Wednesday, June 28, 2006

We must stop the desecration of the white flag of surrender

In response to the UN conference on illegal arms sales, the US demands there be no restriction on the international sale of ammunition or a ban on selling weapons to rebels fighting governments we don’t like – says the US’s under secretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, Robert Joseph, “we recognize the rights of the oppressed to defend themselves against tyrannical and genocidal regimes.” I’d be interested in a list of governments the US believes it is okay to overthrow. Probably different from my list. Also, isn’t arming such groups illegal in the US? Neutrality Acts, that sort of thing?

So Israel bombed several bridges in Gaza, which sort of has an arguable operational purpose, preventing their captured soldier being moved, although bantustanization is so clearly part of the Israeli strategy for keeping the Palestinian state weak that one assumes it was something they always planned to do given an even slightly plausible excuse. But destroying water and power supplies for the entire Gaza Strip? Seizing the labor minister, deputy prime minister, etc? Buzzing the Syrian presidents’ palace (actually, causing sonic booms overhead)? And after all this time, do the Israelis really think that collective punishment, taking 1.3 million hostages to exchange for 1, will make the Palestinian people blame Hamas rather than Israel and turn against it?

And a word to Hamas, or whoever seized Corporal Shalit: release him, kill him, but do it quickly.

For the second time this month, Bush, who was supposed to restore civility to Washington, has accused “a group in the opposition party” of being “willing to wave the white flag of surrender.” (Politicians are really showing their flag fetishes this week.) Bush was at a “Talent for Senate” fundraising dinner. “Talent for Senate”... nope, can’t think of anything funny or ironic about that. Actually of course that’s Missouri’s Sen. Jim Talent, who looks exactly like the sort of person Bush and his frat buddies liked to beat up.

It occurred to me as I read his words “it’s essential we do not forget the lessons of September the 11th, 2001,” that for someone who invokes it so much, he rarely if ever uses the informal abbreviation 9/11. Maybe he’s waiting for a formal introduction.

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