Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
Raw Sewage and Coloring Books

Operation Blowhard

by PRUDENCE CROWTHER

A White House aide reported Friday that President Barack Obama had been found sleepwalking in the middle of the night. The aide, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, followed the president into the Oval Office, where he delivered the following unprepared speech.

The transcript was provided by the NSA, who said the president appeared to be wearing blue seersucker pajamas with red piping.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yesterday, Israeli troops continued to bomb Gaza. As many as 300 innocent lives have now been taken—men, women, children, infants who had nothing to do with the recent violence. Their deaths are a outrage of unspeakable proportions. At least 13 Israeli soldiers have also died. We mourn them no less.

But the nation that has lost by far the most people is Palestine. From the days of our founding the Palestinian people have not been all that familiar to the United States of America, but today I want them to know that we stand with you shoulder to shoulder in our grief and in our absolute determination to get to the bottom of what happened.

Now, here is what we know so far. Evidence indicates that aircraft being used in the assault are manufactured in two areas that are controlled by the United States—namely, the states of Missouri and Washington. Moreover, we know that the invaders have received a steady flow of support from the United States, which last year alone chipped in $30 billion toward operations like this one. So I have decided that as we have helped make the invasion of Gaza possible, that we will impose sanctions on the United States, because we believe in standing up for the basic principle that a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has to be respected, and it is not we, or Israel, or Russia, or Germany, or any other country that should be deciding what happens there.

This is only fair. As you know, just the other day I increased sanctions on Russia in connection with the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. And I froze the assets of some of its defense companies. But the American people understand that if you are going to throw stones you should get out of your glass house. They know that if you are doing hard things, then there is going to be some hair on it. Holding ourselves to the same standards is an example.

So I will repeatedly make clear that the United States must halt the flow of weapons across its borders into Israel. Thus far, America has failed to take any of the steps that I will be mentioning over the next few days, increasing sanctions against the makers of the F15C Eagle, white phosphorus and other anti-personnel weapons. Because like any people, Palestinians deserve the right to forge their own destiny.

RAW SEWAGE, NO COLORING BOOKS

That is not all. The people who harbor Missouri and Washington must also be held accountable. Folks in Connecticut, Utah…you too bear responsibility for the overall strategy of the occupation, as well as for the deaths of innocent people. While I’m proud that the Iron Dome system, which Americans helped develop and fund, has saved many lives, no one can deny the truth that is revealed in the awful images that we all have seen in Gaza lately.

Yesterday I spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu about the situation. We discussed Israel’s efforts to stop the threat of terrorist infiltration by blowing up tunnels, including those illegally dug from kitchens and bedrooms in the upper stories of Palestinian homes, and from beaches where their little children play. I explained very clearly that we want peace, and are really annoyed that Israel has continued to expand settlements in the occupied territories against international law, and despite the leverage our military aid buys. That’s why, together with our allies, we’ll continue our severe posturing. And the United States has already offered the support of the FBI.

Let me close by saying I think now is a somber and appropriate time for all of us to step back and take a hard look at what has happened. Violence and conflict inevitably lead to unforeseen consequences. Israel and Palestine have the capacity to put an end to the fighting—though not, of course, the people who are unable to get to the hospital or are living in refugee camps or are, you know, otherwise voiceless. Meanwhile, the United States is going to continue to lead efforts within the world community to de-escalate the situation, to stand up for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to support the people of Palestine as they courageously despair of ever making their own decisions about how they should move forward.
Thank you. And now, I’ll take just a few questions.

Helen?

PRUDENCE CROWTHER is an editor and writer living in New York City.