Sunday, December 3, 2023

Choices, Part Two

In "Choices" I said that in the case of the latest iteration of the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians, while I would certainly not celebrate the Hamas attack on October 7th, 2023, nor would I unequivocally condemn it.  It was a choice, made by a brutally oppressed people, against an opponent who ... well, as I said above, and as Caitlin Johnstone demonstrates very clearly in this post, ... is trying to commit genocide against them.

If I were going to commit a genocide, I’d make sure to kill as many women and children as possible to eliminate the future generations of the people I was trying to wipe out. Come to think of it, I guess I’d basically do what Israel is doing in Gaza.

If I were going to commit a genocide, I’d deliberately target civilians, hospitals and civilian infrastructure to make it harder and harder for the undesirable population to survive. Actually, one good example of this would be what Israel is reportedly doing in Gaza today.


If I were going to commit a genocide, I’d keep attacking the undesirable population with extreme aggression while pushing them further and further toward a foreign border, eventually forcing other nations to either take them in or keep allowing them to be slaughtered as I rain military explosives upon their continually shrinking living space

Either way I get rid of the population I was trying to get rid of, and I can repopulate the land I seized with a more desirable sort of people. In other words I’d do exactly what Israel is clearly doing, in plain view of the entire world.

Hamas wanted to attack IDF outposts.  It wanted to grab Israeli hostages to exchange for the Palestinians that the Israeli state had already taken.  Innocent people were likely to die during this operation.  The same way that innocent people are always killed in such confrontations.  If Hamas violates international laws then individuals tasked with officially making such observations are entirely justified in making their pronouncements.  But people thousands upon thousands of kilometers from the source of the conflict (or from any conflict) who want to sit in judgment of the choices made by people in truly horrific, life-or-death situations, should really learn some humility.

In situations like those, it is important to figure out who is creating the need for such choices to have to be made?  Where did Hamas come from?  How did they win power in Gaza?  Why are they still in power?  What should the Palestinians do about Israel's illegal blockade and theft and cruelty and violence and kidnappings?  Peaceful protest?  Propose an international Boycott of, Divestment from, Sanctions against Israel? Appeal to the United Nations?  Take Israel to the ICC or the ICJ? Write an editorial for Haaretz?

Do we suppose that Israel could have done anything/could do anything to try to bring an end to this nightmare?  Has Israel exhausted all options for the peaceful resolution of its conflict with Hamas/Palestine?  The answer to that is "No" because Israel continues to act in such a way as to further perpetuate the conflict.  And Israel (and the United States) have far greater power of agency in this situation then do Hamas and the Palestinians.

You know, ... the world is getting so objectionally insane that I feel this compulsion to vent about it here.  At the same time, you know, it irks me how useless genuine "activism" is that we simply get yanked from the second-most recent atrocity/event to the latest, and nothing has changed from the last topic, or the topic before that, or the topic before that.  Gotta talk about Kissinger's death.  Gotta talk about Palestine.  What were we talking about before?

Remember the NATO-Ukraine/Russia War?  The one that has devastated a country that used to have around 38 million inhabitants?  The one that has killed perhaps 500,000 Ukrainian soldiers and 15,000 civilians, plus perhaps 40-50,000 Russian soldiers.

I could go on about that nightmare, but I just want to first establish that it is COMPLETELY the fault of the United States' government.  Because it never would have happened but for the provocations of the US government.  Russia is a much stronger country than Gadaffi's Libya was.  The USA had a smaller job first weakening Libya with sanctions and then destroying it than would be the case with Russia.  Russia is militarily powerful enough that a sudden, reckless provocation could risk a very damaging response.  Russia had to be constantly poked and prodded and threatened and insulted and surrounded, and this process was going to continue until something snapped.  But by "snap" it wasn't intended that the impact would be felt by the USA.  As we have seen, despite Putin's increasingly blunt warnings to stop NATO's encirclement of Russia and to stop the arming of Ukraine with offensive weapons, the USA continued to do so until Russia eventually attacked.  But it attacked Ukraine and not NATO.

By December 2021 that was probably the goal.  The Biden administration was probably pretty sure that an attack on Ukraine was inevitable.  And that was fine because they thought that Russia was still the economic basket-case of the 1990's except for its oil revenues.  The sanctions would devasatate Russia's economy and the Ukrainian military would kill 50,000 Russian soldiers within six months and Putin's government would fall and the country would collapse.

It didn't turn out that way.  And this is a huge slap in the face for Biden and NATO.  This is a major diplomatic disaster for them.  But Biden's grip on reality is inconsistent.  He's blissfully cocooned in the notion of the super-power USA of the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's.  The weapons contractors are enjoying their profits.  The corporate propaganda system can keep telling stupid lies about plucky Ukraine and noble America and ultimate victory until (like Vietnam, like Afghanistan) it all turns to shit.

Think about how US-Americans reflect upon the Vietnam War era or the 2001-9/11 attacks.  The psychic scars they claim from those traumas.  Now think of Ukraine and FOUR-HUNDRED THOUSAND DEAD SOLDIERS.  Think of the MILLIONS of traumatized souls in the Middle East thanks to US-American and Israeli barbarism.

As with the Hamas attacks on October 7th, it was the USA that created the situation where Putin thought he had to attack or allow the slaughter of ethnic Russians in the Donbas.  This needs to be understood and it needs to be remembered. 

That's why I occasionally mention Afghanistan here from time-to-time.  That was a horrible waste of Canadian soldiers' lives and Canadian resources.  And it WASN'T money spent on a failed effort to do good.  It was doomed to failure because it was orchestrated by deluded shit-heads with mercenary motives.  And we should remember that.  And we should think about how the Canadian state was capable of finding these resources to waste on propping up a narco-terrorist state while crying poor about paying for healthcare or improving living conditions in First Nations' communities or any other worthy cause that goes begging.

And we should reflect on just why it is that we on the Left seem incapable of nothing more than being outraged at the latest horrors while having been completely incapable of stopping the previous ones.  There is a criminal failure on our part to build the institutions to develop the strategies and utilize the tactics that could even slow the psychopathic, delusional monsters we're up against.

Just some random observations:  A while ago I watched a documentary called "Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country."  It was the first decade of the 21st Century and hand-held cameras were something new.  Individuals used their cameras to counter their government's censorship and lies.  Rising fuel prices, massive government corruption on the part of the military dictatorship compelled the nation's Buddhist monks to protest.  (It was thought that the dictatorship would be reluctant to brutally attack monks.)  The dictatorship lied and said the protests were violent and unleashed hell on them and then the rest of the population.  The video journalists got their films out of the country and they thought that once the world saw what was happening there would be an intervention.  But it never came.  At one point I remember a Burmese activist asking plaintively how the world could allow this to happen.  I got the impression that living in a dictatorship closed-off from knowledge about the outside world believed that there were powerful democracies with governments that tried to help people like his when they were in trouble.

Of course, the world is run by psychopathic oligarchs, most of whom rule over pseudo-democracies where the popular will counts for shit.  Just as the Palestinians have been abused in plain sight for DECADES, so too, everything happens at the insane whims of scumbags and shitheads and the Left protests for a week or so, or we hang flags in our windows, or whatever the fuck, and nothing ever changes.

In World War Two, British terror bombing was, allegedly, supposed to break German civilian morale, and perhaps cause the German people rise up against the government that was continuing the war and, hence, their suffering.  But even if the Germans decided to attack their own government in wartime, ... Nazi Germany was a violent police-state.  The police, the SS, the military, would have smashed them.  There is very little that disorganized civilians can do against organized militaries.  It was the same  genuine delusion behind Churchill's order to Hugh Dalton when he was put at the head of the Special Operations Executive to "set Europe ablaze" through networks of spies and saboteurs and resistance fighters.

Nothing came of it because it's hard to take-down a military dictatorship.  I mean, Jesus Christ!  We can't even get our dreamy prime minister to stop supporting Israeli genocide of the Palestinians!  And we're a supposed democracy!  

Finally, ... are Ukrainians united in the desire to defend their country against the unprovoked invasion of Putin's Russia?  They weren't united in their government's desire to re-take the Donbas provinces that were majority-Russian and didn't want to live under a racist, anti-Russian, Ukrainian-nazi government.  The millions of Ukrainians who fled, including military-age males (for some reason our media doesn't report on this the same way they did about Russian males fleeing conscription) don't seem to be.  Look at this video from The Grayzone:

Those guys don't look very pumped.  You'll notice they're also fairly old, most of them, to be soldiers.  Aaron Mate one of the calmest, most moral commentators I know.  I don't think he's usually the sort of guy to laugh at human suffering.  I just think that the hideous absurdity of it overwhelmed him.

But how do are Ukrainian conscripts supposed to resist being turned into cannon-fodder?  Once the guys with the guns come for you, how do you get out of it?  When they've brought you to the front, how do you escape to avoid the artillery shells?  Think about it!  You'll eventually discover that you really can't.  And that's what happened to 400,000 Ukrainian soldiers, because of shit-heads like Biden and Blinken and Nuland.


Purple library guy said...

I did hear that Ukraine is having a terrible time with recruitment. Aside from people simply making themselves scarce, apparently what happens is that people who get recruited at some point go back to their town, find the recruiters and take revenge, and so the recruiters have gotten timid. Ukraine is hiring some international private headhunting firm so they can have recruiters that the recruitees don't know where they live.

thwap said...

Purple library guy,

I haven't heard that. But then, I haven't looked too hard. I'll follow that lead.

One random factoid I remember was that people volunteered for local defense militias because they were lied to and told that that (ie., defending the western part of Ukraine) would exempt them from service at the front.

As jaded as I am, the level of brazen propaganda for this war has astounded me.