Friday, January 06, 2006

The obvious truth about Ariel Sharon 

It's sad when anyone dies, especially for the members of his family. But it's repulsive when the death becomes an occasion for lies and sentimental idealizations that are the opposite of a truthful reckoning with that person's life.

So of course I've been nauseated by the constant headlines about Israel's love and support for Ariel Sharon, about the "nation's vigil," etc. Plenty of Israelis know the truth about the man: that he was a cruel and vicious killer and a destroyer of the state of Israel. The fact that every single mainstream news publication in the United States takes it for granted that he was pursuing peace--this just shows how irretrievably fucked is the current situation in the Middle East.

That Ariel Sharon was a vicious killer is simply not up for argument. The Israeli government itself held Sharon "personally responsible" for the 1982 massacre of 2,000 Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon (the futile and aggressive invasion of which had also been orchestrated by Sharon). He ordered his troops to stay out of the camps and to let Phalangist terrorists into the camps--knowing exactly what they were doing; and he had his men light the area with flares so that the Phalanges could perpetrate the slaughter. All of this is known and not forgotten, in Israel or anywhere else in the Middle East.

That Ariel Sharon was not "a man of peace" is also obvious to those who wish to know it. He was a brilliant politician. His Gaza withdrawal plan worked perfectly. It provoked the rage of the truly insane Messianic lunatics; and this in turn brought the Israeli moderates to his, Sharon's, side. Thus Sharon co-opted his domestic opponents, even as he began the brutal, illegal, and ultimately suicidal annexation of large portions of the West Bank for the settlers, whose presence there has been expanding every day since June 1967.

Stephanie Koury described the basic situation last November in the Washington Post:

"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's brokering of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on border crossings into the Gaza Strip is a good step for the economic development of Gaza and a positive sign of American engagement in the peace process. But the real test for the U.S. administration's commitment to this peace process isn't the Gaza Strip -- it's Israel's settlement expansion and its separation plan for the West Bank.

After a shooting attack on Israeli settlers in the West Bank last month, Israel responded by banning Palestinian movement in private vehicles on main roads in the West Bank. The United States called for lifting of these restrictions but has failed to grasp their implications as a sign of how Israel plans to separate itself from a Palestinian state and how this separation will affect Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's efforts on security reforms.

The restriction on Palestinian use of West Bank roads shows how Israel plans to separate Palestinians from Israeli settlers while maintaining many settlements scattered throughout the occupied West Bank. In September 2004, Israel launched a roads-and-tunnels plan consisting of approximately 24 tunnels and 56 roads that will shift Palestinian traffic away from Israeli settlements and off settler roads.

Under this plan, Israel's 410,000 settlers will enjoy the use of main roads and good highways, while many of the roads or tunnels planned for the 2.2 million Palestinians will be narrow and indirect and will traverse hilly areas -- making them ill suited for building an economically viable Palestinian state. The plan enables Israel to remove checkpoints and thus claim that it is improving the lives of the Palestinians, even as it tightens the noose around Palestinian areas and diminishes the land remaining for a future state.

The planned location of these tunnels and roads, combined with settlement expansion, will result in a Palestinian 'state' broken up into three parts on 54 percent of the West Bank, with a citizenry denied access to sufficient land and water resources for an adequate standard of living.

Abbas met with President Bush last month in part to ask that the United States ensure that Israel abide by its obligations under the "road map" peace plan to freeze settlements and dismantle outposts. President Bush reaffirmed these Israeli obligations but would not provide a timetable for insisting on their implementation. He also expressed support for Abbas's rejection of terrorism and pledged to help the Palestinian Authority end attacks, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and maintain law and order. But unfortunately the Bush administration's unwillingness to tackle settlement and road construction with Israel undermines those efforts."

The "solution" pursued by Sharon was not only unfair. It wouldn't have held for long. It would have brought more death, and it would ultimately have destroyed Israel by forming it ever more in the likeness of apartheid South Africa.

Now, with Sharon's so-called "centrist" coalition--this is true fascist doublespeak--in disarray, we may get something worse than Sharon's "solution" to the conflict.

But that is no reason to tell stupid lies about a murderous man--even if he happens to be dying.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Note to Carl Levin: Die 

So last week we get the Carl Levin/Lindsay Graham/Somefuck-named-Kyl Amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill FI 2006. In this stunning display of moral rectitude habeas corpus rights were signed over to military jurisdiction for all subsequent detainees at Guantanamo.

The Supremes said last year that prisoners in Gitmo have habeas rights in federal courts. After this legislation was passed, detainees kept the right to appeal in federal courts, but not until they've been tried in these military courts. The military courts, unless I'm mistaken, don't have to serve the detainees with shit until they feel like it.

So Senators walk away telling everyone how noble they are for signing an anti-torture law that is merely a restatement of the anti-torture law currently on the books. They also get to look like they faced big bad George down in a game of chicken. George walks away with no habeas for future detainees, which essentially an expansion of his power. And what the fuck does he care anyway about an anti-torture law? He's got secret prisons.

But George also walks away with Levin. As a Democrat Levin puts the fig leaf of bi-partisanship squarely on the cock and balls of this provision that will fuck all future detainees (and here I speak literally). We all know what bi-partisanship means in Washington, don't we? Say it with me now: If both parties agree on it, it ain't news.

In exchange for Levin, the Administration had to agree that the language of the provision would not apply to current detainees. As is noted in this piece:

Levin said three times there were efforts to bar all habeas cases when the legislative language was being negotiated. Each time it was made clear the law only applied to new cases.

Well, guess fucking what?

The Justice Department on Tuesday notified federal judges that the White House would ask them to dismiss all Guantanamo cases that are before them.

After negotiating this sweet deal, Bush turns around and tries subvert it.

Now that's not exactly a showstopper. Bush dealt in bad faith. Big fucking deal. Feel free to add it to the long list of Bush treachery, if you can find any paper left on the planet that isn't already being used to catalog his criminality. Bush's word hasn't meant shit since...well, when has it ever meant anything?

But what the fuck was Carl Levin thinking?

I'll admit, I don't know much about Levin. Maybe he's a Lieberman Democrat which means he's a fascist imbecile to begin with. Maybe he's braindead, which would explain how he might possibly have believed for a second that Bush didn't have his fingers crossed behind his back.

Or maybe he got something for it.

So this is what I want to know: What did you get, Carl?

Some pork for your state? A promise on a future bill? A promise that they wouldn't say mean things about you in the papers during your next election? An invitation to cigars and brandy at the club? A blowjob from a woman with all her teeth? A bib to keep the drool off your turned coat you mouthbreathing troglodyte fuck?

What did you get for helping Republicans gut fundamental rights? What's the market rate on a deal with the Devil these days? How much does your soul cost?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


From the White House website. Transcript of Bush's hospital visit to gravely wounded veterans of the Iraq bloodbath. Bush refers to a scratch above his eye that has been visible for the last few days. Bush compares the "injury" he sustained while cutting down cedar brush on his Texas property to the wounds suffered by the soldiers.

This is not a joke.

"As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself -- not here at the hospital, but in combat with a Cedar. I eventually won. The Cedar gave me a little scratch. As a matter of fact, the Colonel asked if I needed first aid when she first saw me. I was able to avoid any major surgical operations here, but thanks for your compassion, Colonel."

Full transcript.

Also: did any of you see the WashPo story about Bush's "hobby" of clearing cedar brush? Apparently, the clearing serves no purpose, the land is not being used, his ranch is not a working one, and real brush-clearing is done by chemical poison. Bush just does this because he likes it. The work involves cutting down trees with a chainsaw. Bush does it for several hours every day he is in Texas. This has been his one chosen activity for many years. He often insists that he be the one who puts a match to the woodpiles, and then he watches them burn.

Update: here is the Post story about Bush clearing brush.


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