The gates of wrath and sorrow open wide again in Gaza, clanging on their rusty, bloodstained hinges. | Hell is coming. Hell is near. Thousands upon thousands of troops are massing for the ground invasion of a small patch of land crammed full with human beings trapped without any defense against the steel that will destroy them. Several children have already died in the preliminaries. Many, many more will die when the real feast of death begins.


Hell is coming. Hell is near. Thousands upon thousands of troops are massing for the ground invasion of a small patch of land crammed full with human beings trapped without any defense against the steel that will destroy them. Several children have already died in the preliminaries. Many, many more will die when the real feast of death begins.
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A report, via Facebook, from Gaza:

From Dr. Mona Al-Farra in Gaza City, an urgent message on Facebook: Dear Friends, Gaza is under extensive Israeli military attack ,in less than 2 hours , 14 military attacks against different targets in different parts of Gaza Strip , 6 were killed including 2 young girls age 4 and 7, 11 were injured, the hospitals are already lacking essential emergency medications, and citizens were called for blood donation, we do not have power , iam using UBS ,the first stage of this operation has been accomplished , we expect more escalation. your solidarity means a lot at this difficult times, pass the word, this aggression, should stop now.

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The 20th paragraph – the 20th paragraph —  of the New York Times story on the attack notes, very obliquely, that the recent rocket firing was in response to “deadly Israeli airstrikes”:

Since then Hamas has mostly adhered to an informal, if shaky, cease-fire and at times tried to enforce the smaller militant groups to stick to it. But in recent months, under pressure from some of the Gaza population for not avenging deadly Israeli airstrikes, it has claimed responsibility for participating in the firing of rockets. Last week, it also claimed credit for detonating a tunnel packed with explosives along the Israel-Gaza border while Israeli soldiers were working nearby.

But elsewhere in the story, and everywhere in the media, the attack is clearly presented as righteous retaliation for unprovoked attacks: not as collective punishment on a captive people for themselves retaliating against airstrikes against them.

(UPDATE 1: In the latest online version of the constantly updated NYT story, the mention of the rocket attacks as retaliation for “deadly Israeli airstrikes” is now in the 32nd paragraph. Most of the new material is taken up with the Peace Laureate’s firm support for Israel’s right to “self-defense” — a right which obviously does not extend to the Palestinians at any time, in any form. Like “good injuns,” they’re supposed to lay down and die on the cracked, caged earth of the reservation.)

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In responding to the current attack, Arthur Silber also points to this this deeper look (from the 2009 slaughter in Gaza) at the template behind these spasms of atrocity — a template much used not only by the “light unto the nations” but also “the shining city on the hill”:

For a very long time, the United States government has specialized in the pattern pursued by Israel. The vastly more powerful nation wishes to act on a certain policy — almost always territorial expansion, for purposes of access to resources, or to force itself into new markets, or to pursue the evil notion that economic and ideological success depend on brutality and conquest — but a specifically moral justification for its planned actions does not lie easily to hand.

So the powerful nation embarks on a course designed to make life intolerable for the country and/or those people that stand in its way. The more powerful nation is confident that, given sufficient time and sufficient provocation, the weaker country and people will finally do something that the actual aggressor can seize on as a pretext for the policy upon which it had already decided. In this way, what then unfolds becomes the victim’s fault.

And so it goes, and on it goes: the curse of violence, hatred, estrangement, fear. Madness snaking in and out of the only place where the universe is: in the electrics of our brains. So many sharp and painful endings to the worldand all that’s in it.

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UPDATE 2: I was remiss in failing to give the name of the dead child in the picture above. His name is Omar Misharawi. He is the son of Jihad Misharawi — a journalist for the BBC’s Arabic news service. Misharawi’s house was hit by the pinpoint, carefully targeted, hi-tech, only-kill-the-bad-guys missiles being hurled into the heavily packed residential areas of Gaza by the Israeli military.

Below is a picture of what Omar looked like before he became “collateral damage.” Strange; he looks almost like an actual, fully-fledged human being, doesn’t he? Almost like one of us, like one of our children. Good thing he’s just a “savage,” right? One of them. For as our own Nobel Laureate has shown us, their lives have no value, no meaning. They’re just so much “bug splat” on a screen.

UPDATE 3: Another great triumph for Western values was also reported today (Thursday): the first confirmed death of a child due to the draconian sanctions imposed on Iran by the Peace Laureate — who celebrated his electoral triumph last week by tightening even further his ongoing strangulation of Iran. The Guardian reports:

A teenage Iranian boy suffering from haemophilia has died due to a shortage of medicine in the country. It is the first civilian death said to be directly linked to the impact that western economic sanctions are having on the Islamic republic.

Manouchehr Esmaili-Liousi was a 15-year-old from a nomadic tribe based in the mountains near the city of Dezful, in Iran’s south-western province of Khuzestan. He died in hospital after his family failed to find the vital medicine he desperately needed for his disease, Iran’s state news agencies reported on Wednesday …

Although sanctions are not directly targeting Iranian pharmacies and medical sectors, measures imposed on Iranian banks and trade restrictions have made life extremely difficult for patients across the country, who are facing difficulties in finding medicines made outside Iran. … According to Ghavidel, 75% of the medicines for the treatment of haemophilia are made in the US and the EU, making Iranian patients heavily dependent on their imports. He said haemophilia medicines available in Iranian markets had been reduced to a third of former supply levels….

Earlier this month, the New York Times published a detailed report on how sanctions were taking an unexpected toll on medical imports, including medicines such as Herceptin, which is made in the US. Among other medicines said to be scarce in Iranian pharmacies is the tetanus vaccine.

Baby milk is another imported product affected. Iran produces its own powdered milk, which is abundant in the market, but cannot produce certain diet milk types or those suitable for children with allergies. These are imported from outside. There have been instances of children hospitalised as a result of the milk shortages, but no reports of deaths as yet.

One down, 499,000 to go before Obama matches the good ole Big Dawg in the noble — and Nobel — pursuit of mass murder by sanctions. But no doubt he and his secretary of state — the Big Dawg’s own wife! — will, like the Big Dawg’s own secretary of state, believe the murders “are worth it.”

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Update 4: Arthur Silber has more on Gaza, in a new piece that speaks of unspeakable things. Below are some excerpts; but do read the whole thing.

The most striking and significant quality of our national conversation “is one of overwhelming, oppressive and suffocating unreality. It is as if everyone knows, but will never acknowledge, that we may speak only in code, and that we may only utilize the safe, empty phrases that we have agreed are ‘acceptable’ … Truth is the enemy; truth is to be destroyed.”

Gaza is a concentration camp. It is not like a concentration camp. It is not a metaphorical or figurative concentration camp. It is a concentration camp. Our culture, our political leaders, and the cacophony of voices in the media have all agreed that this truth must never be spoken. … Israel imposes conditions on Gaza and its inhabitants that necessarily result in a slow, long, lingering death. Unjustified but quick murder, murder which occurs in an instant, is a terrible crime. How are we to describe the crime that sentences a huge number of people to death, but does so in a manner that ensures the unendurable pain will last for years, that pain and deprivation can never be forgotten, that agony becomes the increasingly overwhelming component of a human being’s existence? …

Because we may never say this, some of those determined to remain in a state of almost perfect ignorance will be heard to complain: “But surely nothing justifies the violence of the Palestinians themselves, or their firing rockets into Israel!” Gaza is a concentration camp. The inhabitants of Gaza act in defense of their lives, to the extent the hell to which they are condemned can be called “life” at all. That is: “When you leave people no choice but to engage in violence, they’ll engage in violence.” This, too, must never be acknowledged. ..

As has happened every time before, the world watches — and the world does nothing. More horrifying is the fact that the most powerful nation on earth, the United States, supports this evil and guarantees that it will not only continue, but very probably get still worse. Any individual who expected a different response from the United States in any respect at all has blinded himself to the nature of the United States generally, and to the significance of the Obama administration more particularly. For the Obama administration has engaged in a worldwide campaign of death for four years, and promises to continue the campaign into the indefinite future. And Obama and his fellow murderers repeatedly proclaim their “right” to murder any innocent human being wherever he may be in the world, for any reason they invent and even for no reason at all. A nation led by a group of serial murderers will hardly object to another country’s program of sadism.

 

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http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2297-on-the-eve-last-thoughts-before-the-latest-invasion-of-gaza.html

Hell is coming. Hell is near. Thousands upon thousands of troops are massing for the ground invasion of a small patch of land crammed full with human beings trapped without any defense against the steel that will destroy them. Several children have already died in the preliminaries. Many, many more will die when the real feast of death begins. As Arthur Silber says:

[From CBS News:] “At least half of the Palestinians killed in the conflict so far have been civilians, including at least eight children and a pregnant woman.” Dead children are now a commonplace of the ceaseless death campaigns conducted by the United States and Israel. That alone reveals a great deal, more than anyone decent cares to know, about the nature of the “civilization” involved. But … a pregnant woman. That’s a new and creative touch. Does someone in Israel get extra points for that? A special medal for extraordinary heroism? I suspect so.

This reminded me of something I wrote years ago, during the American crucifixion of the Iraqi city of Fallujah:

One of the first moves in this magnificent feat was the destruction and capture of medical centers. Twenty doctors – and their patients, including women and children – were killed in an airstrike on one major clinic, the UN Information Service reports, while the city’s main hospital was seized in the early hours of the ground assault. Why? Because these places of healing could be used as “propaganda centers,” the Pentagon’s “information warfare” specialists told the NY Times. …

So while Americans saw stories of rugged “Marlboro Men” winning the day against Satan, they were spared shots of engineers cutting off water and electricity to the city – a flagrant war crime under the Geneva Conventions, as CounterPunch notes, but standard practice throughout the occupation. Nor did pictures of attack helicopters gunning down civilians trying to escape across the Euphrates River – including a family of five – make the TV news, despite the eyewitness account of an AP journalist. Nor were tender American sensibilities subjected to the sight of phosphorous shells bathing enemy fighters – and nearby civilians – with unquenchable chemical fire, literally melting their skin, as the Washington Post reports. Nor did they see the fetus being blown out of the body of Artica Salim when her home was bombed during the “softening-up attacks” that raged relentlessly – and unnoticed – in the closing days of George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, the Scotland Sunday Herald reports.

Like Silber, I wonder if the American soldiers who killed the pregnant Artica Salim got a medal  for their defense of civilization?

Concerning civilization, what does Israel’s Interior Minister say is the goal of the current operation? It’s quite simple. From Haaretz:

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.”

This too reminds me of something? Oh yes, a piece by the multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning voice of the American Establishment’s most hidebound conventional wisdom, Thomas Friedman:

In fact, who can forget Tom’s giddy cheerleading for the Clinton-Blair air war against the civilian population of Serbia? Who can forget his bone-chilling warning to the unruly Slavs in his classic 1999 column, “Give War a Chance,” when he wrote: “Let’s at least have a real war. It should be lights out in Belgrade: every power grid, water pipe, bridge, road and war-related factory has to be targeted…Every week you ravage Kosovo is another decade we will set your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too.”

As Silber notes, these nightmare tropes will continue to play out, over and over again:

Gaza sets the pattern; expect to see it repeated in the years and decades to come. And most people still refuse to see what is happening.

More and more areas of the world will be turned into a charnel house. It happened twice in the twentieth century on an ungraspable scale, and it occurred many additional times in a more limited manner, which was no less horrifying for the victims. It seems the only lessons we learned from all these catastrophes are how to do it more efficiently and effectively, and with less resistance from the world at large. The victims change; the pattern does not. So for us at this moment in history, the slogan is not, “Never again!” The slogan is: “Always again!”

And again. And again. And again. Until time runs out.

Be clear about this: what we are witnessing — and are about to witness — in Gaza, as in Afghanistan, and in the drone-pocked regions of Pakistan, and in Yemen, Somalia, Mali and in other areas around the world: all of this, in every instance, represents a vast, irreparable, unspeakably tragic defeat for humankind — and incredible, unspeakable pain for real human beings. It is a defeat, in every instance, a failure — of nerve, of spirit, of intellect, of empathy; it is a show of weakness — no matter how many of the “enemy” you kill; it is a display of ignorance, fear and barbarity. Again, just be clear: if you support it — or support those who support it — this is what you are supporting.

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