Saturday, September 24, 2005

The response needs to be crushing


Earlier yesterday I wrote up my recommendations for the California ballot, which I’ll post a little closer to the poll date. Coincidentally, Governor Arnold announced his recommendations a little later. I must have done something right, because we disagree on all 8.

Here’s a non-surprise: Israel is already back to bombing Gaza, in “response” to Hamas rocket attacks (remember, Israel is always presented, as in the WaPo story on this, as responding to violence initiated by others; one could equally say that Hamas was responding to the killing of 3 of its leaders and an explosion at a Hamas rally which might actually have been an accident, not Israel’s fault). The Israeli defense minister said, “We have to make it clear to the Palestinians that Israel will not let the recent events pass without a response. The response needs to be crushing.” Note that although the rockets were fired by Hamas, his response is aimed at “the Palestinians,” all Palestinians. This is the language of collective punishment. Eli at Left I on the News notes that while the defense minister also threatened to “resume” targeted assassinations, Israel never actually stopped targeted assassinations.

SUN KING: Bush cancelled his trip to Texas because it was sunny, screwing up his brave-leader-facing-down-the-hurricane imagery. Without the right imagery, it wasn’t worth his while to make the trip at all.

Yet more evidence of the abuse & torture of Iraqi prisoners. And not recently either: if some idiot didn’t take pictures, this stuff tends to remain buried for quite some time (the incidents took place Sept 2003 to April 2004). “Some days we would just get bored so we would have everyone sit in a corner and then make them get in a pyramid. This was before Abu Ghraib but just like it. We did that for amusement.” Indeed, they did it as a substitute for sex: in the soldiers’ lingo, to “fuck a PUC [person under control]” meant to beat or torture them.

Pentagon spokesmodel John Skinner responded to the report by Human Rights Watch, which revealed the incidents, by attacking it as “another predictable report by an organization trying to advance an agenda through the use of distortions and errors in fact. ... Humane treatment has always been the standard no matter how much certain organizations want people to believe otherwise.” I’d be interested to know what “agenda” Skinner thinks Human Rights Watch has. If he’s going to impugn their motives, he really needs to be made to answer that.

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