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22 May 2011


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"Oh, and what about Israeli soldiers? What does the United States military think about the horrendous Israeli military casualties during the past 10 years. Thousands of Israeli soldiers dead, more thousands wounded?"

What the hell is this garbage you're spouting arbogast?

Let's take a little look at that statement of yours shall we? Using the Jewish Virtual Library's "Israeli Casualties in Battle" page which can be found at this URI:


Let's be generous to the pearl clutcher in you and go back to 1982 which I am sure you will agree is rather longer than 10 years ago.

Lebanon war: 1216
Palestinian War (2000-2005): 328
Hizballah War (2006): 117
Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009): 10

Hmmmmmm mow let's see:
1216 + 328 + 117 + 10

= 1671

Now let's go back just 11 years:

Palestinian War (2000-2005): 328
Hizballah War (2006): 117
Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009): 10

328+117+10= 455

Could you please explain to Col. Lang and his readers how you have transformed 455 into and I quote: "Thousands of Israeli soldiers dead, more thousands wounded". Try to refrain from hasbaritic necklace clutching while doing so ...

The Israelis themselves say that "A total of 22,867 men and women have been killed defending the land of Israel since 1860,"

22,867 Since 1860 how does that translate into thousands of Israeli soldiers killed and wounded in the last 10 years?


PS: The Jewish Virtual Library's sources for that page are listed as:

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Israel Government Press Office,

and other Israeli sources.

"horrendous Israeli military casualties" my ass.

R Whitman

We spend too much time worrying about Israeli influence on the US govt. Israel has been faced with a deteriorating international situation for the last 5 years and it will probably continue regardless of any US actions.

The Lebanon war must have been a loss since the Defense Minister, the Chief of Staff and every general involved got replaced. The Gaza incursion was stalemated when troops did not go into Gaza City. Turkey, Egypt and Jordan are no longer cooperative and there is some desertion of support in Europe.(France and the UK voted for the settlement condemnation at the UNSC that the US vetoed.)

Bibi got the second highest vote total(21.5%) and became pime minister. Is this a real government?

The Israelis managed to do all this by themselves. What will thy screw up next??

Indy Ike


"...if a vote would occur tomorrow in the US pertaining to the Israeli problem..."

In what arena would this vote take place?
Who would be the voters?

Obviously not in the US Congress. If you are thinking of the US general electorate, as in a referendum process, I think you are mistaken.

Perhaps the consensus opinion will get there, but I think the time-event product to yield that must be rather large.


If we give in to Israel our country will head south on the credibility list. They are no better than those they are opposing. We need to think of our country - we really do not need to be dragged into the religious nonsense of the Christian-Jewish connection - it makes us no better than the rest of the Middle East trash pit. We are Americans. If Israel wants to dig down and stand off the rest of the Middle East that is their choice, but we should not throw ourselves into this meaningless and bottomless pit.

FB Ali

Thank God Col Lang turned off the HTML tags!

Mr Stanleyhenning is back (still trailing his bogus email address). Unable to screw up this thread he is now venting his anger on the poor Arabs.

Who else are the "rest of the Middle East trash pit" except the Arabs (both Christian and Muslim)? And why shouldn't he call them that? After all, as he says: We are Americans. Lucky you, Mr Stanleyhenning!

Mark Logan

FB Ali,

Bibi "expects" more than just obedience from Congress, I guess. It's remarkable, considering he has won the little tussle over the settlements, and backing on the position that Hamas can be ignored and even used as justification for more settlements, but still feels indignation over a comment about borders which other points conceded have rendered moot. It appears Bibi thought Obama had been instructed on this point.

He may have taken that as deliberate insubordination by Obama, but I suspect it was Obama just being himself. He always strives to play the fair guy in the middle.



My point was that there have been no "horrendous Israeli casualties". I was being sardonic.

They got their ass whipped south of the Litani and lost a hundred soldiers (a lot less?).

The United States has been bled white by Israel. And for what, in the words of Martin Howe (High Noon)?

And thinking about this overnight, it has occurred to me that Obama knows what it is like to be country before country is cool.

Perhaps, having ordered the hit on OBL and without Rahm Emmanuel and Larry Summers telling him what to do every morning, he's getting back to the good old days.

And don't forget Hillary Clinton. Eminence, with an emphasis on the eminence, grise. She was at the table when OBL became EKIA.

Obama and Clinton are going to go hand-in-hand into the sunset like Rick and Captain Renault. Neither one of them has a damn thing to lose.


jonst, et al, is there any chance that Obama's "pretend and extend" strategy allows the Europeans to recognize Pal. statehood without a subsequent US veto in the Sec. Council? In other wirds, what are the chances BO is sneaky-smart?


re: Bibi and Iran - The Israelis have already lined out to the ignorant rest of the world that the recent Palestinian 'infiltrations' and 'protests' were in fact guided by Iran.

The Palestinians, in the utter absence of any rationally conceivable grievance on their part, must be motivated by sinister foreign, indeed, Iranian, influence. It couldn't be any clearer. The 'infiltrations' and 'protests' prove that Iran must be bombed.


Listening to David Brooks on NPR on Friday, it seems that the Zionists are defaulting to the "eternal, insoluable conflict" meme.

They really are getting nervous.

My advice to Abbas: Return to negotiations with no preconditions and move forward with the September UN resolution. And state everyday, "Once borders are set, everything else can be worked out."


Arbogast the line between necklace clutching and sarcasm/sardonicism/snark is frequently very thing consider adding /s so that the rest of us can tell.


I agree with you that they got their asses handed to them and suspect they will again the next time they launch one of their periodic wars of aggression. As to the US being bled white by the zionists ... well there's a simple solution ... "Just say no" to coin a phrase.

Apropos their last war of aggression against Lebanon you might like to revisit this from Aqoul.com

I laugh like a a hyena every time I read it:

"Recently received intelligence via my Hamas contact, Mel Gibson*, in which it was learned that Hizbullah has sent a "thank you" letter to Israel. Text follows.

* Expelled for intoxication.

Dear Isr--- Hated Zionist Enemy:

Please accept our earnest thanks for making us the most powerful force in Lebanon, and rallying even many of the kuff--- Christians to our cause.

snip ....

And it is really a pleasure too to watch you push along the live-action drama: the Passion of the Rice.

May God destroy you,


His Party

Read in full: 'Aqoul: Letter from Hizbullah to Israel -



@trent: what are the chances BO is sneaky-smart?

What are the chances he will (and CAN) do anything more decisive than vote "present."

Charles I

Farmer Don, let us hope, but BO just explained this is all nothing new, up to the parties, everybody go back to sleep, and I'm very skeptical about marcus' faith in "sticks to . . . BOTH(emp added) sides".

markfromireland, you're not too new here, whahapen, but probably too new to recall a link Pat put in here many many months, maybe a year back, to a talk by a former U.S diplomat I believe, name, details escape me, but his point was to scale up and compare Isralei/Palestinian casualties as relative U.S population figures.

Broke it down civvies, soldiers, militants, children I think. Something like = 640,000 U.S Citizen/Palestinians dead it worked out to, I recall.

It made a staggering impact on me, bet it was 640,000, and I've pounded many an ignorant, non-ironic interlocutor about the heart with these facts, I'd give you the cites etc for your file but I'm at the cottage, don't have all mine and I'm too lazy. It's in here somewhere, bet someone can tell you, a must watch for indignant types like me.

Matthew great advice, but can he do it without resorting to domestic messaging imperatives especially at this time of political unification/ elections etc calling for resolute nationalistic rhetoric etc, Israeli manipulation etc, surely some provocations coming soon now that Obama's been slapped down surely Bully Bibi heading home in a mood for more convinced its "winning" . . .


Back in December, James Wolfensohn was on the PBS Charlie Rose Show. He stated that the case for Palestian Statehood was a good one.

The first thought was Liberal Zionist looking at Likud Zionist and saying "Check".

Twenty years has been long enough. Time to resolve the issue.


"AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr said Monday that U.S. President Barack Obama should not take an even-handed approach to the Middle East conflict, as it puts Israel at a disadvantage."

This would be funny if it wasn't actually a policy many of our elected leaders embrace.


I think that jost pretty much has it right. Here is my take:


The one feature of Obama's speech that has grabbed the attention of all is his call for the pre-1967 borders serving as the geographical basis for a two state solution. Of course, it was qualified immediately by excluding the three largest Israeli settlement clusters on the West Bank which would figure in some kind of land swap. Still, it calls for explanation and interpretation.

The first hypothesis that comes to mind is the cynical idea that it is just another piece of theater with Washington and Jerusalem co-authoring the script. There are many precedents. Obama appears even-handed and statesman-like while Netanyahu mounts the battlements to defend Israel's integrity. After both get some sort of shot in the arm, the matter fades away. That seems unlikely, though. For one thing, the passion play with Hillary went beyond their normal repertoire. Then the border issue is a red flag to the Israelis and such a departure for an American President cannot be entirely ignored by all concerned parties.

Hypothesis two is a variation on the former. No pre-rehearsed script but a sort of pantomime. Obama postures to curry much needed favor with the Arabs, Netanyahu instinctively understands this but cannot let the gesture go unchallenged. Obama realizes that the US has gone too far in discrediting Abbas and that now the Hamas cat is out of the bag - even if he doesn't mention them. The UN is talking about recognizing a unilateral declaration of independence. So the diplomatic status quo is no longer tenable for the United States. It badly needs some leverage in the wider arena. Netanyahu et al may realize why Washington felt it necessary to make the gesture, but will reject it without equivocation or qualification. This is a tricky game, though, that it may not be easy to control.

A third hypothesis, not entirely exclusive of the second, is that Obama is reverting to his standard game of making dramatic verbal gestures that he ha no intention of following up with action. As I've said, it has the double virtue of buying time and serving as a bookmark to the history he is writing figuratively and will be literally in a few years. Two questions arise: 1) what of the domestic political price?; and 2) how does he avoid being held to account by those in the region he wants to placate?

The answer to (1) may be that he is now so confident of re-election (post-Osama, Republican shambles) that he can take some mild risk. Mild because there won't be any follow through, or serious confrontation with the Israelis, and because there's lots of time to make placatory gestures towards Israel's American supporters.

The answer to (2) is a little more difficult to figure. We do know that this is a man who has made a fabulous career of pulling the wool over people's eyes. We know, too, that he has a weakness for confusing rhetorical declaration with tangible action. We know as well that he has a cultivated distain for his inferiors (most of the world)while running from a fight by restating reality (and his own positions)when faced with willful opponents (Wall Street, Netanyahu, Republicans in Congress). This suggests that he sees the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular, as being in the former category and as susceptible to his hustle. If wrong, as almost certainly he is, then he'll just write them off like he has the progressives in his own party as people who don't appreciate either him or what he's done for them.

Cynical? yes. Strategically viable? - no. Sellable politically at home? - yes. Will it get him through the Arab Revolution and the 2012 election? - he surely presumes 'yes.' Does it carry grave risks for the national interests, ones that grow as time elapses? - yes, of course. But when has Barack Obama ever shown signs that he loses sleep over such concerns.


These comments were written Friday afternoon. By Sunday the implications of Mr. Obama’s speech already are clear – and some of the questions of purpose somewhat clarified. There will be no practical implications. Certainly not as concerns Palestinian. Bibi Netanyahu has personally told the President of the United States to go to hell. Mr. Obama in response offered nothing more than his trademark fixed, empty look that implies concentrated seriousness. Monday, Netanyahu lays down the law before the United States Congress. The New York Times published a remarkably blunt account of White House politics that highlighted the stunning truth that Mr. Dennis Ross, who serves as some kind of non-accredited Israeli envoy to the inner sanctum of American power, had effectively vetoed the idea of a firmer, more comprehensive plan bandied about by a few other senior officials. The Arab reaction has been indifference (”didn’t we see this film before”). The Palestinians see no reason to adjust their own calculations. The American media filled with the outraged protests from the usual suspects attacking the very notion that the President should presume to think for himself on Middle East matters.

In short, yet another non-event in the long history of the virtual Israeli-Palestinian ‘peace process.’ Yet another non-event in the endless floundering that for a decade has been American ‘strategy’ in the Middle East; except now the rip tides have greatly strengthened. So turn another blank page.



Starting with a huge caveat....I don't know UN procedure, as a lawyer...looking at Obama's statement: "Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won't create an independent state." seems to me, as a lawyer looking at it, to offer a lot of wiggle room. I read it to mean...however we vote, whatever comes it it it won't be an "independent state", as WE define the term "independent". IOW.....you might get your vote, and we might go along with it, or we might not, but in the end what do you really have? And the Fatah response? Would be, "I'll take it....". No Obama is keeping all his options open.

Mark Logan

I would add one more hypothesis, that this was Bibi's gambit to keep Israel in this US election cycle. To make sure a part of it is the reminding of US politicians to once again publicly proclaim their unswerving support to Israel. It's the only benefit I can see to anyone.

He did not bother to be outraged when Hillary and he issued a joint statement stating the very same thing a year ago.



I find it stranger than fiction that the speech to both houses of Congress (by Mr. Netanyahu ) has not been mentioned yet on any networks (CNN, Bloomberg,yahoo, PBS, NPR)..what is going on?


sorry, I meant the AIPAC - not the Congress


Dear FB Ali, I'm actually probably not as bad as I sometimes may appear. I've actually come up with a new approach that I wish would cause all concerned to think more positively about our life on this earth: I know this sounds crazy but perhaps we should sponsor a traditional song and music festival among the Middle Eastern ethnic groups and title it The Power of Music. We need to focus on ways to bring the people together in a positive manner through culturally acceptable means as opposed to petty infighting. Music stands out in such an effort. The CD that brought me to this view is "Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan". I think you will be familiar with him and I hope something more positive will be attempted through music instead of bombings.


"AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr said Monday that U.S. President Barack Obama should not take an even-handed approach to the Middle East conflict, as it puts Israel at a disadvantage."

'Disadvantage' only on a factual basis. If, tellingly, equal treatment is seen as a disadvantage, then because it is factually a deterioration from a pro-Israeli point of view.

Kohr is perfectly honest. He spells out precisely why Mitchell was unacceptable for Netanyahu: Because Mitchell is even handed, because he is an honest broker. They who are not with Bibi are against him. Neutrality, even handedness, is in Bibi's mind tantamount to hostile. And that's why Netanyahu refused to talk with Mitchell and went to Ross instead. Because Ross is not even handed.

And there we are at that Onion piece again - it is very much on target.

Yellow Dog

I see the usual range of opinion - Obama is either a spineless worm groveling before the mighty Bibi, or plotting with Hamas for a second Holocaust.

Is it remotely possible that we're actually trying to find a way forward for both Israelis and Palestinians while we still can?

No? I didn't think so.

FB Ali

Dear Stanley Henning,

Your aims are laudable. I wish you every success. Should it work, it'll be another achievement of "Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan".

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