The Middle East: Rivers of blood

by The Palimpsest Staff on January 12, 2009

If You Want Peace, Work For Justice says the Central Virginia Progressive

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | Bill Moyers on Mideast Violence | PBS

Transcript

BILL MOYERS: In a city made noisy by hammers and saws preparing for the
inauguration of a new president — a city already reverberating with
partisan rancor, and with the constant chattering of the opinionated —
it was hard to hear the sound of a single snare drum along Pennsylvania
Avenue, between the White House and Capitol Hill, but there it was: a
mere handful of men and women, 70 at most, had come out this rain-swept
morning to bear witness to the dead – to the victims of war.

DAVID SWANSON:
They carry the names of the dead in Iraq, in Afghanistan and the recent
dead in Gaza along with ages and places and in many cases, very little
more is known except that these are people who should still be alive.
These are real human beings with family members and loved ones and
friends, and we’re killing them.

BILL MOYERS:They were there for the first hour of the first day of the new Congress.

DAVID SWANSON:
It’s a general assumption that power rests at the other end of this
street in the White House and that we may have a better president there
than we had last time and we should wait and see what happens. Well,
our country puts the power to begin and end and fund and de-fund wars
here, in the Congress.

BILL MOYERS:A short distance away a
noisy media circus surrounded Illinois Democrat Roland Burris as he
tried to take a seat in the United States Senate, while scarcely anyone
recorded the March of the Dead.

MARCHER #1: Haya Hamdan, 44, killed last Monday in Gaza.

MARCHER #2: Najim Abdullah Hamid, 41, killed 3/7/04.

BILL MOYERS:Inside the Hart Senate Office Building the marchers unfurled their banners. Seventeen were arrested.

MARCHER #3:We will not be silent.

DAVID SWANSON:
And I’m thrilled that people are willing to bring this message on day
one and not assume that an election solves everything because elections
have never created peace, only what people do in between elections has
ever created peace.

BILL MOYERS:Their act of conscience
could not have been more timely. For one thing, the “Washington Post”
reports this week that the U.S. Army sent letters to the 7,000 family
members of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every letter began,
“Dear John Doe.” Yes, it was a mistake and the Army has now apologized.
But we were reminded of the anonymity that has been conferred on
America’s fallen warriors whose homecoming in caskets the Bush White
House has tried to keep from the public. They, their parents, spouses
and children are far removed from the gaze of official Washington. The
marchers along Pennsylvania Avenue this week were reminding us that
every casualty, every victim of war has a name.

For too much of
the world at large the names of the dead and wounded in Gaza might as
well be John Doe too. They are the casualties and victims of Israel’s
decision to silence the rockets from Hamas terrorists by waging war on
an entire population. Yes, every nation has the right to defend its
people. Israel is no exception, all the more so because Hamas would
like to see every Jew in Israel dead.

But brute force can turn
self-defense into state terrorism. It’s what the U.S. did in Vietnam,
with B-52s and napalm, and again in Iraq, with shock and awe. By
killing indiscriminately – the elderly, kids, entire families by
destroying schools and hospitals — Israel did exactly what terrorists
do and exactly what Hamas wanted. It spilled the blood that turns the
wheel of retribution.

Hardly had Israeli tank fire killed and
injured scores at a UN school in Gaza than a senior Hamas leader went
on television to announce, “The Zionists have legitimized the killing
of their children by killing our children.” Already attacks on Jews in
Europe are escalating — a burning car crashes into a synagogue in
Southern France, a fiery object is hurled through a window in Sweden,
venomous anti-Semitic graffiti appears across the continent, and
arsonists strike in London.

What we are seeing in Gaza is the
latest battle in the oldest family quarrel on record. Open your Bible:
the sons of the patriarch Abraham become Arab and Jew. Go to the Book
of Deuteronomy. When the ancient Israelites entered Canaan their
leaders urged violence against its inhabitants. The very Moses who had
brought down the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” now proclaimed, “You
must destroy completely all the places where the nations have served
their gods. You must tear down their altars, smash their pillars, cut
down their sacred poles, set fire to the carved images of their gods,
and wipe out their name from that place.”

So God-soaked
violence became genetically coded. A radical stream of Islam now seeks
to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. Israel misses no
opportunity to humiliate the Palestinians with checkpoints, concrete
walls, routine insults, and the onslaught in Gaza. As if boasting of
their might, Israel defense forces even put up video of the explosions
on YouTube for all the world to see. A Norwegian doctor there tells
CBS, “It’s like Dante’s Inferno. They are bombing one and a half
million people in a cage.”

America has officially chosen sides.
We supply Israel with money, F-16s, winks and tacit signals. Our
Christian right links arms with the religious extremists there who
claim divine sanctions for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Our
political elites show neither independence nor courage by challenging
the consensus that Israel can do no wrong. Although one recent poll
found Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive by
a 24-point margin, Democratic Party leaders in Congress nonetheless
march in lockstep to the hardliners in Israel and the White House.
Rarely does our mainstream media depart from the monotonous monologue
of the party line. Many American Jews know, as Aaron David Miller writes in the current “Newsweek”, that the destruction in Gaza won’t do much to address Israel’s longer-term needs.

But
those who raise questions are accused by a prominent reform rabbi of
being “morally deficient.” One Jewish American activist told me this
week that never in 30 years has he seen such blind and binding
conformity in his community. “You’d never know,” he said, “that it is
the Gazans who are doing most of the suffering.”

We are in a
terrible bind — Israel, the Palestinians, the United States. Each
greases the cycle of violence, as one man’s terrorism becomes another’s
resistance to oppression. Is it possible to turn this mindless tragedy
toward peace? For starters, read Aaron David Miller’s article in the
current “Newsweek”. Get his book, “The Much Too Promised Land”. And pay
no attention to those Washington pundits cheering the fighting in Gaza
as they did the bloodletting in Iraq. Killing is cheap and war is a
sport in a city where life and death become abstractions of policy.
Here are the people who pay the price.

Signs of the Dajjal Antichrist Reptilian Shapeshifter : 09

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