FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Applauding While Lebanon Burns

by NORMAN SOLOMON

Syndicated columnist Richard Cohen declared in the Washington Post on Tuesday that an-eye-for-an-eye would be a hopelessly wimpy policy for the Israeli government.

“Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East knows that proportionality is madness,” he wrote. “For Israel, a small country within reach, as we are finding out, of a missile launched from any enemy’s back yard, proportionality is not only inapplicable, it is suicide. The last thing it needs is a war of attrition. It is not good enough to take out this or that missile battery. It is necessary to reestablish deterrence: You slap me, I will punch out your lights.”

Cohen likes to sit in front of a computer and use flip phrases like “punch out your lights” as euphemisms for burning human flesh and bones with high-tech weapons, courtesy of American taxpayers.

In mid-November 1998, when President Clinton canceled plans for air attacks on Iraq after Saddam Hussein promised full cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors, Cohen wrote: “Something is out of balance here. The Clinton administration waited too long to act. It needed to punch out Iraq’s lights, and it did not do so.”

The resort to euphemism tells us a lot. So does Cohen’s track record of sweeping statements on behalf of his zeal for military actions funded by the U.S. Treasury.

On February 6, 2003, the Washington Post published Richard Cohen’s judgment the morning after Colin Powell made his televised presentation to the U.N. Security Council. “The evidence he presented to the United Nations — some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail — had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them,” Cohen wrote. “Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise.”

Cohen’s moral certainties are on a par with his technical ones. While he condemns rockets fired into Israel, he expresses pleasure about missiles fired by the Israeli government. That the death toll of civilians is far higher from Israel’s weaponry does not appear to bother him. On the contrary, he seems glad about the killing spree by the Israeli military.

In a column with bigoted overtones (“Israel is, as I have often said, unfortunately located, gentrifying a pretty bad neighborhood”), Cohen’s eagerness to support additional large-scale bombing by Israel is thematic. Consider this passage: “Hezbollah, with the aid of Iran and Syria, has shown that it is no longer necessary to send a dazed suicide bomber over the border — all that is needed is the requisite amount of thrust and a warhead. That being the case, it’s either stupid or mean for anyone to call for proportionality. The only way to ensure that babies don’t die in their cribs and old people in the streets is to make the Lebanese or the Palestinians understand that if they, no matter how reluctantly, host those rockets, they will pay a very, very steep price.”

Such phrasing is classic evasion by keyboard cheerleaders for war: “The” Lebanese. “The” Palestinians. “They will pay a very, very steep price.” Meanwhile, in the real world, the vast majority of the victims of the Israeli onslaught are civilians being subjected to collective punishment.

Cohen — like so many others in the American punditocracy — depicts the death of an Israeli civilian as far more tragic and important than the death of an Arab civilian.

There’s something really sick about such righteous support for civilian death and destruction.

Osama bin Laden, meet Richard Cohen.

Richard, meet Osama.

 

 

 

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered: a Fragment (Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre)
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail