Anyone who even attempts to defend the killing of the children in Qana by Israeli air strikes is criminally insane. There can be no justification for slaughtering children, in any circumstances, anywhere.
You feel revulsion when you see photographs of Israeli kids writing hate slogans on artillery shells that are going to be fired at Arab kids. In fact real human beings feel more than revulsion when seeing photographs of brainwashed hatred in the young: they experience utter despair because these kids are deliberately being taught to hate other who are different from them.
This isn’t new, this insistence that young minds should automatically accept, embrace and expand on hideous loathing displayed by a previous generation. In Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, for example, school text books on history and world affairs are bizarre in their one-sided portrayal of each other as terminally evil. Hatred in India and Pakistan is imbued from infancy, and there is little can be done in maturity to alter this attitude which is irrevocably instilled in other than a few highly intelligent free spirits who can rise above mindless racist bigotry.
It’s exactly the same in Northern Ireland, of course, lest anyone imagine I espouse the notion that pea-brained hatred, to the point of desire to murder people because they are different, is the prerogative of non-Western peoples. Many Protestants and Catholics in Ulster behave like any other ignorant bloodthirsty thugs. Irrational hatred exists in lots of other regions and countries. Just look around.
And Palestinian children hate, too. They hate Israelis because their grandparents had their lands stolen and occupied by a foreign power which has ignored countless UN resolutions to obey the law. It is only because of unremitting US support that Israel has been able to defy the entire world and trample over the basics of natural justice. These Palestinian children hate Israel because it is a brutal and bigoted occupying power that denies decency and human dignity to a race of people who differ from them in looks, religion and customs. In other parts of the world this is called racism.
Israel is supported root and branch by the President and Congress of United States of America. They unconditionally endorse the actions, no matter how barbaric or bizarre, of a racist, nuclear-armed country that willfully ignores UN resolutions and assassinates people as a matter of national policy. In the course of providing support Condoleezza Rice declared that “An immediate ceasefire [in Lebanon] without political conditions does not make sense”, which gave the Israelis the green light to kill the Qana kids.
Rice declared last year that “Israel has no greater friend and no stronger supporter than the United States of America . . . . The United States and Israel share much in common. We both affirm the innate freedom and dignity of every human life, not as prizes that people confer to one another, but as divine gifts of the Almighty.”
If Rice and Bush so greatly respect the dignity of human life they would have ordered Israel to cease its murderous onslaught on civilians. They could have done it in a nanosecond, make no mistake. But they chose to encourage Israel in its killing spree.
Groveling at the feet of Israel is not just unseemly and pathetic, it is directly contrary to the ideals that Bush and Rice profess to hold. Israel is nuclear-armed, yet there has never been a peep of criticism from a US administration that claims to be gravely disturbed by the spread of nuclear weapons. Israel flouts international rules and should be held responsible for its flagrant violations of international trust and order, yet its very scorn for the UN is warmly endorsed by its patron and paymaster. Its deliberate murder of four UN officers and refusal to permit an independent inquiry into the atrocity demonstrate its utter contempt for the world at large.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, the repulsive Dan Gillerman said ” . . . we grieve the deaths of those civilians and children. But it is very, very important to stress that they may have been hit by an Israeli bomb, but they are victims of the Hezbollah. If Hezbollah wasn’t there, this would never have happened.” His suggestion that the children might have been kept in Qana by force was the product of a diseased mind.
Which brings us to the gallant Israeli pilot who sent the MK-84 guided bomb smashing down on Qana to kill dozens of children.
The United States gives Israel about three billion dollars a year and provides bombs, airplanes, bulldozers and other weapons with which to crush and punish Arabs. There is but one caveat on the flow of cash: three quarters of it must be spent with US weapons’ manufacturers. The US taxpayer funds Boeing and the rest of the death-merchants in one of the most blatant scams perpetrated against a long-suffering US public.
Washington provided the bomb that killed the children in Qana and bears responsibility for their deaths. Final responsibility rests with the brave airman dareman who flew his aluminum death tube high in the sky, free and easy, in no danger whatever from enemy aircraft or ground fire, then smashed three dozen kids to bits with his US-supplied bomb from his US-supplied airplane.
What does he think, now, this airman? Is he proud of himself? Is he the toast of his squadron? “Hey Gideon: what a hit you were”, chuckle chuckle. Has he children himself? Does he look fondly at his kids at night when he sees them sleeping? Does he think of the kids he killed, blown to shreds by his US bomb from his US airplane? Will this man ever be able to sleep again?
The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz (more balanced than most) noted on July 31 that “The Israel Defense Forces have killed 97 people in the Gaza Strip since the fighting began in Lebanon. Most of them were armed, and the rest were civilians – children, women, men, the elderly. The large number of fatalities suggests the IDF is engaged in indiscriminate killing under the cover of the war in the north.”
In Gaza, too, the Israelis pursue their berserk campaign of ethnic cleansing by murder. There is no point in trying to disguise it. And the US doesn’t even bother to hide its endorsement of slaughter. Washington does, however, bother to tell silly little lies as well as large-scale ones. Here is Rice at her most fautous: “In the wake of the tragedy [in Qana] that the people and the government of Lebanon are dealing with today, I have decided to postpone my discussions in Beirut”.
But Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, had said “There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now.”
So Rice left the region in dudgeon. The Lebanese wouldn’t talk to her, but she couldn’t bear to admit this and had to tell a silly lie to try to overcome her humiliation. Artistic she is. Cultured most definitely. But she is devoid of human compassion and ordinary common sense. She is, there is no kinder word for it, a booby.
The US approach to world affairs is disastrous. After 9/11 there were demonstrations in some countries in support of bin Laden’s loonies, to be sure, but the overwhelming feeling was of support for America. There were enormous and absolutely genuine outpourings of grief and solidarity. Hardly a country but was one hundred per cent behind Bush, Washington and the American people in their time of national grief.
America is the most hated nation on earth. In most countries its president is by far the most despised international figure. To read the State Department’s Travel Advisories is to realise that for an American to take a trip overseas is a pretty grim prospect as there are so many countries to which it is highly dangerous for a US citizen to venture.
The reason that America is so detested, distrusted and abominated is that its president and his coterie decided their policy should be total aggression and antagonism. Diplomacy, courtesy and negotiation were for wimps. And thus they played right into the hands of bin Laden and his tiny number of dedicated weirdo fanatics.
Washington’s immature truculence was at first considered regrettable but manageable by most civilised nations. But when the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were ordered against the flow of international advice it became apparent that America had an erratic policy of chauvinistic domination. It became increasingly and embarrassingly apparent to America’s friends that Bush and his coterie were determined to engage in an entirely one-sided gladiatorial contest. Their arena was the world, and US forces were sent to wage ferocious and bitter war on pygmy nations that could not possibly retaliate in any conventional fashion.
The fact that the Bush wars on Afghanistan and Iraq have become national military disasters does not disturb the Bush administration. Retaliation for US adventurism has been unconventional and enormously damaging, but Bush and his acolytes are comfortable with self-deception. Their optimism about “progress” in these chaotic countries is absurd.
The Bush administration belief that everything will be all right in the end (“We will Prevail”) is becoming even more preposterous day by day. And one of the reasons the belief is so foolish is that the US has been even further isolated by its flat refusal to condemn Israel’s atrocities. The US-made bomb that killed dozens of Arab children in Qana has been an enormous bonus for bin Laden, if he is still alive. But even if Bush policy did not play into his personal hands, it certainly played into the hands of all who recruit the militants and suicide bombers who are determined to take revenge on those who give Israel bombs to kill Arab children.
The peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq consider themselves occupied by foreign powers and are being told by influential figures in their countries that the US and Israel are waging war on Muslims. Moderate Muslims, such as President Musharraf of Pakistan, who went out on a very far limb by talking to a Jewish organization in New York in September last year, have had the ground cut from beneath their feet by Washington. Musharraf wants to encourage the Muslim world to recognize Israel and has tried hard to foster pan-Islamic tolerance. But after the Qana atrocity he and other progressive Muslims will find it impossible to even mention tolerance for Israel. And by deliberate choice of the Bush administration the US is inextricably linked with Israel’s criminal ferocity.
Osama bin Laden may not be alive, but this is irrelevant because countless millions of Muslims regard him as a hero, alive or dead. Their reasoning is that he has caused a dramatic and continuing amount of disruption to the western world’s economic and social structure. He has hit us hard. And his ongoing success in disrupting our lives is helped by the weaknesses of Bush and his people. Their smugness, arrogance and casual savagery are some of bin Laden’s most effective weapons.
Osama bin Laden need never do anything again to ensure permanency and prosperity of his legacy of hatred. Thanks to the imperious policies of the Bush administration and its fervent support for Israel the United States is hated and despised to an almost unbelievable degree. Osama has won.
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY writes on military and political affairs. He can be reached through his website www.briancloughley.com