rehearsed across the board.”

    The Chronicle reported that a “senior Israeli army officer” has been giving PowerPoint presentations for more than a year to “U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks” outlining the coming war with Lebanon, explaining that a combination of air and ground forces would target Hezbollah and “transportation and communication arteries.”

    Which raises a question: If journalists have been told by Israel for more than a year that a war was coming, why are they pretending that it all started on July 12? By truncating the cause-and-effect timelines of both the Gaza and Lebanon conflicts, editorial boards at major U.S. dailies gravely oversimplify the decidedly more complex nature of the facts on the ground.

     Let me add, I was suspicious of the damned spring-time, so-called revolt of the [retired] military generals – at the time. Obviously any power point presentation to journalists from senior Israeli military is something known to our military leaders, as well.

    Bacevich called it right, positioning for CYA for history, as the ”grand plans” of 2001/2/3 slam to earth in a barrage of blood and horror… and that was just Iraq.  For me, our military is discredited.  And that means we are very unsafe.

    The only decent response to 9/11 was to be a better power.  A decent global partner.  But that was never in the cards.

        protest against the Israeli airstrikes over lebanon

    BEIRUT (Reuters) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice headed to Jerusalem on Saturday to discuss ways to end the 18-day-old war in Lebanon as Israel rejected a U.N. plea for a truce to aid civilians trapped by fighting.

    “There is no need for a 72-hour temporary cease-fire because Israel has opened a humanitarian corridor to and from Lebanon,” said Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner.

    While Israel has let aid shipments through its blockade of Lebanon, international relief agencies say they have been unable to get Israel to guarantee safe passage to civilians in southern areas hardest hit by Israeli bombing aimed at Hizbollah.

    U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland asked on Friday for the 72-hour truce to let relief workers evacuate elderly, young and wounded people and to deliver emergency aid.

    The problem is the Israeli AF is bombing the so called corridor.

    **************************************************************

    Escalation 27 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in Beirut, DC Politics, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
    7 comments

       Rabin, in front of a picture of Moshe Dayan, former general and def minister

    From the Irish Times

    Meanwhile, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command in al-Qaeda, called on Muslims not to “stand idly by” but join the war against “Crusaders and Zionists”. Zawahiri’s remarks, in a videotape released yesterday, raised the spectre of conflict beyond the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

    Israeli radio quoted a minister who is a member of the national security council saying: “If need be, we must raze the villages of southern Lebanon. The Israeli army is a long way from having won, and we have to change the rules of the game.”

    While Israeli justice minister Mr Ramon said that “anyone still in southern Lebanon is linked to Hizbullah.”.

    Oh just a little hard line there…  

    Which leads in nicely to a comment piece in Ha’aretz [thanks CSTAR] from Ze’ev Schiff:

    It is important for the Israeli public to know that there are critical issues to be decided. What matters is not the future of the Shiite town of Bint Jbail or the Hezbollah positions in Maroun Ras, but the future and safety of the State of Israel. This struggle will also determine Iran’s position in the Middle East and its role among the Arab states. [...]

    If Israel’s deterrence is shaken as a result of failure in battle, the hard-won peace with Jordan and Egypt will also be undermined. Israel’s deterrence is what lies behind the willingness of moderate Arabs to make peace with it. Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction, will be strengthened and it is doubtful whether any Palestinians will be willing to reach agreements with Israel. Therein lies the link between the fight with Hezbollah and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    There is also a link between Israel’s deterrence and what the Israeli public feels, as well as what it is fed. Unfortunately, over the past few days, a new national sport has emerged in the Israeli media: criticizing the IDF to the point of humiliation and unearthing failures, real or otherwise. The war has barely started, yet there are already calls for a commission of inquiry. If this had been the case during the War of Independence, we would not even have managed to take Jaffa.

       

    Which leads to Woolacott in The Guardian on Israel and her absolutes – and how it is not working – and should be abandoned.  I’d add it is not working, but it is propped up – and I don’t see how Israel wants to stop fighting…  Pity.

    Yoram Schweitzer, at the Israeli thinktank the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies, put it this way in a recent commentary:

    “Israel’s objective is to turn tactical setbacks into strategic outcomes whose gains outweigh the losses.”

    Life is not so simple, certainly in the Middle East. With the fighting not over, the balance of gains and losses cannot yet be fully assessed. But it does not look that promising for Israel or the United States. There are five obvious reasons.

    First, casualties in the Israeli armed forces have been high by that country’s standards. Hizbullah casualties have been high, too, the Israelis say, yet the rockets keep coming.

    Second, there is anger within the international community at being handed this hot potato.

    Third, Israel loses every day in terms of world public opinion.

     Fourth, Israel loses even more every day in terms of Middle Eastern public opinion. Governments can sign peace treaties, or adopt “reasonable” policies, but it is peoples who decide whether the treaties, the policies, and sometimes even the governments, will stick. All over the region moderates within the elites face a popular opinion further hardened against Israel.

    Fifth, by enhancing Hizbullah’s status against that of al-Qaeda, the Olmert government may have intensified the rivalry between the two, something that could rebound on Israel in the future.

      Israelis walk on Gaza Strip, under armed guard

    And that leads to a Ha’aretz piece [thanks CSTAR] on how the IDF leadership and Defense Minister hold power in Israel… and make the decisions. (Frankly with our weakened Congress, rather too reminiscent of the W administration, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al.  The Bush Junta, as Vidal has said from Day One.)

    The security policy-making process is in fact the domain of the Israel Defense Forces and the defense establishment. In the absence of non-IDF national security planning bodies, the major part of the planning – not only operational and tactical planning but also strategic and political planning – is done within the army.

    The result is that military considerations have often become more dominant than political ones. Thus, Israel’s foreign policies have come to be based on an essentially belligerent perception that favors military considerations over diplomatic ones. Violence is seen not only as a legitimate instrument in international affairs, but almost as the only means that can bring positive results.

    As a result, the chief of staff in Israel is afforded power that exceeds that of his counterparts in other Western armies. He is the one to decide on the policy recommendations that will be presented to the prime minister and his ministers.

    This, of course, gives him great political power.

    Absolute zinger of an opinion piece in Al-Ahram I can hardly pick an excerpt, but in selfishness, I think we all deserve a good slam, a well written one, at Condi.  So here…

    Between the Greater Middle East and the ignominious, blood-drenched return to the New Middle East, the cities of Iraq and Lebanon crumble, corpses are strewn along the sides of the roads and the groans of the wounded, screams of grieving mothers and wails of orphaned children rend the air.

    Such are the birth pangs of the New Middle East, as explained calmly and dispassionately by a nasty lady whose pathologically sedate, hysterically cool voice contains nothing of the ear-shattering reverberations of smart bombs and dumb bombs, the bewildered screams of the living who have had their hearts ripped out and the silence of the dead beneath the rubble. The doctor of bombardment and displacement, the minister of death and destruction, the envoy of desolation and grief speaks, without a flicker of emotion on her face and lips that barely move.

    From Nur al-Cubicle:

    And now have advanced to Phase 2 of in infernal game: Provoction of Syria. Israeli jets are testing Syria’s defenses near the Anti-Lebanon Mountains between Masnaa and the Syrian border crossing at Jdaïdit Yabous.

    La Repubblica has a link to a video of the bombing of Tyre. [this goes to a multimedia page at La Repubblica, it did not work for me, but may for some]

       Intifada 2

    This essay in Forward, from nearly three years ago, by Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Knesset and Labor party member, is well worth a read… and America should hear the echo.   [thanks NYCee]

    There is time to change course, but not much. What is needed is a new vision of a just society and the political will to implement it. Nor is this merely an internal Israeli affair. Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is a central pillar of their identity must pay heed and speak out. If the pillar collapses, the upper floors will come crashing down.

    The opposition does not exist, and the coalition, with Arik Sharon at its head, claims the right to remain silent. In a nation of chatterboxes, everyone has suddenly fallen dumb, because there’s nothing left to say. We live in a thunderously failed reality. Yes, we have revived the Hebrew language, created a marvelous theater and a strong national currency. Our Jewish minds are as sharp as ever. We are traded on the Nasdaq. But is this why we created a state? The Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or anti-missile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed.

       ultra-orthodox at an artillery site, near Fassuta N Israel.  [Reuters]

    ************************************************************************

    UPDATE:  12:30 am PT

    Good diary by Mash at Dkos on Israel – Lebanon – Hizbollah – EXIT issues… [thanks to D Throat]

    Israel Looks For An Exit

    by Mash

    Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:42:48 PM PDT

    Ehud Olmert’s two-week misadventure in Lebanon is coming to a close. The unexpected ambush in the town of Bint Jbeil and the shelling of the UN observation post may have become catalysts for a draw down of the conflict. These two tragic events, in retrospect, will be seen to have saved many Israeli and Lebanese lives. [...]

    Also posted at my web site.

    *************************************************************************

    UPDATE: 1 am

    This in TimesONline makes mention of support numbers inside Israel (high, no shock) for the campaign.  Just before the 11 pm e-mail chugged in with the NYT headlines for tomorrow – and a big piece on the numbers game, I landed on this at Angry Arab:

     These are some of the highlights:

    70 % support the capture of the two Israeli soldiers (73.1 among Sunnis, 96.3 among Shi`ites, 40% among Druzes, and 55 among Christians); 87% support that “the resistance fight Israeli aggression on Lebanon” (88.9 among Sunnis, 96.3 among Shi`ites, 80% among Druzes, and 80% among Christians); 8% think that America adopted a positive position toward Lebanon during this war (7.9% among Sunnis, 4 among Shi`ites, 13.6 among Druzes, and 15 among Christians).
    PS Sample size is 800. The overwhelming majority were face- to -face interviews (including all displaced individuals)

    ************************************************************************

    UPDATE, 7:15 am…

    Danny Schechter is up, and from there, first Fisk and then a no link quote from bird colonel Sam Gardiner…

    The battle for southern Lebanon is on an epic scale but, from the heights above Khiam, the Israelis appear to be in deep trouble. Their F-16s turn in the high bright sun – small, silver fish whose whispers gain in volume as they dive – and their bombs burst over the old prison, where the Hizbollah are still holding out; beyond the frontier, I can see livid fires burning across the Israeli hillsides and the Jewish settlement of Metullah billowing smoke.

    It was not meant to be like this, 15 days into Israel’s assault on Lebanon. The Katyushas still streak in pairs out of southern Lebanon, clearly visible to the naked eye, white contrails that thump into Israeli’s hillsides and border towns.

    Oh you know the religionists of how great modern warfare is are flummoxed.  My guess, ordinary citizens will continue to pay for the frustration of the military leaders…

    Retired US Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner adds:

    “Israel’s call of 30,000 reservists tells me they understand there will have to be a major ground operation inside Lebanon. Calling the reserves seriously impacts the civilian economy, however which means the invasion has to come soon.

    “The IDF has not performed well. Intelligence has not been good. The leadership has fallen for the siren song of airpower advocates. The ground forces fell into a trap at Bent Jabail. If you discount the “on-purpose” argument for hitting the UN post, you have to add it to the category of “not well done.” (During the attack part of Gulf II, the US Army units had lawyers review artillery fire missions to confirm rules of collateral damage were not being violated.)

    “The longer Israel takes to achieve its military objective, the more serious the problem….”

    Note here’s an Air Force man referencing the limits of Aerial bombardments.

    ************************************************************************

    Tom Dispatch, again on the religion of air power and some discussion of language to cleanse modern warfare – here a “list” of the hits:

    Now, with the fervent backing of the Bush administration, another country is being “remade” from the air — in this case, Lebanon. With the highest-tech American precision-guided and bunker-busting bombs, the Israelis have been launching air strike after strike, thousands of them, in that country.

    They have hit an international airport, the nation’s largest milk factories; a major food factory; aid convoys; Red Cross ambulances; a UN observer post; a power plant; apartment complexes; villages because they house or support the enemy; branches of banks because they might facilitate Hezbollah finances; the telecommunications system because of the messages that might pass along it; highways because they might transport weapons to the enemy; bridges because they might be crossed by those transporting weapons; a lighthouse in Beirut harbor for reasons unknown; trucks because they might be transporting those weapons (though they might also be transporting vegetables); families who just happen to be jammed into cars or minivans fleeing at the urging of the attackers who have turned at least 20% of all Lebanese (and probably many more) into refugees, while creating a “landscape of death (in the phrase of the superb Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid) in the southern part of the country.

    I have always credited leaders with truth in what they say.  It has proved out over time, if one just applies a slight twistYes.  Precision hits.  They meant to kill all those children and the milk factories. Too.

    ************************************************************************

    CNN (Daran Kagen) is reporting that the UN is pulling their people back from the outposts to spots farther inland – and Dan Gillerman, the Israeli Amb to the UN, is saying UNIFIL, the UN presence in Lebanon (from 1978 irrc) is “useless”.

    Right, get rid of the observers.  What else is new.

    **********************************************************************

    UPDATE, 8:30 am

    Also from Schechter: 

    AMNESTY: “….According to media reports, the USA is transferring GBU 28 bunker-buster bombs containing depleted-uranium warheads to Israel for use against targets in Lebanon.”

    www.amnestyusa.org

    And via Schechter also:

    US COPS TRAINING IN ISRAEL

    ”A private US-Israeli company, Security Solutions International, is responding to the need for better quality training by sponsoring a training missions to Israel for US law enforcement and security officers.

    “While the Department of Homeland Security continues to fund courses for law enforcement at local community colleges and other educational institutes, they are not exactly what most first responders really need.

    “I think that while the curriculum in these courses is well thought out, law enforcement needs to have real-time, real-world experience of the terror situation to be able to really counter terror,” says Henry Morgenstern, Security Solutions’ President.

    www.theconservativevoice.com

    *************************************************************************

    Don’t miss it… a classic for the ages.  A Condi special.

    *************************************************************************

    Fitful Empire… 27 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
    26 comments

     The UN Observers killed by Israeli bombardment

    The UN observers who died were under the command of a New Zealander, Army officer Major General Clive Lilley (who was not present at the post), so…a snip from the report from a NZ news service:

    New Zealand soldier Tekimiti Gilbert, based with the UN mine action team in the Lebanese port city of Tyre, told The Press last night that UN staff had been shaken by the deaths.

    “We got the news last night and it’s very shocking and almost unbelievable. That UN position that was attacked has been there for 20 years,” he said.

    “It is a well-established post and those guys that are in there are unarmed. Their sole objective is to observe.” Gilbert said the post was well-marked and well-known as a UN safe haven. It seemed “extremely unlikely” the deaths had been a mistake.

    “For the time being, it is safe here. We haven’t taken any direct hits and we haven’t had any hits close by,” he said.

    We seem rapacious, certainly not wise nor steadfast in our strange wars.

    From Jonathan Schell:

    It wasn’t just that Nixon’s wiretapping was directed against Daniel Ellsberg, war critic and leaker of the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers; or that the “plumbers” outfit that carried out the Watergate break-in was founded to spy on, disrupt and attack war critics; or that Nixon’s persistence in trying to win the war even as he withdrew American troops from it drove him into the paranoia that led him to draw up an “enemies list” and sponsor subversions of the electoral process – it was that his entire go-it-alone, imperial conception of the presidency originated in his pursuit of his war policy in secrecy and without Congressional involvement.

        And now, thirty years later, we find ourselves facing an uncannily similar combination of misconceived war abroad and constitutional crisis at home. Again a global crusade (then it was the Cold War, now it is the “war on terror”) has given birth to a disastrous war (then Vietnam, now Iraq); again a President has responded by breaking the law; and again it falls to citizens, journalists, judges, justices and others to trace the connections between the overreaching abroad and the overreaching at home.

    In consequence, not only are we condemned to repeat ourselves for the duration of the current crisis but a remarkable number of those repetitions are already repetitions of what was said thirty years ago.

    Al-Ahram, Lucy Felder reports that Save the Children is now saying that a full half of the dead are children.  A few days ago, a third was being reported – and this at the end:

    About 20 per cent of Lebanon’s population are on the road or in schools, or have left this tiny country. The UN reports the number of displaced as 700,000. With roughly 2,000 to 3,000 houses destroyed, according to economist Al-Hajj, and a much higher number partly ruined, no one knows yet where the legions of displaced and homeless will go once the new school term starts.

    “Say there was a ceasefire today, where would they go, how would they live?” Al-Hajj asks. “Many of their homes no longer exist.”

    Africa’s Mail and Guardian:

    Israeli warplanes and artillery hammered Lebanon again on Thursday as the Beirut government said up to 600 people may have been killed in Israel’s 16-day-old campaign against Hezbollah guerrillas.

    Israel’s inner Cabinet chose to pursue a strategy of air strikes and limited ground incursions, rather than a full-scale invasion of Lebanon to halt Hezbollah rocket fire on its towns.  [al Jazeera's take was worded a bit differently, israel knows they can take their time... ]

    Lebanese Health Minister Mohammad Khalifeh said hospitals had received 401 bodies of people killed during the war launched by Israel after the Shi’ite guerrillas captured two of its soldiers and killed eight in a cross-border raid on July 12.

    “On top of those victims, there are 150 to 200 bodies still under the rubble. We have not been able to pull them out because the areas they died in are still under fire,” he told Reuters.

    *************************************************************

     UPDATE: 1:20 pm

    From Reuters Alertnet:

    UNITED NATIONS, July 27 (Reuters) – China on Thursday warned the United States that its opposition to a statement condemning a deadly attack on a U.N. post in Lebanon could have a “negative impact” on U.N. talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

    The United States was blocking a U.N. Security Council statement on Israel’s attack on the outpost in southern Lebanon, despite what council diplomats called many compromises by Beijing.

    But the envoys said there was some hope a policy statement would be adopted late on Thursday.

    “This is a serious matter,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters after a private meeting with the U.S. negotiators. “It is an attack on the U.N. peacekeepers.”

    “If the Security Council cannot send a strong political message supporting our guys on the ground, it will be difficult for people to understand,” Wang said.

       Protest at the UN offices Panama,

    From TimesOnline:

    The Cabinet said that the call up of three additional reserve divisions was meant mainly to refresh the existing troops in Lebanon. But the huge size of the mobilisation raised questions about the military’s future strategy.

    “The draft is to prepare the force for possible developments as they have been presented to the Cabinet, and also to freshen the forces as needed. Using the force will require another approval by the Cabinet,” said a statement from Mr Olmert’s office after the Cabinet meeting.

    Senior military commanders have been pushing for a wider campaign in Lebanon, but Amir Peretz, the Defence Minister, favours limited action, officials said. Israel Radio said that ministers made clear they had no intention of widening the conflict to confront Syria, which backs Hezbollah.

    AND this tidbit:

    “The editor-in-chief of Maariv newspaper says today in a front page column that the time has come for Israel to wage war in the Lebanese border villages without caring for the consequences, and not to be afraid to send soldiers into difficulty and danger in fraught hand-to-hand combat without caring how many people get killed.”

      ultra-orthodox visit an artillery site, near Fassuta, Israel

    *************************************************************************

    UPDATE:   2:20 pm

    w00t!… I think Putin just said Bite Me.

    Russia signed a £1.6bn arms deal with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela today, risking a confrontation with the US, which has imposed an arms embargo on the South American country.

    The outspoken Venezuelan president, who has claimed that America wants to assassinate him and pledged cheap heating fuel for London’s poor, also told reporters in Moscow that his country could develop its own nuclear programme.

    “Maybe some day we will start using nuclear energy,” he said, according to Interfax. He did not specify when or how he might obtain nuclear power, but his ambitions will rile a Bush administration already deeply concerned by Iran’s nuclear programme. Moscow has agreed to build nuclear power plants for Tehran, despite Washington’s claim that the scheme is a front for a nuclear weapons programme.

    ***********************************************************************

    UPDATE, 6:30 pm

    I guess this was a given.  All things considered… ;)

    Israel’s Government has thrown its weight behind efforts by supporters to counter what it believes to be negative bias and a tide of pro-Arab propaganda.

    The Foreign Ministry has ordered trainee diplomats to track websites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages.

    In the past week nearly 5,000 members of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) have downloaded special “megaphone” software that alerts them to anti-Israeli chatrooms or internet polls to enable them to post contrary viewpoints.

    A student team in Jerusalem combs the web in a host of different languages to flag the sites so that those who have signed up can influence an opinion survey or the course of a debate.

    They call it making the news ”balanced”… so very foxy!  And this:

    Israel’s Foreign Ministry must avoid direct involvement with the campaign but is in contact with international Jewish and evangelical Christian groups, distributing internet information packs.

    Hard slog – no end in sight. 26 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in Beirut, Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
    35 comments

      baghdad april 06 parents children checkpoint 

    via Reuters Alternet:

    WASHINGTON, July 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. military, faced with unrelenting violence in Baghdad, may boost its force in Iraq by delaying the scheduled departure of some troops involved in routine rotations, officials said on Wednesday.

    As has been done periodically during the 3-year-old war, the military would temporarily increase the size of the U.S. force by extending the overlap between newly arriving units and those leaving. [...]

    … we can expect pantomime from the Democrats, despite:

    WAR SUPPORT ERODING

    Opinion polls show eroding U.S. public support for the war and Bush’s handling of it as congressional elections approach in November. The U.S. military death toll in the war, which began in March 2003, stood at 2,565 on Wednesday, with 19,157 wounded, the Pentagon said.

    On Monday this week, the first name and face on the Lehrer list of the dead was a 50 year old service man.  Tuesday, there were 2 staff sargeants, a sargeant and a captain.  And of course all of the 20 year olds, 27 year olds, 30 year olds… it is now endless.  I just saw a report go by, the Iraqi death rate is 100 per day. 

    Sounds low frankly, for the extended brutality …

    Lighter note, via Angry Arab (many good snips), Hizbollah may be text messaging Orange cellular subscribers inside Israel.  Psy-ops Baby!

    ************************************************************************

    Because I am about to sink in a cess pool of horror, there will be the occasional break, with a snip from pages 3/4 of the Jake Tapper interview with the Kidlet in Berkeley. 

    I know some stomachs were NOT strong enough to read that far!… But I have on hip waders, Australian bush hat with full mosquito netting (no, I really do!, left from going down the Colorado when I was 20… ) white cotton gloves (absolutely needed for the jungles of in-ter-view land) and masses of bug repellant… I may survive…

    and So:

    TAPPER: You thought Kerry was going to win?

    MOULITSAS: I thought Kerry was going to win. I thought Democrats were going to make gains in the Senate, in the House in 2002 and in 2004. I was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. So, I’m hoping I’m wrong again.

    TAPPER: But do you think the American people agree with you on most issues, or is that not even the point?

    MOULITSAS: I don’t even begin to worry about that. It’s not an issue. And in fact, I’ve been starting to work out what, you know, what my political philosophy is, and it’s actually not necessarily in tune with the Democratic Party itself. [it's not even small "d" democratic! What a laugh! - MCat] It’s a very libertarian approach to politics where we don’t need government for a lot of things where government is involved in today.

    TAPPER: So gun control, you don’t necessarily …

    MOULITSAS: Oh, I’m very much against gun control and …

    TAPPER: Really?

    MOULITSAS: Oh, very much so. Yes. Absolutely. But I’m very much libertarian. I mean, personally, I do not like, say, abortion. I’m very much against abortion personally, but from my libertarian leanings indicate that I’m not going to be telling people what they should or should not be doing.

    TAPPER: Well, a libertarian point of view on taxes might be that there shouldn’t — there should be as few taxes as possible and few government regulations as possible.

    MOULITSAS: Well, I didn’t say I was a libertarian. [snip]

    My.

    ************************************************************************

    From Lebanon’s The Daily Star:

    Hizbullah fighters and advancing Israeli troops fought pitched battles at the entrance to a key town in South Lebanon on Wednesday, in which at least eight Israeli soldiers were killed and 22 others wounded, the Israeli Army said.

    Meanwhile, Israel bombed two apartment buildings in the coastal town of Tyre. It was unclear how many people had been killed and wounded in the attack as Civil Defense members were still pulling people out from the rubble as The Daily Star went to press.[snip]

    ***********************************************************************

    Christopher Dickey is up in Newsweek:

    But, at American insistence, the ceasefire would have to be one that’s “lasting, permanent and sustainable.” Which means the flames searing Lebanon, threatening Israel and endangering the most volatile region in the world will go on for weeks, if not months, to come. The consolation prize: a promise of “immediate humanitarian aid.”  [...]

    The bottom line: Hizbullah is winning. That’s the hideous truth about the direction this war is taking, not in spite of the way the Israelis have waged their counterattack, but precisely because of it.

    As my source Mr. Frankly put it, “Hizbullah is eating their lunch.”

    *************************************************************

    Deepest Troat supplied this link, to a blog that updates the war on lebanon:  Updates on the Aggression Against Lebanon.

    They display this map, as of 7/26/06 (link to 2 x size):

    ************************************************************************

    All I am saying is it happened here in SF, I saw the fear, the panic that “one of their own” might lose.  That would be Newsom.. yeah I know.  Beloved as a ”liberal”… ;)  But they sent in the troops.

    Catch the CYA, early edition (I still say, watch the money in the Lamont campaign, there is not enough, never was):

    CT-Sen: The Lieberman meltdown is over

    by kos

    Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 01:25:20 PM PDT

    Bill Clinton is doing whatever he can to rescue Lieberman from defeat. He may pull it off, as the Clintons and their lobbyist and establishment and DLC friends band together in common cause against Lamont’s people-powered army.

    Lieberman has no message or appeal to Connecticut voters? Bring in Bill. Lieberman has no ground troops in the state? Bring in paid field guys. The facts are unfriendly to Lieberman? Lie, obfuscate, distort. And to further bolster the Lieberman cause, continue outspending Lamont by millions to drown out his message.

    That’s the game plan. On our side we have people. Which will triumph?

    If we remain disengaged and indifferent, they will.

    Get your friends and families involved.

    ***********************************************************************

    UPDATE: 10:30 pm, PT 

    the sky over Baghdad, May 26, 2006Maybe time to cry into our tea cups a bit.

    Bamford is up with a mutli-pager at Rolling Stone.  [thanks Arcturus].  The next war, Iran. 

    The problem, ever since these people wedged their way into office, over a not-all-that-interested Democratic party… the issue has been, who would stop them?  Stop us?

    When Bush was running in summer and fall of ’00, I would often get the image – at some point I had seen a photographic depiction – of Bill Buckley, who had been CIA station chief in Beirut, held hostage with Terry Anderson but had been beaten, tortured and hung [think hanged is correct usage...].  And I would always think, we have enough enemies of our own, we don’t need all the extra ‘friends” and “enemies” that tag along with certain political entities.

     But, here we are.

    Also, it has to be noted… from Howard. [thanks bay] Think I’ll be brief (why waste time?) and say Howard is spread too thin.  And I am not being kind and excusing him.  Totally off balance ever since he got that stupid Chair.

    Ta-ta Howard.  Have a nice ride.

    ************************************************************************

    from CSTAR [thanks!] a link to a website – Blogging Beirut – covering (natch) Beirut, WAR! issues.  Reading the left side bar, blogger is inside Beirut.

    A quick mention, and likely I am behind the curve here, but I have found Reuters Alertnet fascinating.  Part of Reuters Foundation, it exists to track the global emergent situations from natural disaster to conflict – to whatever.  A section for NGO reports and issues – and breaking news, media watch.  And I have found some wonderful photographs there too…

    Reuters Alertnet, Lebanon – Israeli Palestinian conflict –  Iraq in Turmoil – Afghanistan Reconstruction (that is what they call it… )

    DIRE CONDITIONS

    [V]illagers were running short of water, food and medicine, displaced people were sheltering in schools and patients were stranded in hospitals. “As people were afraid to go out, fearing bombardments, dead bodies had not been removed from the streets and others were still buried in rubble,” the ICRC said.

    Israeli warplanes destroyed radio masts north of Beirut on Thursday and attacked three trucks carrying medical and food supplies to the east, security sources said. They said two truck drivers were killed. Israel accuses Lebanon’s eastern neighbour Syria of supplying Hizbollah with arms. Syria denies the charge.

    Other Israeli aircraft blasted targets in the mainly Shi’ite south, and artillery batteries opened up from inside Israel.  [snip]

    *********************************************************************

    UPDATE, 6:50 am PT

    Never let it be said that Israel missed a chance to get the point, from the BBC:

    “We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world… to continue the operation,” Justice Minister Haim Ramon said.

    His comments came before Israeli cabinet ministers decided not to launch a large-scale ground offensive.

    Israel has launched fresh air raids, amid ongoing fighting in south Lebanon.

    via Toronto Star, Zawahiri warning.

    Ayman al-Zawahri, No. 2 to Osama bin Laden, said Al Qaeda now saw “all the world as a battlefield open in front of us.”

    The Egyptian-born physician said the Hezbollah and Palestinian fighting against Israel would not be ended with “ceasefires or agreements.”

    “The war with Israel does not depend on ceasefires … . It is a Jihad for God’s sake and will last until (our) religion prevails … from Spain to Iraq,” al-Zawahri said. “We will attack everywhere.”

    Reuters Alertnet, CHRONOLOGY of communications from al Qaeda, Osama, Zawahiri, allies.

    *************************************************************************

    UPDATE: 8:00 am

    Nur al-Cubicle commentary on the Silence from Rome Conference.

    In the background, Italy is about to withdraw its contingent from Iraq, so the country has zero credibiity with the Bush Administration and hence, with Israel. In fact, it is likely that Prodi, like Zapatero, now enjoys persona non grata status in Washington. But lack of influence does not preclude putting on an embarrasing dog and pony show and getting Condoleeza to show up for a sound bite and a photo-op. I should have liked to have seen Romano Prodi’s L’Unione coalition government come out of the conference smelling like roses, but it has humiliated itself by PR overreach. This is a disaster for L’Unione.

    via Danny Schechter News Dissector, a run of quick links and snips:

    FT: ”ONE IN FIVE LEBANESE A REFUGEE OF ISRAELI INVASION

    ”According to the FT, a fifth of the Lebanese are now refugees. Around 40,000 have headed to the port city of Sidon. “Food is not a big problem for now but there are looming shortages of medicines for chronic illnesses and hospitals are starting to get worried about primary care drugs such as painkillers and antibiotics while they have to care for an influx of wounded from the south,” says the paper. “The refugees who make it to Sidon are exhausted by the long and stressful journey. Their stories are often similar and tell of days of Israeli shelling, shortages of water and food, power outages and cut phone lines.”. . . www.ft.com

    COMMENTARY: John Pilger: Empire: War and Propaganda

    “The US role in supporting Israel’s military assault on Lebanon falls into a pattern of imperial tyranny, where history is rewritten to suit America’s needs while Europe stands cravenly by.”

    informationclearinghouse.info

    GREG PALAST: IT’S ABOUT OIL, STUPID  www.GregPalast.com

    BLUMENTHAL: NEO-CON RESURGENCE  www.guardian.co.uk

    ***********************************************************************

    UPDATE:    9:00 am

    via Truth Out, from the WaPo, Joshua Partlow on “Waiting to be Blown Up“:

    “At this point, it seems like the war on drugs in America,” added Spec. David Fulcher, 22, a medic from Lynchburg, Va., who sat alongside Steffey. “It’s like this never-ending battle, like, we find one IED, if we do find it before it hits us, so what? You know it’s just like if the cops make a big bust, next week the next higher-up puts more back out there.”

        “My personal opinion, I don’t speak for the rest of anybody, I just speak for me personally, I think civil war is going to happen regardless,” Steffey responded. [...]

        It was dark now save for one fluorescent light and the cigarette tips glowing red.

        “I mean, if you compare the casualty count from this war to, say, World War II, you know obviously it doesn’t even compare,” Fulcher said.

    “But World War II, the big picture was clear – you know you’re fighting because somebody was trying to take over the world, basically. This is like, what did we invade here for?”

    *************************************************************************

    Open Thread 25 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
    39 comments

    Ramadi

    Reuters via Independent Online:

    Washington – US congressional Democrats voiced alarm on Tuesday about Iraq’s denunciation of Israel in the Mideast conflict, and some said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s upcoming address to Congress should be cancelled unless he apologises.

    A group of House of Representatives Democrats was circulating a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert urging the Illinois Republican to secure an apology from Maliki or cancel the address on Wednesday to a joint meeting of Congress.

    Ron Bonjean, Hastert’s spokesman, said there was no intention to cancel Maliki’s speech, and accused Democrats of “political gamesmanship during an election year”.

    Wiff of a tiff there!… and what was the upshot of all the Big D Democratic yelling for their pacifier?? (what an image!)  Don’t miss this:

    With more than 2 500 US service members killed in the Iraq conflict, more than 18 000 wounded and more than $300 billion in US tax dollars spent, the Senate Democrats said,

    “Americans deserve to know whether Iraq in an ally in these fights.”

    Whammo!, take that! say the Dems.   

    I don’t know, I think we asked all of that, before the deaths, before the maiming – and we did not demand that the ordinary people of Iraq, living in the country we invaded, be our ALLY in their destruction.

    What was all that bleating about elections?

    ’06 should be a blow out and ’08 a piece of cake.  No doubt. 

    ************************************************************************

    … and this from Ha’aretz:

    Morality is not on our side    by Ze’ev Maoz 

    There’s practically a holy consensus right now that the war in the North is a just war and that morality is on our side.

    The bitter truth must be said: this holy consensus is based on short-range selective memory, an introverted worldview, and double standards.

    This war is not a just war.

    Israel is using excessive force without distinguishing between civilian population and enemy, whose sole purpose is extortion. That is not to say that morality and justice are on Hezbollah’s side. Most certainly not. But the fact that Hezbollah “started it” when it kidnapped soldiers from across an international border does not even begin to tilt the scales of justice toward our side. [snip]

    Whole lotta war-making going on.  And the people under the bombs, across several countries, are told to suck it up.  Amazing!

    Worse yet, bombing infrastructure targets such as power stations, bridges and other civil facilities turns the entire Lebanese civilian population into a victim and hostage, even if we are not physically harming civilians. The use of bombings to achieve a diplomatic goal – namely, coercing the Lebanese government into implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1559 – is an attempt at political blackmail, and no less than the kidnapping of IDF soldiers by Hezbollah is the aim of bringing about a prisoner exchange.

    And the thread at Ha’aretz runs overwhelmingly against Maoz.

    ************************************************************************

    From Paper Tigress at Nur al-Cubicle, a translation from Le Figaro:

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Just what is Israel up to?

     

    Jean-François Legrain of the French think tank CNRS explains (original article in French can be found at Le Figaro).

    The events unfolding in the Gaza Strip and in Lebanon over the last few weeks are linked by timing and, above all, by the same political considerations. Observers are nearly unanimous in recognizing the disconnect between the objectives announced by the Israeli government (to free its soldier-prisoners and to prevent rocket attacks) and the systematic destruction of Palestinian and Lebanese civilian infrastructures. It is timely to set out to investigate the real reasons behind these long-planned military campaigns in response to acts brought about by Israeli policies.

     

    Israel’s policies are characterized by unilateralism, an idea conceived by Ariel Sharon with the support of Labour. Based solely on balance of power, it aims to restate the dissuasive capability of the State of Israel to impose its own solution on the entire region through violence inflicted on civilian populations while relying on the acquiescence of the international community. [snip]

    Well… I’d say that last there is a bingo.  And it sounds familiar.  Very Bushite approach.  Impose thru violence and be assured that few – or no one – want to oppose you.

    *************************************************************************

    Chris Hedges in TruthDig on The Wall.

    Those inside these zones of occupation pleaded over the years for help.  We refused to listen.  And once they burst through these barriers, enraged, bloodied, bent on revenge, we recoiled in horror, unable to see our complicity.  We asked them to be quiet, to be reasonable, to calm down, and when they did not, their blood heated by years of abuse and neglect, we condemned them to their fate.

    The barrier built by Israel in the West Bank is one of the most tangible and important symbols of this long humiliation, this strangulation of the Palestinians by Israel.  To understand the role of this barrier is to begin to understand the rage it has now unleashed.  Understanding is not excusing, but until we grasp that these militants do not come from another moral universe, until we face our own complicity in their creation and the awful violence now underway in Lebanon and the occupied territories, we cannot begin to understand the gross injustices that fuel these militant movements.  It was, after all, the $10 billion in loan guarantees by the United States that made this barrier possible.

    ********************************************************************

    BBC on the killing of the UN Peacekeeprs.

    My guess would be if intentional it was done to check (and there is none, from earlier reports) viability for an International peacekeeping force.  I heard some talk this am of a force drawn from Egyptian and Turkish nationals.

     LOL  Doubt that would go down well…

    UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon contacted Israeli troops 10 times before an Israeli bomb killed four of them, an initial UN report says.

    Occupation, I doubt the Israelis want to share it…

    ************************************************************************

    Augustus Richard Norton, opinion piece in Lebanon’s The Daily Star:

    The early evidence suggests strongly that Shiites will emerge from this war even more politicized than before July 12, when the Israeli onslaught began. This war is consolidating sectarian loyalties, reinforcing the role of religious institutions and only heightening distrust of the US and major Arab states – most prominently Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

    Just because many tens of thousands of Lebanese Shiites may have to live in tents does not mean that they are going to emerge from this war a diminished political force. I expect the contrary to be true. There will be two beneficiaries of their politicization: Hizbullah and Iran.

    **********************************************************************

    Senator Reid is among the Dems who vote FOR Ensign’s bill making assisting a teen to cross state lines to obtain an abortion a FEDERAL CRIME, from the SF Chron:

     Senate votes to bar abortion in other states for some minors
    House has OKd a similar measure, and Bush backs both

    (07-26) 04:00 PDT Washington — The Senate moved back into the abortion battle Tuesday, voting to make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines to have an abortion if it bypasses state law requiring parental notification or consent.

    The overwhelming 64-34 vote gives the measure a good chance at enactment this year. A similar measure already has passed the House, and both bills enjoy President Bush’s strong backing.

    The vote was the first on the issue since similar legislation died eight years ago during the Clinton administration. The bill is one of a long-running series of Republican-led efforts to restrict abortion while stopping short of banning it, since the Supreme Court has held since 1973 that the right to abortion is protected by the Constitution. It adds abortion to the GOP’s election-year push on such divisive social issues as same-sex marriage and flag burning.

    Reid has NEVER missed a chance to restrict women’s rights wrt to reproductive freedom.  Batting strong for Democrats for Life, where he is an All Star (pdf.).

    Tell us again about Casey… who btw, is a state level All Star for DfL (html).

    *********************************************************************** 

    NY Observer

    Timid Democrats Fail
    To Pin Blame on Bush

    By Nicholas von Hoffman

    It took the Republicans about three weeks to make the Democratic politicians in Washington look like confused polled cattle. The ease and frequency with which the Republicans are able to emasculate the Democrats is past all get out.

    Once again, there are the D’s out in the pasture with no horns and no balls. They had it done to them two years ago, when they and their candidate, John Kerry, allowed themselves to be ruined by the Swift Boat Veterans nonsense. How in Sam Hill does a national political party which led the United States into four major wars in the last century get itself tabbed again and again by its opponents as the cut-and-run party, the party of woofters, poofters and wankers?

    This has been going on since the Civil War, as the Democrats have been successfully and successively defined by the G.O.P. as the Copperhead pro-slavery party, the soft-on-communism party and now the soft-on-national-defense party.

    What makes Democrats so wussy?

    **************************************************************

    From Reuters:

    GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli forces killed 16 Palestinians in fighting across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, including at least nine militants, a three-year-old girl and a handicapped man, medics and witnesses said.

    Israel has stepped up air strikes and launched raids into Gaza to stop rocket attacks and recover a soldier captured by militants on June 25. The army has killed 137 Palestinians since it began its assault. About half were civilians.

    Wednesday’s death toll in Gaza was the highest in two weeks. Among those killed were seven loyalists of the governing Hamas militant group and one gunman from the kindred Islamic Jihad faction, which is also dedicated to destroying Israel.

    Another gunman was killed later, but it was not clear which group he was from.

    Medics said a three-year-old and six others were killed, including a handicapped man. At least 50 people were wounded, including a cameraman for Palestinian television.

    ***********************************************************************

    Madman at LSF takes a look back at the USS Liberty, bombed (Oh! SO sorry!) by the Israeli AF, but as diversion…

    Have to say, given some history from past Israeli military actions, another “regrettable accident” that happened to observers, one has to wonder if perhaps there isn’t something that happened, or is PLANNED to happen, that the Israelis don’t want observed, recorded or reported? From the link above, regarding the USS Liberty:

    By 9:50 am, the minaret at El Arish could be seen with the naked eye like a solitary mast in a sea of sand. Although no one on the ship knew it at the time, the Liberty had suddenly trespassed into a private horror. At that very moment, near the minaret, Israeli forces were engaged in a criminal slaughter.

    Three days after Israel had launched the six- day war, Egyptian prisoners in the Sinai had become a nuisance. There was no place to house them, not enough Israelis to watch them, and few vehicles to transport them to prison camps. But there was another way to deal with them.

    … and he takes a look at the present day Dems and their high stress notes over al Maliki.  My, they seem more perturbed over his words, then they did over KATRINA. 

    ************************************************************************

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I have Nina Simone blasting from the player… I don’t even know what to say anymore.

    Maybe only this:   as a lowly citoyenne holding just one vote, I renounce the US Imperium – for all that is worth… yes, worth very little, I know. 

    ************************************************************************* 

    via Counterpunch, Uri Avnery writing on the 11th day of the Israeli war on South Lebanon:

    We started a war of days. It turned into a war of weeks. Now they are speaking of a war of months. Our army started a “surgical” action of the Air Force, afterwards it sent small units into Lebanon, now whole brigades are fighting there, and reservists are being called up in large numbers for a wholesale 1982-style invasion.

    Some people already foresee that the war may roll towards a confrontation with Syria.

    All this time, the United States has been using all its might in order to prevent the cessation of hostilities. All signs indicate that it is pushing Israel towards a war with Syria – a country that has ballistic missiles with chemical and biological warheads.

    ***********************************************************************

    Tasini, a man made of asbestos – or courage, has a diary at DKos… on the true third rail, Israel and NY politics.  In fairness, the top of the thread is pretty low key…

    Sombody’s god should bless him. 

    Here is the lay of the land for you, just caught on Fox News:   that we should not worry, no shrines to do with “Jesus and Mary” have been damaged in Nazareth. 

    And then wtih barely a breath, they said that it would ”speed up the war” to “napalm whole neighborhoods” but out of concern for Lebanese life, the Israelis would not do that.  Nor use “bombs packed with grenades”.

    ..what to say anymore…   

      israeli mobile artillery unit, Fassuta N. Israel

    Occupation 25 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in Beirut, Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Democrats, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
    42 comments

    Israeli Military Outpost

    Not to be too flip (considering some of what I read around BlogSnot Land, not to worry!) but read a certain way in the middle of the night, this from the NYT gave me some of the few laughs in days.

    The United States has ruled out its soldiers’ participating, NATO says it is overstretched, Britain feels its troops are overcommitted and Germany says it is willing to participate only if Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that it would police, agrees to it, a highly unlikely development.

    “All the politicians are saying, ‘Great, great’ to the idea of a force, but no one is saying whose soldiers will be on the ground,” said one senior European official.

    “Everyone will volunteer to be in charge of the logistics in Cyprus.”

    Support, strong support, words of praise for the collective punishment baby juggernaut Israel has sent into Southern Lebanon (as they shell into the north as well) but Noooo!… don’t ask us – any of us! -to share a war theatre, battle space, nor a cease-fire (there won’t be any) nor an occupation of southern Lebanon with Israel.

    Last grafs:

    The challenge of creating a viable international force to secure Israel’s border with Lebanon was captured by Nahum Barnea, a columnist for the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot. The European foreign ministers were enthusiastic, he said.

    O very.

    “They only had one small condition — for the force to be made up of soldiers from another country,” Mr. Barnea wrote.

    “The Germans recommended France; the French recommended Egypt, and so on. It is doubtful whether there is a single country in the West currently volunteering to lay down its soldiers on Hezbollah’s fence.”

    hmm. “Hezbollah’s fence?”  NO. I think that they don’t want to occupy Arab, insurgent land with ISRAEL.  Israel’s fence.  Let’s be clear.

    I’m sure we will send Cash.

    Via Danny Schechter who is UP!, this from the JPost… Occupation, Baby!

    OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam acknowledged in a briefing at Northern Command headquarters in Safed on Sunday afternoon that the commander of the IDF’s civil administration unit had already begun preparations toward the possibility of instituting a military administration in areas captured by the IDF over the last week.

    According to Adam, “Certain units who will give us breathing space have been called up, including the commander of that unit.” The unit’s activation, however, would only take place following comprehensive consultations, he said.

    Comprehensive. One of those words “leaders” toss out, to seem in charge, awake, aware. Rather than merely in place.

    And, [thanks to observer] Kos was on Nightline last night with Jake Tapper…

    I say Kos should keep talking. Ab-so-lute-ly. Makes so little sense and is so easily pleased to speak of lui-meme (well they do ask him, I realise that) or to offer gibberish as [non]sense. Lots of tired homilies and retreads. Keep it up fella.

    And he seems so fond of Bush 1. Why did he bother to change parties? Rather like the little clutch of … [confused??] partisans I ran into in a diary once at Dkos, calling Nixon charming.  Really.  And much sloberation for Reagan.

    I mean, you have to wonder.

    Especially as it was a diary chock-a-block with Clark supporters… and the little Nixon afficianado was an oppo researcher (not a good one, he said in Feb of ’04 that the Republicans would be able to do “nothing” with Kerry’s service.  Oh ye of very little faith…) at the Clark HQ in LR.

    Here, have a Trojan.  No no. Nothing to unroll!  What ever are you thinking?

    Feed it some hay, keep the game going.

    MOULITSAS: Well, it wasn’t — it wasn’t me. I mean, that’s …

    TAPPER: Well, it’s called the YearlyKos.

    MOULITSAS: Well, unfortunately. The organizers wanted that name.

    TAPPER: Well, they wanted it for a reason.

    Tapper is a smart man.  I’d suggest Kos read that interview again.

    TAPPER: What’s the lesson for Joe Lieberman from this, no matter what happens, whether he wins this primary or whether he wins the general election? What’s the lesson you want Joe Lieberman to have learned?

    MOULITSAS: Well, no matter how much I would write about the race — and remember, all I can do is blog about it. All I can do is write about a race …

    TAPPER: And tell people to send money.

    MOULITSAS: A couple, you know, a couple of tens of thousands of dollars, Lieberman is going …

    TAPPER: And do a campaign commercial for his primary opponent.

    MOULITSAS: Well, nobody knows who Markos Moulitsas …

    TAPPER: Well, if that were true, then he wouldn’t have done a campaign commercial with you — Ned Lamont — right?

    MOULITSAS: It was fun. It was a fun …

    TAPPER: I’m just saying you’ve done more than just write about it.

    There will be more….

    ************************************************************************

    Update, 11:30 am

    Dahr Jamail is UP at TO, he has retained his same translator, an Iraqi, tho in Demascus now for two weeks.  Thru conversations with Abu Talat, a look at surviving, day by day, in Baghdad.

    I know this is not what CSTAR mentioned wanting, a map tracking the fighting… I am guessing he/she would like what I would like to find, something as defined as a grid of the areas.  But for now, from the BBC, link to the page with a bgger map and some updates…

       bbc 6/25/06

    Foreign Policy in Focus, link [thanks Madman} to Stephen Zunes article, Congress and the Israeli Attack on Lebanon: A Critical Reading, taking text from the lovely piece of scheisse that the House voted on recently (July 20, 410 – 8, endorses Israel’s continuing operations in Lebanon and Gaza), and replies to selected grafs…

    Whereas the House of Representatives has repeatedly called for full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559;

    The House of Representatives never called for the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 425 and nine subsequent resolutions calling for Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon during Israel’s 22-year occupation of the southern part of that country.

    Nor has the House ever called for the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 446, 451, 465, and 472 calling on Israel to withdraw its illegal settlements from the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights or dozens of other UN Security Council resolutions currently being violated by Israel, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, or other U.S. allies.

    As in the Bush administration, there appears to be a strong bipartisan sense in Congress that UN Security Council resolutions should only apply to governments and movements the United States does not like.

    Good to go!   And should things go really badly, they can claim, (see IWR, October 11, 2002) that they “authorised” only judicious use, to threaten, they can say they did not understand that Bush, er, well, that would be Israel this go round!, would crash the god damned fucking car. 

    And of course here they can all smile and nod and say they authorised support.  They did not see the car, nor the driver.  They did not see the road.  Nor the bodies.  They saw nothin’.

    They miss a lot, those elected people.

    *************************************************************************

    UPDATE: 1:00 pm

    Speaking of elected.  Or those who were once elected.  I got an email this am from the DSCC, apparently signing up at the blog a couple of years ago means I get these emails…. 

    The title is “Craven”.  I did wonder what that crowd would consider craven.  Won’t spend too much time on this as I could not find the text at their web site… but here is a snip (emphasis is mine):

    This fall, Republicans will impugn the patriotism of our candidates because they fear us.

    They fear Democrats because we speak the truth and because we refuse to sit by idly while George W. Bush makes a blatant power grab under the auspices of “Executive Privilege.”

    With only 100 days left until the elections, Republican incumbents are already using their huge cash reserves to unleash baseless attack ads against our Democratic challengers. If Democrats don’t have the money to hit the airwaves and respond, we cannot win.

    The signature?  Tom Daschle.  Lordy, they don’t fear Democrats.  Not in the least.

    *************************************************************************

    UPDATE:  1:30 pm

    AP via Truth Out, on the use of White Phosphorous in the Israeli war on Southern lebanon.

    Jawad Najem, a surgeon at the hospital, said patients admitted Sunday had burns from phosphorous incendiary weapons used by Israel. The Geneva Conventions ban using white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas. Israel said its weapons comply with international law.

        “Mahmoud Sarour, 14, was admitted to the hospital yesterday and treated for phosphorous burns to his face,” Najem said. Mahmoud’s 8-month-old sister, Maryam, suffered similar burns on her neck and hands when an Israeli rocket hit the family car.

        The children were with their father, mother and other relatives when the car was hit by an Israeli missile. Their father died instantly.

        The Sarour family was evacuated from Tyre to Cyprus on Monday aboard a ferry chartered by Germany.

        The Sarours had to go to the port by taxi because the Lebanese Red Cross suspended operations outside Tyre after Israeli jets blasted two ambulances with rockets, said Ali Deebe, a Red Cross spokesman in Tyre.

    ************************************************************************

    Diplomacy faltering looms in Rome.  Who had thought otherwise?  From TimesOnline:

    But Mr Olmert pledged to carry on the offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas and a senior Israeli army officer said later that Israeli forces might have to move as far as 70km (40 miles) into Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah positions.

    The US Secretary of State then moved on to Ramallah for a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, to discuss that month-long Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

    Shopkeepers in the West Bank city shut their doors to protest against the visit, accusing her of siding with Israel. … A crowd of thousands gathered to chant:

    “Rice, Rice, you are a crow, what misery you bring with you.”

    “She is persona non grata in Palestine,” said Khaled Rajab, a taxi-driver, of the US Secretary of State. “We have nothing personal against her, but against the blind bias towards Israel.”

    ***********************************************************************

    Billmon tracks what the House of Saud is saying.  [thanks D Throat]   Wish they believed anything!

    And he adds a yummy tidbit (I had decided not to even fuss in that direction… but happy to piggy-back!):

    Those who thought it might turn out otherwise (I’m looking in your direction Booman) probably should have remembered the old Arab proverb: My brother and me against my cousins, my cousins and me against my village, my village and me against my tribe, my tribe and me against the world.

    And also a snip, via Billmon from Angry Arab:

    The Angry Arab notes, correctly, that one of the sickest/funniest aspects of this whole farce has been watching the neocons and the pro-Israel bloggers fellate the House of Saud — that feudal hotbed of Islamofascism that miraculously transformed itself into the best Sunni friend Israel never had.

    Presumably it will now be allowed to revert to its good old Islamofascist self again.

    Ever flexible under those robes!

    **************************************************************

    WAR! … and political blood sport. 24 July 2006

    Posted by marisacat in 2006 Mid Terms, Beirut, Big Box Blogs, DC Politics, Democrats, WAR!.
    31 comments

          

    A clutch of links about Lamont, Lieberman, Kos, Whacks and some (imo) scrambled political whacking.  Not in agreement with it all… but hey, blood sport and frankly!, are there any identifiable “sides” left in an every man/woman on their own Democratic party? and so on….

    The Salon piece by Colin McEnroe makes some points however (the ad is short) and their graf on Maxine is revealing [is she clear that Lamont is a member of Brookings, rather more significant than any online, ginned-up, fake "progressivism", much less, forgive me while I laugh, insurgency] and this is the close:

    If Lieberman’s sudden discovery of the black vote doesn’t work, of course, the Clintons will cut Lieberman loose like a sandbag on a sinking balloon. They already have, sort of. Each has made separate statements promising to support the Democrat chosen by party voters in two weeks, so no matter how many nice things the ex-president says in Waterbury, we should understand that today’s Joe Cool could be Aug. 9’s Joe Who?

    But maybe the ploy will work because Waterbury is, after all, a lucky charm for Democrats. And it’s one that speaks to both Bill Clinton and Joe Lieberman’s dimly remembered roots. In 1960, John F. Kennedy abruptly added a Waterbury stop to his campaign schedule, and 40,000 people stood around until 3 a.m. waiting to see him. He spoke from the balcony of a beautiful and storied old hotel, the Elton. The night was celebrated by historian Theodore White as a turning point, and Pierre Salinger called it the greatest moment of that campaign. It’s a story both Clinton and Lieberman would know well, or would’ve known back in 1970. In the ensuing years, each has parked some of his youthful ideals and gotten behind the wheel of the shiny new centrism. And the Elton Hotel has become an assisted-living facility.

    Time is pitiless.

    hmm About where it is at.  Depending on what happens this could get more cut throat after August 8.  Blood splatter.  Or, they slink off. 

    Who knows. 

    Weekly Standard weighs in… looking at the KosWhackian FP, the diaries, the silence and the noise on Israel – Hizbollah – Lebanon War.  Their broader assumptions leave me rather cold, but then I am waaaay on the other side of the river from the WS operatives. 

    NY Mag with a multi-page take. Good photo montage heads it up (I am not all the way thru it)… [thanks to observer for links]

    AND correcting a mistatement I made down in the previous thread, the Quinnipiac poll is larger than I had thought:  2,502 polled by phone.  Possibly the ”278” stuck in my brain is a sub group…

    AND:   Ann Althouse has a few things to say about Kos, silence, WS, being “quoted” in the NYT (a comment from a thread) and whatever it all really is, in her opinion.  [thanks to Deepest Troat]

    It has been entertaining watching the designated Thugs patrol Dkos threads.  Big issues, party dissension, Mid Terms (polls polls polls polls, hey! wanna poll?) and STFU about a vicious killing border war/invasion/collective punishment that we back, fund and provide the armaments for.  Not fucking likely.

    Oh and yeah, Warner is supporting Lieberman (or now, then they all scatter like bugs), but the blogs nudge Boxer (fine! whatever!) and Warner is making nice at the DLC summer Conversation in Denver for endorsement, kind words, whatever he can find. Not quite the same sales event as in LV…

    Boyz?  Boyz?

    … more to come… the wretched war grinds on.  

    *************************************************************************

    Continuing right along on the well-marked road:

    Taking a peek at Blogometer… and what do we find.  A gathering of Kaus looking at Dickerson (both at Slate) looking at Warner – and some nostalgia elsewhere for Vis Numar days (Jerome and the Stars):

    WARNER: Dawning Of The Age Of Aquarias

    Kausfiles picks up on Slate colleague’s John Dickerson profile of ex-VA Gov. Mark Warner noting that Warner is supporting Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) against blogger-fav cable co. exec. Ned Lamont (D) and asks: “After all, Kos snipes at Sen. Dodd and Senators Boxer and Biden for their support of Lieberman in the primary. How is Warner any different?”

    Kaus concludes that DailyKos‘ founder Markos Moulitsas friendship with Warner employee Jerome Armstrong must be the answer.

    Dales at RedState offers a more obscure explanation poking fun at Armstrong’s past: “Through 2008, Uranus would conjunt his natal Pisces Chiron, while Saturn would transit over the natal Uranus. And we all know that it will be Uranus, with its sudden, unexpected awakenings, rebellions, and lightning-like strokes, that will intermittently clamor for our attention in the next four.* … * Actual astrological terms and phrases, as the link demonstrates, from paid Warner consultant Jerome “Vis Numar” Armstrong!”

    Be glad I did not bother with the Righties laughing at Kerry… who would have backed Israel in the current mess as much as Bush. Utterly beholden to Israel.  One War Party.  One promises (if you don’t look behind the curtain) less brutality. Neater, lower-cost war.

    Unless you think that Durbin, who really spoke as needed (floor of the senate, the FBI FOIA cable, the apology) to the horror runs this joke of a party?

    Handmaidens.

    Bob Parry on Bush, Osama, ’04 and the push – pull within and without S Arabia – and other Arab nations. 

    CIA analysts recognized that bin-Laden saw Bush’s policies – such as the Guantanamo prison camp, the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Iraq War – as playing into al-Qaeda’s hands by creating a new generation of Islamic jihadists and undermining pro-U.S. Arab governments.

    “Certainly,” CIA deputy associate director for intelligence Jami Miscik told a senior meeting of CIA analysts, “he [bin-Laden] would want Bush to keep doing what he’s doing for a few more years,” according to Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine.

    As the CIA analysts reviewed this internal assessment, they grew troubled by its implications.

    “An ocean of hard truths before them – such as what did it say about U.S. policies that bin-Laden would want Bush reelected – remained untouched,” Suskind wrote. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “CIA: Osama Helped Bush in ’04.”]

    With the Wapo page 1 take on Pakistan [thanks madman] and their bomb making – things are going swimmingly.  We are swimming in the precursors to ever widening fire and blood.  Dr Strangelove and the old rubric, learning to love the bomb isn’t working for me so well these days…

    ”Elections matter”, if you get a chance to vote for someone real (no point getting lost in “liking”).  Sadly Bush IS real, very real.  Post-coup, I keep saying.

    ************************************************************************

    Asia Times has several good pieces, but this one has some specifics as to ordnance Hezbollah has.  Apparently they have a few tanks as well, old but I suspect a wretched tank is better than none at all:

    Hezbollah’s impressive arsenal has taken some professional observers and large parts of the news media by surprise, though as yet many of its potentially most lethal weapons have not been used and probably won’t be until a full-scale Israeli invasion has been launched.

    They are believed to have significant quantities of Russian AT-5 Spandrel, AT-3 Sagger, a few AT-10 and a number of US TOW anti-tank guided missiles. Huge numbers of Russian RPG-7 and the Iranian-built version, the Saghegh, with a lethal 80mm tandem HEAT warhead, 82mm B-I0 and 107mm B-11 recoilless anti-tank guns, supplement 60mm, 82mm and 120mm mortars, vast numbers of anti-tank and anti-personnel mines of Chinese, Russian, Italian and Iranian origin.

    Plentiful quantities of explosives and a proven ability to produce highly effective improvised explosive devices (IEDs – booby-traps and road side bombs) round out the inventory. It also has SA-7 and perhaps some SA-14-man portable surface-to-air missiles and twin 23mm ZSU anti-aircraft guns in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.

    Lordy.  Onward, if we dare…

    ***********************************************************************

    Dahr Jamail, transcript dated today, from Beirut on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman.

    hmm.  Ynet News weighs in on the detention center being speedily built at the Filon military base to house captured Hezbollah fighters, Lebanese captives.  The Israelis quickly dispensed with early plans to make use of a facility dating to the British Mandate (deemed too small).  Speaks to big plans…

    Danny Schechter!  News Dissector is not a silent Blahhg!  a long list of links and snips and quick takes.

    Condi to the holy land has gone after describing in her best ‘let them eat bombs’ manner, that the plight of Lebanon is a part of the “birth pangs of a new Middle East” and said that Israel should ignore calls for a ceasefire.

    Pearls, ‘gamos and I bet a kiss from Bush for luck.  What does a girl need?

    Ooops! Forgot to add, panel at AEI on C-Span 1 (Pletka in charge!).  Everything is going really well in Iraq.  I am guessing, just a taking a flyer here – that a higher daily death toll and things would be  …  … better?

    Nur al-Cubicle translation:   Analysis: The cards held by Hezbollah by Mouna Naïm, Lebanon Correspondent for Le Monde.

    From Sean Paul at Agonist:

    ”Ever yearned for the perfect answer to this question, the magical silver bullet guaranteed to make people pay attention? Well, look no further than this New York Times headline:

    U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis

    And the headline is complete with this wonderfully distracting and playful photo of Israeli propaganda leaflets falling from the sky.”

       leafletting

    *************************************************************************

    Update, 4:30 pm.

    Wolcott on the war inside Lebanon – with clips from Gilliard and Billmon.

    Free market.  Or something like that, from Business Week.  Maybe the real reason she packed her Ferragamos.

    Operation “Peace for the Gallilee”.  Photog from IC-Creations tagged along with a reporter from Ma’ariv newspaper – during the Hizbollah shelling of Kiryat Shmona.  They went up to where the IDF were shelling Lebanon across the border.

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