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A Rock And A Very Hard Place

-by Patrick Toomey

This must-read Chris Hedges piece crystallizes the dilemma that any informed person of humane instincts must face in looking at the 2024 election. These three opening paragraphs make it clear that the donkey is sliding down a dangerous moral precipice as it openly aligns itself with stated Likud policy:

Israel, with the backing of its U.S. and European allies, is preparing to launch not only a scorched earth campaign in Gaza but the worst ethnic cleansing since the wars in the former Yugoslavia. The goal is to drive tens, most probably hundreds of thousands of Palestinians over the southern border at Rafah into refugee camps in Egypt. The reverberations will be catastrophic, not only for the Palestinians, but throughout the region, almost certainly triggering armed clashes to the north of Israel with Hezbollah in Lebanon and perhaps with Syria and Iran.
The Biden administration, slavishly doing Israel’s bidding, is fueling the madness. The U.S. was the only country to veto the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for humanitarian pauses to deliver food, medicine, water and fuel to Gaza. It has blocked proposals for a ceasefire. It has proposed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that says Israel has a right to defend itself. The resolution also demands Iran stop exporting arms to "militias and terrorist groups threatening peace and security across the region."
The U.S. and its Western allies are as morally bankrupt and as complicit in genocide as those who witnessed the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews and did nothing.

I’d like to think that Hedges is engaging in hyperbole. After watching Anthony Blinken on Face the Nation on Sunday morning, it appears to me, sadly, that Hedges is not doing so.

QUESTION: Have you asked the Israeli Government to delay in order to give you more time to broker the release of these hostages?

SECRETARY BLINKEN: First, step back for a second because it’s important to remember what happened— it’s incredible how quickly that gets lost— because it was only a couple of weeks ago that Hamas invaded Israel with its terrorist fighters and slaughtered— and I use that word very deliberately— slaughtered so many people.


SECRETARY BLINKEN: Again, men, women, young children, babies, old people, you name it. And they continue to rain rockets down on Israel. When I was there a few days ago, we were in the— we had to take shelter a couple of times because of incoming rockets from Hamas.

QUESTION: Understood.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: So my point is this: No country— no country— can be expected to tolerate this, to live with this. And as we’ve said from the start, Israel has both the right and even the obligation not only to defend itself but to try to make sure that, to the best of its ability, this can’t happen again.

So we’ve talked to the Israelis about what they’re planning. We give them our best advice. It’s important, as we’ve said, not only what they do but how they do it, particularly when it comes to making sure that civilians are as protected as they possibly can be in this crossfire of Hamas’s making.

But in terms of what we’re talking to Israel about in their– with regard to their military operations, it really is focused on both how they do it and how best to achieve the results that they seek. (Emphasis added)

The overall tenor of these comments— most notably the closing sentence— could not be more clear. In diplomat-speak, the U.S. Secretary of State, on national TV, gave Bibi Netanyahu a blank check to conduct an invasion of Gaza as he and the IDF see fit. Our leading diplomat openly and unabashedly put the full faith and credit of our government behind a campaign of de facto ethnic cleansing.

At present, our political system appears to be bound and determined to give us the same sorry selections for president it gave us in 2020. In Battle of the Addled II, one party will give us a twice impeached and four times indicted fraudster who attempted to incite insurrection. The other party will give us a career-long mediocrity who, in 2002, helped greenlight the invasion of Iraq as Senate Foreign Relations Chair and whose administration is openly greenlighting the invasion of Gaza now.

I gave up on the prospect of presidential third party candidates after my experiences as one of the Nader 95,000 in Florida in 2000. Even if I were inclined in that direction, RFK Jr. is not worthy of discussion. Cornel West co-authored a WSJ op-ed piece that supported DeSantis’ educational policies, and West recently proudly accepted a maximum donation from Harlan Crow.

I happily cast my first presidential vote for Carter in 1976. By 1980, I voted for John Anderson (after volunteering for Ted Kennedy in the Democratic primaries). I recall being depressed by the two major party nominees then. In hindsight, I should have steeled myself for many upcoming negative future choices. This looming “choice” may prove to be the worst one I will face in 12 presidential elections.

In closing, the other equally disturbing aspect to this voluntarily chosen moral and policy failure is the repeated reference to the U.S. response to 9/11 as offering some sort of policy template for Israel now. Our military forces invaded one country that had something to do with 9/11 and another country that our government knew had nothing to with 9/11. Those twin invasions squandered trillions of dollars, led to countless deaths and untold destruction, and ended in abject failure. Any policymaker who views those invasions with anything other than revulsion and regret should not be in a position of authority.

Thirteen progressive Democrats have brought a resolution calling for a cease-fire in this conflict. While this effort is praise-worthy, it will accomplish little. The party’s left is essentially powerless to stop the imperatives of the national security state, even when the donkey holds the presidency.

Our electoral system is in a very bad place now.

5 Kommentare

25. Okt. 2023

"The U.S. and its Western allies are as morally bankrupt and as complicit in genocide as those who witnessed the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews and did nothing."

Actually, the US and its allies were morally bankrupt then too. They all went out of their way to deny entry visas to thousands of jews fleeing the reich; and they only admitted that the holocaust happened AFTER they finally won the war and liberated the few survivors.

It's an interesting and depressing part of our history, in case you want to learn something.

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25. Okt. 2023

Mr. Toomey with a fine offering and even better augmentation.

So... what to do? SOS? keep voting for (in this case) even worser than hapless worthless feckless corrupt neoliberal fascist pussy democraps and fucking hope their god magically steers them back to 1933? Talk about burning good money after bad!!!

Or do you look for something and someone else? Yeah, I get that the system has been so caustic to "good" for 55 years that actually finding any is like panning for gold in the tapped-out American River.

You got a guarantee of a nazi reich with the former. You got a virtual guarantee if you can even find someone else because far too few are even looking for "good".

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I feel compelled to add further comment to my own post.

FDR remains a Dem icon to this day largely for 2 reasons:

1) His New Deal program at home;

2) His attempts (continued by his widow after his death) to establish a rules based international order abroad.

The donkey has spent the last 30 years, as often as not, undermining FDR’s domestic legacy with its relentless pursuit of neoliberalism. Far too many Dems (e.g. Kerry, HRC, and Biden) undermined FDR’s foreign policy legacy by supporting the Iraq War Resolution. The Biden Administration is currently further undermining that legacy by its open support of the conscious policy choice to innocent civilians on a daily basis:

I honestly don't know whether to…

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26. Okt. 2023
Antwort an

Well said. I would add that FDR was also an inspirational leader who included everyone in the tasks at hand, including the New Deal, but also WWII. All that FDR showed us, that works for problems we've once again created for ourselves, have been long forgotten.

And thank you for mentioning the efforts of Eleanor both during his admins and afterward.

I would add that the world, mostly, welcomed her, a woman (remembering this was the '30s - '60s) to have outsized influence not in any small part because she was FDR's widow, and the world revered FDR maybe even more than we did. Her work in the UN on human rights was far ahead of her time.

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