Thursday, March 20, 2008

So I saw a very interesting bumper sticker today, which is the fifth anniversary of the ground invasion of Iraq, that speaks volumes about the silence in the mainstream discussion about the impeachment option (it may not be too late). But it attacked the burning issue of our constitutional order from a different angle, reading: “Support the Troops – Impeach Bush Now.” And, if you think about it, don’t our fighting men and women deserve a more competent and able commander-in-chief? Everyone talks about the “antiwar” case for removing Bush from office, but what about the “pro-war” case? Where’s Anthony Cordesman, our respected military affairs think-tanker, talking about the insult to our soldiers that they be victim to a chief policy-maker (and commander, needless to say) of such ineptitude? Why should our troops continue to sacrifice their lives for a man who was never fit for the job, and for a strategy that will ensure they die in vain? Does anyone really care about them?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SIDEBAR NOTE: Five years, half a decade of war. 4,000 Americans dead. (Nearly one million Iraqis dead.) $3 trillion down the hole. Iraqi society devastated, basic services still unavailable to many. Internal displacement and refugees in the millions. Terrorism a bigger threat to the United States than ever. Al Qaeda and Taliban resurgent, the Hydra that endures our fire, enriched by the conflagration we initiated by invading Iraq. It’s time to leave Mesopotamia like the British have before us so long ago. The question now is how to exit without ensuring imminent genocide and a deepening of the ethnic cleansing and humanitarian crisis that already exists. It’s also time to put out to pasture the war criminals in our capital seat who have killed thousands of our sons, daughters, mothers and fathers, and maimed, scarred and crippled many thousands more.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I believe it was John Kenneth Galbraith, the respected economist, who once said that “the only respectable form of socialism in America is socialism for the rich.” And it is obvious that that’s happening right before our eyes, shattering whatever illusion left about the “free market” in the United States. We do not have one. Instead, we have, as E.J. Dionne was good to note in today’s Washington Post, a system of corporate welfare that—instead of enduring the rigors and sacrifices of real risk and self-discipline that the “market” instills in everyday people, like the people who have really suffered but, really, to hell with them because they’re not rugged individuals like us right?—expects a government hand-out when they start to feel the pain.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Condemning the Hamas rocketing against Sderot and Ashkelon is a no-brainer, let’s make that clear. But the Israeli retaliatory responses are, in my judgment, excessively heavy-handed and counter-productive. Taking my cue from news reports from several sources, the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli dead on this front is about 100 to one (over the past several months of fighting since the Hamas victory in January 2006). It is now almost beyond dispute that Israeli policy is, in effect, a collective punishment of the Gazan population, and that’s despicable as a general principle.

Although I have no military background, I think it’s fair to observe that the Israel Defense Force (IDF) strategy seems to be that by exercising intermittent displays of force instead of a full-out invasion, terrible enough in terms of the human impact but more cost-effective, Hamas will be incrementally weakened but not destroyed. In other words, destroying Hamas — and to be real, I’d like to see the organization eradicated — would probably totally destroy Gaza and its 1.5 million people. Not a pretty public relations picture. So now we also have this lovely statement by Matan Vilnai, the Deputy Minister of Defense:

“Palestinians will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”*

Anyone who honestly cares about the future of Israeli society and its wonderful people would surely see at once the obscenity of those words, and join me in calling for his immediate shit-canning and dismissal. (Hamas “spokesmen” predictably dubbed their foe “new Nazis,” according to a report in Yediot Aharonot.) So what to do, when uncontested sovereign territory undergoes near-constant attack? I wish I had an easy answer because I do not; but I hope it’s not na├»ve or unreasonable of me to declare that threatening annihilation is not the best choice — nor is it anything other than an insult to the Jewish people and a defamation of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Period.

*Min. Vilnai used the word ‘shoah,’ connotative of disaster or calamity — but unmistakably a direct reference to, and unconscionable exploitation of, the Nazi Holocaust.