Thank you, George W. Bush, for bringing peace to Israel:
Israeli fighter-bombers and combat helicopters strike dozens of targets inside Gaza starting shortly after local dawn. Guardian UK reporting 120 dead. Other accounts as high as 180, with over 300 wounded. Video shows that large high explosive bombs were used by the Israelis, and witness report massive explosions. Witnesses say that Gaza's police chief is among the dead.
Most were Hamas security and police forces, but many were also civilians, including children. Gaza hospitals are overwhelmed with the casualties. Israel has announced that it's intent is to destroy Hamas, and called for Arab Palestinians to reject Hamas. Inside Gaza the belief is that Israel, Egypt, and the US are trying to destroy Hamas, which is the de facto government of Gaza. Peres stated that there would be no "invasion" of Gaza, , but left open military incursions.
The strikes were expected for Sunday, but were done a day earlier to increase casualties, in what is now clearly the first step to escalation of the conflict. The bulk of the casualties occurred when Israeli jets struck a graduation at the Hamas headquarters.
Remember how everybody was going to be singing "Kumbaya" by now? Good times:
In January, George W. Bush famously predicted he would broker a Middle East peace by the end of his presidency. Now with Israel's launch this morning of airstrikes in Gaza -- which so far have left 155 dead -- Bush's pledge of a two-state solution is just the latest failure of his disastrous tenure in the White House.
After years of malign neglect regarding the simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Bush launched his renewed peace effort at the November 2007 Annapolis conference. During a subsequent meeting on January 11, 2008 with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Bush made his pledge of a signed agreement during his presidency:
"I believe it's going to happen, that there will be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office...I'm on a timetable. I've got 12 months."
For her part, Secretary of State Rice finally put an end to Bush's wishful thinking on December 15. After a meeting of the diplomatic Quartet of Mideast peacemakers - the U.S., the U.N., the European Union and Russia – held at the United Nations, Rice announced:
"They won't achieve agreement by the end of the year, but they have achieved a good deal of progress in their negotiations, a good deal of progress in the work that is being done on the ground."
Right. Progress. So what does progress look like, anyway?
One target was the Gaza City police station where a graduation ceremony was taking place (this is raw footage from the aftermath of the attack and is graphic):
Ian Welsh has a good analysis (okay, two) of what Israel can hope to gain from this, which is jack diddly shit. Israel and America both are currently run by men who think the answer to every argument is a bomb. The fact that bombs have failed so often and so dramatically doesn't deter them in the slightest.
Israel didn't used to fight so many stupid wars. The fact that they are now might possibly have something to do with the fact that America, their staunchest ally, has been run for eight years by batshit insane neocon fucktards. Thank you, George W. Bush, for fucking up the world even further than it was already fucked up.
And what's America's response to this development been? What it always is when a Bushie's in charge. They're lying about it:
N.S.A. Spokesman Gordon Johndroe condemed Hamas for breaking the 4 month de-facto truce by firing rockets into Israel.
It was "completely unacceptable" for Hamas, which controls Gaza, to launch attacks on Israel after a truce lasting several months, said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
The only trouble is it was Israel who breached the de-facto truce on November 4th with an IDF raid into Gaza killed 6 Palestinians. Hamas reacted immidately to The IDF´s breach of the truce by lanching rockets into Israel later on the 4th.
Gaza truce broken as Israeli raid kills six Hamas gunmen
A four-month ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza was in jeopardy today after Israeli troops killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid into the territory.
Hamas responded by firing a wave of rockets into southern Israel, although no one was injured.
I can hardly wait to see what other lies they spin around this. And just think, my darlings, he has over 20 days left. That's plenty of time for him to fuck things up even more spectacularly.
We're not likely to see more effective Republicon leadership come down the pike, either. Remember yesterday, when we discovered that Chip Saltzman, one of the contenders for RNC chairman, was handing out racist CDs as part of his campaign and responding to the backlash by saying it's all just good, clean political fun? Remember how there was nothing but silence from the current leadership?
That changed this afternoon, nearly 24 hours after the news broke.
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan issued a statement Saturday distancing the party's leadership from one of the GOP's best-known operatives, Chip Saltsman, who distributed a CD containing "Barack the Magic Negro" as part of his campaign to be elected chairman of the Republican National Committee next month.
Duncan, who has served the campaigns of five presidents dating back to Richard Nixon, is seeking reelection as the party's 60th chairman in a hotly contested race that includes Saltsman and several other viable candidates.
Duncan's statement, in its entirety, read: "The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."
That's the best he could come up with? Not "this was wrong because racism is wrong." Not "I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate" period? Notice that it's all about consequences, not remorse. Duncan is upset because this debacle makes it harder to sucker people into becoming Republicons. He's acting just like a serial killer. Serial killers who cry when they get caught aren't crying for their victims, but themselves.
So are the Cons. Which demonstrates as clearly as anything that the only thing they find wrong about racist bullshit is that people won't let them get away with it. They see nothing intrinsically wrong with making racist jokes, treating minorities like inferior beings, and discarding them once they've outlived their usefulness.
We allowed these fucktards to be elected. The majority of our fellow citizens trusted them to govern well, govern fairly, and keep the world from falling to bits.
If we'd been paying more attention to their idea of a joke, we would've easily been able to predict how all this would turn out.
Israel cannot afford to ignore rocket attacks from Hamas, which cannot afford to be gracious about rocket attacks from Israel. But you'd think Hamas would quit positioning its arms next to (in some cases inside of) civilian targets, unless their objective might be to generate the kind of footage shown here.
This is a case of the wounded striking out at the wounded who strike back. I'll be damned if I know a solution to it. Though our adventurism in the area certainly isn't helping.
My latest theory on Republicanism is that it is more or less defined by the relative inability to distinguish rules from principles -- or, in the more extreme cases, to be incapable of understanding the idea of principles at all, and therefore to operate solely on rules.
This is why, to a Republican, Bush's ethical violations are less extreme than Clinton's; they both broke the rules, but Clinton did so more obviously -- so he's worse.
And this is why Republicans (post-Goldwater era, anyway) make such horrendous lawmakers: in order to make good rules, you have to understand the principles which those rules should be designed to enforce. If rules are all you understand, then the only reason for ever changing them is to make things better for you and yours. (Which is pretty much how they treat the rule-making process, innit.)
I think we need to start looking at Republicanism as a symptom of a mental deficiency, and start researching ways to get its victims the help they need -- whilst gently prising their fingers away from the dangerous tools with which they can harm themselves and others. ...like, say, TV cameras. And government jobs with any authority. Or any job with authority, really.
We need to give the worst cases a good home at a faux-right-wing think-tank whose sole purpose is to applaud them for being clever, and take their cleverly-twisted ideas and their oh-so-persuasive-but-hideously-wrong writings and, well, study them carefully in a meme-containment lab or something.
I feel confident that a vigorous research program will, one day, find a cure.
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