Mike Whitney / Uruknet & Charles Sullivan / The Peoples Voice – 2006-08-06 09:01:56
Lebanon’s Expendable People
Mike Whitney / Uruknet
(July 19, 2006) — The most shocking thing about Israel’s assault on Lebanon is the dispassionate precision with which the bombardment has been carried out.
From bridge to granary, from granary to power plant, from power plant to factory, from factory to mosque, from mosque to hospital, from hospital to apartment building; each decimated with the calm disdain of a surgeon removing a cancerous tumor.
We get no sense of rage in Israel’s behavior, just the calculated savagery of men who see their duty as systematically decapitating an entire civilization and leaving it in ruins.
The destruction of Lebanon is the work of robots, not men: unfeeling, remorseless bundles of skin and bone. No one could have done what these men did in just seven days and be a part of the same human family as you and I.
So far, there is no indication that the two captured Israeli soldiers have been hurt or mistreated. The leveling of a once-bustling and prosperous metropolis has been executed while the victims are still safely tucked away in some unknown hiding place. There’s no purpose for Israel’s rampage, the terms for release could have been negotiated in a “prisoner swap” as they have many times before.
The bombing is purely a gratuitous act of violence intended to destroy a nation that just recovered from 18 years of Israeli occupation (i.e., 1982-2000). Now Lebanon has been returned to the Stone Age.
Whiy? Have the soldiers been tortured or abused as they would have been in American or Israeli care?
I hope not. I hope they are being treated well. I hope they are set free and allowed to walk southward through the scattered-rubble and body parts so they can appreciate what their leaders have done in their names. I hope they are released so that Hezbollah can claim a moral victory over the forces of inhumanity and cynicism that have infected the seats of government in Tel Aviv and Washington.
Whatever chance there may have been for peace is gone now. We have to be realistic. The next generation of Muslims will despise us and everything we stand for. No capital or city will be safe. The US and Israel are sowing dragon’s teeth throughout the Middle East and their bloody harvest will come in the decades ahead. Cheney was right, this war could last 50 years and not end in our lifetime.
Lebanon was the last straw. Unfortunately for us, it proves that everything Bin Laden said was true: “They have come to take your land and your resources; they have come to shame your women and disgrace your culture; they have come to humiliate you in front of your children and heap ignominy on your religion.”
Where Was He Wrong?
Author and writer Pepe Escobar said it best: “The effect of the Israeli bombing barrage will be to draw newer, thicker waves of moderate Muslims toward political-and radical-Islam. The perception in the Arab street- as well as for most of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims-has been reinforced: the U.S./Israel axis seems to hold a license to kill Arabs with impunity.” (Pepe Escobar, “Leviathan Run Amok,” Asia Times.)
Escobar is right. The lives of Muslims mean nothing. They’ve become the “expendable” people whose security simply doesn’t matter. Their wholesale slaughter appears regularly on the evening news while heart-wrenching stories are spun about the suffering of Israeli fathers and mothers who lost loved ones in retaliatory attacks.
Don’t Muslims have mothers and fathers? Is it so important to demonize them that they must be stripped of every trace of humanity including parents?
Where will these “expendable” people go as the world’s resources continue to dry up and their homelands are increasingly besieged? Indonesia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan; where will they all go? Will they be shunted off to refugee camps, or live as prisoners in their own land; be shot like dogs, or stand and fight until the end?
How many will chose to joine the growing ranks of jihadis and resistance groups platting and planning to strike beack in any way they can? How many will figure that ti’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees?
Lebanon has paved the way for a century of war. It’s been ravaged and its people evacuated to settle scores with Hezbollah and create a buffer zone on Israel’s northern flank. The ruined lives are of no consequence. The city will be rebuilt by loans from the World Bank and IMF and the work will be contracted out to the war-profiteers Halliburton and Bechtel. We’ve seen it all before; the utter destruction of a society so that it can be placed in the hands of the global corporatists. Lebanon will be no exception.
Now that Israel’s northern flank has been “pacified,” Olmert can turn his eyes eastward towards Damascus where the ophthalmologist Bashar Al-Assad will have to be toppled to secure pipeline routes from northern Iraq to Haifa.
That way, Israel will become a major player in this century’s resource wars and a leader — albeit a hated leader — in the region.
The geopolitical chess match is unfolding just as it was written years ago by neoconservatives who were dismissed at the time as radicals and lunatics.
No one is laughing now. The 12 villagers who were massacred in Srifa yesterday by Israeli bombs aren’t laughing, nor are the parents of the 11 children who were vaporized by an Israeli missile while taking a swim in a canal at Oasmia refugee camp.
This is the calculus of human misery; the deliberate killing of innocent people to achieve political objectives. It is no different than terrorism.
Bush and Olmert are two men who have absolute confidence in the ability of violence to shape behavior. They are not concerned about the rivers of blood that feed their dreams.
After all, those peopleare “expendable.”
Gods Among Ordinary Men
Charles Sullivan / The Peoples Voice
(July 19, 2006) — When a man abuses the power that was entrusted to him by the people there is clearly a void between what the people want and what they receive. Such abuse stems not only from immense hubris, but from contempt for the people and for civil law. The president, we will recall, is a man who referred to the Constitution to one of his Whitehouse aides as “just a goddamned piece of paper.” Bush and his cacophony of neoconservative fascists clearly hold the most sacred institutions of this nation in contempt, including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The Bush regime’s contempt for human rights and their disdain for the earth are systemic. They have resulted in a litany of abuses that would rivalthose of Hitler and Mussolini combined. Most of the key players cut their teeth in the Reagan regime where they perfected the dark arts. These abuses occur equally at home and abroad. Characterized by hypocrisy without bounds, they are reflected in a foreign policy that is putting the world in peril as never before.
Those policies have resulted in imprisoning people indefinitely without criminal charges and without access to legal council, widespread torture, extraordinary rendition, unprovoked attacks upon sovereign nations, occupation, and unprecedented secrecy and domestic spying on law abiding citizens on a broad scale.
The Bush regime operates in unprecedented secrecy under the pretense of fighting a war on terror.
They are, in fact, waging a war of terror in which they and their corporate paymasters are the terrorists, not Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Their success depends upon keeping the people and thus democracy out of the equation.
Democracy, as opposed to the Plutocracy we have in America, operates in the open under the supervision of the citizenry. Democratic government is transparent, not secretive. In a democracy the people know what the government is doing and are active participants in the decision making process. Clearly that is not the kind government we have.
Mr. Bush’s extraordinary contempt for the law is in part the result of his Plutocratic upbringing. It is reflected in his unprecedented use of presidential signing statements which, in effect, allow him to circumvent the law and do as he pleases. Don’t like a law that keeps a corporation from spewing toxic waste into a river? Just issue a signing statement and ignore it. Bush has used presidential signing statements more than 750 times since his inauguration — more than all of the other presidents combined during the 230 year history of our nation. He has yet to veto any legislation that the corporate lobbyists have put before him.
Civil law is essentially a social contract that is supposed to guarantee justice to all of the people, regardless of their social position or economic status. What does it say about a president who flagrantly thumbs his nose at the law and routinely violates that social contract?
If the government does not respect the law why should any citizen? Why should the government operate outside of the law while the citizens remain subject to it?
If one group of people is forced to adhere to a specific code of conduct and another group is not, what will be the result? We have only to look around us for the answer.
The ruling elite believe they should enact the laws which the rest of us have to obey, which gives them dominion over us. It is imperative that the citizens see to it that the government, especially the president, obeys the law; or impeach him. Perhaps that is the very definition of patriotism. If the law does not apply to everyone equally and at all times, it should not be applied to anyone at any time. If that is the case, then let us have anarchy.
Bush and his cadre of neoconservatives may think that they are above the law and that they can act with impunity and without consequences. They may think of themselves as Gods who operate above the strata of ordinary mortals, as the result of their socioeconomic privilege. That is because other people have always born the cost of their wrong doing.
When a president behaves as if the law does not apply to him, in essence, he is expressing his contempt for the people and the rules that govern civil behavior. That is why we have the enormous gulf between rich and poor, tax cuts for the wealthy, Iraq and the whole Middle East debacle.
George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the entire supporting plutocratic cast, truly believe that they are better than the rest of us.
Each of them became the spoiled brats they truly are because no one ever held them accountable for their actions. We’re still not holding them accountable now, and innocent people are paying the cost in treasure and blood.
Not only should these Cretins be impeached, they should be permanently warehoused in an asylum for the criminally insane. Their visions of grandeur are placing a lot of innocent people in desperate trouble, or getting them killed. Other people should not be forced to incur the cost of the crimes committed by their so-called leaders. Make the criminals pay for their own misdeeds! Force them to take ownership of the reality that they are forging.
A government that is not accountable to the people is a monstrosity. Some refer to it by its more common names: dictatorship and totalitarianism.
That is what we will have very soon if we are not careful.
Charles Sullivan is a regular columnist for Novakeo.com, a furniture maker, a photographer, and a freelance writer residing in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.