by Gilles d'Aymery
"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
(Swans - July 31, 2006) AMERICAN INGENUITY AT ITS BEST: The Israeli state, under instruction of its enablers, launched another sadistic rape of a defenseless neighbor that almost rivals US lovemaking in Iraq. The local master got the green light from the top boss to do as it so pleases with the local virgins. Spread the legs as wide as it may and bang in, bang out, bump in, bump out, tear in, tear out, boom, boom, ha, ha, boom, boom, ha, ha. Such a great time. Boom, boom, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.... Let Eros loose in a demonstration of pornographic fireworks. There's money to be made on both sides, courtesy of US taxpayers. On the one hand, we supply the penises in various sizes and shapes, and re-supply even bigger paraphernalia, so that the Lebanese cunts can be more thoroughly penetrated and distended. On the other hand, we dispatch -- snail-like, mind you -- Vaseline and cortisone to the patient. The Vaseline will make the rape less painful; the cortisone will take care of the burning flesh. Either way, we win. Gore Vidal remarked in an interview by David Barsamian (The Progressive, August 2006) that "We [Americans] want to make money, which I always thought was one of the most admirable things about Americans." (Making money...one of the most admirable things...thanks Gore!)
SO, WE WIN BOTH WAYS: Supply the Israeli destroying machine of war with more engines of destruction and deliver meager food and medical relief to the Lebanese. Keeps the economy humming and the profits soaring. Humanitarian Israelis will open corridors for the delivery of life-saving supplies that they conspicuously destroy time and again. Eh, there is money in this whorehouse. Let the fun perdure. Let's milk the cow dry. Remember, it's all about morality and, of course, morality is on our sides (U.S., Israel). You would not have the "animals" carry the day, would you? It would not be good for business.
"ANIMALS," SAY I? Animals they are according to Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman -- "ruthless indiscriminate animals," said the subtle diplomat in reference to Hezbollah. Omer Caspi, the Deputy Consul General in San Francisco, referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as a "cancer" that has to be removed off the "body and soul" of the Palestinians and Lebanese. Tender, pretty Israeli young girls -- 8- to 12-year-olds -- with immaculately painted nails shown signing artillery rounds to be launched against Lebanese... "From Israel and Daniele," one can read on one of the pictures taken by the AP photographer Sebastian Scheiner. Boom, boom, ha, ha. Boom, boom, ha, ha.
AND, PLEASE, once you've seen these two AP pictures, scroll down to get a pictorial experience -- and bless your luck of the draw that allows you to avoid a live experience of that horror -- of the results that the smiling Israeli children signed onto. Scroll down, scroll down, all the way down. See Israeli empathy and compassion for fellow human beings.
CITATION FOR THE AGES: "Thanks to the children of Israel for this nice gift. Thanks to the world that does nothing."
-- The children of Lebanon and Palestine
PROBLEM IS, they are not fellow human beings. They are "animals," they are "Arabs" and "terrorists" who only understand force and submission to a greater force, the master force. Beyond abhorrence and contempt I feel an immense sadness because somewhere deep in me (a child of abuse) I can sense how the Israeli people, in large measure, are pathologically sick. It's a psychological illness that they cannot come to terms with -- cannot even diagnose. It's not precision-guided killing machines Americans should send to Israel, it's an army of psychiatrists (though, to be fair, Americans are more in need of psychiatric treatment than their Middle East friends and allies).
WHEN YOU LISTEN to Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres addressing the Lebanese people -- "We are distressed to see how time and again your green country turns into burned black patches and heaps of ruins. . . . . We know well that war sows destruction in your beautiful country and our hearts break but we have no choice: It's us or Hezbollah. You also have no choice: It's you or Hezbollah. From our point of view, this is a war for life and for peace." -- you can sense how these far-astray mental convolutions translate into appalling behaviors.
FOR PERES, it's an existential struggle, a survivalist war, a tribal war. It leads to the absolute necessity to uproot what he considers terror. He knows what's good for the Lebanese, or the Syrians, or the Palestinians, or the Jordanians. There's this arrogance and superiority showing up again and again -- and immense, probably unconscious, hypocrisy. The father beating his son over and over for his own good...though, here it's the neighbor's children that are being beaten (and killed) for their own good.
COMING FROM PERES, one can comprehend. He is 84 years old; his frame of reference was molded in the ashes of the Holocaust -- no one but Jewish people can really sense in one's own deep fiber the meaning of the horror, not even me, a son of a man who survived Buchenwald. Once uprooted, abused, besieged, during myriad historical pogroms, his people almost annihilated, he feels surrounded by existential threats and can only repeat the cycle of violence that was visited upon him and his people. So, he's been uprooting, abusing, and besieging -- but NOT annihilating -- his neighbors for the past 58 years or so.
BUT WHEN THIS frame of reference and those behaviors are passed on to the young girls of Israel -- kids sending kisses of death to, wishing death on, other kids, for good sake...and one can picture the effect on testosterone-loaded boys -- generation after generation, one has to raise the issue of collective, societal mental illness. A deeply traumatized and hardened society that is unconsciously decomposing through the destruction of its humanness and the coldly vengeful devastation of its perceived enemies, needs non-military help as soon as possible, not only for its own sake, but for the sake of the entire world.
POOR DECK DECKERT, rightfully outraged, and screaming out of all the pores of his conscience, rages about war crimes and the impotence of the international community. I do too, and I am fully aware, as I think he is, that all our raging looks like a quiet evening breeze in the midst of a hurricane. We are impotent. We cannot stop this madness. "How much longer will blood flow so that force can justify what law denies?" asks Eduardo Galeano. So, what about war crimes and the international community?
WAR CRIMES depend on which side you are on and who has the final say -- that is, mortal power. The USA and Israel control the game and posses the power. There is no institution, organization, country, that can challenge these two Goliaths. The only David around the corner is Hezbollah, an ideological foe (whose ideology must be rejected) but a legitimate resistance movement that cannot bring a suit in The Hague against war crimes committed by Israel in Lebanon (and the Palestinian Occupied Territories). Remember, Hezbollah is tagged a "terrorist" organization. "Terrorists" have no international credibility; and there is no international this or that to keep in check American and Israeli hubris. None. Period. The international community is a figment of the imagination. The U.N. is a tool of US foreign policy (Was it not Dame Albright who said that?). John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the U.N., once asserted that the U.N. does not really exist. It's just a club of nations to be directed by the real and only power in the world, the USA.
WAR CRIMES REALLY? Bombing a UN post, ambulances, milk factory, roads, bridges, airports tarmacs, fuel depots, gasoline stations, electrical power plants (e.g., the 346 megawatts power plant in Jiyeh), freshwater lines, leveling south Beirut and tens of thousands of civilian dwellings, emblazing pristine forests, creating an ecological disaster along the Lebanese coast where over 10,000 tons of oil have spilled in the Mediterranean Sea, risking the extinction of the green sea turtles that happen to hatch in July, threatening the bluefish tunas... As Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said, "Nothing is safe" -- Boom, boom ha, ha -- "as simple as that." "If you want your air conditioning to work and if you want to be able to fly to Paris for shopping, you must pull your head out of the sand and take action toward shutting down Hezbollah-land," said some Israeli luminary -- no, no that's not collective punishment, not at all, just mere self defense. Shimon Peres will lament the suffering and remind his Lebanese "friends" once again that it's for their own good, for their future prosperity, their freedom and democracy. Oops, we've bombed a convoy of refugees, sorry about that, but see there was a car there that looked suspect, a terrorist car. What, a family of five was wiped out? In war, "stuff happens," you know. But then...
WERE WAR CRIMES instigated against NATO countries for the destruction of Serbia? Were war crimes instigated against the destruction of the entire Iraqi infrastructure, the use of DU, and the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel exercise in 1991? Were war crimes instigated against the U.S. and Great Britain for the murderous sanctions against the people of Iraq? Any chance that war crimes will be instigated against the U.S. and Great Britain for the invasion, destruction, and occupation of Iraq? Actually, thinking of it, the Lebanese people are sort of fortunate: Had the U.S. conducted this operation they would have carpet-bombed half of the country to smithereens with their B-52s and killed tens of thousands of people. In fact, as Amir Oren reports in Haaretz ("No time to lose," July 29, 2006), the mafia Don is getting impatient. Writes Oren:
In the middle of the week, a close personal friend of U.S. President George Bush, who is also a generous donor to the Republican Party, called an Israeli friend who is a senior officer in the Israel Defense Forces. "What's happening with you?" he asked, as angry as he was disappointed. "The best army in the region, one of the best armies in the world, is messing for two weeks with a terrorist organization three kilometers from the border, and the rockets keep falling on its population centers? We sent our army to bleed 6,000 miles from home after September 11. What's stopping you?"
GOOD QUESTION: What's stopping the mighty IDF? Perhaps the Israelis are acutely aware of the spectacular "successes" of the American military in Iraq; perhaps they know that when the dust settles they still will have to live in the neighborhood as their American mentors and enablers cozily sip scotch in Washington, their attention diverted to yet another part of the world; or perhaps their own history forbids them to do another Guernica or Dresden, or Hiroshima and does not allow them morally to quite emulate the blood-thirsty exploits of their American bosses. Destruction, yes, but "restrained" in comparison to how the U.S. conducts its military operations.
THEIR RESTRAINT, all relative restraint, continues unabated and far away from the Western cameras in both the Gaza ghetto and the West Bank. Over 400 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the latest Israeli reprisal. A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding with practically total indifference of the "civilized" world. These people too are not humans, just animals, fleas, dedicated to the destruction of Israel
ON THURSDAY LAST, I was watching a Mosaic program on Linktv.org. An Israeli commentator working at some Stanford University think tank, former Israeli government bureaucrat and, I suppose, former member of the self-assured and domineering IDF, affirmed matter-of-factly that Hezbollah was an organization "dedicated to the destruction of Israel AND (my emphasis) the United States." Think for a second: Two to 5,000 fighters, according to Israeli estimates, able to destroy the state of Israel and the mighty United States of America!!! That such an individual can spill so much idiocy is beyond reason. Can't anyone see that it's Lebanon that is being destroyed for the nth time? Can't anyone see that it's the Palestinian Occupied Territories that are being destroyed? Who invades whom? How many times has Lebanon invaded Israel? How many times Israel has invaded Lebanon?
EDUARDO GALEANO concludes his July 28, 2006 piece, "How much longer?" (Inter Press Service, July 28, 2006), with this question: "How much longer will we accept that this world so in love with death is the only world possible?" David Barsamian asked a similar question to Gore Vidal: "What is it going to take to stop [this] onslaught?" Vidal: "Economic collapse. We are too deeply in debt. We can't service the debt, or so my financial friends tell me, that's paying the interest on the Treasury bonds, particularly to the foreign countries that have been financing us. I think the Chinese will say the hell with you and pull their money out of the United States. That's the end of our wars."
AN ALTERNATIVE TO economic collapse, at least in Lebanon, would have been to use reason instead of machismo and ego. Aluf Benn notes in "A glossary of delusions" (Haaretz, July 27, 2006) that "Giora Eiland, the former national security adviser [...] suggested to both Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert that Israel withdraw from the Shaba Farms, release Lebanese prisoners and refrain from flyovers of Lebanon, in return for the Lebanese Army's deployment along the length of the border." Assuredly a rather reasonable policy worthy of careful consideration, no? At the very least this diplomatic approach should have been attempted. But, as Benn adds, "His proposal was rejected." Why use diplomacy and negotiations when one party keeps believing that its positions will prevail through war? Why use peaceful means when one can use its wonderful killing machine? What did Dame Albright use to say? Something like, why have this great military if one cannot use it...
ALMOST THREE WEEKS into this unjustifiable pornographic war, one can reasonably state that the Israeli war apparatus (i.e., the elites and their US sponsors) must be rather shell-shocked at this point. Israel is getting a medicine that they are used to dispensing time and again to the other side(s) -- the "insects," you know -- but has never had to swallow herself. This time around, Hezbollah's rockets have hit indiscriminately all over Northern Israel -- Druze, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities. Over 1.2 million Israelis have had their lives disrupted. Over a quarter of a million have fled south for safety. The economy of the region is in shambles. Lebanon is ravaged, her economy in ruin, her infrastructure gutted, her environment direly polluted. By the time this folly is brought to an end, maybe a million refugees, many with no home to go back to, will survive in squalid camps with the sustenance of modest remittances from various countries. Dead and wounded will have reached into the thousands. Hatred will have been exacerbated for generations to come. Hezbollah will not have been uprooted -- it cannot be -- but its influence will grow both in Lebanon and in the Arab world. The Israeli government, which wanted a wider buffer zone up to the Litani River with an international force deployed not in the south but around Beirut, along the border with Syria, and in the Bekaa Valley, will have to settle for much less, and their sense of vulnerability will not have abated a wee bit. Admirable achievements for an orgasmic display of machismo, indeed.
Allow me to inject a little humor in the midst of this mayhem: I was asking an Israeli friend what the heck was going on with this planned "sudden" madness. Her answer: "Well, we are the only democracy in the region as the story goes. Lebanon was competing with our angelic status. This could not be tolerated. Then, think of it, it's good for business... Gilles, sorry, I know you are bleeding and there is not much we can do. Hope is being killed daily."
NO, I AM NOT BLEEDING. Lebanese, Palestinians, Israelis, Iraqis are bleeding. I am weeping -- and, yes, hope is being killed daily.
BOONVILLE NEWS: Is this year going to turn out to be the Year of the Snake? Six weeks ago, I had to shoot a rattlesnake that had selected the chicken coop for permanent dwelling. Two weeks ago, one of those unfriendly fellows took exception to my companion wanting to water the eight or nine olive trees that are a legacy of the preceding owner's dreams of a perfect weekender retreat and a way to make another killing in the real estate market. Kaboom went the noise of our 20-gauge over/under Russian shotgun.
I'm not really good at the exercise. I shot the snake in its mid body. Both sides kept having a life of their own for a couple of hours. The next day, however, I learned my lesson. Right at the corner of the house was another rattlesnake, baking in the evening sun. I mean, right there, a foot away from our path to the deck. I was going out for a smoke. Walked out. Saw the bugger. Called on Jan: "Get the gun." She rushed downstairs to the closet where the killing machine is safely stored, away from possible stupid hands. Came up with the gun and the box of shells in a hurry. I loaded the gun with two cartridges. Aimed, this time at the head directly. Shot once. Dead. Couldn't find the head. Threw the remains far away enough. The turkey vultures took care of the killing fields, presuming they feed on dead rattlesnakes. What next, a rattler in the living room?
This is no fun. I hate the very idea of killing another living being, whether animals or humans. Yet, we keep at it, both ways, don't we?
A READER ASKS: "Why would you have a Russian gun in the first place? Can't you use good ol' American Engineering?" Engineering, I'm afraid, has become an un-American profession. It's been devolved mostly to cheaper labor countries. All America has to offer is cheapies or out-of-the-way-expensive, pork-barrel, shooting-the-stars-down kind of killing idiocies. Mind you, in the guns' firmament, American companies do have a few offerings, so long as one can afford the bribing and corruption that goes with the territory. The Russian-made IZH-27M Over/Under 20 gauge shotgun we purchased offered several attractive features: Its forend and stock were made in walnut not plastic, like so many American guns are; it had a good reputation for reliability; it had a classic look and feel; it was fairly priced (half of its American equivalents); it was not American-made (a big plus in my book, albeit, these days, no one knows for sure the financial ownership of any company); and it just happened that the gun dealer had one in stock. You can have a look at this snake-killer machine (our only use) to see what I mean.
THE HEAT WAVE has taken the life of one of our last three hens. The lavender plants are pretty much dried flower arrangements, and my right arm is almost out of commission due to a harsh attack of carpal tunnel syndrome. Compared to the Lebanese, the Palestinians, and the northern Israelis (without forgetting Iraqis and Afghans), I have it dandy, though.
Ç'est la vie...
And so it goes...
La vie, friends, is a cheap commodity, but worth maintaining when one can.the life line won't hurt you much, but it'll make a heck of a difference for Swans.