Posted tagged ‘Israel’

Religion or Civilization: Why Democrats should support the war in the Middle East.

October 6, 2009

islam1In 2003, when US marines first invaded Iraq,   I looked on with familiar sadness as death and destruction were brought to me live via CNN, Fox Noise, MSNBC and others. At the time I thought the old PBS line  “This program is made possible with support from viewers like you,” should be shown as  fitting reminder to the American people that each  of us were morally responsible for suffering caused by the actions of our military, and that by being apathetic or voting for a hawkish pro-war Republican we were saying that the cause of wrenching Iraq from the hands of a brutal , rogue dictator was worth the price it would be paid in human tragedy; that above  the scars of war ten, fifteen, or thirty years from now a beautiful civilization would spring forth once again between the Tigris and Euphrates and that this would be worth the fatherless children, amputated lives, and bitter hatred toward the sources of that  anguish. Feeling that such a radical social transformation was not possible I opposed the war with a deep indignance, considering it to be the Vietnam of my generation.

Five and 1/2 years later with extremist violence in Iraq still on-going and U.S. withdrawal sure to leave an explosive power vacuum we must ask ourselves that same moral question that we did in Vietnam. Now that we have come to set the stage for Iraqi westernization, how are we to act if our leaving will eventually mean that over 700,000 people, and a handful of American soldiers in comparison  have died as a direct result of our invasion. As Sen. John Kerry so wisely put in his youth ” how do we ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam.”  Are we to let so many Iraqis die by our hands in vain? How will history judge us if we do not continue fight this fight, more importantly, what will be our history?

Let us make no mistake, the gauntlet is off and there is no going back. It is not unreasonable to say that the scourge of Islamic extremism is now an ever present danger in every nation on Earth. At the heart of this campaign is dark form of cultural and religious extremism equivalent to the Catholics during the crusades and the National Socialism of the early 20th century. Radical Islam yearns for world domination and the imposition of wacky religious laws that are based on twisted distortions of the Quran. They feed of of the economic stagnation of many Middle Eastern countries to breed hatred toward Israel and the West. We must push forward with all we have or not push at all. The Islamic extremists are right about one thing, there is a conspiracy to secularize the Middle East and to subvert Islamic theocracies, and I think it’s about time all Democrats got on board. Barack Obama and his army of lets-all-just-respect-each other-and-talkocrats need to buck up and defend the fort.  If sending in 40000 more US troops into Pakistan and Afghanistan means that we make headway against the rising tide of Islamic Extremism, then I say that this is a moral cause not unlike fighting Hitler during WWII, or with  much irony, Catholics during the crusades. While we are there, perhaps we can pass out copies of  The Origin of Species.

A friend and fellow Democrat told me something promising today over lunch, he said that when he goes home to visit his cousins in Pakistan, he finds that more and more of the people around him are Atheists.  Rejection of religion is the only rational insight to have when you see hoards  of barbarians blowing themselves up in the name of some socially reproduced  delusion called “god,”  or in Arabic “Allah.”

The question one must ask him or herself  when considering  whether the U.S. involvement is warranted must go beyond pretensions of pacifism, or blind faith in the milk of human kindness. The question is one of a combination of ethical judgment in the spirit of Jeremy Bentham, and practical wisdom of Winston Churchill. Bentham argued that “that which is ethical  minimizes pain and maximizes pleasure for the largest number of people.”  Churchill continuously warned British prime minister Neville Chamberlain of the danger the rise of National Socialism posed to Europe and the world many years before  the ruthless Hitler violated the Warsaw pact by annexing Czechoslovakia. If Chamberlain and the isolationist United States had heeded his call for action the world could very well have avoided a long and brutal war which caused human suffering on a truly unimaginable level. Alas, this is the argument for the neoconservative doctrine of  pre-emption, a dangerous ideology which must measure the need for intervention with the imagined need for intervention, or the call for war in the name of military-industrial, or other economic reasons.

As this doctrine is dangerous to our democracy, and yet still the threat that militant Islam poses to the world is very real and very frightening, we must point to  the larger philosophical driver for the reproduction of militant Islam in the first place- religion. It is without hesitation that all of us, in good conscience and clear thought , cannot deny that at the heart of this conflict is human religiosity and that it should be fitting that  the place where the three major world religions were born is also the place that they should die.  Now this sounds harsh to the cultural and moral relativist ear of the average Democrat,  but we must remain objective and realistic about what drives , and has been the driving factor behind the scourge of war throughout human history.  Behind nearly every dark story of the suffering of war is a leader or movement which claims to be divinely ordained. Hitler claimed to have been acting under the authority of an Aryan Jesus, and even visited the head of the Palestinian army before embarking on a brutal campaign of ethnic genocide.  Mahmood Amadinejad and his theocratic overlords have repeatedly claimed divine authority in their campaign to engage in a proxy war using the Palestinian  PLO and Hamas as fronts. In WW II we had emperor Hirohito of Japan, who claimed divinity by inheritance. In Ireland we have Protestants and Catholics, in the Middle east we have Shia and Sunni. When confronted with proof of evil in tangible human suffering throughout modern history, religion answers back with nothing but dangerous superstition. It is time to wrestle our world from the hands of myths wrought in human fear. Religion is the poison which allows otherwise moral and decent people to be manipulated into purveyors of the inhumane.  And if we oppose the war in the Middle East because we are disgusted by the  endless parade of human suffering we must also oppose the core ideology which  begot  its existence.  Thus as a Democrats , We should support  the war because occupying the middle east, and installing leaders who support our interests will help facilitate the spread of  western secularism to the Middle East, which will serve as an antidote to the emergence of dangerous Islamic Theocrats, and Caliphate ideology in the future. In short, the less religion is accepted in the  Middle East, the more stable, prosperous, and peaceful it will be.

Democrats have too long  straddled the fence on this all-too-important issue, we have walked softly and now it is time to show those lunatics just how big our stick really is. Barack Obama should follow the advice of his Pentagon advisors and send in more ground support. And you, as a Democrat, and especially as an Athiest or Agnostic Democrat should stand in full support, sad that while we are temporarily increasing human misery,  in the end it will serve as a great first step toward a New World Order in which religion will be considered as quaint as burning witches. Over and Out.

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The Case for Israel

January 4, 2009

Ever since the recent air assaults and ground invasion of Gaza by the Israeli Army, there has been an international backlash against Israel. These criticisms come from people all across the world, most of whom do not see the battle lines and do not know anyone in the line of fire. However, it does not appear that Israel has acted inappropriately.

Recent protests, like this one in London, have broken out worldwide in opposition to the actions of Israel

Recent protests, like this one in London, have broken out worldwide in opposition to the actions of Israel

Many people like to go back and forth as to who “started” it. Unlike the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole, it is not necessary to take this discussion back to biblical times to under stand the recent attacks. Since the dawn of the second millenium, Hamas has been firing rockets at Israelis. It began with Hamas firing rockets at Israeli settlers who were living within Gaza, but once these settlers were forcibly removed by the Israel government, Hamas proceeded to begin shooting rockets into Israel itself. Israel initially put up with it. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have been calling for Hamas to put the rockets down and try to work out a peace accord with Israel; Hamas never listened. For just about a decade now, Israel has been subjected to random rocket fire from inside Gaza.  The attacks culminated on the Christmas Day when 80 rockets slammed into southern Israel. Think of the

The recent barage of these Qassam rockets into Israel is reason Israel says it must fight to take these sites down

The recent barage of these Qassam rockets into Israel is reason Israel says it must fight to take these sites down

situation this way: if the Canadians were firing rockets into New York and the Canadian government had no attempts to crack down, would the United States not attack? If the Germans started shelling Paris, would the Parisians not have the right to respond? The Israeli government, as all governments, has a responsibility to protect its people; in fact it’s one of the few solid defined tasks that a government has.

People point to the uneven death counts as, at this moment, 480 Palestinanians have been killed and only a handful of Israeli’s have been killed by the rocket attacks. This paints a skewed picture. The news media does not report how many, out of those 480, were Hamas militants. The United Nations has reported that 25% of the victims are civilians. To do the math for you that would be 125 innocent civilians; assuming the U.N. figures are accurate. There also seems to be a lack of coverage on the strategy of Hamas. Hamas knows how the

Here, the Israeli government has loaded a bus full of Palestinian civilians and brought them into Israel for protection

Here, the Israeli government has loaded a bus full of Palestinian civilians and brought them into Israel for protection

game is played. Therefore, they set up bases in big population centers. In order for Israel to attack them, this ensures civilian casualities and an international outcry. Further, this discredits Israeli efforts to prevent innocent victims, by dropping leaflets in the streets of a desired bombing area, warning residents to leave immedately and are signed by the Israeli military commander. The Israeli government has also provided busing for the citizens of Palestine to leave the area until it is safe to return. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has stated “The people of Gaza are not our enemy”

This graph, provided by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows the numbers of Israelis killed by acts of agression. One can see that peace was just a heartbeat away, as each year since 2001 the body counts have gone down. The recent rocket attacks by Hamas may prove to make 2008 the first increase in violence in  7 years

This graph, provided by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows the numbers of Israelis killed by acts of agression. One can see that peace was just a heartbeat away, as each year since 2001 the body counts have gone down. The recent rocket attacks by Hamas may prove to make 2008 the first increase in violence in 7 years

In a recent interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Mark Regev, the Israeli government spokesperson was asked what the goal of the incursion was. His response was:

We want to create a situation where the civilian population in S. Israel is no longer on the recieving end of those deadly Hamas rockets. When quiet can be achieved this operation can finish.

When questioned what the difference was between the 2006 war with Hezbollah and now, Mr. Regev replied

I think we’ve learned some important lessons since 2006. I think those lessons you can already see in the way the Israeli military has acted in the last week. We are confident we can achieve a situation where the Hamas leadership understands clearly that it is not in their interest to continue shooting rockets at Israeli civilians….I’d remind you that the siutation in the North has been quiet for 2 and a half years and looking to the south we want a situation where the Sothern border will be quiet as well.

The United States has openly supported Israel. President Bush decleared:

“Since Hamas’ violent takeover in the summer of 2007, living conditions have worsened for Palestinians in Gaza, by spending its resources on rocket launchers instead of roads and schools, Hamas has demonstrated that it has no intention of serving the Palestinian people.”

President Bush has stated that he is in favor of an end to the violence, but not a cease-fire that just leaves Israel under attack one day later. The White House has called for a long term solution that allows Israelis and Palestinans to live in peace.

Israel is acting in a manner to defend their civilians, as any responsible government should.

For the entire CNN interview with Israeli spokesman Mark Regev please visit http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2009/01/03/amanpour.gaza.intv.regev.cnn?iref=videosearch

For details of the attacks on Israel since 2001 please visit http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Victims+of+Palestinian+Violence+and+Terrorism+sinc.htm

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert: “currently at the first of several stages” of the operation

December 30, 2008

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a meeting with top officials that the latest military actions were to continue. Mr Olmert’s statement that the bombardment was “the first of several stages approved by the security cabinet” was quoted from a briefing he gave to President Shimon Peres on Tuesday.

Israel is determined to defeat Hamas and end rocket fire into its southern cities. So far there are reports of close to 400 casualities however there is no known number of how many of those are civilian. Hamas has responded with rockets which have killed at least 1 Israeli.

One would expect large civilian causalities in such a densely populated area however so far Israel has managed to keep its bombs on target as there have been no reports of schools or other civilian buildings being hit. Israel has explicitly said it is only targeting Hamas and its operatives in the strikes.

Most of the strikes into Gaza have been predominately in Gaza city which is at the northern part of the Gaza strip.

The Israeli military “has made preparations for long weeks of action”, deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai said in an interview with the BBC.

US BACKS ISRAELI ACTIONS.
“The United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself, In order for the violence to stop, Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel and agree to respect a sustainable and durable ceasefire.”

The United States has not called for restraint as many had hoped it would. President Bush has not announced his position on it, leaving the spokesperson to do so. Secretary of State Rice is pushing for a ceasefire.

– White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

CNN has more coverage:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.israel.airstrikes/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

The Next Step In Gaza

December 29, 2008

Israel has launched an attack on Hamas in the Gaza strip. We all know the outcome, hundred of Hamas fighters hurt along with the “collateral damage” of innocent civilians.

Yes, only a handful of Israeli’s have died due to the rocket attacks and their response was the killing of hundreds. One has to realize however that Israel has to appear unbeatable in order to survive while surrounded by what it perceives to be as enemies.

What I don’t seem to understand is Israel’s plan here. Sure, they attack Hamas and set them back for a bit, but then what? There are close to one and a half million people in the Gaza strip, in order to completely put down Hamas, Israel will have to reoccupy the Gaza strip.

When they attempted to do this against Hezbollah they failed, miserably. They did not achieve a single objective for the first time in their military history. What they did do, is send people into the arms of Hezbollah, and the people saw Hezbollah as a legitimate organization. These attacks are doing nothing but acting as a recruitment tool for Hamas, and Hezbollah.

If Israel wants to defeat Hamas and end these rocket attacks once and for all they will have to work with Hamas, as hard as that is for them to swallow, not all medicine is sweet.

End this renewed campaign, do not send in ground forces, start opening up the ports and airspace to allow for the people of Gaza to realize that Israel is not their enemy. Israel says it is not the enemy of the people in press conferences. But to those Palestinians who have seen bombs fall on their houses, those words are meaningless.

Israeli Embassy In London Faces Mass Demonstrations

December 29, 2008

(New York) Today protesters have gathered near the Israeli embassy to protest the recent military incursions into Gaza. We have clips from YouTube filmed by protesters outside of the embassy. The protesters were not allowed close to the embassy as they were held back by the London Metropolitan Police.

These protests follow reports stating that the embassy had received a white powder filled envelope which turned out to be a false alarm. Stay tuned for more updates.

Israel Launches Air Offensive on Gaza Strip

December 27, 2008
Gaza Strip map.

Gaza Strip map.

(New York) – Reports have been coming in about the recent Israeli military operations launched into the Gaza strip. The Israeli air force launched wave after wave of air strikes into Gaza as a response to the rocket attacks on civilian populations by Hamas. Casualty reports vary but estimates say close to 200 Palestinians have been killed in the air strikes. The BBC’s London Bureau is reporting injuries close to 700 people as of now. The air strikes continued on into the night and showed not sign of ending soon.

This does not seem to be a quick retaliation from the Israelis as indicated by announcements from top leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military operation “may take some time.”

Surrounded by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni he went on to say “It’s not going to last a few days.”

Khaled Meshaal a Hamas leader, called for a new intifada against Israel as a response to the recent violent escalation. An attack such as this against the palestinians has not been seen in decades. Hamas’ Gaza leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said “Palestine has never witnessed an uglier massacre.”

Israel has claimed to have hit close to 40 targets in the strip and Hamas confirmed that all of its security compounds in the Gaza strip have been destroyed as a result of the air strikes. Hamas has stated they would renew their rocket attacks against southern Israeli cities immediately as a response to this latest turn of events.

Rumors abound of an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza strip amid televesion reports stating that Israeli ground forces had begun amassing near the border. (more…)

Barack Obama: The Change World Tour

July 24, 2008

If you have been feeling down and blue with no explanation lately don’t fear. Not yet President Barack Obama has left the country. He recently embarked on a world tour, focusing on the Middle East and Europe. That explains your recent sadness.

Also if you somehow realized that Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson have been replaced this week, well Barack invited them along. What about me Barack? If you want St. John’s University’s most influential blogger on your side you damn well better take me along next time!

Now there is a lot of media attention to this tour. If he screws up it’ll be everywhere. I recommend he doesn’t eat the Wendy’s Baconator in Baghdad. Let’s see if he screws up.

So Senator Chuck Hagel went along with Barack Obama to Afghanistan to meet with President Hamid Karzai. Below is a picture of Senator Hagel with President Karzai.

So his meeting with Hamid Karzai went well, he didn’t screw anything up. But surely he’ll make some sort of mistake, maybe he’ll screw up the name of a city or a country.

Yea… like that. The Iraq – Pakistan border. Otherwise known as Iran…..

(more…)