Archive for the ‘Gaza’ Category

Human Smoke

August 24, 2014

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Lately I have been reading Human Smoke, Nicholson Baker’s pacifist history of the beginning of World War II. Although I don’t find Baker’s main argument – that Britain might have provoked Germany into war – convincing, I find the book interesting nonetheless. Among other things it’s always good to be reminded that Roosevelt and Churchill were not the saints that are often portrayed in popular culture.

One thing that Baker makes clear is that going back to the First World War, and possibly even earlier, military planners regarded the aerial bombardment of civilian populations to be a legitimate tool of warfare. Indeed, some of them seemed to eagerly look forward to this prospect. (Churchill once expressed disappointment that World War I ended before Britain could try out its new bombers.) The idea was that bombings will break a people’s will to fight. Yet if there is one thing that we should have learned from the twentieth century, it is that bombings do not break a people’s will to fight. Britain’s bombing of Germany did not break the Germans’ will to fight, nor did Germany’s bombing of Britain break the will of the British to fight. The US’s bombing of Japan did not break the will of the Japanese to fight. The US’s bombing of North Vietnam did not break the will of the Vietnamese to fight.

And so Israel’s bombing of Gaza has not broken the will of the Gazans to fight. We seem to learn nothing from history.

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The Slaughter in Gaza

July 25, 2014

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I know a woman who used to live in Gaza. Today, she told me that three children she knew when she was living there have been killed by Israeli bombs. As the slaughter in Gaza continues, it’s effects are beginning to be felt even here in the US.

Barack Obama has displayed his usual moral cowardice, giving pious speeches about Israel’s “right to defend itself”, as if the people of Gaza have no right to defend themselves. Obama talked about this at an Iftar dinner attended Muslim Americans. Obama deliberately insulted these people by inviting the Israeli ambassador to the US to this dinner.

There is growing opposition to Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza throughout the world including within Israel itself.

We must stand with the people of Gaza.