Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for December 27th, 2008

The Attack On Gaza

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 27, 2008

Bare hours after lifting the food and media blackout just long enough to get some nice pictures of 90-some trucks of token food supplies rolling into Gaza — a mere drop in the bucket for the area’s needs — the Israeli government has now launched a brutal attack on, and invasion of, Gaza:

Well, so much for peace. Looks like Siun was right, and the deliveries yesterday were just a pathetic public relations ploy. Israel managed to assassinate the police chief, governor, and security chief. A first strike bombing like this can do a fair bit of damage, as it did, but Hamas will now disperse its people and assets, and future bombings will be less effective. Hamas missile counterattacks killed, oh, one person.

Air power, in the end, doesn’t do squat in a war like this. The leaders killed will be replaced, and not by moderates. The missile attacks (which are scary but essentially ineffective) will continue. Gazans will hate Israelis even more. To get anything “meaningful” accomplished Israel has to invade on foot—they have to search for the missiles and the missile production centers.

When they do, they put themselves at risk. Hamas has destroyed Israeli tanks in the past, and has spent the last couple years building up a small military force modeled on Hezbollah. If they can adopt Hezbollah’s open terrain tactics to city fighting they could inflict some reasonable damage. Because of the small size of Gaza, it’s unlikely that they can win tactically, but politically, the goal is just to show Israel that they can’t take Hamas out using military force and that they can’t slap Hamas around without taking enough casualties to notice.

This is the lesson Israel was taught by Hezbollah during their invasion—that their issues with Hezbollah cannot be solved with military force (which is why, in the end, the Israelis made the prisoner exchange they said they fought the war to avoid.)

But of course this is what opinion polls — of opinions driven by the hard-right Likud/Kadima neocons running the Jerusalem Post and other papers — show the Israelis want.   They apparently think that their main mistake last time around was simply not butchering enough people.  Just like a lot of our right-wingers think our main mistake in Vietnam was in not using nukes.

Charles adds: Fisk on the Gaza campaign. In eight years, 20 Israelis have been killed by Hamas’s rockets:

Yes, let’s remember Hamas’s cynicism, the cynicism of all armed Islamist groups. Their need for Muslim martyrs is as crucial to them as Israel’s need to create them. The lesson Israel thinks it is teaching – come to heel or we will crush you – is not the lesson Hamas is learning. Hamas needs violence to emphasise the oppression of the Palestinians – and relies on Israel to provide it. A few rockets into Israel and Israel obliges.

Posted in colonial wars, Gaza, israel | 14 Comments »

Mexico, December 27 2008/updated

Posted by Charles II on December 27, 2008

Update: In a report on the violence raging in Mexico, John Gibler reports that three out of four police officers use torture as the principal means of interrogation. Gibler says that community organizers, rather than those committing violence, are the targets of military attacks. This is not surprising, since the drug cartels own much of the government. Meanwhile $1.4 billion dollars in US “anti-drug” aid, misdirected as it is is into political repression, is fuel on the fire. Gibler has a new book out, titled Mexico Unconquered.

David Bacon has an article very much worth reading, with some very fine photos:

About 30 million Mexicans survive on less than 30 pesos per day – not quite $3. The minimum wage is 45 pesos per day. The Mexican federal government estimates that 37.7 percent of its 106 million citizens – 40 million people – live in poverty. Some 25 million, or 23.6 percent, live in extreme poverty. In rural Mexico, more than 10 million people have a daily income of less than 12 pesos – a little more than one American dollar.

It’s no accident the state of Oaxaca is one of the main starting points for the current stream of Mexican migrants coming to the United States. Extreme poverty encompasses 75 percent of its 3.4 million residents, according to EDUCA, a Mexican education and development organization….

“Migration is a necessity, not a choice,” explained Romualdo Juan Gutierrez Cortez, a teacher in Santiago Juxtlahuaca, in Oaxaca’s rural Mixteca region.

Posted in Mexico | Comments Off on Mexico, December 27 2008/updated

Pro-Aristide demonstrations may herald change in Haiti

Posted by Charles II on December 27, 2008

On Flashpoints, Brian Concannon reports that there were significant demonstrations in Haiti. The departure of Bush could open the way for Lavalas leader and former President Aristide’s return.

Meanwhile, there is a little good news: AIDS has declined thanks to prevention programs. However, there is widespread starvation because the hurricanes devastated crops. With regard to repression of political dissenters, Ronald Dauphin has been held in prison for four years. The government refuses to dismiss the case against former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune despite a court order to do so. This prevents him from running for political office. Prisons are so crowded that people have to sleep in shifts. Prisoners–90% of whom have never been convicted of anything–are getting diseases like TB and beriberi.

Possibly the Obama administration will not be as hostile to Lavalas as the Bush Administration.

Posted in Haiti | Comments Off on Pro-Aristide demonstrations may herald change in Haiti

The health care spiral of death

Posted by Charles II on December 27, 2008

Via Avedon via Cab Drollery, The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein:

States from Rhode Island to California are being forced to curtail Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor, as they struggle to cope with the deteriorating economy….

Already, 19 states — including Maryland and Virginia — and the District of Columbia have lowered payments to hospitals and nursing homes, eliminated coverage for some treatments, and forced some recipients out of the insurance program completely….

The Democrats, who hold majorities in the House and the Senate, are sounding sympathetic for now. They are considering close to $100 billion to increase the share of Medicaid’s costs that the federal government would pay during the next two years.

In South Carolina, come March, they’re going to dump people off hospice.

Posted in abuse of power, health care | Comments Off on The health care spiral of death

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