Friday, January 25, 2008

Suffocation With A Kiss

If you need additional evidence of American disdain for those we help to murder and starve, recent events in Gaza should suffice. Other than the standard news reports of the current chaos and misery, coupled with the typical furrowed-brow "analysis," there has been little to no real outrage about what the U.S. is financing and politically supporting. On the lefty peace margins, yes, as well as from Israeli and Arab activist groups and writers who closely follow these savage events (stories from ground zero have been filling my inbox all week, to which I'm just now catching up). But from American liberals, nada, at least so far as I've seen.

A search scan of the leading liblogger sites -- Kos, Atrios, Greenwald, Firedoglake, Digby, Ezra Klein, Yglesias -- produced zero on the Gaza crisis, which, again, is no real surprise, and again, probably just as well. They are too busy trying to choose a Dem Savior, because it's Their Turn, Their Time, a spectacle that at least produces a few laughs, however fleeting and empty. Besides, Mount Hillary and Saint Obama, whatever their actual differences, are united when it comes to crushing Palestinians. So really, what's there to discuss?

Three exceptions on this front remain my pals Jon Schwarz, Rob Payne, and Juan Cole. But then, you already knew that.

The official narrative is that the peace-loving U.S. and its dovish Israeli ally don't want to strangle Palestinians trapped in a rotting cage, but Hamas forces their hand. What's happening is more of a rescue mission -- to rid the Palestinian people of their Islamic captors and return them to the responsible arms of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who knows his place in the regional plan. The only way to do this is to squeeze the blood out of Gaza, for sometimes love must take violent forms in order to achieve lasting results. In this case, rough love includes closing all border crossings, cutting off food, medicine and fuel to the entire area, while shutting down Gaza's only power plant. That this accelerated the death and disease rate is unfortunate, but necessary. Remember when you tried to housebreak your first dog? All those hours spent beating it, starving it, denying it water and clean shelter? What Israel is doing to Gaza is a bit like that, only to 1.5 million strays.

Knocking down the Philadelphi wall, which allowed the mass pouring into Egypt for food, medicine, and other supplies, showed that the Gazans aren't quite ready for imperial conditioning. Our Egyptian client initially tried to help, firing water cannons and beating those crossing the border. But the tide proved too much, and Hosni Mubarak, trapped between serving Israeli interests and keeping his largely pro-Palestinian populace from erupting, eventually allowed the Gazans entry (although efforts to close the border have begun again). So, for a few days, anyway, some families will be able to eat, though the raw sewage filling the streets does not, I'm guessing, help with digestion. Then again, eating stale bread in an outdoor toilet streamlines the consumption-to-waste process, saving precious water in the bargain. In a sense, what we're doing to Gaza is environmentally friendly, if you squint your eyes and shake your head back and forth enough times.

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