20 July, 2006

Breaking news: American government doesn't give a shit!

MR. SNOW: The point here is they're firing rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas. The Israelis are responding as they see fit.
Q Does the President thus far have any problem with what the Israelis have been targeting, given the fact they have hit a lot of civilians?

MR. SNOW: They have hit civilians. And one of the things we've pointed out is that it has been the deliberate tactic of Hezbollah to place assets in civilian areas, including sometimes in the homes of its own members, as part of the tactics so that they would not get hit. And we lament the death of innocents whether they be in Israel, or in Lebanon, or in Gaza, or anywhere else. So it is something of which we are keenly aware. And it is also a reflection of tactics that would have been unthinkable in other conflicts at other times, but there is a deliberate attempt on the part of Hezbollah to place civilians in harm's way. And, unfortunately, they are.
This, presumably, includes the Hezbollah stations built on Lebanese roads and bridges all across the country. Bridges are a great place for terrorist infrastructure, as are sea ports, air ports, cell phone communication towers, power plants, and trucks for drilling water wells. Once I saw a photo of a Hezbollah office in downtown Beirut that was built on the shoulder of a six-year-old boy, as well.

This is particularly horrifying:
MR. SNOW: What we want is the proper -- the cessation of violence in a manner that is consistent with stability, peace, democracy in Lebanon, and also an end to terror.

A cease-fire that would leave the status quo ante intact is absolutely unacceptable. A cease-fire that would leave intact a terrorist infrastructure is unacceptable. So what we're trying to do is work as best we can toward a cease-fire that is going to create not only the conditions, but the institutions for peace and democracy in the region.
In other words, we shouldn't stop until Hezbollah is finished, or at the least Nasrallah is dead.

Again, we're not surprised. We're also not surprised by the lack of perspective shown by American media. We are somewhat surprised, however, by the response from the Arab League, all but Syria expressing condemnation of Hezbollah. Fear of Iran and their own populations.


international math, per bushies.

"firing rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas"
"shock and awe"

"a deliberate attempt ... to place civilians in harm's way"
"fighting them there so that we don’t have to fight them here”

"the cessation of violence in a manner that is consistent with stability, peace, democracy [and] an end to terror"
"it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it"

my favorite though is: "it is also a reflection of tactics that would have been unthinkable in other conflicts at other times." in other words, "how sad that these days, leaving the rich world's political options open requires killing civilians instead of weapons dealers. how very very  sad. hopefully in time the market will correct for imbalances in the global weapons trade." 

Posted by hibiscus

Pfft! 'Tis nothing new. Isn't this how we justified Hiroshima (and the firebombing of every major Japanese city during WWII)? 

Posted by judevac

it goes back farther than that. invading the philippines, "sherman's march," slaughtering native groups. even slavery was like this - systematic violent denial of free association, to enrich the few, justified by complete baloney. and of course the whole thing about having a navy in the first place, way-when, was to blow the crap out of an offending city by setting your guns on a "hill" that ground troops could only reach by swimming.

but there's a difference, as fine as it might feel as i write it, between (a) "terror bombing" as a (discredited but not dead) component of "total war" tactics and (b) granting full "collateral damage" authority to a police force.

the big change in military thinking in the industrial era has been using aerial bombardment of civilian targets to influence civilian political decisions. in WW2 this amounted to trying to influence people away from actually making war (by scaring them to death with consequences), so it was considered from that moral standpoint. after that though we get the mess - blowing up thousands of people along with the survivors' needed logistical systems because those people might associate with  militaristic criminals.

i think what changed was that the US didn't give up its air power after WW2. because it's very sexy to believe that bombers defeated japan and germany (they didn't - it was american boats and russian bodies, respectively), the air force and by extension long distance bombardment came out with an almost untouchably pure "victory" scent to it.

combine that with the war of ideas between colonial capitalists and imperial communists and suddenly you're talking about systematically influencing political decisions, before a shot is fired, by killing masses of people in horrifying ways. korea and vietnam were large-scale experiments with american terrorism, guatemala was a smaller one. and i do mean experiments - many tactics (carpet bombing, small arms dealing, torture) were methodically tested for effect in a wide variety of situations. the important thing though is why they were tested. this wasn't to avert war, it was to avert an undesirable electoral outcome.

i guess what i'm saying is that essentially the rich world's executive branches have granted themselves seemingly unlimited authority to act on "guilt by association" when large weapons are involved - in fact, as with iraq, the bums went for that authority in a might-associate-with-maybe-criminals situation, which if it weren't killing people and starting wars, could be considered funny. it seems to stem from their general attitude against the need for fair courts and due process of law in a democratic system. 

Posted by hibiscus

i just had a disturbing thought - prolly makes it wrong - take it with salt -

the reason bombardment came out an untouchable tactical component, clean as a whistle, is that it's the most flattering, the closest thing to divine justice. it didn't matter if the fire bombings and nukes in japan accomplished nothing more than targeted runs on strictly industrial targets would have done - to some people, it still doesn't - what's important is to sell  the war as retribution. asymmetric response may be a key to maintaining a domineering mindset, not to forcing the other into weakness. 

Posted by hibiscus

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