Within the first year of the war, news of atrocities by U.S. forces—the torching of villages, the killing of prisoners—began to appear in American newspapers. Although the U.S. military censored outgoing cables, stories crossed the Pacific through the mail, which wasn’t censored.
President George W. Bush said Saturday he vetoed legislation that would ban the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods such as waterboarding to break suspected terrorists because it would end practices that have prevented attacks.
TVNL Comment: Good, Maybe someday we can use it on him and Cheney!
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel's (ACRI) report on civil rights in Israel paints a bleak picture: Increasing racism, restriction of personal freedoms and discrimination even within the Knesset walls – and that's just scratching the surface.
Published Saturday, the report reveled that Israeli youths are bombarded with stereotypic, racist imagery, and their opinions have developed accordingly: Over two-thirds Israeli teen believe Arabs to be less intelligent, uncultured and violent. Over a third of Israeli teens fear Arabs all together.
The report becomes even grimmer, citing the ACRI's racism poll, taken in March of 2007, in which 50% of Israelis taking part said they would not live in the same building as Arabs, will not befriend, or let their children befriend Arabs and would not let Arabs into their homes.
"We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them, ... we'll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years' time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart."
(Ariel (Arik) Sharon, 1973)
Samir, a 35-year-old Gazan journalist, maintains a calm tone in our daily phone calls. He usually even offers a joke at the expense of some Palestinian politician. But on Saturday he sounded agitated. "Have you all gone mad? What happened to you," he asked. "It's one thing if you only hit gunmen. But look at the pictures - they're all children, women. What is this madness? You have turned insanity into an art form."
The more vulgar apologists for US and Israeli crimes solemnly explain that, while Arabs purposely kill people, the US and Israel, being democratic societies, do not intend to do so. Their killings are just accidental ones, hence not at the level of moral depravity of their adversaries. That was, for example, the stand of Israel's High Court when it recently authorized severe collective punishment of the people of Gaza by depriving them of electricity (hence water, sewage disposal and other such basics of civilized life).
The same line of defense is common with regard to some of Washington's past peccadilloes, like the destruction in 1998 of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The attack apparently led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but without intent to kill them, hence not a crime on the order of intentional killing - so we are instructed by moralists who consistently suppress the response that had already been given to these vulgar efforts at self-justification.
To repeat once again, we can distinguish three categories of crimes: murder with intent, accidental killing, and murder with foreknowledge but without specific intent. Israeli and U.S. atrocities typically fall into the third category.
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