Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog called “The Necessity of Obama.” When I wrote it, I said it was necessary for Obama to be the candidate, if for nothing else than to dramatize the issue of race and its persistence in the United States. I frankly had little hope that he would actually be elected.

Now, today, he is the 44th President of the United States. And though there are many areas where I fear he may be pushed to conservative positions by those around him, and by events, not even those considerations could dampen the thrill of seeing this man sworn in as President. I have seen many inaugurations. I have never seen anything even remotely like this. The enthusiasm and joy of the nearly 2 million people lining the streets and on the Mall was absolutely infectious, even via the cold medium of television. What a change! What a wonder! To have millions of people hysterically cheering for a new president, actually, demonstrably hopeful that he might bring a new spirit to the nation, that he might, simply by virtue of his skin color, his intelligence, his class, heal some of the oldest, and newest, wounds in our history. To see the streets of Washington DC lined with the adoring, joyous faces of black people who never believed this day would come. It brought tears to the eyes of this old cynic.

I must also say that as I watched the presidential limousine crawling slowly along the streets, and then saw Obama and Michelle emerge and begin to walk along the route, I felt a terrible clutch of fear—the reflex of so much vicious history, the reflex of one who in the tumultuous years between 1963 and 1968 witnessed not one, not two, but three assassinations of major political figures: John Kennedy felled by an assassin’s bullet; Martin Luther King, Jr. felled by another; Malcolm X felled by another. Now there was Barack Obama striding along, grinning his infectious grin, hand in hand with his regal wife Michelle, and the fear was palpable: don’t do it, don’t walk in the open, don’t let yourself be the next victim of another bullet. But Obama and Michelle did it once, got back in the car, and did it again. And both times, I felt the same ominous fear in the belly, in the heart.

But this, at least for the moment, in this year 2009, was different. At least for the moment, this cup of joy was allowed to continue. So perhaps, against all the odds, the United States of America can be redeemed. Can at last live up to its creed. Can eventually recover from the brutalizing of the last eight years. That is what is so moving, in the end: perhaps our long national nightmare is over. Perhaps those trite and hackneyed words, repeated so often by commentators, can just this once, truly come to pass: a new era has begun.

Lawrence DiStasi

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Zionist Entity Dictates to the U.S.?

In a New York Times article by Mark Landler on Jan. 13, “Olmert Says He Made Rice Change Vote,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is reported as recounting how Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice “had been forced to abstain from a United Nations resolution on Gaza that she helped draft, after Mr. Olmert placed a phone call to President Bush.”

Now this is really something. For years, pundits have been speculating whether the Zionist Entity controls Washington, or whether Washington uses the Zionist Entity to advance its own imperialist designs in the Middle East. At least in this instance in the waning days of the Bush Administration, we have the answer. The Zionist Entity dictates to Washington. Olmert told the AP that as soon as he learned that Secretary Rice was going to support the Security Council resolution calling for a halt to the fighting, one about to be unanimously adopted, he phoned President Bush and demanded to speak to him, even though the President was in the middle of a speech. According to Olmert, Bush dutifully took himself off the podium to answer the call, and immediately called Secretary Rice ordering her to change her vote and abstain. “She was left pretty embarrassed,” the AP quoted Olmert as saying.

What the hell is going on here? Where does a Zionist prime minister get off dictating American foreign policy? This was not a vote against the Zionist Entity. It was a vote calling for a cease fire, to save lives. No matter. The Zionist Entity has long hated the United Nations, considering it biased against it. So, this Zionist Entity, which the taxpayers of the United States support to the tune of $3 billion a year and without which it couldn’t survive a day, demands that the U.S. President interrupt his speech and get his Secretary of State to change her vote.


Are you kidding me? Each year these Zionists beg for more money and we give it to them; we hobble the very international peace agency we put together after WWII by opposing every resolution to control the war crimes made possible by our aid; we supply them with the advanced equipment with which they have blasted and broken and imprisoned and tortured a helpless civilian population in violation of every humanitarian and international law known to man; we compromise our standing in the world in order to support the Zionist theft and ethnic cleansing of an entire country; and these arrogant bastards order our President and Secretary of State around like lap dogs???

Where, one must wonder, does this Zionist leverage come from? What does the Zionist Entity have that it can hold over the head of the allegedly most powerful man in the world? And conversely, what makes the United States President so craven, so intimidated, that he breaks off his speech and says, “Yes, Sir, Mr. Prime Minister,” I’ll get on it right away?

Whatever the answer (and many come to mind, including much speculation about the Zionist Entity’s role in 9/11, and its role in convincing the U.S. to attack Iraq), anyone who is not already brain dead must see that this situation can not, must not go on. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. Talk about the humiliation of a once-great super power. Talk about the outrage of citizens of a country whose money and lives have been sacrificed to policies in the Middle East that now seem to have arisen from the depths of the hell created by this very Zionist Entity!

Wake up America. It is time for a change indeed. It is time to treat the Zionist Entity like the late apartheid government of South Africa, which it seems determined to emulate. It is time to boycott Zionist goods, call for sanctions on the Zionist Entity, and break this power that threatens and humiliates not only its immediate neighbors, but us all.

Lawrence DiStasi

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Zionist Entity

Recent news about the stepped-up Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza, and the Resolution on Friday, January 9 in the U.S. House of Representatives actually approving of such collective punishment against a defenseless people, makes clear that all the protestations about a two-state solution wherein the two states can live side by side in peace, are pipe dreams. There will never be two independent states for a couple of obvious reasons.

1) Israel will never allow a truly independent Palestinian state to exist on its border. About three years ago, with great fanfare, it withdrew its settlers and all troops from Gaza and said the Gazans were henceforth free and responsible for themselves. Subsequent events proved this to be nothing but subterfuge, especially after the people of Gaza exercised their democratic right to free elections, and chose Hamas as their government. Instantly, Israel branded this choice as illegitimate, if not a terrorist act in itself, and subjected Gaza to the illegal withholding of its earned taxes, its right to receive the supplies it depends on, and the interdiction, by both land and sea, of its people’s ability to trade or communicate with others, or to exit the tiny territory they are crammed into. Gaza has been under a brutal siege since then, and its Hamas government under Israeli assault, usually via outright arrest, or the targeted assassination of its leaders. When its militant wing began to fire home-made rockets to protest this aggression and slow starvation, Israel decided to bomb and then invade. Its conditions for stopping the bombing and invasion are simple: Hamas must go, or, short of that, Hamas must end its armed resistance to anything Israel does. In other words, all the capacities of an independent people are, according to the terms Israel insists on for Gaza, illegitimate.

2) The government of the United States—its executive in the person of George Bush, and its legislature in the persons of our Senators and the Representatives—pays lip service to a two-state solution and to democracy. And yet, when the Palestinian people freely and fairly elects Hamas, the U.S. government proves just as dictatorial and hypocritical as the government of Israel. It condemns the election of a government it does not like, and joins Israel in cutting off all aid and supplies to the Palestinian people. It has gone so far as to arm the rival government of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian authority in the brazen attempt to bring down Hamas militarily. When that failed, it approved and continues to approve of the harshest measures implemented by the Israelis to bring the Gazans to their knees. Clearly, the type of state the United States has in mind for the Palestinians—the pathetic size of what is actually left to them for such a state aside—is one which pays absolute fealty to both Israeli and U.S. plans to dominate the entire region.

It now becomes clear why Iran, for one, refers to Israel by the derogatory term, The Zionist Entity. A state called “Israel” will never allow a state called “Palestine,” or a people called Palestinians to truly exist—for the word “Israel” signifies a Jewish state. That is to say, in a state which is instituted on the basis of a preference for the Jewish people, other people are automatically outsiders and second-class citizens. Regardless of the fact that the people called Palestinians are the original inhabitants of the land once known as Palestine, in what has become “Israel” they are second-class at best. And if they ever manage to get a state in the territory which Israel has granted them, at least so far—the West Bank and Gaza, which have been under military occupation for 60 years—they will do so only at the sufferance of the Israeli state. This will mean that they will not be allowed to have the most basic attribute of any state—the right to secure borders, the right to defend itself from invasion or domination by its neighbor.

For me, this leads to two related conclusions. It is no longer possible to employ the term “Israel” for what has evolved in the land once called Palestine. For the time being, the appellation “the Zionist entity” seems preferable, for that is what it is. It is an entity that has taken the Zionist plans for Eretz Israel—a Jewish-only state in all of former Palestine, with the complete cleansing of the Palestinian people from the area—as its covert, if not always overt final solution (it is noteworthy that Israel’s Constitution has never designated its final borders, mute testimony to the fact that its land acquisition is not yet complete). No two-state solution can divert, for more than a little while, the Zionist entity from this plan. In fact, a January 5, 2009 Washington Post opinion piece by the raging neocon and onetime U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, can be seen as a trial balloon to test this idea: Bolton proposed what he called a “three-state” solution, which he explained as a plan to incorporate Gaza into Egyptian control, and the West Bank into Jordan’s, whereupon the problem would be solved: no more Palestine, nor people called Palestinians.

The second conclusion is that the problem seems increasingly to demand a one-state solution, such as that proposed by Ali Abunimah and famously suggested in 1999 by the late Edward Said (for many historical articles on this, see http://one-state.net). As I understand it, this would require that the entire original land of Palestine be designated a single, secular state. The Jewish-only preference of today’s Israel would be abandoned, as would any other religious or ethnic preference; as Ali Abunimah put it in a 2007 interview:

“…you cannot have a Jewish state without the forced transfer of Palestinians or a Palestinian state without forced transfer of Jews.”

In the new state, all citizens, be they of Jewish extraction, or Palestinian extraction, or any other extraction, would be equal in every way. All citizens, as in every other democracy, would have the same quality of citizenship—the same residential rights, the same voting rights, the same rights to travel the roads, the same rights to legal protection, the same rights to engage in commerce or travel or anything else that a citizen enjoys. As to the name, I can imagine it being either the original one, Palestine, or, if that proved too controversial, some combination of Israel and Palestine such as “Isralestine,” or something entirely new. What it would NOT be is Israel, with all that name implies.

To be sure, this will not happen any time soon. In the meantime, I would suggest that anyone who sees the problem as outlined above begin referring to the so-called “state” of Israel as “the Zionist entity.” That, at least, would be calling an ongoing injustice by its true, and decidedly temporary name.

Lawrence DiStasi

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Financial Fraud

A recent column on the legacy of disaster left by the Bush Administration brings to mind some of the history behind that legacy, for the truth is, Bush didn’t sink the country on his own. His stealth attacks on both the economy and the bill of rights were prepared by previous administrations, in particular the two terms of the Reagan Administration. This is made clear by several things I’ve read recently, in particular, Thom Hartmann’s 2006 book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class, and Katherine Austin Fitts’ stunning account of her time as a mortgage banker and later a high official in HUD, “Dillon Read and the Aristocracy of Profits.” Both shed important light on the staggering economic crisis the United States now faces.

Hartmann makes clear that it was Ronald Reagan—the front man conservatives have hyped as our greatest modern president—who instituted a host of economic inequities that enabled first one Bush and then the other to enrich their friends and plunge the rest of us into a sinkhole of monumental proportions. Reagan, that is, cut the top tax rates on the wealthiest Americans from 70% in 1981 down to 28% by the end of his term in 1988. The result was not only the greatest transfer of wealth in U.S. history—from the middle classes to the very rich—but also the greatest debt in world history. This is because with the resultant shortfall in taxes, and therefore income, the government was forced to borrow to cover its expenses.

Now, of course, this borrowing was a very big public relations problem for Republicans, who always tout themselves as fiscal conservatives—you know, pay as you go, i.e. don’t go giving away money to poor people and “welfare queens.” So Alan Greenspan came up with a clever ploy to hide part of this debt: just take a few hundred billion a year from the Social Security Trust Fund. This is the money that comes in from current wage earners via the FICA tax, which for most of Social Security’s life has outpaced the money paid out to retirees; the resulting surplus was meant to stay in the “bank” so that when more people retired (as when Baby Boomers retire) there would still be a reserve fund to pay out. Reagan, of course, thought that raiding this unused money was a great idea, and “borrowed all the money in the fund from 1982 to the present” to help cover his embarrassing budget deficits. The only problem was, Social Security had to be paid back. Greenspan’s commission on Social Security had another great idea to cover this: raise the FICA tax on working people, and raise the amount of income subject to Social Security tax from $30,000. to $90,000. This again seemed like a great idea, because it would be mainly middle class people whose incomes would be hit the hardest, while the bulk of millionaire income (all earnings over $90,000. annually) would be exempt.

The long and the short of both these strategies (Hartmann calls them the CON game, after the neocons who became famous during W’s presidency) made the rich vastly richer. As Hartmann and many others have noted, “from 1980 to 1990, the income of the wealthiest 5% of Americans rose by 25% while the income of the bottom 40% stayed absolutely flat.” This trend has continued almost unabated, and even gotten worse since then. A recent article in Harper’s Magazine, by Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz, about the devastating effects of the Bush Administration, notes that “Between 2002 and 2006, the wealthiest 10 percent of households saw more than 95 percent of the gains in income…According to one study, the nation’s 15,000 richest families doubled their annual income, from $15 million to $30 million.” Corporate profits also shot up “by 68 percent.” Meantime, those at the center and bottom of the income spectrum—those hit by new FICA taxes, disappearing manufacturing jobs, and Reagan’s simultaneous assault on the unions that allowed workers to reach middle class solvency in the first place—saw their incomes actually shrink. To top it off, the safety net that Social Security was supposed to represent for middle class Americans has been vanishing. As Hartmann points out, in April of 2005, President George Bush admitted that “There is no trust ‘fund’—just IOUs that I saw firsthand.” These IOUs amount to some $2 trillion “borrowed” from Social Security. Is there anyone who, given our current economic crisis and the billions the government has been giving to bankers and automakers, as well as the estimated $10.35 trillion debt that Stiglitz and Bilmes estimate the Bush Administration ran up on its own, still thinks that the government will or can make good on all those IOUs?

The trouble is, the shenanigans don’t end there. In her article noted above, and accessible at solari.com, Katherine Austin Fitts details how large investment bankers like Dillon Read not only derived much of their income from laundered criminal money, mostly from drugs, but also from investing heavily in the prison-industrial-complex via a company named Cornell Industries, whereby privately-run prisons lobby for more severe criminal penalties to increase the prison population—and their profits. Here is her summary:

"Thanks to the successful efforts of the Clinton Administration to pass new crime legislation and ensure DOJ bureaucracy support for outsourcing contracts to run federal prisons to private prison companies — including a gush of contracts to Cornell from the fall of 1995 to the spring of 1996 — Dillon Read’s Cornell stock purchased at an average price between $2-3 per share, was now (July-Oct 1996) worth $12 a share, a 400–600% increase. In addition to their stock profits, Dillon pocketed big underwriting fees as well as the lead investment bank arranging the stock offering. In nine months, the Clinton Administration’s increase in contracts and acquisition of entities with contracts supporting 1,726 prisoners had literally made the company. The IPO reflected a stock market valuation of $24,241 per prisoner. What that means is that every time HUD’s Operation Safe Home dropped swat teams into a community and rounded up 100 teenagers for arrest, the potential value to the stockholders of the prison companies that managed the juvenile facilities and prisons was $2.4 million."

Furthermore, Fitts’ time at HUD exposed her to equally obscene fiscal shenanigans, this time involving the actual disappearance of huge amounts of money. Here is how she puts it in one summary:

"In October 1997, the federal fiscal year started. It was the beginning of at least $4 trillion going missing from federal government agency accounts between October 1997 and September 2001. The lion’s share of the missing money disappeared from the Department of Defense accounts. HUD also had significant amounts missing. According to HUD OIG reports, HUD had “undocumentable adjustments” of $17 billion in fiscal year 1998, and $59 billion in 1999."

Now Katherine Austin Fitts is not some latter-day Ronald Reagan attacking government as THE PROBLEM. Rather, she is pointing out that the unholy alliance between government and big business—the corporatocracy—leads to enormous waste, fraud and fiscal disaster. And where Reagan and his successors up to Bush have advocated “privatization” as the solution to government waste, Fitts advocates better oversight and punishment of those who are in the pockets of their corporate sponsors and lobbyists. Indeed, in her rendering, it is precisely the massive move by Republicans and Clinton Democrats towards privatization that has caused much of the problem. She gives the example, from her HUD days, of what happened to her suggestion to save money in construction projects for the poor:

"When I suggested to the head of HUD’s Hope VI public housing construction program during the Clinton Administration that she could spend $50,000 per home to rehab single family homes owned by FHA rather than spending $250,000 to create one new public housing apartment in the same community, she got frustrated and said “How would we generate fees for our friends?”

Fitts goes on to explain that privatization really meant transferring assets “out of governments worldwide at significantly below market value in a manner providing extraordinary windfall profits, capital gains and financial equity to private corporations and investors….The financial equity gained by private interests was often the result of financial, human, environmental and living equity stripped and stolen from communities…This is why I now refer to privatization as “piratization.” And of course, Fitts’ experience while at Dillon Read with Cornell Corrections, makes this same point, with an even greater impact. Privatized prisons depend on more inmates. Prison corporations, with contacts in government, are the biggest lobbyists for harsher criminal penalties for even non-violent crimes. Why? Because the more inmates there are, the greater their profits. The so-called wars on crime and drugs, therefore, are as much if not more the result of the corporate need to stock their prisons with more inmates, than the alleged need to keep the public safe. The darkest side of this whole complex involves the U.S. government’s role in providing the drugs that spark the crime that provides the inmates.

Thom Hartmann agrees in locating the recent rush to privatization as the heart of many problems. Where the CONS contend that they are for “smaller government,” Hartmann explains what smaller government really means: government of, by and for corporations and inherited wealth. Thus the Bush administration’s move to privatize K-12 education, which urged replacing free public schools with tuition vouchers for private schools, was just another way to cripple public education serving mainly poor and middle class families, and to expand private education that has traditionally served the rich. Unfortunately, many Americans have bought into this conservative propaganda that private corporations will be more efficient than government bureaucracies. Thus, from 1992 to 2002, Hartmann points out, “the U.S. government eliminated 48,000 civil service jobs while adding 730,000 contract positions.” The same CON game has mushroomed during Bush’s tenure, with pet corporations like Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s old company, making billions in military contracts to do what GIs used to do themselves. The transfer of Department of Defense dollars from what used to be a citizen military to a corporate-run military-industrial complex has been a virtual tsunami.

Privatization’s most serious consequences may have occurred in medical care. Where hospitals used to be largely non-profit corporations whose primary mission was to care for patients, today most hospitals are part of giant corporations whose primary mission is to generate profit. A 1989 study in the New England Journal of Medicine made this clear. It found that middlemen like health insurance companies and HMOs, with their enormous and constantly rising operating costs, have put health care out of the reach of huge numbers of Americans, especially compared to a government-run program like Medicare. Where administration costs for Medicare take only 2% to 3% of the medical budget, corporations and HMOs gouge as much as 34% for administrative costs like CEO salaries, lobbying, and advertising. In other words, money that should and could go to medical care, is siphoned off to support a profit-driven corporatocracy. George W. Bush’s showpiece Medicare bill of 2005 only added to this bonanza for the privateers. Because it mandated that Medicare cannot negotiate wholesale prices with drug companies and must always pay full retail, the enormous rise in the cost of prescription drugs is encouraged rather than mitigated. Again, privatization means a victory for the corporate giants and those who run them (including those who profit from their rising stock prices) rather than a better delivery system of health care for most Americans.

The collapse of the financial and stock markets has put a halt to much of the CON game, at least for a time. But we can rest assured that those whose interests lie in keeping the CON going will not be sidelined for very long. Indeed, the damage they have done may already have compromised our system beyond repair. As the President of the CalPers pension fund—the largest in the nation—told Katherine Austin Fitts as early as 1997, when she and her company proposed investing pension funds in small communities, small farms and small businesses so as to keep the money working in the United States, rather than financing exploitative plants in foreign countries like China:

“You don’t understand. It’s too late. They have given up on the country. They are moving all the money out in the Fall. They are moving it to Asia.”

The events of the last few months seem to confirm that “they” had indeed given up on the country. The only question now is, will the rest of us get outraged enough and active enough to salvage what’s left?

Lawrence DiStasi

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

State Terrorism

Anyone with even a modicum of political or historical knowledge must be struck by the fact that what is happening in Gaza right now, while justified as a “response against terrorism,” is itself better described as state terrorism by the two states, Israel and the United States, who complain most about terrorists. Israel, in fact, came into being as a terrorist state: its secret organizations like Irgun, once headed by former prime minister Menachem Begin, carried out devastating terrorist attacks not only against Palestinian civilians but also against British forces trying to maintain order in what was then Palestine. Since 1967, the Israeli state has carried out a more disguised, but no less destructive form of terrorism in the form of military actions against a people under occupation, a people stripped of the means to defend themselves. This has gone on ever since, to a greater or lesser degree, and now, with the Gaza invasion, to a degree and with an openness that is breathtaking. American news media describe this as a “war.” But a war is a contest between armed powers. Gazans have nothing to combat Apache helicopters, F-16 jets, drones, tanks, artillery, naval warships, and, always in reserve, Israeli nuclear weapons. All they have is defiance, and a few pathetic home-made rockets without guidance systems—this to defend the most densely inhabited area in the world, a roughly 5 mile by 1 mile stretch of land packed with 1.5 million people, nearly 50% of whom are children. To call this a war is an absurdity, pure propaganda. It is aggression, it is massacre, it is collective punishment of an entire civilian population in the hopes that these besieged civilians will demand that their elected leaders, Hamas, stop their firing of rockets.

But all this has been said before. So here are some documents to present some other voices, including a voice from the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz (Israelis get much more forthright and honest reporting about what their government does than a U.S. population served, or rather dis-served by a craven, intimidated media).

Associated Press, Jan. 6, 2008:
GAZA CITY, Gaza – An Israeli bombardment struck outside a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday, the U.N. and Palestinian medics said, killing at least 30 people — many of them children whose parents wailed in grief at a hospital filled with dead and wounded.

Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, 12/28/08.

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.

Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, Dec 28, 2008.

The United States remains directly complicit in Israeli violations of both U.S. domestic and international law through its continual provision of military aid.

The current round of airstrikes have been carried out largely with F-16 bombers and Apache attack helicopters, both provided to Israel through U.S. military aid grants of about $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money sent to Israel every year. Between 2001 and 2006, Washington transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts for its fleet of F-16's. Just last year, the U.S. signed a $1.3 billion contract with the Raytheon corporation to provide Israel with thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and "bunker buster" missiles. In short, Israel's lethal attack today on the Gaza Strip could not have happened without the active military support of the United States.

Israel's attack violated U.S. law - specifically the Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits U.S. arms from being used for any purpose beyond a very narrowly-defined set of circumstances: use inside a country's borders for self-defense purposes. The Gaza assault did not meet those criteria. Certainly targeting police stations (even Israel did not claim Gazan police forces were responsible for the rockets) and television broadcast centers do not qualify as self-defense. And because the U.S. government has confirmed it was fully aware of Israeli plans for the attack before it occurred, the U.S. remains complicit in the violations. Further, the well-known history of Israeli violations of international law means U.S. government officials were aware of those violations, provided the arms to Israel anyway, and therefore remain complicit in the Israeli crimes.

The U.S. is also indirectly complicit through its protection of Israel in the United Nations. Its actions, including the use and threat of use of the U.S. veto in the Security Council and the reliance on raw power to pressure diplomats and governments to soften their criticism of Israel, all serve to protect Israel and keep it from being held accountable by the international community.

To sum up: Israel has attacked civilians, including, most recently a UN school, killing children seeking refuge there. Israel had this operation planned well before the so-called “ceasefire” it entered with Hamas, the breaking of which by Hamas’ rocket fire it contends gave it the right to attack Gaza (not so incidentally, it was Israel which broke the truce when, on November 4, its army entered Gaza and carried out a raid which killed 5 militants; Hamas rocket fire into Israel followed). In truth, then, Israel had the operation planned all along, and provoked Hamas into a response, to justify the operation. All of this amounts to illegal, criminal attacks against a civilian population. Since the United States has actively aided Israel in these illegal acts, it too is guilty of the violations (too soft a word for the killings, maimings and absolute terror taking place), they represent.

Indeed, all of us who are United States taxpayers are likewise complicit for it is our tax dollars that are making this invasion possible, our representatives in Congress and the Oval Office who knowingly aid and abet such criminality. If we agree that this is the case, we can do no less than contact our representatives, today, to demand an immediate and permanent end to policies that support the calculated slaughter of innocents.

Lawrence DiStasi