Thursday, September 17, 2009

In the News 9/17/2009

Sorry I couldn’t make rounds yesterday.  I was away for hours helping with a therapy group.  I’ll try to do better today.  I’m guessing that there will be lots of discussion on blogs about the Baucus Health Care Bill.  From everything I have heard, it’s worse that nothing, but I need more time and details to analyze it in depth, so I’ll cover it another day.

Israel has rejected a call from the UN Human Rights Council for a probe into war crimes committed during Israel’s last incursion into Gaza.

Israel on Wednesday rejected a U.N. panel's call to open an independent inquiry into its wartime conduct in the Gaza Strip and launched a diplomatic campaign to thwart any prosecution of its soldiers in an international tribunal.

Officials said President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other senior ministers were telephoning counterparts abroad in an effort to discredit a harshly critical report by the fact-finding panel. The report concluded that both sides committed war crimes during an Israeli offensive last winter that took aim at rocket-firing militants in the Palestinian enclave but also left hundreds of civilians dead...

Inserted from <Washington Post>

The evidence shows that both sides committed war crimes.  Richard Goldstone led the UN team that investigated the conflict.  The following is an excerpt from his op-ed on the subject.

Israel war crimes gaza ...In the fighting in Gaza, all sides flouted that fundamental principle. Many civilians unnecessarily died and even more were seriously hurt. In Israel, three civilians were killed and hundreds wounded by rockets from Gaza fired by Hamas and other groups. Two Palestinian girls also lost their lives when these rockets misfired.

In Gaza, hundreds of civilians died. They died from disproportionate attacks on legitimate military targets and from attacks on hospitals and other civilian structures. They died from precision weapons like missiles from aerial drones as well as from heavy artillery. Repeatedly, the Israel Defense Forces failed to adequately distinguish between combatants and civilians, as the laws of war strictly require.

Israel is correct that identifying combatants in a heavily populated area is difficult, and that Hamas fighters at times mixed and mingled with civilians. But that reality did not lift Israel’s obligation to take all feasible measures to minimize harm to civilians.

Our fact-finding team found that in many cases Israel could have done much more to spare civilians without sacrificing its stated and legitimate military aims. It should have refrained from attacking clearly civilian buildings, and from actions that might have resulted in a military advantage but at the cost of too many civilian lives. In these cases, Israel must investigate, and Hamas is obliged to do the same. They must examine what happened and appropriately punish any soldier or commander found to have violated the law…

Inserted from <NY Times>

I remember seeing on the news, at the time that Israel was using white phosphorous munitions in civilian areas.  Perhaps one of our Vietnam Vet readers can comment on just how horrific WP would be if used against civilians.  But I disagree on one point.  Punishing the soldier misses the point unless those responsible for the orders to commit these crimes are not included.

On the wing-nut front, the birther lawsuit against Obama’s election is no more.

Fox_News_Nazi Whenever the sentiment of Fox Nation seems to go their way, Fox Nation puts up a thread titled "Another Fox Nation Victory." The resignation of Van Jones was their most recent triumph. They were, however, dealt a defeat with the US Senate Confirmation of Cass Sunstein and now a "birther" suit has been thrown out of court. Not only has US District Court Judge Clay Land thrown out a birther suit brought by US Army Captain, Connie Rhodes, who fought deployment to Iraq based on Obama's illegitimacy as president; but the judge told Rhodes' attorney, Orly Taitz, that she could face serious sanctions if she files another "frivolous" lawsuit in his court. When I last checked Fox Nation, which looks kindly on the birther movement, this wasn't one of the topics. Fox Nation can't win them all! What a shame.

Inserted from <News Hounds>

Does anyone think this will stop their bogus claims, especially the GOP Reichsministry of Propaganda?

On the Obama got this one right front, there will  be no star wars in Eastern Europe.

missile-shield The White House will shelve U.S. plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, a move likely to ease tensions with Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The decision will be based on a U.S. "determination that Iran's long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals," the paper said.

It said the findings were expected to be completed as early as next week following a 60-day review ordered by President Barack Obama. The paper cited unnamed current and former U.S. officials for the report.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is visiting Baghdad, declined to comment when asked about the report.

The Bush administration had pushed for the defense shield to defend against what it said was the possibility of Iran developing nuclear warheads to put on its long-range missiles.

Washington insisted the plan was not directed against Russia, which said the system was a threat to its own missiles.

Iran denies Western charges that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and says its missiles are for defense...

Inserted from <Reuters>

In my opinion the only  reason Bush and the GOP planned this at all was to rattle the saber against Russia.  What other point could there be to installing a system that doesn’t work.  If failed most tests even when the exact times and trajectories of the target missiles were known in advance.

That’s it for today.  What would you like to talk about?


Randal Graves said...

Oh great, no missile defense in Europe. Don't you remember Red Dawn when the commies were able to overrun us with ease? I don't know who is licking their chops more, the ex-KGB kung fu master, or the modern-day Hitler!

TomCat said...

LOL, Randal!!