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28 July 2014


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Fair has nothing t do with it. The levels of savagery achieved with HE and incendiaries were quite sufficient. "Modern" conditions? Laughable. pl

Babak Makkinejad


Ayatollah Khamenei, in his speech yesterday to mark the end of Ramadan, referred to Israel with 2 adjectives "Heretical" and "Ritualistically Impure" (as well as a number of other non-religious adjectives - such as "child-killer".)

Those are steps on the path to Israel being declared the Enemy of Islam.


This is up just now on the NYTimes site: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/15/world/middleeast/toll-israel-gaza-conflict.html
I think the numbers will rise dramatically after the attacks today.

David Habakkuk


The levels of devastation inflicted by the firestorm created by the Anglo-American bombing raids on Hamburg in July 1943 were apocalyptic enough: although, to be fair, by contrast to attacks later in the war, there were a lot of genuine military and military-industrial targets in the city.

I remember years ago wandering through Hamburg, and stopping off in the ruins of the St. Nicholas Church, preserved as are similar churches in London, Coventry or Liverpool. In the wall there was a plaque, recording that it had been designed by a very famous British neo-Gothic architect, George Gilbert Scott. His tall tower, which still stands, was used to guide the bombers to their target.

Something not adequately appreciated about the development of post-war American strategy was that the key NSC 68 paper of April 1950 – a key source for neoconservatism – was actually among other things a polemic against the 'Douhetist' enthusiasms of the Strategic Air Command. Its authors argued that nuclear terror bombing was not only immoral, but could be expected to have the same effect as the terrorist tactics pursued by Hitler in the war in the East: to push Stalin's subjects back into the arms of their own murderous ruler.

As to the Israelis, it seems to me that the simple truth of the matter is that they are incompetent terrorists. A strategy which is based upon the premise that one can 'mow the grass' in Gaza and the West Bank at regular intervals will be no more successful in breaking the will to resist of the Palestinians than 'strategic bombing' was in breaking the will to resist of the German people.

At the same time, it is quite patently an extraordinarily successful method of achieving the 'delegitimisation' of Israel which that country's government professes to fear.

Moreover, because in their arrogance, indeed one might say insolence, Zionists have claimed to speak for some kind of cohesive 'Jewish people', the predictable effect will be that the stupid brutality of the Israeli government will affect the image of Jews worldwide.


“I saw a massacre,” says one survivor, “There were heads off bodies, shoulders half torn, hands gone, chests opened.”



"A birthright Summer in Israel"



I happen to agree with him. However, I also think this is exactly what Netanyahu wants. It is, I believe, the duty of Muslims to identify with and support the Palestinian people as Muslims, especially as the Arabs have corrupted themselves utterly. The destruction of children, first during Ramadan, and then during Eid, is to piss in the face of all Muslims.

I wish I could phrase it otherwise, but it is what it is.


Thought I would leave this here and let smarter folks than I weigh in:




"evacuated from the beach to the hotel pool; and yet, we endure."

Even worse is the "cute soldiers showing us a preview of a new settlement!!"

President Obama must be proud of his leadership.


DH: I'm more interested in mitigating Zionist violence than comforting Jewish-Israeli insecurities. To me that's the basic problem: We extend to Israelis the privilege of separating responsibility for their objective malfeasance from their self-serving subjective fears. I'm Israeli, I killed children, but I was afraid--just doesn't cut it.

To this end, Mr. Cook highlights the problem. After the IDF's epic violence in Gaza, let's find an obedient poodle to saddle on the victims. See http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/salvaging-abbas/

The Twisted Genius


You're right. It's just a variation. In either case, the Israeli government is asking their soldiers to kill themselves or each other to protect the politicians from any personal public relations discomfort. Despicable.



Contemporary society is afflicted with ADD. They can't think further than their nose.

Bibi's experience is that he can "mow the grass" and browbeat the American media and buy the entire Congress. He is in control. He sees no negative consequence. He is a Master of the Universe.

And as Pat has noted the US foreign policy elite and politicians in both parties are in cloud cuckoo land in the belief of their imperial supremacy.

No one expects their current experience to be different in the future. Similar to many investors who extrapolate the current trend into the infinite future. That's why any such trend change is greeted with howls of surprise and the "no one could have foreseen this catastrophe" canard.


Once again, an interesting historical perspective. Thank you.

However, in terms of Israeli "incompetence", I'm not so sure. (If you had said immorality there'd be no argument.)

The US has just given Israel another three quarters of a billion or thereabouts for "Iron Dome". God knows where the money actually goes, but that means for every Palestinian killed the US has rewarded Israel with $750,000, give or take.

Also, at any moment Israel can "rehabilitate itself" by recognizing borders, even if that represents the fact that the Palestinians have had more than four-fifths of their land stolen. Besides, even should that agreement be announced, in ten years nothing will have changed other than new and growing settlements.

From the Israeli perspective the Palestinians are cornered and weak, and no one, not one government, is acting to help them in any way other than symbolic alms.

The Israeli people are behind the actions, as are the governments of the US and Europe.

So, they have money, land and enthusiastic international support. Nothing much changed, except that the grass has been mown. There will be a report: it will be ignored. The Gazans will have to spend the resources of the next eight years just trying to clear the rubble and rebuild hospitals, schools, mosques, houses; that is, if they can find any resources to do that.


IMHO, Islam is not really a binding force among the whole breadth of what is often referred to as "ummah" in any meaningful way. Always has been like this in my opinion. Sectarian, ethnic and tribal passions rule the roost for most part if you take a microscopic view. Behavior at more macroscopic level, for example, statements of Khomeni or Erdogan is typical posturing either for furthering some foreign policy interests or for home audience. In case of foreign policy interests, these interests are pretty much identical to interests of any number of nation states involved in revisionist policies to adjust regional balance of power in their favor. As ambitious nation states, it behooves Iran and Turkey to indulge in such fancy talk and covert action. Nothing to do with religion in my opinion. After all, there are tens of thousands of dead muslims due to sectarian warfare going on in Syria and Iraq where these nations have conflicting interests.
There is a general lack of conscience and basic humanity in the masses. I have seen a video today from back home where a mob of bigots is attacking and ransacking homes of minority sect that is considered heretical. Pretty depressing stuff.
There are bigger issues muslims need to resolve about their own persons before they can do anything about saving Palestinians.

I am hoping the change of mood in US will create some opening for Palestinians if they are wise enough to use increasing clout of Iran or Turkey to their advantage instead of becoming mere pawns. If i am not wrong at least 10 percent of Palestinians are Christians. It is only fair if Palestinian struggle is reflective of what constitutes a Palestinian identity.

On Israel, i am convinced they are a typical middle eastern tribe just like all others. Getting any middle eastern tribe to transcend more local identity towards a more inclusive and human identity is a challenge i don't think even God/Yahweh/Allah or Whomever will be willing to take on anymore. At least not, as long as they are living in middle east.


Rode in on Hamas, now will do the same to Abbas.

WSJ article...

How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas
Andrew Higgins

Updated Jan. 24, 2009 12:01 a.m. ET

Moshav Tekuma, Israel

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.

"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction.
Instead of trying to curb Gaza's Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat's Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with "Yassins," primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.


I have sent a reply to doubting thomas and his side kick Walurus twice now, but no posting. What gives?



No idea. What thread was that on? pl


Hamas has a POW. Is this the reason that Israel had a tantrum and broke the ceasefire?



I give credit to Karl Penhal on CNN when he corrected Wolf Blitzer ( formerly from the Jesusalem Post) when he used the term abducted. Karl said a soldier was captured in war.

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

Patrick Cockburn has recently published a couple of pieces on Luntz in the 'Independent'. The first brings out the sick manipulative viciousness of contemporary Israeli propaganda, and the deep underlying contempt for Americans, very well:

'There is a list of words and phrases to be used and a list of those to be avoided. Schmaltz is at a premium: "The best way, the only way, to achieve lasting peace is to achieve mutual respect." Above all, Israel's desire for peace with the Palestinians should be emphasised at all times because this what Americans overwhelmingly want to happen. But any pressure on Israel to actually make peace can be reduced by saying "one step at a time, one day at a time", which will be accepted as "a commonsense approach to the land-for-peace equation".

'Dr Luntz cites as an example of an "effective Israeli sound bite" one which reads: "I particularly want to reach out to Palestinian mothers who have lost their children. No parent should have to bury their child."'

(See http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/israelgaza-conflict-the-secret-report-that-helps-israelis-to-hide-facts-9630765.html .)

The second, 'Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire', raises the question of whether this kind of 'schmaltz' may have given hostages to fortune, in the light of the children killed by the indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza. And Cockburn comments wryly on the recent antics of Luntz's former student and employee, the current Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer:

'Despite his tutoring by Dr Luntz, Mr Dermer only speaks these days to the converted. Attending a Christians United for Israel Summit in Washington he replied to protesters who called him a "war criminal" by saying that "the truth is that the Israeli Defence Forces should be given a Nobel Peace Prize". Stuff like this may explain why a Gallup poll shows that among Americans aged between 18 and 29 some 51 per cent said Israel’s actions were unjustified while only 23 per cent said they were.'

(See http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/israels-propaganda-machine-is-finally-starting-to-misfire-9636417.html .)

Old Gun Pilot

I'd be interested in locating Highlander's reply because as a Marine Aviator who became a National Guard pilot after the war I find his history only slightly unusual. I knew many Marine Aviators who flew a number of different airframes including myself. I had one friend now deceased who on active duty flew helicopters and F-4s as well as serving as a FAC with the 5th marines. He later, in the reserves flew A-4s and OV-10s. Because until the late 70s there were no Phantoms in the reserves, many active duty F-4 pilots switched to skyhawks and/or OV-10s in the reserve. BTW as a former A-4 pilot learning the "over the shoulder" special weapons delivery was a part of our transition training, even 'tho it was not a part of our CAS mission. OGP (Marine call sign "Lawyer")


Smoke screen from Hamas or the implementation of the Hannibal directive?


"According to a statement by the Hamas military wing, the officer, Hadar Goldin, was probably killed together with his captors in an Israeli bombardment. "



Someone resident in Israel wrote to ask if the US Army has policy equivalent to the "Hannibal Directive." The answer is no. I have been in several units that had PW rescue among their missions. In all of them the deciding factor in decisions as to whether to launch the mission or not was the possibility that the captive(s) might be injured in the attempt. If there was such a possibility the operation was not conducted. Israel's behavior in beating the area in which Goldin was captured with airstrikes probably killed him. We would not have done that however much we would have searched for him. pl


Col. Lang: I thank you for your reference to my blog and the link to my post. In reading tonight that the IDF chief of staff has abandoned Hannibal as a combat doctrine I came across this blog post.

I should note he didn't abandon it because it was the right thing to do. He abandoned it because the State controller came out with a report that noted that carpet bombing a Gaza neighborhood to ensure you kill your captive soldier & his captors is a violation of international law.

It doesn't seem to cross any Israeli commander's mind that killing your own soldier is sick & twisted. Unfortunately.

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