Here is our defense secretary’s political periphrasis (what the french call wooden language) for “we are losing the war in Afghanistan:”
1. Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “My personal opinion is that, in terms of reconciliation with the larger groups, it’s probably early yet—or the more senior levels, that the shift of momentum is not yet strong enough to convince the Taliban leaders that they are in fact going to lose. And it’s when they begin to have doubts about whether they can be successful that they may be willing to make a deal, and I don’t think we’re there yet.”
2. An island in the Bay of Bengal just disappeared under the rising waters. Ironically, while uninhabited, it was the cause of major dispute between Indian and Bangladesh. No more, mother nature fixed the problem the way my mother used to: “if you can’t agree to share the toy, I’ll take it away.”
Island in Bay of Bengal Disappears Under Rising Sea
A tiny island in the Bay of Bengal has disappeared underneath rising sea levels. The uninhabited island had been the source of dispute between India and Bangladesh for nearly three decades. Sugata Hazra, an oceanographer at the School of Oceanographic Studies in Calcutta, said, “What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming.”
India-Bangladesh dispute is moot after island sinks
Climate change appears to have resolved a dispute that gunboats never could: An island midway between India and Bangladesh that became a flash point for military threats in the 1980s is submerged under the rising seas.
By Mark Magnier
Los Angeles Times
Scientists had warned of an alarming rise in temperatures in the Bay of Bengal due to climate change that could inundate coastal islands. An island in the Bay of Bengal that has been the subject of dispute between India and Bangladesh has ceased to exist, thanks to rising seas.
The Bay of Bengal island, which India called New Moore Island and Bangladesh referred to as South Talpatti, has ceased to exist, the Jadavpur University’s School of Oceanographic Studies said this week.
3. Back to the first story. More irony: We’re now fighting and trying (unsuccessfully) to buy off a Taliban warlord whom the US subsidized and supported back in the day when the Soviets were there. The morality play is over, it has been shown to be a farce when we constantly find enemies in our former friends. We used to give Saddam money and weapons to fight Iran (and we gave Iran money and weapons to fight Iraq too); then we declared him evil.
So I guess people (dictators and tyrants, that is) are “good” when we fund them, and “bad” when we try to kill them. A bit arbitrary?
Nonsequitur: Similarly, it seems lately that democracy is good when it works out for the US, bad when the “wrong” guys win. For example, Hugo Chavez was elected democratically under elections pronounced legitimate by int’l scrutinizers; but the US still subsidized a coup there (it failed though). And repeat for Honduras (though the coup there worked – against democracy). We want elections in the Gaza strip? Sure, as long as Hamas doesn’t win. But Hamas did win, and the elections were announced fair: um, never mind. The Palestinians must be “flawed” for having elected the “wrong” party. So the US subsidized a month-long massacre of the Palestinians (last January), in the hopes that Hamas will get destabilized and new “democratic” elections can be held, only with a different outcome: the win of the American puppet.
4. And finally, tremendously sad irony: Israel seems to be calling everyone’s bluff today. The Israeli right, which currently occupies the government under the Netanyahu administration, knows it has a get out of jail free card from the US. The US administration has been sending it this signal for several days now, first with Biden’s visit (US-Israeli ties are “unshakeable”) then with Clinton (…”rock solid”…). Israel knows full well then that there is not threat of any sanction, and that whatever gets said nothing will get done, like the parent who loudly chastises the smirking child in the other spouse’s presence only to slip him keys to the car once they’re outside.
The situation: Israel wants to occupy Palestinian land. We know it’s Palestinian land because the highest international court, the International Court of Justice, has said so. And repeatedly says “Israel must stop building.” But what it doesn’t say is: “or else.” This is because the US is all “rock solid” with Israel. And this is because there are a bunch of rich people who identify with or sympathize with Israeli Zionists. This means that if you want to stay elected, you have to show the love for Israel. So the Obama admin is showin’ the love day-in day-out.
The Israeli right knows this. And exploits it, even to the embarrassment of the US. Timed precisely with Biden’s visit to Israel last week: “Israel hereby announces another plan to build on occupied Palestinian land, fuck the UN.” Timed precisely with Netanyahu’s visit to White House today: “Israel hereby announces yet another plan to build on occupied Palestinian land, fuck the UN.” And in the background we can hear the echoes of powerless frustration of the UN president Ban Ki-Moon, effectively neutered by the US (which has ultimate veto power): “Once again, in the strongest language, the UN denounces the Israeli building on occupied territory, which is explicitly banned under the Geneva Accords which were invented in the wake of WWII precisely in the interests of stateless peoples like the Jews then were, but which I am powerless to enforce because of US hypocrisy” (my paraphrase).
Factoid: The phosphorous bombs dropped on Palestinian civilians last January all came from the US and were purchased with US tax-payer dollars.
Factoid II: Israel gets more foreign aid from the US than anyone: 3 billion dollars, plus tons more in military equipment.
Conclusion of these factoids: US taxpayers are directly subsidizing the massacres of civilians, plus the collective punishment of an entire people, men women children alike.
Implication: US taxpayers have a direct moral responsibility to inform themselves about this political situations in which their dollars help kill people, decide where they stand, and take action if they are unhappy with the status quo.
On current situation in Israel: