Open Thread

The Sound of Children

A wounded Palestinian child screams as she arrives at Shifa Hospital after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. Like tear-drops in rain.

Source: Fadi Adwan-Getty, Washington Post.

Husk at man alltid skal lese pakningsvedleggene for medisin man skal bruke. 1 omfatter ikke psykologhjelp, behandling hos kiropraktor eller behandling for språk – og taledefekter. Insomni: problemer med å sovne, urolig nattesøvn, problemer med å sove lenge nok ogeller dårlig søvnkvalitet.

402 replies on “The Sound of Children”

How would you react if say…… 300 children were slaughtered and maybe 1200 maimed in your neighbourhood over the last couple of weeks?

“UPDATE II: According to the Report issued on Thursday (.pdf) by the U.N.’s Humanitarian Affairs Office, more than 1/3 of overall Palestinian deaths are children (34% of the almost 800 total deaths), and a similar percentage of the more than 3,000 wounded are also children (34.8%).”

Cat, this from April 2008:
“Senator Hillary Clinton has received virtually no attention for taking an unconventional position on Israel (albeit in a direction approved by pro-Israel hardliners).”

And from earlier in HRC’s career:
“Clinton’s silence toward Israel’s brutality implies the senator will continue to support AIPAC’s mission to occupy the whole of the occupied territories, as well as a war on Iran. AIPAC is correct—even President Bush appears to be a little sheepish when up against the warmongering of Hillary Clinton.”

Brutusina once said it takes a village, but I wouldn’t bet the shtetl on her coming to the peace party on this one.

Cat, what happenened to your comment that was at #2 about you hoping a certain powerful American female politician with a very senior position in The Kid’s cabinet would be ready from day one?

Cat, just checked ABC online, smh and news, arguably our three major media conglomerates.

Bubkes about the slaughtered children. “Civilians” was as close as any came and numbers were sketchy or not mentioned.

Enemy Combatant at 5

Don’t forget to check Front page news for the State of Israel is a guide to the 2009 Elections (go figure) together with links on investing, working, studing, or visiting – but nothing about the killing of children or the starving of the Palestinian population. I’m sure they have something somewhere – maybe under recruitment – something like “The Office of Genocide Management” or perhaps “Infanticide Support Services”?

NYT: As Talks Falter, Israel Warns of More Extensive Attacks

JERUSALEM — Israel warned Gaza residents on Saturday that it was preparing the next phase of its war against Hamas — a deeper ground force operation — as diplomatic efforts to end the 15-day assault and Hamas rocket fire into Israel faltered.

NYT: Egyptians Seethe Over Gaza, and Their Leaders Feel Heat

CAIRO — Inside Al Azhar Mosque, a 1,000-year-old center of religious learning, the preacher was railing on Friday against Jews. Outside were rows of riot police officers backed by water cannons and dozens of plainclothes officers, there to prevent worshipers from charging into the street to protest against the war in Gaza.

NYT: For Arab Clan, Days of Agony in a Cross-Fire

“I could feel the blood dripping inside my head,” Ahmed said, recalling the days he lay wounded in the bombed-out building. “My father was crawling — he couldn’t move his legs,” he said. His cousin Abdallah, 10, was trying to stand up but kept falling down; his brother Yaqoub, 12, kept removing large pieces of shrapnel from his own stomach; and his sister Amal, 9, was not moving at all. Another brother, Ishaq, 12, was wounded in the legs. He bled for two days before he died.

Do people here think that Israel is deliberately targetting civilians?

Do people here think that Hamas is deliberately targetting civilians?

CQ Politics
Senate Races in 2010

There doesn’t seem to be any rest for weary Senate Republican strategists, who are trying to plot a comeback in 2010 for their party after two election cycles in which they lost ground. But at least this time around, the GOP doesn’t face as great a disadvantage compared to the Democrats in the number of seats it has to defend.

continued on CQ Politics

Cosby hails Obama, knocks Hannity.

Bill Cosby, the entertainer-turned-activist known for his controversial comments on race, told Washington’s WTOP radio station Saturday that Barack and Michelle Obama were examples of the parenting and family values he’s challenged black America to strengthen.

“Who is Barack Obama and what did he tell us, when he talked about his mother? What was it he was saying when he said his mother woke up, 4:30 in the morning…to correct his homework, to get it done?” Cosby asked rhetorically. “Let’s listen to Michelle Obama who talks about her father with a disease, but he doesn’t call in work and say, let me call in later. He gets up an hour earlier.”

“There are statements made which tell us, you know, that people make it because they try,” Cosby said.

Cosby brushed back the criticism that his past comments about African-Americans could be taken out of context by critics of the black community – taking a crack at Fox News commentator Sean Hannity in the process.

continued on Politico

David Gould at 8
Wrong question.
You should be asking if anyone thinks Israel’s actions serve any higher motive than the low and inexcusable political exercise in motivating voters at the expense of the Palestinian people.

GOP sees Franken as top public enemy.

With only a longshot court appeal standing in the way of Democrat Al Franken’s election to the Senate, Republicans are gritting their teeth and bracing for the arrival of a new senator whose every utterance will sound like nails on a chalkboard to them.

While Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) has filed suit to contest the results of a disputed recount process that turned his narrow lead into a 225-vote deficit, his likely defeat stands to turn Franken, the polarizing former “Saturday Night Live” writer, into the senator who launched a thousand direct mail fundraising appeals.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had an opponent who is so disliked by Republicans as Al Franken,” said Minnesota Republican Party Chair Ron Carey, who cautioned that Coleman’s election challenge could still turn the results back his way. “It’s one thing to lose to an honorable opponent, but Al Franken is not considered an honorable opponent by Minnesota Republicans.”

Click here for Politico

The Hill.
Obama to honor McCain with pre-inaugural dinner.

President-elect Obama plans to honor Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), his general election opponent, at a dinner on the eve of his inauguration.

Vice President-elect Biden and former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) will also be honored in a move to symbolize Obama’s commitment to bipartisanship, his inaugural committee announced Saturday.

That’s a good way to get McCain onside in the senate.
continued on The Hill


I would still like an answer to my questions. Given that people are attacking Israel with every statement and saying nothing about Hamas, it seems that people here believe that Israel is morally worse than Hamas. Thus, I am assuming that they believe that Israel deliberately targets civilians while Hamas does not. Am I wrong in this assumption?

In response to your assertion that this is purely a political exercise, I would remind you that the Lebanon war was a political diasaster for the Israeli government. Unless Israel manages a military victory and halts the rocket fire, this will also end up as a political disaster. Thus, pure political motives are suspect, imo. Obviously, there are political motives for this action – that is nothing profound. But there are other motives, too.

David- yes you are wrong that we I that Israel targets civilians while Hamas does not. They both do, and they are both to be condemned fro that. But one is using an arsenal with fire paower (read Capacity To Kill) that far outweighs the other. Bit like someone taking on a man armed witha knife witha machine gun – unequal and disproportionate. And far more likely to injure more people who were not involved in the original fight.

me @20-
“we I that “=scary GWB -sounding !
I meant “you are wrong to assume that I think that Israel…”
(but then I get to say it twice :wink:)

David –
Fred Abrahms says it way better than I can…

“Israel has come under increasing international criticism for the growing number of civilian casualties of this war and for complicating efforts by aid and rights groups to help those caught in the cross-fire. Israel says Hamas fighters hide consciously among civilians, in mosques and schools and under clinics.

Fred Abrahams, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, who has studied both the Kosovo and Lebanon conflicts, said he was concerned that Israel was not paying enough attention to international legal requirements for “distinction and proportionality — first, to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and second, whether an attack will have a disproportionate effect on the civilians in the area.”

Even if a target is legitimate, he said, “you can’t drop a 500-pound bomb in an area crowded with civilians.”

This was also the first conflict he could remember when civilians could not flee the war zone. Gaza’s borders are shut both to Israel and to Egypt, and civilians, he said, “are fish in a barrel.”

“Our conclusions are preliminary but evidence is suggesting serious violations of the laws of war, which require investigation,” Mr. Abrahams said.

That is also true of Hamas, he said. “We need to know more about what Hamas is doing on the ground,” he said. “For example, we know Hamas has stored weapons in mosques, so when Israel targets a mosque, we don’t scream war crime.”

Regarding force protection, he said it “must be balanced by distinction and proportion.”

“A violation by Hamas shooting from a mosque or school doesn’t give the Israeli Army carte blanche to return fire in the name of force protection with everything and anything it has,” he added.

Human rights groups are also concerned about the Israeli use of white phosphorous, which creates smoke on a battlefield, at low altitudes or crowded areas, because it can burn like a kind of napalm.

Taghreed El-Khodary contributed reporting from Gaza, and Steven Erlanger from Jerusalem. ”
NY Times

A good article, well worth reading.
There are no easy answers and endlessly repeating the past 60 years simply won’t work.

YAD MORDECHAI, Israel, Jan 10 (Reuters) – The shadow of the Warsaw Ghetto hangs over Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip.

On a hilltop that gave a good view last week of the smoke of battle rising over Gaza and helicopters hunting Palestinians who aim rockets at Israel, that shadow is cast literally by a statue of the man who led the 1943 Jewish uprising against the Nazis.

The bronze figure of Mordechaj Anielewicz, who died fighting rather than follow millions of Jews to the gas chambers, towers in the low winter sun over gardens and a swimming pool at the kibbutz named after him by fellow Jewish socialists from Poland, whose move to Palestine in the 1930s spared them the Holocaust.

But figurative shadows from that time also hang over the Yad Mordechai communal cattle and honey farm, a mile or so north of the Gaza border: “It’s very heavy to live in the shadow of Mordechaj Anielewicz,” said Raya Passi, the kibbutz spokeswoman.

“The statue and the story of the war hang over the kibbutz.”

She recalled how horrors in Europe brought Jews to the area but also how the kibbutz, set up just after German troops razed the Warsaw Ghetto, went down five years later in the founding epics of the Jewish state as the site of a David-and-Goliath battle against overwhelming odds and helped define the border.

The shadows hang, too, over Palestinians crammed miserably into the Gaza Strip, most descended from refugees who lost homes in what became Israel on May 14, 1948. They hang over vanished Arab villages, crumbled into the farmland north of the walls and fences Israel erected to stop attacks by people from Gaza………….More-.

I nominate George Bush as the embarrassment of the Millennium. I know there’s still 90 years to go. But no one else will come close.

The problem with Israeli strategy is that they actually cause groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. If you keep up military and covert attacks on all fronts the more democratic and secular forces in the Palestinian community and broader Arab population get smashed because they are seen as being prepared to compromise with Israel. There is also some evidence that the Israelis have initially supported such groups as a means of destabilising more middle of the road Arab governments and movements.
Thats not to excuse Islamic terrorism but its just that they become seen as providing some protection. Same in Pinochet’s Chile – the churches and sports clubs become the center for resistance when all legal opposition is smashed and murdered. In Iran – people look to religeon and the mullahs can become liberation leaders when other avenues are cut off. It suits the hardliners in Israel to have Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah to demonise. Ditto it suits these groups to have an intransigent Israel.
I would suggest that Hamas strategy has been built around having the capacity to defend an Israeli invasion – its their best chance of inflicting serious casualties on Israel. They don’t mind that the odds might be 50 to 1 or 100 to 1 for casualties because they know that such fighting will produce more recruits than casualties.

I have mostly because it tends to put more than you want on your computer. But it now has a great new feature. You can download ANY I repeat, ANY video you watch. This means you can watch the inauguration over and over on your computer. When you are watching a video a message comes up when you put the arrow over the video. Download this video. No conversions needed. Instant access to the video.
Just install it carefully, by selecting only what you need at the start.

A free Real Player

Caution. You may overload your downloads.

Miami Herald
Missouri senator’s exit alters political landscape.

The decision by Republican Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri to end more than a two-decade run in the Senate had an immediate impact on the political outlook for his home state and made the next election cycle tougher for the national GOP.

Republicans lost three of the five Senate seats opened by retirements last year and are facing at least one more retirement in Florida, a swing state.

Bond already was headed toward a highly competitive, highly watched re-election bid in 2010. By announcing Thursday that he would not seek re-election when his current term ends, Bond accelerated the ground game for the candidates who will vie for his seat.

Another one bites the dust. Rats deserting a sinking ship.
continued on The Miami Herald


It all depends where you live. That was the geography of Israel’s propaganda, designed to demonstrate that we softies—we little baby-coddling liberals living in our secure Western homes—don’t realise the horror of 12 (now 20) Israeli deaths in 10 years and thousands of rockets and the unimaginable trauma and stress of living near Gaza. Forget the 600 Palestinian dead; travelling on both sides of the Atlantic these past couple of weeks has been an instructive—not to say weirdly repetitive—experience.

“When does the mandate of victimhood expire?” he asked. “At what point does the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews cease to excuse the state of Israel from the demands of international law and of common humanity?”…………

……….journalists should be on the side of those who suffer. If we were reporting the 18th-century slave trade, I said, we wouldn’t give equal time to the slave ship captain in our dispatches. If we were reporting the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp, we wouldn’t give equal time to the SS spokesman. At which point a journalist from the Jewish Telegraph in Prague responded that “the IDF are not Hitler”. Of course not. But who said they were?

Notice too how the Israeli Ministry of Propaganda seem to exclusively use women flacks when dishing their spin on the slaughter of Gazan innocents. One angel of media death was dressed in black and sporting bright vermillion lippy and a Morticia Addams “tan” as she purred the tragic news to camera.

It’s the little touches that make such a grotesque spectacle all the more edifying.

Great articel ecky. The whole false argument that if you criticise Israel’s actions that you therefore support the actions of Hamas (or worse – are anti-semetic), has to stop. The Jewish people have suffered immeasurably, but that does not the mean they can therefore inflict horror on innocents themselves.

that would be ‘article’ – sorry guys: I know i should proof read, but am at work so mostly just get time to dash something off without a chance to read it: and we all know how appalling my typing is 🙄

Chris B
Good luck with your adventures with realplayer Chris. 👿
Check the playground for a new toy. 🙂

Thanks Paddy. There is a warning on the US and Chinese site from Mcaffe. Only minor. See the playground.

If you have about 50 minutes to kill you can listen to the debate as to whether the Imbecile was the worst President in the last 50 years.

When a group of pundits gathered for a recent Oxford-style debate, the proposition alone was provocative: “Bush 43 Is the Worst President of the Past 50 Years.” But when you consider that one of the panelists defending President Bush’s legacy was his longtime adviser Karl Rove, the night became even more interesting.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, At the start of the evening, 65 percent of the audience was in favor of the proposition that George W. Bush is the worst American president of the past 50 years; 17 percent were against the motion; and 18 percent were undecided. By the end of the debate, 68 percent were for the motion; 27 percent were against it; and 5 percent were still undecided.

Chris, George looks positively demonic. Bet the cover was John’s idea, the doll’s head is very much his impishness. No wonder the fuddy-duddy executives at Parlophone kyboshed it.
Perfectly alright, old chap, for Empire to induge in it’s atrocities on the QT, but hardly the sort of thing for an Englishman to be parading in front of the women and children, what!?

jen Says:
January 11th, 2009 at 8:25 am | Edit
Fuck Israel.]

jen, I remember when they used to say the exact same thing about Ireland!

true Ecky – let me rephrase –
Fuck The IDF for it’s indiscrimnate and unjustifable aggression that left the child in the photo Catrina posted feeling as distressed and terrified as she clearly is.

I just shortened it a bit.

I have also posted a link to a VERY GOOD FREE anti virus program in the playground. Plus a review.

SMH: US ‘rejected Israel’s plea for Iran strike’

US President George W. Bush last year rejected a secret Israeli request for an air strike against the main Iranian nuclear complex using US bunker-busting bombs, The New York Times reported on its website late Saturday local time.

But citing unnamed senior US and foreign officials, the newspaper said Bush had authorised a new covert operation aimed at sabotaging Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons.

The request was made last year by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who wanted US bunker-busting bombs and permission to fly over Iraq to attack Iran’s major uranium enrichment complex at Natanz, the report said.

But top US administration officials led by Defense Secretary Robert Gates had convinced Bush that any overt attack on Iran would prove ineffective, lead to the expulsion of international inspectors and drive Iran’s nuclear program deeper underground, the paper said.

jen, I shoulda put a smiley on the crack about Ireland.

In my youth a bunch of blokes used to get legless around a keg from time to time, tell jokes, do schtick and pretend to be willing “members of the club”. One of the lads used to do a bit from a play that climaxed in:

Player A: “But what about Ireland?!”

Player B: “Ireland !! Fuck Ireland!!”

Anyway, that’s where I was coming from so very obscurely. Most certainly am in complete accord with your sentiments about IDF barbarism.
Sat Jan 11:;_ylt=A0WTUduZuGlJpiEBHgoDwLAF
Sun Jan 11:;_ylt=AgJb7LPFVY_6H45WUN5pAM0l6ysC

I have to confess that my main reactions to the war in Gaza are sorrow and confusion.

At an objective level, I can see why the antagonists fight they way they fight. I can see the rationalisations and the strategems and the geo-politics and the power-grabbing at work. Analytically, I get it. But beyond the level of strategy or tactics – at an ethical level – mostly, I am perplexed.

I understand why Israelis would want to put and end to missile raids; why they want to assert their rights to defend themselves. But I do not understand why they use such extreme means to accomplish these ends. I am, as I say, confused about Israel.

And likewise, I am confused by Hamas. I can see why the desperate, stateless and impoverished people of Palestine feel they have to resist Israel and even why they may hate their enemies. But I absolutely cannot understand why Hamas would expose the very lives of their own children to Israeli armour, bullets and high explosives. This is all impenetrable to me.

What can victory for anyone mean if it entails the destruction of the innocent? I do not understand this at all.

Superficially, the end to conflict is so very simple: people should ask themselves whether they want peace or war, and if they wish for peace, then they should also ask themselves what they are willing to do or to forego in order to have peace. This seems self-evident to me. But the cast (if I can use such an impersonal term) in the middle-east seem to prefer war to peace. Is this so? I am too far removed to know, I think.

It also seems to me that people have an extraordinary capacity to suffer, and even to embrace death, rather than to choose peace. In the closing months of WW2, more than 50,000 Germans – mostly civilians – were killed each week. But this did not in itself bring the war to an end. The war ended when their last capacity to fight had been completely exhausted. And, even when so many were being killed by the advancing allied armies, Germans still found it possible to kill each other by the thousand in the name of a futile resistance to the Russians. This speaks to a horrifying familiarity with fear, death and chaos. It is very difficult to sort through this from the outside…at least, for me it is.

yep. me too.
Just don’t really understand the whole thing when it is so obvious that you can’t win.
I like to win.

Bill Moyers on PBS does this really heartfelt piece on the murder being committed in Gaza:

…and yes DG, it’s murder, because ‘not choosing to kill civilians’ is not done with bombs dropped onto schools and densely populated areas. This is clearly collective punishment when hundreds of dead children are the direct result, and it’s entirely disingenuous to claim otherwise.

This is NOT, conversely, an endorsement of Hamas’s tactics. But look at how badly Israel is now perceived throughout the world, and you have to conclude that their actions are very counterproductive on so many levels. Sympathy for Hamas is exactly what the extremists sought by provoking Israel’s over-reaction, and Israel obliged.

The innocent dead are merely pawns in this ugly game.

To make them slow down and think, maybe they need to be hit where it hurts them most-
their wallets.
Naomi Klein on boycotting Israel.
In my view, ditto US where possible. Since the Iraq war, have directed my personal $’s /travel on countries that spoke out against, such as France, which at least helped alleviate some of my outrage these past years if nothing else.
A moral dilemma as some of the most outspoken critics are from the US.

Frank Rich in the NYT on just how corrupt the bush administration has been.
Unfriggin believable and the chimp’s *still* got 8 days to go. 🙁

THREE days after the world learned that $50 billion may have disappeared in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, The Times led its front page of Dec. 14 with the revelation of another $50 billion rip-off. This time the vanished loot belonged to American taxpayers. That was our collective contribution to the $117 billion spent (as of mid-2008) on Iraq reconstruction — a sinkhole of corruption, cronyism, incompetence and outright theft that epitomized Bush management at home and abroad.

it is reassuring to see that there are those in the know who have been ignored/silenced who will have much to reveal when Obama takes office. As Americans wake up (and they proved they did in the election) the depth of outrage may be enough to spur on investigations that lead to criminal charges for the Bush administartion. Left -wing Loony I may be, but justice is not a left wing ideal – it is common to all of humanity: apart from the corrupt – wonder how close to Howard and Co. it will go if they really pursue this stuff!! 😈

jen at 22,

Not to be impolite or anything, but he does put it better than you. He is not saying, ‘Israel are definitely committing war crimes and thus should be condemned much more than Hamas is being condemned!’ Instead, he is saying that he is concerned that Israel is not paying enough attention to international legal requirements for “distinction and proportionality — first, to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and second, whether an attack will have a disproportionate effect on the civilians in the area.”

You seem to contend that Israel is deliberately targetting civilians in the same way that Hamas does. It is difficult, of course, to judge motives – especially from this distance – but that does not seem to be the case from my perspective. If Israel were deliberately targetting civilians, there would be far more civilian deaths.

However, if we accept for the sake of argument that Israel and Hamas both deliberately target civilians, then we have moral equivalency. But you – and most of the people on this site – go further and say that Israel is morally worse than Hamas. (For example, you say ‘Fuck Israel’ but you do not say ‘Fuck Hamas’. Note that I am not someone who thinks that every time you condemn X, you must also condemn Y. But the fact that you condemn Israel rather than Hamas is evidence that you think Israel is morally worse than Hamas).

The rationale for this seems to be that Israel are better at achieving their goal of killing civilians. I cannot see how effectiveness at evil makes you more evil than someone who is not efficective at evil. I can certainly see how they would trigger more moral outrage if you were not thinking clearly – after all, succeeding in killing a person looks worse than failing to kill a person. But the murderer/attempted murderer still has the same goals. As such, on reflection, it should be clear that they are morally equivalent.

As such, I am unclear on how this kind of thinking works, to be honest.

I also want to respond to criticism of Clinton for not saying anything. Seeing as how Obama is barely saying anything, it would be hardly appropriate for a person who has not yet even been confirmed in their future position of Secretary of State to comment. Thus, the criticism is completely unfair. Ready on day 1? Sure. But it is not yet day 1.


Do you believe that Israel is deliberately targetting civilians? If so, I understand why you would equate them, on a moral level, with Hamas.

“If we were reporting the 18th-century slave trade, I said, we wouldn’t give equal time to the slave ship captain in our dispatches. If we were reporting the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp, we wouldn’t give equal time to the SS spokesman. At which point a journalist from the Jewish Telegraph in Prague responded that “the IDF are not Hitler”. Of course not. But who said they were?”

This ‘but who said they were’ is completely disingenuous. In this whole picture, the analogy is bloody obvious – the Israelis are being equated to the SS here. While he did not specifically say so, for any who can read English, the meaning is absolutely clear.

Further, I am not an Israeli supporter because of the Holocaust. I am an Israeli supporter because I believe that they are, while not being the good guys, not the worst guys. This is also why I am a supporter of the US over, say, Iran. While the US and Israel do horrible things, they are better than many others.

Further, I believe that it is possible to oppose specific policies of a nation without opposing the nation as a whole. That is what it means to live in a democracy, after all.

David – Yes, I believe Israel is deliberately targetting civilians.
And yes – Fuck Hamas too. They are both (Israel and Hamas) evil in their action and intent. However Israel’s actions currently are so appalling in their impact – ie deaths of hundreds of children, that IMO their moral culpability is worse than the Palestinians. They know full well that the arsenal they are using will kill civilians. If Hamas’s rockets were to wreak the same degree of havoc I would be equally outraged. Attempted or wished for murder may be evil but actually doing it is worse.


Why is it morally worse?

As an example, is it morally worse if I accidentally kill 100 people or if I deliberately kill 1 person?


And for the record – I am not anti -Israel, but I am anti – their actions at the moment. In the same way that criticising Bush on Iraq did not make one Anti – American, despite the propoganda that was used to try and silence dissent. It means Anti- the policies of the Government of the day, as you well know.

DG- if you accidentally kill 100 people it is tragic. If you deliberately kill it is evil. Israel is deliberately killing large numbers of innocent people.
As Hamas has attempted to do – i am not excusing Hamas, but Israel’s response is disproportionate (haven’t we been down this track already??)


The reason that it appears from my perspective as if you might be anti-Israeli rather than simply anti specific policies is because you so vehemently attack Israel while only mentioning Hamas when I prod you. Your first instinct, it appears, is to attack Israel. This indicates anti-Israeli bias. I may be wrong, of course. But that is how it appears.


I am unclear how deliberately killing large numbers of people is morally worse than trying to deliberately kill large numbers of people but failing.

Can you explain this reasoning?

For the record, I will again state that I do not think that Israel is deliberately targetting civilians. However, that is most definitely not the same as me saying that they are treating Palestinian civilians as equivalent to Jewish civilians – they certainly are not.

I will again state that I know that this issue is intensely emotional for very good reason. I share that intense emotion. Thus, if I offend people here by my comments/responses, I do not intend to. And I understand that any offence that I might feel at some comments is part of the same thing. As EC said earlier, we are doing very well in discussing this terrible issue in a civil fashion (well, you guys are – I’m probably not in the best position to judge my own comments!)

David Gould Says:
January 12th, 2009 at 9:38 am

Do you believe that Israel is deliberately targetting civilians? If so, I understand why you would equate them, on a moral level, with Hamas.”
But David, of course Israel is targetting civilians. This is self-evident. In the same way, they occasionally target the UN. War has its own dreadful logic which makes it necessary to kill civilians, including children. This is obvious.


I think that we have different definitions here.

There is a big moral difference between bombing a building in which you know that there are no enemy and bombing a building in which there is an enemy along with some civilians.

The target in the first case is civilians; the target in the second case is not.

As stated above, I think that there is a big moral difference between the two events.

Civilian deaths result from the dreadful logic, as you say. But that does not make them morally equivalent.

And likewise, Hamas is using civilians – including children – as weapons in this conflict. Every child that dies is worth 1,000 rockets in terms of the damage done to Israel. They have little with which to fight, but are fighting with all they have, including the blood of their babies….disgusting, but true in war.

Setting aside morality, I would also point out that it is clearly in the propaganda interests of Hamas for as many civilians to die as possible. The converse is true for Israel. Thus, self-interest alone dictates the actions of the two combatants – Hamas will do everything it can to endanger the lives of Palestinian civilians (apart from killing them directly) while Israel will try to minimise that danger if possible. This is why Israel drops leaflets warning of imminent attacks. Hamas wants martyrs for its cause; Israel wants as few of those as possible in the circumstances.

If Israel could kill every Hamas fighter by simply pressing a button, they would do so. If Hamas could kill every Israeli civilian by simply pressing a button, they would do so. The two are not morally equivalent actors.

David- you asked me about the difference between accidentally and deliberately killing. Clearly the difference is intention. And all the evidence to date is indicating that Israel is deliberately killing civilians – aa all thg linked journalists, commentators and even Rabbi’s are also contesting. You may not agree with their view but the numbers of dead and the places that are targetted (UN school for example) suggest you are wrong in your assumption that the dead civilians are accidental. I am not Anti-Israel. I am anti the extent of their response. And here you and I will never agree.


If Israel are deliberately targetting civilians, I have two questions:

1.) What is their motive for doing so? (As stated above, Palestinian civilian deaths are not a good thing for Israel; instead, they are good for Hamas. So why is Israel doing it?)

2.) Why are they so bad at it? (In other words, how come, with all their modern weaponry, they have not been able to kill thousands of the 1.5 million people in Gaza?)

The example of the UN school that you used is an interesting one. I agree that Israel deliberately targetted it. But they did not deliberately target civilians in doing so. They believed that they had been fired upon from there. They may have been wrong; it looks as though the firing came from near the school, not in the school. But that does not mean that they deliberately targetted civilians.

btw David- if those of us who suspect Israel is acting indiscriminately are correct what would be your opinion then?

In other words, if Israel wants to kill civilians, they can certainly do so very easily. Thus, the evidence is that the deaths that Israel cause are not intentional, but are instead the result of the dreadful logic of war.

Chris B,

Every incoming president for the last 30 years or more has said that. It would take orbital mind control lasers to acheive it …

I think that there has been an announcement of a dramatic breakthrough in negotiations between Israel and Palestine every two years from around 1975 onward. And look at how far we’ve come!

Number four about to retire. See how they run!

Sources close to Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, tell CNN he will announce Monday he is retiring from the Senate.
The 72-year-old senator and former Ohio governor has been contemplating retirement for a while but made his final decision this weekend in Florida, where he was joined by his wife, children and grandchildren, according to one of the sources.

Voinovich plans to serve out his term, which expires in 2010.

He plans to make the announcement at 4 p.m. ET Monday in Washington, the source said.

All just happened to be in vulnerable seats.
continued on CNN


Sacre Bleu! Le Monde Publishes Never-Before-Seen 1996 Interview With Obamas About Their Marriage.

“Ma priorité est de ramener les valeurs publiques ou collectives au centre du débat,” said President-elect Barack Obama in an interview running in today’s Le Monde newspaper.

Mr. Obama was not speaking in French; his words had been translated.

And in fact he hadn’t uttered them in more than 12 years.

continued on ABC News USA

I would recommend reading this article regarding the differences between Hamas and Israeli tactics. Israel is specifically deploying weapons in order to minimise civilian tactics; Hamas is using tactics that it knows will help maximise them.

I particularly draw attention to the following:

“The Israelis say they are also using new weapons, like a small-diameter smart bomb, the GBU 39, which Israel bought last autumn from the United States. The bomb, which is very accurate, has a small explosive, as little 27 to 36 kilograms, or 60 to 80 pounds, to minimize collateral damage in an urban environment.”


“A new Israeli weapon is tailored to the Hamas tactic of asking civilians to stand on the roofs of buildings so Israeli pilots will not bomb. The Israelis counter with missiles designed, paradoxically, not to explode. They aim the missiles at empty areas of the roofs to frighten residents into leaving the buildings, a tactic called “a knock on the roof.”

Note the difference: Hamas uses civilians as shields, Israel tries not to kill them.


“Hamas rocket and weapons caches, including rocket launchers, have been discovered in and under mosques, schools and civilian homes.”

Further to the attack on the UN school:

“But Israeli tactics have caused episodes of severe civilian casualties that have created an international uproar, both in the Arab world and the West. In one widely reported episode, 43 people died when the Israelis shelled a street next to a UN school in northern Jabaliya where refugees were taking shelter. The Israelis said they returned fire in response to mortar shells fired at Israeli troops, which is legal, but there are questions about whether the force used was proportional under the laws of war, given the danger to noncombatants.”

Note that it was legal (assuming that the Israeli’s did return fire). However, there are indeed questions about proportional response.

Hamas and Israel are not morally equivalent.

“The Israelis say they are also using new weapons, like a small-diameter smart bomb, the GBU 39, which Israel bought last autumn from the United States. The bomb, which is very accurate, has a small explosive, as little 27 to 36 kilograms, or 60 to 80 pounds, to minimize collateral damage in an urban environment.”

minimise as compared to what exactly – a bigger bomb??

aren’t they such cherubs.


Doesn’t the fact that they are trying to reduce civilian casualties sit oddly with the claim that they are deliberately killing civilians?

Hamas try to maximise civilian casualties; Israel try to minimise them.

And I am not arguing that they are cherubs. There are no good guys here. War sucks, as I said before.

You, however, argue that at the very least Israel is morally equivalent to Hamas – and you go further, arguing that they are worse. The evidence does not support even your least claim.

David – I think the evidence (such as it is , given that in the article you linked it states that Israel is preventing journalists and civilians from sending out information) does support “my claims”. and btw- they are not my claims- they are being stated at every level of public commentary. I just happen to agree with that viewpoint, and you do not.


I agree that they are being stated at every level of public commentary. However, they are being stated by what I would call the usual suspects of anti-Israeli biased commentators.

You have not responded to my questions regarding Israeli motives. You have also not responded to the fact that Israel is using tactics and weapons designed to minimise civilian casualties as opposed to the tactics that Hamas is using in deliberately endangering civilians.

All you have done is restate your claim and said, ‘Other people are saying the same thing.’ Not really persuasive, I’m afraid. I am not one for argument by numbers or argument from authority. Facts are what count.

blindoptimist at 48

I am confused by Hamas. I can see why the desperate, stateless and impoverished people of Palestine feel they have to resist Israel and even why they may hate their enemies. But I absolutely cannot understand why Hamas would expose the very lives of their own children to Israeli armour, bullets and high explosives.

Is is so hard to understand? If you take away the hope and aspirations of a people and their descendants – when you eliminate the possibilities of economic growth and the idea of self fulfilment – at some point in this process you create a scenario where fighting back (with a good idea of the implications and potential consequences) has more meaning and substance that the alternative. Simply put – it’s better to take a bullet standing up than on your knees.

David Gould at 58

You seem to contend that Israel is deliberately targetting civilians in the same way that Hamas does. It is difficult, of course, to judge motives – especially from this distance – but that does not seem to be the case from my perspective. If Israel were deliberately targetting civilians, there would be far more civilian deaths.

Attacks on civilians by both sides has been a part of this conflict. Hamas officials have stated several times that they are willing to stop attacks on Israeli civilian targets if Israel stops attacking Palestinian civilian targets in return. There is evidence to support the Hamas claim when you take a look at the activities over recent years. Basically during the cease-fire, Hamas were keeping a lid on things – but that cease-fire broke down primarily because Israel refused to grant Palestine anything more than inmate status. Out of that came a resumption of the conflict wherein Hamas re-engaged it’s psychological attack on the Israeli population (with fatalities from Hamas actions amounting to about the same as the number of Israeli’s dying from urinary bladder infections). On the other hand, Israel choose to launch all out war – knowing full well that such a war would take out a massively disproportionate number of civilians. David – it’s not difficult to judge unless you choose not to see what is happening.

As such, on reflection, it should be clear that they are morally equivalent.

There is no moral equivalence here – none.

David Gould at 59

I also want to respond to criticism of Clinton for not saying anything.

There has been no criticism of Clinton not doing anything. I did mention something along the lines that ‘Clinton better be ready on day one’ and I’m fully aware that day one is a week and a bit away.

David Gould at 60

Do you believe that Israel is deliberately targetting civilians? If so, I understand why you would equate them, on a moral level, with Hamas.

I believe that by mounting the current military engagement inside Gaza, the Israeli government have undertaken an action with full knowledge of the consequences. In doing so the Israeli Government is ready and willing to take the lives of hundreds of civilians for politically opportunistic reasons. On the other side, Hamas is the democratically elected representative, and they are standing up for the rights of the people of Palestine.

Let me repeat – there is no moral equivalence here.


Ah, so you think that Israel are the bad guys and Hamas are less bad?

In what way does firing rockets at civilian targets not equate to deliberately targeting civilians? The fact that they are not very good at killing anyone does not remove the intent. So I again ask: how is trying to kill someone and failing differ in a moral sense from trying to kill someone and succeeding?

As to it being a psychological attack, it is interesting that you use that phrase while knowing that the intent of Hamas is to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible.

Another question: if Hamas fired rockets into Israel knowing that Israel would respond and knowing that such a response would endanger civilians, are they also morally culpable for the civilian deaths?

The Israeli government is democratically elected, too. It could be argued that they are standing up for the rights of the Israeli people – specifically, the right not to have missiles fired at them. But maybe that is not a right that you think Israeli civilians should have?

As to Hamas and their democratic election, they certainly were democratically elected. However, I am sure that you did not miss their murderous military takeover of Gaza, which equated to a coup against a democratically elected president.

Mungo MacCallum has a lovely spray about a certain ex pm in today’s Crikey.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the news, that dreaded myopic dumpling face is there again, louring at you from the screen as if nothing had changed since, well, about 1978.

I blame the voters; they may have thought they were getting rid of John Howard last year, but no-one remembered to load the gun with a silver bullet, let alone bury the body at the crossroads with a stake through his heart — although, of course, there may not have been one.

In any case, his spectre is again stalking the media, taking advantage of the fact that it’s the silly season and the real prime minister is on holiday. Put garlic by the doorway and bring out the bell, book and candle: the undead has returned…….
(sub req)


I would also point out that the charter of Hamas calls for the elimination of the state of Israel, as well as including the following:

“Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).”

It is clear that Hamas wants to kill as many Jews as possible in fulfillment of their religious belief system. Israel has no such agenda for Muslims or Palestinians.


I can certainly understand why Hamas and the Palestinian people more generally feel and act the way they do. And, indeed, Israel. As a determinist, causes for actions are of great interest to me. However, just because an action is understandable does not make it desirable.

I would argue that the resistance movement by the Palestinians is not something that has served their own best interests. Israel has in fact become more secure over the last two decades, with the Palestinians becoming less secure.

On a coldly rational analysis, the only path to freedom and then prosperity is a complete cessation of attacks on Israel and a renouncement of violence. That would put the moral ball squarely in Israel’s court. And with the rest of the world, too. I had hopes that Hamas might do this after their election. They had the opportunity to bring peace, freedom and prosperity to their people (and give one in the eye to the Israeli right in the process). But religious ideology blinded them, as optimism blinded me.

Religious ideology blinds Israeli policy, too, of course.


Gee what a surprise. Bushes first stimulus package was badly managed.

President-elect Barack Obama tried Sunday to shore up support in Congress for his ambitious economic policies, with his top advisers offering concessions on his economic-stimulus proposal and preparing to detail conditions for how the incoming administration will spend the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue package.

Emerging from a two-hour meeting in the Capitol with Obama advisers Lawrence Summers and Jason Furman, Senate Democrats praised the President-elect’s team for agreeing to make changes to its stimulus proposal based off of concerns senators raised last week at a meeting with the president-elect’s senior aides.

The Obama team told about 35 Senate Democrats gathered at Sunday’s meeting that it would grow the size of an energy-tax incentive package and modify proposed tax credits for individuals and for businesses that hire new employees, according to meeting attendees. Also, with lawmakers raising concerns that the first half of the $700 billion of the financial rescue law was badly mismanaged, Obama’s team signaled it would lay out precisely how it would spend the second half of that package, which Congress is expected to consider as soon as this week.

continued on Politico

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