Saturday, March 21, 2009

Freedom of expression 

Surely there is a connection between these two things: 1) yesterday's announcement of the public/private phase two of the "bailout of the sea," which -- as Krugman makes clear -- marks the official failure of Obama and his agenda; and 2) the fact that IDF soldiers are creating and wearing T-shirts that define and celebrate their work as the murdering of women and children:

The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing.... Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty.... A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription "Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter's T-shirt from the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills."...

There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, "Bet you got raped!" A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies - such as "confirming the kill" (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim's head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants.

Further edification provided at Haaretz. Also, see this NYTimes piece about soldiers' descriptions of how they were encouraged to murder women and children and did so. Angry Arab comments on Times writer Ethan Bronner's discomfiture at the soldiers' accounts (originally appearing in Haaretz): "...you know what is very ironic about Bronner's crude propaganda piece here? I mean, the Israeli terrorist soldiers are confessing that they were ordered to kill women and children and they recount the murder of women and children and Bronner follows them with stories that they did not actually do what they are confessing to doing."


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