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Almost 70% of Republicans believe we should take out ISIS asap.

Here’s what Zbig thinks:

“The worst thing we can do is to become the sole combatant against the forces of evil that are operating in that region. We have to avoid any direct collision with the world of Islam, we mustn’t label the enemy as Islamist, but we must work with those governments in the region that are prepared to defend themselves. … The key point I have in mind is that strategically we are not the chief protagonist in the region, because if we are, we become the inheritor of the colonial era, and we even become more hated in the region than is the case today.” ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski

I agree with Zbig.


Here’s what I wrote on that day, mis-spellings and all:
“This is one of those days I shall always remember — D Day. The invasion of western Europe has finally begun between the towns of Le Harve, Cherbourg and extending down the penninsula. This day marks the most terrific and the most men used in one attact in the history of the World!! Thousands of airoplanes were used and it is said that more bombs were dropped today than in the entire 6 months of bombing by the Germans on London.”

Here it is, Pearl Harbor day again. I looked up Dec. 7 in my mother’s diary for 1941 and found this:

Sun. Dec 7th — WAR —

We turned on Kaltenborn on the radio at 3:15 and found that Honolulu and Pearl Harbor and the Philippines had been attacked by the Japanese. Right when Roosevelt was trying his best to bring about peace. It was an infamous and a dastardly attack, a blow in the dark. The whole nation will be behind the President now.

I was a mere lad of 12 at the time, going on 13, too young to go off to war. So, instead I started high school (Westford Academy) the next June.

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I can’t believe this! This here blog of mine is being inundated with Pearl Harbor searchers. Over 350 visitors so far today. Of course none of them leaves a comment. But that’s OK.

Did I say in this blog somewhere where I was on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, 1941? Maybe I did mention it, and of course I have other stuff on that “Day of Infamy” on this blog that evidently people are finding.

Anyway, I remember being in our living room in our little house in Westford, Mass., and hearing H. V. Kaltenborn report the “dastardly attack” by those Japs on Pearl Harbor. My mother was there with me in front of our big old radio in the corner of our living room. My father came home later and I believe we were still listening.

UPDATE: I checked my own blog here and I see that I had links to recordings of people on the street and some photos. This was just two years ago today, December 7, 2007. This can be found easily using the Archives feature on this blog, that is, if anyone gives a shit. aHaHaHaHa

I still remember that old song, “Remember Pearl Harbor!” that was popular during the 1940’s. It keeps running through my head even to this day. Amazing, eh? aHaHaHaHa

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Just read the latest NYT Op-Ed by my buddy, Uwe Reinhardt. See Paying for Health Care (and War, by the Way).

He mentions that David R. Obey, a Democrat from Wisconsin, has introduced the Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010.

All this does is call for an explicit war surtax to pay for our continuing wars. Not a bad idea, is it? (I bet Frank Zappa would agree.)

If we’re all going to have to pay for every last cent of Health Care Reform, why don’t we all also pay for every last cent of our wars instead of letting only the military families bare the burden?


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Bob Herbert has a sobering Op-Ed in the NYT this morning, The Ultimate Burden. He describes a book of color photos by photographer Peter van Agtmael of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how most Americans have conveniently put these two absurd, obscene conflicts out of their minds.

So, who the Hell in America does fight these wars? Answer: less than 1% of our population of 300 million, and where does that 1% predominantly come from? Certainly not from children of the upper classes, from children of the economically advantaged.

So, where’s the draft? Funny we can’t pass one, isn’t it? I wonder why that is?

Here’s the most popular comment to Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed. It says it all:

I wish we could pass a new Constitutional amendment that said that a Congressional vote authorizing a war or any other overseas military action would immediately trigger a draft of males and females between 18 and 25 and that the first young people drafted would be any 18- to 25-year-old children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews of members of the House and Senate, the Cabinet secretaries, and the president and his/her staff.

Would Bush have been so quick to authorize an invasion of Iraq if he had known that doing so would subject Jenna and Barbara to the draft? Would Hillary Clinton have voted for the Iraq War Resolution if it had meant that Chelsea would be headed for boot camp?

If the rich and powerful are not willing to send their own children into combat, then the war is bogus. Note that most members of Congress had a child or grandchild in the armed forces during World War II.

Thank you, pdxtran from Minneapolis, for that insightful comment.

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Just finished a great book: Atonement by Ian McEwan. It’s blood curdling real in two senses: the psychological and the actual. Psychologically, McEwan knows how to get into his characters, to develop them so well you know them intimately and in fact grow to love them dearly. The actualities of the WW2 scenes in France are deeply and tragically believable and have tremendous descriptive force. The experiences of the young nurse, Briony her name, with the returning soldiers from the battle of Dunkirk are psychologically real and deeply affecting. And the final atonement of Briony is heart breaking but necessary as she makes further confessions to the young lovers, one of whom she had nearly destroyed through a crime she committed as a child, a crime which came about because of her fantasizing and desire to be a novelist at the age of thirteen. This is fiction but it all seems so real and believable: we see how seemingly trivial actions and events produce far reaching and tragic consequences.

OK, you can see I’m carried away with this. I knew nothing about Ian McEwan before I read this book. Here’s an interview of McEwan by Richard Dawkins:


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Juan Cole this morning displayed this article from the Sunday Times of London and suggested all his readers do the same. Here it is!

From The Sunday Times
January 11, 2009

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence – it’s a war crime

ISRAEL has sought to justify its military attacks on Gaza by stating that it amounts to an act of “self-defence” as recognised by Article 51, United Nations Charter. We categorically reject this contention.

The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence. Under international law self-defence is an act of last resort and is subject to the customary rules of proportionality and necessity.

The killing of almost 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 3,000 injuries, accompanied by the destruction of schools, mosques, houses, UN compounds and government buildings, which Israel has a responsibility to protect under the Fourth Geneva Convention, is not commensurate to the deaths caused by Hamas rocket fire.

For 18 months Israel had imposed an unlawful blockade on the coastal strip that brought Gazan society to the brink of collapse. In the three years after Israel’s redeployment from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. And yet in 2005-8, according to the UN, the Israeli army killed about 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. Throughout this time the Gaza Strip remained occupied territory under international law because Israel maintained effective control over it.

Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence, not least because its assault on Gaza was unnecessary. Israel could have agreed to renew the truce with Hamas. Instead it killed 225 Palestinians on the first day of its attack. As things stand, its invasion and bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5m inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes.

We condemn the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and suicide bombings which are also contrary to international humanitarian law and are war crimes. Israel has a right to take reasonable and proportionate means to protect its civilian population from such attacks. However, the manner and scale of its operations in Gaza amount to an act of aggression and is contrary to international law, notwithstanding the rocket attacks by Hamas.

Ian Brownlie QC, Blackstone Chambers

Mark Muller QC, Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales

Michael Mansfield QC and Joel Bennathan QC, Tooks Chambers

Sir Geoffrey Bindman, University College, London

Professor Richard Falk, Princeton University

Professor M Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University, Chicago

Professor Christine Chinkin, LSE

Professor John B Quigley, Ohio State University

Professor Iain Scobbie and Victor Kattan, School of Oriental and African Studies

Professor Vera Gowlland-Debbas, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Professor Said Mahmoudi, Stockholm University

Professor Max du Plessis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College

Professor Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University

Professor Thomas Skouteris and Professor Michael Kagan, American University of Cairo

Professor Javaid Rehman, Brunel University

Daniel Machover, Chairman, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

Dr Phoebe Okawa, Queen Mary University

John Strawson, University of East London

Dr Nisrine Abiad, British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Dr Michael Kearney, University of York

Dr Shane Darcy, National University of Ireland, Galway

Dr Michelle Burgis, University of St Andrews

Dr Niaz Shah, University of Hull

Liz Davies, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyer

Prof Michael Lynk, The University of Western Ontario

Steve Kamlish QC and Michael Topolski QC, Tooks Chambers

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Oh, who cares what Dennis says? But, hey, they gave him a whole minute here.

He does point out that the US gave Israel all those weapons only on condition that they not be used for aggression. Oh, but isn’t Hamas the aggressor? Depends how you define the word “aggressor”.

Watch this and you get a chance to see Bush telling a joke at the end. It’s really funny! Check it out.


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550 to 5!

Who is ahead? Who’s on first base? 550 people killed in Gaza versus 5 in Israel. Those poor Israelis!

The New York Times has an editorial, Incursion Into Gaza, this morning which many find sadly out of touch. I’ve been reading the comments and have selected two, the first from Valenciennes, France, the second from Chicago, Illinois, which capture my views better than I myself might express them.

Are you joking? How can you honestly report these opinions? Essentially, what I gather from this article is “Well, Israel has killed an obscenely disproportionate amount of people, but now it’s time to use caution. But only if Hamas rocket fire stops.”

Why does no one speak of the cause for this rocket fire? Namely, the humanitarian crisis imposed on Gaza by the Israeli blockade. Food shortage. Mass unemployment. Blame Hamas, blame Palestine, but facts are facts. People are starving. Children are starving. There’s sewage in the streets. And now people and children are dying by the hundreds. Hospitals don’t have NEARLY the capacity or the medicine. And even if they did, there’s no electricity or running water.

That’s not to say that I support Hamas’s rocket fire. I think it’s counterproductive, stupid, and wrong, and it should be stopped.

We often hear about Israelis in Sderot developing trauma related disorders. A few days ago I heard a story about a young Palestinian boy, 14 years old, in the Gaza strip. He died of shock. Had a heart attack. A 14 year old boy.

Please, NY times, please reconsider

— Ed Caddell, Valenciennes, France

The Times has waited for several days before sharing its “wisdom” on Israel’s invasion of Gaza, and out popped a mouse. It would have been better not to say anything.

First, what is an “incursion”? Israel has invaded Gaza, and even the Times is forced to admit the gross disparity in death (550 Palestinians and 5 Israelis), although it mentions not the destruction, wounded, threats to public health, etc, to the Palestinians. Nor does it mention ambulances being destroyed, medical personnel being killed, assassinations, etc., all by the Israelis. Where I come from, that’s called “terrorism.”

Where is the demand that Israel cease and withdraw immediately–and more importantly, where it the demand that the United States cut off all funding to Israel? As long as the US gives a blank check to the Israelis, no possible just solution can emerge.

This is not to say Hamas have been saints. Rocketing Israeli civilians is not acceptable. Period.

But let’s recognize that Hamas is an Israeli invention, initially intended to undercut the sectarian PLO. Oops. And when Hamas competed in democratic elections, Israel and the United States rejected the outcome–we didn’t like the outcome.

Israel has created the world’s largest prison, and just cannot understand why human beings wouldn’t like being forced to live in those conditions.

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has failed for 60 years–or more. It’s clear that more repression will not work.

Israelis won’t be safe until the Palestinians are safe. The Palestinians won’t be safe until they have true equality with the Israelis; where the Israelis don’t have power over the Palestinians.

Any “solution” that does not address the extreme power differential is a joke, whether by the Bush Administration of the new Obama Administration. And only hinders a real solution that is just for both sides.

But the Times’ complicity in covering up the atrocities, and blaming Hamas for ordering those Israeli tanks and aircraft to attack, is beyond despicable.

— Kim Scipes, Chicago

Well, maybe Obama can get them all to sit down in a room together and talk, talk, talk, until a solution is reached, and then talk, talk, talk some more until the solution is refined and peace is achieved. Simple? Take a century? Maybe.

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