The Monstrosity of War

by Dahr Jamail

"Foreseen for so many years: these evils, this monstrous violence, these massive agonies: no easier to bear."
-Robinson Jeffers, American poet
Agence France-Presse reports that the first person killed when the Israeli military began to enter Gaza on Saturday was a Palestinian child.
On Sunday, a Palestinian woman and her four children were blown to pieces when Israeli warplanes bombed their home. They are among the 521 victims (at the time of this writing) of the ongoing air and ground assault on the Gaza Strip by a 9,000 strong force, which the Israeli government has launched on one of the most densely populated tracts of land in the world, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, half of them under 17 years of age.
"The ground invasion was preceded by large scale artillery shelling from around 4 P.M., intended to 'soften' the targets as artillery batteries deployed along the Strip in recent days began bombarding Hamas targets and open areas near the border," Israel's Haaretz newspaper wrote of the onslaught. "Hundreds of shells were fired, including cluster bombs aimed at open areas." 


Israel's Collective Punishment of Gaza

By Marjorie Cohn

Since Israel began its war on Gaza 11 days ago, more than 560 Palestinians - about a quarter of them civilians - have been killed. Some two thousand Gazans, including hundreds of children, have been wounded. Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" marks an escalation of Israel's two-year blockade of the Gaza Strip which has deprived 1.5 million Palestinians of necessary food, medicine, fuel and other necessities.
Israel is using white phosphorous gas, an illegal chemical weapon that burns to the bone. Dr. Mads Gilbert, a member of a Norwegian triage medical team working in Gaza, has documented Israel's use of Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), which cuts its victims to pieces and reportedly causes cancer in survivors. Gilbert, who has worked in several conflict zones, said the situation in Gaza is the worst he has ever seen. Two United Nations schools have been hit by airstrikes, killing at least 30 people. The New York Times reported on Monday that Gazan hospitals are full of civilians, not Hamas fighters.


On Israel-Gaza Crisis: Obama, How About a Game of 20 Questions?


By Kevin Gosztola
Obama recently told reporters, in response to criticism he has received for being silent on Israel’s military annihilation of Gaza:alt
"After January 20 I am going to have plenty to say about the issue and I am not backing away at all from what I said during the campaign, that ... at the beginning of our administration, we are going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflict that existed in the Middle East…Until then, my job is to monitor the situation, put together the best possible national security team so that we hit the ground running once we are responsible for national security issues.”
First off, Obama spoke in the past tense. He said “the conflict that existed.”
How do you resolve a conflict that existed? Existed implies that it does not exist anymore and if a problem does not exist anymore, what will there be to resolve?



“This Time” is Like Last Time: Israel and Gaza


By Dennis Loo
Steven Erlanger of the New York Times writes today ("For Israel, 2006 Lessons but Old Pitfalls"):
"This time, Israeli military commanders are leading from the front, not trying to direct the infantry from television screens. This time, the military has clear plans, in stages, drawn up with a year’s preparation. This time, there is no illusion about winning a war only from the air. This time, the military chief of staff has kept his silence in public, all cellphones have been confiscated from Israeli soldiers, and the international press has been kept out of the battlefield.
"In these and many other ways, Israel is applying the lessons it learned from its failed 2006 war against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon to its current war against Hamas in Gaza. But Israel’s failure in Lebanon also stemmed from a political and diplomatic inability to decide on clear objectives for the outcome of the war, and here the lessons of Lebanon have been not so well applied, according to senior Israeli military officials and political analysts."

I am reminded in reading these opening lines of the lessons learned by the US government and military from the Vietnam War: bar the press from seeing anything (those nightly news broadcasts of actual fighting and atrocities sure didn't help the war effort, let's make sure the public only sees a Nintendo version of the war with lots of really smart bombs hitting civilian-absent targets), put boots on the ground and clean up what the bombs don't wipe out, prepare carefully ahead of time and bring overwhelming force to the effort (the (Colin) Powell Doctrine), don't let the soldiers say anything, and keep press briefings under tight control as talking points only.


Stop the Israeli Massacre in Gaza!


by Larry Everest
Shortly after darkness fell on Saturday night, January 3, Israel launched a massive land invasion of Gaza involving 9,000-10,000 soldiers, tanks, helicopters, and heavy altartillery, engineering and intelligence forces, with the support of Israel’s Air Force, navy, and secret police and spy agencies. The ground invasion came after Israel, for the first time, unleashed an artillery barrage on Gaza, striking a mosque and killing at least 11 people. By the next day, Israeli forces had reportedly cut Gaza in half, “bisecting” it between north and south.
Seven straight days of Israeli bombing before the invasion had already resulted in an estimated 460 killed and 2,285 wounded (with the numbers increasing by the hour). Now more carnage looms with The New York Times (January 4, 2009) already reporting “Wounded civilians poured into the emergency room of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Sunday, including women and children.” And Israel’s ban on journalists from entering Gaza means that much death and destruction has gone unreported.
In a despicable display of Nazi-like threat and false show of concern, Israel dropped leaflets over northern Gaza telling residents: “For your own safety, you are asked to leave the area immediately.” Yet Palestinians are trapped in Gaza by Israel. Where are they supposed to go?



Israel's "Right to Exist" vs. Hamas' “Right to Resist"


by Kevin Gosztola    
On December 28, the US vetoed a Security Council draft resolution to end Israel's "disproportionate use of force" on Gazans. The vote was 11 ayes, three abstentions (Britain, Germany and Bulgaria), and one nay - America. John Negroponte did the dishonor following a long-standing practice of blocking any UN condemnation of Israel, regardless of how justified.
The Security Council held an emergency meeting on New Year's Eve at which Negroponte again rejected a legally binding resolution condemning Israel and demanding its attacks stop. At the same time, Israel rejected pressures for a 48-hour ceasefire to allow in humanitarian aid. According to The New York Times, "The government said it would push ahead with its air, sea, and ultimately ground operation, which one senior military official described as 'making Hamas lose their will or lose their weapons.' "
The dramatic escalation---Israel’s decision to move forward with a ground offensive---has infuriated many Americans. Furthermore, Obama’s silence as he claims there is only “one president at a time” yet continues to feed the public more information on his economic plans for America has deeply troubled those wanting the philosophy of American leadership to change. (See Linda Milazzo’s “President-Elect Obama, You Must NOT Be Silent!”)



The Long and Bloody Hypocrisy of U.S.-Israeli Acts of Terrorism


By Robert Parry
Without an extreme double standard on terrorism, it's hard to see how today's bloodbath in Gaza would be possible.
Israel, a nation that was born out of Zionist terrorism, has launched massive airstrikes against targets in Gaza using high-tech weapons produced by the United States, a country that often has aided and abetted terrorism by its client military forces, such as Chile’s Operation Condor and the Nicaraguan contras, and even today harbors right-wing Cuban terrorists implicated in blowing up a civilian airliner.
Yet, with that moral ambiguity excluded from the debate, the justification for the Israeli attacks, which have killed at least 364 people, is the righteous fight against “terrorism,” since Gaza is ruled by the militant Palestinian group, Hamas.



January 1, 2009 - We Lived to Tell the Story: Lebanon Rescued Us


By Cynthia McKinney
Yesterday, we met with the President of Lebanon, the Chief of the Military, and the Interior Minister who all thanked us for responding and risking our lives on a mission of mercy; we profusely thanked them for rescuing us.
What would we have done, stranded out at sea, prohibited from reaching our destination, low on fuel, with a badly damaged boat if Lebanon had not accepted us? Lebanon sent their ships to find us. Lebanon rescued us. Lebanon welcomed us. And we are truly thankful.
It's official now. We've been told that the sturdy, wood construction of our boat, Dignity, is the reason we are still alive. Fiberglass would probably not have withstood the impact of the Israeli attack and under different circumstances, we might not be here to tell the story. Even at that, the report that came to us yesterday after the Captain and First Mate went back to Sour (Tyre) to inspect the boat was that it was sinking, the damage is extensive, and the boat will take, in their estimation, at least one month to repair. Tomorrow, we will bring the Dignity from Sour to Beirut. And now, we must decide what to do and from where we will do it and how we are to get back to wherever that might be.



December 30, 2008: Oh What a Day!


A letter from Cynthia McKinney
I'm so glad that my father told me to buy a special notebook and to write everything down because that's exactly what I did.
When we left from Cyprus, one reporter asked me "are you afraid?" And I had to respond that Malcolm X wasn't afraid; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't afraid. But little did I know that just a few hours later, I would be recollecting my life and mentally preparing myself for death.
When we left Cyprus, the Mediterranean was beautiful. I remember the time when it might have been beautiful to look at, but it was also filthy. The Europeans have taken great strides to clean it up and yesterday, it was beautiful. And the way the sunlight hit the sea, I remember thinking to myself that's why they call it azure. It was the most beautiful blue.



Honolulu Protest of Israeli Assault Upon Gaza


When a small delegation from World Can’t Wait, Friends of Sabeel and Veterans for Peace pulled up to the checkpoint at the entrance to Obama’s vacation retreat to protest Israel’s massacre in Gaza, the press corps sequestered in a nearby bus sprang into action and began interviewing. Journalists initially ran out the official line that Obama wasn’t speaking about Israel’s assault on Gaza because he isn’t yet president, and it would be inappropriate for him to give an opinion. However, when protesters pointed out that Obama quickly condemned the bombing in Mumbai, and has spoken out almost daily on the domestic situation in the U.S., the conversation changed. Within an hour, a Reuters story on the protest was picked up by media around the globe. The story was then picked up by MSNBC, CNN and others. Much of the media picked up on Obama’s silence on this issue while speaking out on others, and cited Obama’s earlier support for Israel at AIPAC. The media coverage was in stark contrast to what happened later the same afternoon at a rally called by Friends of Sabeel and World Can’t Wait.



Israeli Navy Attacks Medical Supply Ship Going to Gaza


By Kenneth J. Theisen
On Tuesday Israel added to its crimes by attacking a medical relief boat trying to reach Gaza. An Israeli navy ship attacked and rammed a boat attempting to deliver three tons of medical supplies to Gaza. The boat, called the Dignity, was also carrying political activists. The boat was reportedly forced to go to Tyre, Lebanon instead of Gaza due to the attack.

One of those aboard the Dignity was former American Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who stated, "Our mission of solidarity and humanitarian relief was deterred by the Israelis purposefully to keep us from delivering the medical supplies to Gaza…I wouldn't call it accosting. I would call it ramming. Let's call it as it is. Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and once on the side…We are on a humanitarian mission... All we want to do is deliver medical supplies... This is the first time that I am aware of that a vessel was attacked for no reason by Israelis." 



World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.