Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3

Anyone remember Barack Obama’s December 29, 2008 comment on the first Israeli Gaza carnage soon after he was elected in November of that year?

The heinous Gaza carnage was a parting gift by George Bush, the Butcher of Iraq, to his darling, Bibi Netanyahu, the thrice Butcher of Gaza.

During a December 2008 interview, soon after his election and right before he took office (and in the midst of Israel’s first 21st century brutally heinous war/assault on defenseless Gaza), Obama was asked what he would do to stop the Israeli carnage. His response was a terse: “there can only be one president at a time.” And ever since, when it comes to Israel’s wars on Palestinians and all their civil and social institutions, Mr. “Change we can believe in” has been Mr. Weasel par excellence.  The Israeli assault on the largest open air 1.5 million Palestinian prisoners and Obama’s  very lukewarm response  in the early days of his presidency set the tone for his Near East policy and proved to be  his modus operandi.

In an attempt to chart a new course for U.S. Near Eastern policy, Obama delivered a speech in Cairo that was, like most of his professorial-like speeches/lectures/pontifications,  full of floridly  baroque platitudes and floriated rhetoric, yet direly short on substance.

Israel’s Netanyahu, a whip-wielding bullying ring master trainer of American presidents in the arena of Near Eastern politics, war, and blackmail, set the parameters for the newbie Mr. Change we can’t believe in anymore. Netanyahu’s predatory skills were honed in the 1990s when he cut Bill Clinton down to size in  the Oval Office, a skill he honed to perfection, and a skill he’s twice utilized to Rasputinize Obama into humiliating submission and docility,  in the Oval Office, and for the world to see.

Don’t believe me?

That Israeli settlements are proceeding, unabated,  and that they have increased exponentially under the four-ring circus (Obama/Clinton/Kerry/Biden)  in violation of international laws and fully funded  with U.S. tax dollars (and tax write-offs), is proof positive of America’s servitude to the only democracy in the Middle East.That Netanyahu fabricated a whole range of obstacles to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal and brought the so-called leader of the mightiest country the world has known, that same Barak Obama, down to his knees, to plead for mercy for the nuclear Iran deal (his only foreign policy accomplishment),  is yet another proof positive of the impotence of the exceptional U.S. when it comes to its darling, Israel, its truant child, and the child nurtured and inculcated with “Affluenza.”    The recurrent U.S./UN Security Council veto votes of at least 50 UN resolutions condemning Israel  and the open ended billions of dollars per annum to prop up Israel’s economy, military, and industries (especially its military industries) are deals conducted behind closed doors, deals that are the result of political maneuvering and hush money in the form of political campaign contributions.

Don’t believe me?

Barack Obama has been preaching and practicing military muscular Exceptionalism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali, the Sudan, Yemen, Palestine, and  Ethiopia, to name but a few countries ravaged by US and NATO wars, policies and arms deals. Positioning missiles in Eastern Europe to challenge Putin, the new nemesis, and the strident build-up of bases and a much expanded fleet in the Pacific are provocative moves intended to establish American hegemonic ascendance throughout the world.

Yet that same leader of the free world who’s been “robustly” undertaking these aggressive actions is but a mousy, purring pussycat when it comes to Netanyahu. You’d think that after repeated humiliations by Israel’s fascists Obama would at least tighten the purse strings of the Fort Knox/DC to Tel Aviv financial umbilical cord.

Instead, what did Obama do?

For months now Obama has carried out protracted bazaar-like haggling with the Netanyahu government on the size of the by-now Israeli annual dialing for $ $ $ entitlements donated compliments of successive administrations and congresses.  Only recently Uncle Obama has been bilked into signing a ten-year  4.5 billion dollar annual freebie to Israel, for a total of 45 billion smackers. This capitulation, at a time when this country is going bankrupt fighting wars around the world and pumping QE paper dollars to prop up the economy is a cowardly decision.  Who knows, perhaps this gift is intended to help Hillary garner votes from Israel’s supporters. That’s the same Hillary who promised to invite Obama’s nemesis, Bibi Netanyahu, to the White House “in the first month” of her presidency.  Or, could it be that Obama is setting up the stage to collect on IOU’s to help build his presidential library and the Obama Foundation for Exceptional Peace and Harmony?

Since the 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, Israel, under Obama’s watch (if not support), launched the 2012 and the 2014 assaults on Gaza, killing, injuring, and maiming thousands of Gazans, and leveling entire neighborhoods, including power and water purification plants, hospitals, schools, mosques, and churches. Even the Gaza Zoo was not spared. The 2014 assault on Gaza finally exposed Israel’s brutality for what it is. Killing civilians became a spectator sport sanctioned and egged on by rabbis, intellectuals, and Members of Knesset.

Don’t believe me?

Look up photographs of Israeli citizens sitting on lawn chairs alongside Israel’s beaches, watching the carnage and rejoicing at the black plumes of deadly phosphorous and cluster bombs that rained down indiscriminately. The world watched while Obama replenished Bibi’s arsenal in the same manner as Ethan couch’s mom and dad rewarded their unruly child’s serial belligerence and recalcitrant behavior — thus causing him to become afflicted with a pathology better known as  “Affluenza.”  What a perfect coinage for such intractable behavior?

On 22 August, 2016, The Guardian reported  that a 2.5 foot rocket was fired into Israel by a hardline Salafist group. The Guardian also reported that Israel’s response was immediate and severe.  In retaliation, over fifty bombing sorties delivered punishing retribution on Hamas positions.

In previous postings several CounterPunch contributors have eloquently addressed Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon’s push to produce the F-35, an exorbitantly expensive jet fighter, despite exorbitant cost overruns and serious design flaws.

The photograph affixed at the top was emailed to me by a friend with the accompanying caption:  “New F-35 Gifted to Israel Tested Successfully Over Gaza.”  If true, then this is a sinister attempt by Lockheed Martin to test and advertise this new controversially pricy jet fighter as a proven state of the art killing-war-machine. And, if the administration and Pentagon are complicit in this transaction, this makes it a truly Machiavellian transaction. The world’s arms merchants are notorious for using third world countries and darker-skinned people as a testing stratagem to test a miscellany of wickedly vile weapons.

And Israel is one of the world’s leading VoDs (Vendors of Death).

While all American weapons sold to an array of dictators and allies across the globe are sold conditionally, Israel is the only country exempted from these conditions.  As an example, all international arms sales stipulate that no modifications to purchased equipment would be allowed, and most sales stipulate that the hardware, especially aircraft, have to be serviced by American technicians, hence further enriching the coffers of U.S. arms manufacturers.

“The special relationship” with Israel exempts it from these restrictions. The  F-35 Lightning II jet fighter deal allows Israel to customize both the hardware and software components. And Israel is under no obligation to have American technicians service any of the billions of dollars’ worth of war materiel gifted to it. In fact, financed by outright U.S. grants, Israel’s superior technology has produced some of the world’s best spying and communications technology, some the world’s best aerial drones, some of the world’s best laser and guided missile technologies, and some of the world’s best crowd control and militarized police control equipment.

Sadly, much of this technology is field tested on Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and, when the opportunity arises, in Iraq and Syria.

Just ask law enforcement agencies around the U.S.; they will tell you about Israel’s training of police forces in the use of militarized control of civilians. After all, practicing on Palestinian civilians gives the Israelis plenty of experience and a record about which they could brag.

You gotta hand it to the Israelis. First they get the investment funds, free,  from Uncle Sam; then they use their superior technological knowhow (compliments of Russian immigrants) to manufacture precision weaponry; then they perfect these weapons with a readymade Palestinian Gaza and West Bank labs of Guinea pigs; then they sell these materials to Arab thugs and theocrats, including India and third world countries.

Sadly, as brilliant as the acclaimed and superior Israeli technological, medicinal, and agricultural inventions have been, the Israelis have yet to invent peace.

Which brings me to this.

Netanyahu and his cabinet are itching for another Gaza war on the 1.8 million defenseless citizens, a war intended to deal Hamas a fatal blow. Netanyahu’s survival depends on creating a perpetual state of frenzied fear which he will use to quench the violent strain of periodic carnage to which, unfortunately, Israel has become accustomed. When Israeli soccer crowds chant “Death to Arabs” and the world remains silent (much like 1939 Germany), it becomes plainly clear that waging another war is merely routine business in the nasty neighborhood.

During the 2014 Gaza War Israeli generals and politicians coined the following diabolical phrase to describe the Gaza War: “Mowing the grass.”

I hope that the Salafist and Hamas fringe crazies in Gaza  think long and hard before firing another missile into Israel. Bibi, Ayalon, and Lieberman are anxiously waiting for them to do so. The itch to “mow the grass” again is calling.

So, Mr. Obama, you’ve condoned and abetted the 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014 Gaza carnages. Please keep it at 3 for 3, and not a  4 for 4.

Raouf J. Halaby is a Professor Emeritus of English and Art. He is a writer, photographer, sculptor, an avid gardener, and a peace activist.