Sunday, November 18, 2012

That’s preferable

Obama is in Thailand. He and PM Yingluck Shinawatra held a press conference.

A reporter asked if Thai “democracy” was “satisfying,” given the human rights abuses and people being imprisoned for very long prison terms for criticizing the king, etc. Obama answered that “democracy is not something that is static; it’s something that we constantly have to work on” and cited America’s shaky history. This is something he’s said before. Someone needs to follow up and ask some questions about American history, such as: when blacks weren’t allowed to vote in Mississippi, was Mississippi a democracy? If he’s going to keep using the word democracy for countries that aren’t very democratic, (later, on whether his trip to Burma is premature: “if we waited to engage until they had achieved a perfect democracy, my suspicion is we’d be waiting an awful long time”) I’d like to know what his definition of it is.

He was asked about Gaza. He insisted that the “precipitating event” was “an ever-escalating number of missiles,” because we all know that that’s how history started. Adam and Eve and the ever-escalating number of missiles.

He said that “there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Wow. Just.... wow.

“So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.” He did not say how Israel’s shooting missiles at journalists (for example) or “send[ing] Gaza back to the Middle Ages” constitutes defending itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.

He said that if the missiles can be stopped without a full-scale invasion of Gaza, “that’s preferable; that’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza, it’s also preferable for Israelis -- because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.” A Nobel Peace Prize Winner Explains Shit To You.

“But what I’ve said to President Morsi and Prime Minister Erdogan is that those who champion the cause of the Palestinians should recognize that if we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, then the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future.” Um, a follow-up, Mr President: what was the “likelihood” of that before this?

He’s stopped even tacking on a suggestion that Israel avoid slaughtering civilians while exercising its “right to defend itself.”

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