There’s no past in Washington. There is no sense that actions taken today will exist past today, even though in reality they often echo for decades.
A video making the rounds online shows a fighter from a Kurdish group known as Kurdish Workers Party, or, more commonly, the PKK. Using what appears to be a Russian model shoulder fired portable air-to-air missile, the fighter is shooting down a Turkish military, American-made Cobra attack helicopter.
The attack helo is made by the United States and supplied to NATO ally Turkey.
Today is Nakba Day, the day set aside to remember the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian Arabs in 1948 in connection with the creation of the “Jewish State” of Israel. Over 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and villages, and many massacred, in an ethnic-cleansing operation that should shock the conscience. Hundreds of villages were erased and replaced by Jewish towns. The Arabs who remained in the Israeli state that was imposed on them by the UN and Zionist military forces have been second-class citizens, at best, from that time.
Since 1967 the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many of whom were refugees from the 1948 catastrophe, have lived under the boot of the Israeli government. Their day-to-day lives are under the arbitrary control of the Israeli government. Gaza is an open-air blockaded prison camp subject to periodic military onslaughts (the latest was last year), while the West Bank is relentlessly gobbled up by Jewish-only settlements and violated by a wall that surrounds Palestinian towns and cuts people’s homes off from their farms. For the Israeli ruling elite, the so-called peace process is a sham. Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now embarking on an unprecedented fourth term as prime minister, rejects any realistic plan to let the Palestinians go – that is, have their own country on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He insists that they must recognize Israel as the Jewish state, that is, as the state of Jews everywhere, even though it sits largely on stolen property (PDF) – which raises an interesting question: Is subjugation of the Palestinians an instantiation of Jewish values or is it not? If it is (as apparently most of its supporters believe), then what does that say for Jewish values? If it is not, then what does that say for Israel’s purported status as the Jewish State?
What would you do if armed men burst into your home in the middle of the night and screamed, "Leave or be killed?" For the over 800,000 Palestinians uprooted during the 1948 Palestine war, survival-and the threat of death-forced them into bitter exile.
Every year on May 15, Palestinians commemorate the "Nakba" or catastrophe. Scattered worldwide, in Israel, as well as in refugee camps in Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, Palestinians remember and mourn their forced displacement from their homes and lands in Palestine-while Israelis celebrate their 1948 conquest of Palestine as a "War of Independence."
In 1947, the Palestinians were the majority population and the major landowners. British mandate Palestine was populated by an estimated 1.3 million Muslim and Christian Palestinian Arabs and 640,000 Jews. The Palestinians owned 94% of the land and the Jews 6%. Nonetheless, the United Nations General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947 to recommend partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.
With the ongoing larger US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and elsewhere, it can easily become the "new normal" that US troops are also fighting in (relatively) small numbers in places we just do not hear about, in wars the media does not question, in bloody conflicts that Congress does not bother to debate much less authorize. Once it was news when US troops were fighting overseas. But now the total US militarization of the rest of the world is so non-controversial that the average American doesn’t even seem fazed about it.
For example, most Americans either had not heard or had not stopped to scratch their heads upon hearing that US Special Forces in Somalia ordered airstrikes yesterday while operating alongside Ugandan forces who were battling Al-Shabaab militants. Why is the US backing up the Ugandans? Why are the Ugandans in Somalia in the first place? Is Al-Shabaab such a clear and present threat to the United States that the president was forced to send US troops there without notifying Congress? No one asks these questions (aside from us, of course). The US has been using drones to strike at Al-Shabaab, a small group with no international ambitions, for a number of years, but that too is seldom reported in the media. It’s just normal that US troops are on the ground in Somalia. After all, they are only "advisors" – until they call in airstrikes, that is.
“Why has the world’s mightiest military achieved so little even while absorbing very considerable losses and inflicting even greater damage on the subjects of America’s supposed beneficence?” This is the question asked by Professor Andrew Bacevich, a retired US Army colonel, in a must-read recent article. It is an excellent question that no one in the mainstream dares ask. But this is critical when considering our interventionist foreign policy: why are the constant wars not working? Why has 30 years of constant US warfare in the greater Middle East produced less peace, less harmony, less democracy, and less economic development than before we started? If war is so critical to peace and prosperity in the world, why has constant war produced less of it? The neocons would say that we simply have not waged enough of it. But that’s like going to a doctor after a bad reaction to medicine and having him tell you to double up. In today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report we are delighted to have Professor Bacevich, author of the excellent new book, America’s War For The Greater Middle East, join us to trace the history of our failed foreign policy and plot a new course.
For the third time in seven months, the US has sent a warship to challenge China in territorial waters it claims in the South China Sea. The US claims its purpose is to keep shipping lanes open, while China arguably benefits as much as anyone from trade going in and out of the region. Similar to US military operations off the Baltic coast, this latest clash in the South China Sea resulted in military jets being dispatched to send a message. With its interventionist policies toward both Russia and China, is the US opening itself up to the unintended consequences of pushing Russia and China closer together in opposition to the US empire? Can the countries in the region not better solve these disputes without US involvement?