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Thinly Veiled Code for Genocide

Israel’s War of Attrition in Gaza

by ROB URIE

Following World War II U.S. General Curtis LeMay, the reported inspiration for the psychotic General Jack Ripper in Stanley Kubrick’s dark comedy Dr. Strangelove, was said to have remarked that had the Allies lost the war he would likely have been hanged as a war criminal for the bombing of Tokyo. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians perished under American bombs in a series of raids on the Japanese city. Separately, the Japanese leadership was widely reported to have been ready to surrender before atomic bombs were dropped on primarily civilian populations in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With this history it seems difficult to remember that upon entering World War I aerial bombardment of a civilian population was widely understood to be a war crime.

As it was applied to the U.S. war on Southeast Asia (Vietnam) the term ‘war of attrition’ was barely veiled code for a racist slaughter, the ‘kill ratio’ of 58,000 U.S. soldiers to 3,500,000 Vietnamese and likely millions more in Cambodia and Laos is evidence of a degree of military mismatch perhaps better called genocide. The theory behind the term is that causing an ‘appropriate’ level of death and destruction against one’s enemies produces two outcomes: it turns people against ‘their own’ governments causing a loss of internal political support for them and it kills so many potential adversaries that there is no ‘will’ (no one) left to fight. The dim socio-pathology of the U.S. strategy in Vietnam can be found in the utter implausibility of the largely agrarian-peasant population having any geopolitical ‘vision’ at all, let alone on the side of ‘their’ enemies for preceding millennia, the Chinese.

When Ronald Reagan launched his war of terror against the people of Nicaragua in the early 1980s the articulated view in his administration was that if U.S. / CIA proxies (Contras) murdered enough people and blew up enough bridges and schools those who had supported the Nicaraguan Revolution just a few years earlier would turn against the revolutionary government (FSLN). Events in Nicaragua came on the heels of the Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the CIA / MI5 installed ‘Shah’ whose brutal ‘rule’ served as a front for Western expropriation of Iranian oil. In the name of ‘freedom’ the Contras carried out a campaign of terror against the people of Nicaragua that included torturing and murdering tens of thousands of civilians, including slaughtering entire villages. The strategy appeared to ‘work’ when in 1990 the terrorized population of Nicaragua voted out the Revolutionary government in favor of one more advantageous to U.S. ‘interests.’ However, once the murders and destruction ended the Sandanistas were voted back into power. Apparently state terrorism can...

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