FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

In the Business of Killing Civilians

by JOSHUA FRANK

While reports slowly spread that President Obama is secretly behind the scenes attempting to end the latest escalation of Israel’s war on Palestine, his public position is clear: the United States is in lock step with Israel’s bloody aggression.

“There’s not a country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” Obama said while touring Thailand. “We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on peoples’ homes.”

The mounting Palestinian death toll alone counters Obama’s assertion that Israel is simply playing Good Samaritan defense. As of late Monday, 105 Palestinian civilians were already dead (compared to three Israelis) and countless more injured following five days of intense bombings, with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vowing he was ready at any moment to “significantly expand” the war. While most news outlets talk of the “hundreds” of bombs launched by Hamas militants, what’s often left out is that Israel has fired over 1000 murderous strikes of its own into the heart of the populated Occupied Territories, causing far more death and destruction than Hamas could ever inflict.

And murderous these strikes are – so murderous in fact that a few in the mainstream press are finally paying attention. CBS News even ran a feature with the headline, “Frantic diplomacy as Gaza Death toll soars.” The powerful lead photo in the piece depicted Palestinian mourners cradling the bodies of dead kids, victims of an Israeli missile that struck a building in Gaza City last week and killed five children belonging to a single family.

It’s this sort of disproportionate violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people that severely discredits Israeli’s hollow rationale for bombing homes, sports facilities and other public infastructure in the name of self-preservation. Other than President Obama’s open embrace of Israel’s targeting of civilians, the country has very little international support for its actions. Even British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that an escalation of Palestinian deaths would diminish its already languishing sympathy among allies.

Let’s be clear: civilian deaths don’t come by accident, they are a central tenet of Israel military policy.

No question that “strategic” strikes have collateral damage. But these deaths are not only avoidable, they are anticipated. No bombings means no maimed and mutilated bodies. Knowing full well that their missile attacks will kill civilians, Israel is directly targeting all Palestinians with its bombing campaign.

Why is there no outrage echoing throughout the White House or the halls of Congress? Perhaps it has a little something to do with the fact that like Israel’s right-to-strike – especially when these strikes murder innocents – is the exact same policy Obama employs with the U.S.’s extensive drone program.

In “Living Under Drones”, a study released last September by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law, the authors found “significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.” They also accused the Obama administration of misrepresenting drone strikes as “a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the U.S. safer,” which the report of course stated couldn’t be further from the truth.

Surely the same can be said for Israel’s duplicitous air assault that has killed an average of 20 Palestinians a day for nearly a week. Tragically, these civilian deaths will continue to be dehumanized and labeled as “accidental” as long as collateral damage is viewed as an error rather than the true intention of U.S. and Israeli defense policy.

Joshua Frank, Managing Editor of CounterPunch, is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, and of Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is now available in Kindle format. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com.

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @joshua__frank

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
August 25, 2016
Mike Whitney
The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance
John W. Whitehead
Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State
Lewis Evans
Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana
Daniel Kovalik
Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads
Sam Husseini
How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear
Ramzy Baroud
Punishing the Messenger: Israel’s War on NGOs Takes a Worrying Turn
Norman Pollack
Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race
Simon Wood
Where are the Child Victims of the West?
Roseangela Hartford
The Hidden Homeless Population
Mark Weisbrot
Obama’s Campaign for TPP Could Drag Down the Democrats
Rick Sterling
Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria
Yves Engler
The Anti-Semitism Smear Against Canadian Greens
August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail