Thursday, August 31, 2006

Update on Cluster Bombs

From here:
Pressure for an international ban on cluster bombs has intensified as Israel stands accused of littering southern Lebanon with thousands of unexploded bombs in the final hours of its war against Hizbollah.

Campaigners yesterday accused the Israel Defence Force of leaving a "minefield" of deadly bomblets in villages and fields after firing hundreds of cluster shells, rockets and bombs across its northern border in the three days before hostilities ended earlier this month. (emphas added)
Chris Clarke, head of the UN mine action service in southern Lebanon, said: "This is without a doubt the worst post-conflict cluster bomb contamination I have ever seen."
Get that, the last three days of hostilities. You know, if any other country, particularly one of those "Islamofascist" countries, had done this, we would be all over them like chicken pox demanding sanctions, retaliation, human right's court, and docketing them like that guy Sadam Hussein. What, pray tell, is the difference between gassing civilians and cluster bombing civilians? Alright, I'll give you the issue of numbers killed. What about atomic bombs? And who used those?

Update 1: see here for a little bit stronger language.

Update 2:
United Nations - The U.N. humanitarian chief on Wednesday accused Israel of "shocking" and "completely immoral" behavior for dropping large numbers of cluster bombs on Lebanon when a cease-fire in its war with Hezbollah was in sight.

Medicine is a Science and an Art, not a Religion

Medical Practices Blend Health and Faith
Doctors, Patients Distance Themselves From Care They Consider Immoral

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 31, 2006; Page A01

Sandwiched between a swimming pool store and a spice shop on Lee Highway in Fairfax, the Tepeyac Family Center looks like any other suburban doctor's office. But it isn't.

The practice combines "the best of modern medicine with the healing presence of Jesus Christ," a brochure at the reception desk announces. An image of the Madonna greets every patient. Doctors, nurses and staff members gather to pray each day before the first appointments. (emphasis added)
I suppose they do so towards Bethlehem. This was the front page above the fold story in the Washington Post! What if this paragraph read:
The practice combines "the best of modern medicine with the healing presence of Allah," a brochure at the reception desk announces. No images of any kind greet the patients, being forbidden by the Koran. Doctors, nurses and staff members gather to pray each day, kneeling towards Mecca, before the first appointments Women doctors and nurses wear burqas and it is forbidden that male doctors examine women.
The question becomes, is mixing religion and medicine good for the patient? A recent study showed that intensive care patients who were actively "prayed for" fared worse than those who were not. Furthermore, nowhere in the many textbooks that I have on medicine is there any indication for the use of prayer. The article goes on:
shunning birth-control and morning-after pills, IUDs and other contraceptive devices, sterilizations, and abortions, as well as in vitro fertilization. Instead, doctors offer "natural family planning" -- teaching couples to monitor a woman's temperature and other bodily signals to time intercourse.
What do you call a couple practicing rhythm birth control?

Answer: Parents.

It is a fact that the Bush Administration's efforts in Africa to enforce "abstinence" rather than the use of condems has resulted in many more children for which there are no resources and an increase in AIDS.

O.K., enough snark. Yes, I think a person's religious beliefs should be taken into account in medicine, since it part of the social milieu. But bringing religion into the consultation room as a part of what should be science and art? It is a political stunt. It is an effort to enforce one's religion on others.

Now, where have I seen that before.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stupidity is Not an Excuse



and he's still hurting....

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Opening Shots in the Fourth Wurlitzer War


ADL Calls Amnesty International Report "Bigoted, Biased, And Borderline Anti-Semitic" (from here):
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director called the Amnesty International report, "bigoted, biased, and borderline anti-Semitic." Currently in Israel visiting devastated areas in the north, Mr. Foxman said, "I see deliberate destruction of Israeli homes, hospitals, and other institutions."

"Amnesty International has a longstanding pattern of rushing to judgment to stigmatize Israel. They chose to ignore the fact that, after Hezbollah's unprovoked attack on Israeli soil, Israel did not deliberately strike civilian centers, while Hezbollah did, killing and maiming Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs and destroying their homes and businesses." (emphasis added)
Indeed, rockets did hit Northern Israel and:
Visiting Western Galilee Hospital
After a short briefing by the city spokesperson, we headed to the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya. The hospital estimates it has treated 1,300 patients, about 65% of which were for psychological trauma. (emphasis added)
The hospital, did in fact sustain a direct hit. A rocket hit a patientÂ’s room a few days after the patients on that floor had been moved elsewhere. Although only one room was hit directly, all the rooms that we saw on the floor had clear signs of damage.
The Israelis have built underground shelters for everyone including an underground hospital. Would that Lebanon had such facilities.

On the other hand:
Amnesty International weighs in on the war
According to Amnesty International, during the more than four weeks of war, Lebanon's infrastructure suffered destruction "on a catastrophic scale." During that period, the Israeli Air Force conducted more than 7,000 air attacks while the navy carried out 2,500 bombardments. As a result of these attacks and those of Israeli ground forces, 1,183 persons were killed. One-third of them were children. In addition, over 4,000 people were injured and almost 1 million people were displaced.
Hospitals, particularly in the south of the country, sustained shelling damage, while their continued operation was affected by fuel shortages, road destruction and the continuing blockade. The Lebanese Ministry of Public Health stated that, as of August 12, almost 60 percent of the country's hospitals had stopped functioning. Two government hospitals - in Bint Jbeil and in Meis al-Jabal - were completely destroyed in Israeli attacks. (emphasis added)
Let me be very specific, I condemn violence against civilians no matter who instigates it. However, in this case the burden of responsibility falls far more heavily on the Israelis. In particular, the Israeli jets and artillery were well aware of what they were destroying whereas Hezbollah, although they claim their targets were military, used rockets difficult to target but of low yield compared to the firepower of an F-16. More importantly, there is no evidence that Hezbollah used cluster bombs. In summary, there is little comparison between the sides.

As this war and its aftermath slip further and further from the awareness of Mr. and Mrs. America, Lebanon has been left in tatters.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday called Israel's air and sea blockade of Lebanon a "humiliation," while Israel said it won't end the embargo until peacekeeping forces on the border can prevent Hezbollah guerrillas from importing new weapons.
I thought Israel agreed to a cease fire? That should have included lifting the blockade. It is yet another example of "all are equal but we are more equal than you." Talk about exceptionalism.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Look deep, deep into my eyes

You are getting very sleepy.

You know there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Iran is a threat to your children and must be bombed back to the stone age.

The Israeli's need more F-16's (having 236 is not enough)

Our Leader did such a great job on the Katrina disaster we expect him to simply excel on the Ernesto disaster (especially since it will be in Jebby's Florida).

You will petition your Congressional representatives to pass a bill abolishing the Death Tax and refuse the minimum wage hike. (Ban gays and stem cells while you're at it.)

Our Leader is invincible and such a master of the intellect that he does not need to obey laws, particularly when they are based on the Constitution (what's that?)

Please deposit $5,000 in the bank account of Jerry Falwell to promote a rip roaring Apocalypse (or Rapture, if you are of that persuasion). Muslims need not apply.

Fly jets on every occasion you can, but don't bring deoderant. Be sure to warn the pilot not to leave by a short runway, even though you're in a hurry.

And please, please, please have O.J. stop by my cell so we can compare DNA.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ho hum. Just another Sunday....

Shame on you, America.

From Juan Cole today:
The illegal Israeli blockade of civilian Lebanese ports continues to inflict massive damage on Lebanon and on ordinary Lebanese from all walks of life. The United States more or less supports this strangling of the little country.

Illegal Israeli cluster bombs go on harming innocent Lebanese. Five were blown up on Saturday, including 4 children.

Israel's illegal air raid on a major oil refinery, which produced the worst environmental disaster in the history of the Eastern Mediterranean, has profoundly harmed Lebanese fishermen.

He also has observations on how the Western press cherry picks quotes from the Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the
Supreme Jurisprudent Khamenei. It seems that in the former case his prior rhetoric about Israel (effacing the Zionist State) may have referred to a desire for a one state solution, with Palestinians and Israli's voting side by side (don't hold your breath). And in the latter case, Khamenei states that Iran will not pre-emptively attack another state and he condemns nuclear weapons! However, as Cole observes:
Although Iran's protestations of peaceful intentions are greeted cynically in the US and Israel, in fact Iran has not launched a war of aggression in over a century. The US and Israel have launched several during that period of time.
I have known several Iranians and Iraqi in my career. They have all been highly educated and do not flaunt their language, culture or politics on you. Agreed they are professionals, but this engendering of hate for whole countries by the American Press is alien to the spirit of America.

And, of course, it leads to attacks and destruction of innocent countries: Iraq and Lebanon in the most recent incarnation of our jingoism.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Crab Blogging

The Black Crab of Lebanon
(not a natural occurrence; the result of the oil spill from the bombing of oil storage tanks servicing, among other institutions, hospitals)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What a difference a few miles makes

Bottles of wine on display at the Dalton Winery in Kerem Ben Zimra in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006. Grape harvesting was scheduled to begin this week in northern Israel, the country's richest wine-growing region. Perfect timing for the cease-fire combined with a good year, climate-wise, for grapes, and an expanding industry that is gaining international recognition should help make up for a month of war and lost sales, wine makers say.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A winery in northern Israel


Shattered village a few miles north of the border with Lebanon. Said to be "damaged in the fighting."

Excuse me, these villages were TARGETED. Deliberately destroyed. But, ho hum, lets go back to drinking wine.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cluster Bombs

Updated below x 2

Raw Story has this item: Lebanese children victims of unexploded cluster bombs
Bomb search teams are scouring southern Lebanon but finding the "tens of thousands" of unexploded bombs will take time.
View the Video and feel sick to your stomach.

How did it come to be that there are "tens of thousands" of unexploded bombs in south Lebanon? Where did they come from?
They came from the United States. They were dropped by Israel on the civilians of south Lebanon in violation of the rules of war. In case you were unfamiliar with these they include the following:

International Humanitarian Law comprised of the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions

Persons who are not, or are no longer, taking part in hostilities shall be respected, protected and treated humanely. They shall be given appropriate care, without any discrimination.

The right of parties to an armed conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. No superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering shall be inflicted.

In order to spare the civilian population, armed forces shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and civilian objects on the one hand, and military objectives on the other. Neither the civilian population as such nor individual civilians or civilian objects shall be the target of military attacks (emphasis added)
Arguments that "we dropped leaflets" and "Hezbollah hid behind the skirts of villagers" do not hold water and are specious. The only conclusion a rational person can come to is that:

The United States of America and Israel have committed War Crimes.

Not to bring the parties to justice will make a mockery of the treaties and laws that we pretend to respect.

Cluster bomb victim.

Update 1:
From Juan Cole:
The US State Department will investigate whether Israeli deployment of these weapons in civilian areas violated secret agreements under which Washington supplied them to Israel.

Nothing will come of the investigation, given the clout of the Israel lobby in Washington, but someday the relative of an innocent maimed Lebanese may decide to take revenge on the country that supplied the cluster bombs. And the American public will ask in astonishment why anyone should hate us.
Update 2:

8/27: Billmon has a post that points out, once again, the tremendous hypocrisy of the U.S. on this issue.
Having the U.S. government investigate Israel's use of cluster bombs is like having the Unibomber investigate the London subway bombings.

Off the Radar Screen

America has ADHD and is off her drugs. We have aided and abetted the catastrophe that is the mid East, particularly Iraq and Lebanon, we have promised to rebuild Iraq, and pledged a paltry $280 million to Lebanon. But we immediately switch our focus to a psychopathic pedophile and never follow through with what is really important. (Unless its sending cluster bombs to Israel)

And the children? They are off the radar screen. Almost:
In the corner of my eye I see what appears to be a boy, about 10. I turn and give him my full attention.

He's in a fighting stance with his left foot forward, while his eyes are locked onto me. What I find strange is that his face shows no emotion, no anger, no fear — nothing but intense focus. A glance down at his right hand and I quickly understand why I am the object of his resolve.

In his hand is a rock the size of a cue ball. He is simply waiting for the signal to hurl it, with all his force, at my head.

I can't imagine an American child confronting a tank. I hope they never have the opportunity. As for the children of the middle East, those that survive, I admire them.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Out of the mouths of babes

"You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows.."

Polling Data

Should Israel bomb the Iranian nuclear core?

Yes 63%

No 30%

(Odds that it will happen before November 7? 100:1)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Killer of JonBenet Ramsey Confesses!

And see if you can figure out what is strange about this blurb:
John Mark Karr, 41, will be taken within the week to Colorado, where he will face charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault, Ann Hurst of the Department of Homeland Security told a news conference in Bangkok.
That's right, Department of Homeland Security!! What in the hell are we wasting Homeland Security resources on a poor girl who's been dead for 10 years. (And one whose parents dressed her about as close to child porn as you can get.)

Paris Hilton makes a recording!

Also famous for internet porn.


Oh! And by the way, over 400 children lie dead beneath the ruins of Lebanon.

Mr. and Mrs. America: "Go away, we can't be bothered."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Right here in River City

It has now vanished from the news, like Andy Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame. But, I'm afraid, the story and fate of Douglas Giles still bothers me. It should bother you too.

To recap: Douglas Giles was an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Established in 1945 as Thomas Jefferson College and then renamed Roosevelt College after Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the college was:
...determined to make higher education available to all students who could qualify academically. Considerations of social or economic class, racial or ethnic origin, sex, or age were, and remain, irrelevant in determining who is admitted. (emphasis added)
In the spring of 2005, Dr. Giles was teaching a class in World Religions and he allowed a student discussion of Zionism. Mind you, he did not take a part but attempted to make the discussion fair and equitable:
Giles says that in response to the Zionism question, "I explained the religious dimensions of the belief of many Jews that God has promised the land of Israel to them and will eventually lead them back to the land. I explained that both Jews and Muslims consider Jerusalem a holy city and thus religious belief is a huge factor in the current conflict over Israel. I also explained that the charge that Zionism is racism was anti-Israeli political speech and that there is nothing in Zionism itself that is racist. The class responded very positively and there was discussion about the beliefs about the land of both Jews and Muslims."(Email from Douglas Giles, May 9, 2006)
Seems pretty much what one would want an academic institution to do, foster discussion of an important topic. But, sorry, not in the religio-correct world of George Bush.

Giles included a question on his final exam about the topic. A student didn't like his grade and complained to the chairman of Giles' department. The situation was reviewed and:
Weininger (the Chair) told Giles not to allow any discussions in his class critical of Judaism that might be "disrespectful to any Jews in the class." According to Giles, Weininger said: "I hear you even allowed a Muslim to speak in class."
In my world, that question by a Department Chairman should have been referred to the Dean who should, if she persisted in her attitude, have fired her on the spot. But this is not my world. The plot thickens:
Giles says he responded, "Yes, of course, I allowed all students to speak, regardless of their religion!" And Weininger reportedly replied: "You shouldn't! What disturbs me is that you act like the Palestinians have a side in this. They don't have a side! They are ANIMALS! They strap bombs to their bodies and blow up women and children! They are NOT CIVILIZED!"(Email Douglas Giles, May 15, 2006, his transcript of September 20, 2005 conversation.)
May I remind you that over a thousand innocent civilians have recently been massacred in Lebanon by the Israelis, 40% of them children. Just who is civilized?

It seems that the "all people are equal" clause of our Constitution is now inoperative in Bush World. One has to append the clause "some people (Israel) are more equal than others." In any case, the academic politics worsened (and believe me, academic politics can be brutal, I know from personal experience). Eventually Giles was "permanently not rehired."

Professor Giles was ultimately fired because he allowed a discussion of Israel and the Palestinian people in his class. In this case, and the root cause of the trouble, is that religion and politics intersect in this discussion. He was fired because he pursued a course that would allow students to criticize Israel, as they have every right to do. He was fired by someone who called a group of people "uncivilized" and "animals."

Professor Giles will survive. What is in danger of expiring is the very basis of our Constitution, "that all people are created equal."

And why? Because a very small group of people (2-3 million) in the United States are very wealthy. Because they are wealthy they exert inordinate control over our political system (which says something about the current practice of buying votes with campaign contributions). This control translates into demanding from everyone in America unwavering support for a foreign country, Israel. Part of this program is to deny the citizens of America their right to debate this support. Let me remind you that most of us (ironically, less proportionately those wealthy people) pay taxes and this revenue buys weapons for Israel including F-16's and the bombs they carry over Lebanon.

This is an issue that cannot be dismissed. It is either resolved in favor of our Constitution, or we might as well go back to swearing allegiance to George III.

(There is further irony. The religious right, those Ralph Reed clones out there, support Israel to the hilt. What, you might say? Isn't this contradictory? Of course not. They support Israel because they see the conflict in the MidEast as bringing on the Apocalypse. Never mind that Israel and its inhabitants will be destroyed in that event. As long as they get their goodies. And George Bush probably buys into this. The crazies are with us forever.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Nice to know you're cheap

Listen up, young man:
"The Israelis told us it would be a cheap war with many benefits," a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. "Why oppose it? We'll be able to hunt down and bomb missiles, tunnels, and bunkers from the air. It would be a demo for Iran."
And, of course, terrorize the hell out of the ordinary citizens of Lebanon.

Bonus: Kill a lot of kids.

(And, now that you asked, yes, the electricity is going off in 2 hours because they're out of fuel and yes, he IS on a ventilator. But, he's Lebanese. One of THEM. Definitely would grow up to be a terrorist. See how we look after you?)

Saturday, August 12, 2006


I hold George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and all of this current administration personally responsible for the death, destruction and carnage that has been visited on the innocent people of Lebanon. They should be tried for War Crimes. And, because I am an American citizen, I share in that responsibility. I would include Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his government and military, especially, the Israeli Air Force, in this condemnation but, at this point, I do not consider them human beings. They have forfeited their right to be included in humanity. They are some species of barbarian with an ethos I find almost totally repugnant since it strikes at the heart of what I feel is important, the equality of all.

The invasion of Lebanon and the almost total destruction of its vital infrastructure (including a power plant near Tyre that supplies the local hospital) is so far beyond the bounds of decency that one wonders if Israel will ever be accepted amongst nations again. I predict that Israel will become a pariah and that, if the people of America can change administrations, cast off from its rapacious dependency on our Treasury. This will be in spite of the clamor from the Israeli lobby that this is anti-Semitic. Let me once again refresh their memory. Lebanon is a land of Semites. Ironic if not tragic.

Let Israel become a Bantustan. Do not starve it or deny it the basic comforts, things they did not do for the Lebanese. But, it will never flourish after this.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Crab Blogging

In memory of the Children of Lebanon

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

While our dignity slept

These are all Lebanese children. I will include pictures of Israeli children if someone can point me to a URL.

You see, they aren't really human children, they're cockroaches. And the Lebanese themselves:
When describing the Lebanese position, Gillerman (Israeli rep to U.N., DrC) was somewhat less enthused, insinuating that Beirut's diplomacy was puerile: "Lebanon stands by the same position it has maintained thus far, a position that makes many demands that might even be called crybaby ?"
I thought Israel was in a "never forget" mode. But no, they are immune to any human suffering that doesn't involve their own.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Important Message

To: The Parents of the World

From: The Children of the World

Message: You are destroying our future. Please Stop.