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September 18, 2009

How Very

Thanks for your views, Heather:

The United States has "serious concerns" about a U.N. investigator's report accusing Israel and Palestinians of war crimes during their Gaza war, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday.

"The United States is reviewing very carefully what is a very lengthy document," Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters...

"We have very serious concerns about many of the recommendations in the report," Rice said...

Rice said the Human Rights Council's approach to the Gaza war investigation was deeply flawed.

"We have long expressed our very serious concern with the mandate that was given by the Human Rights Council prior to our joining the council, which we viewed as unbalanced, one-side and basically unacceptable," she said.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: black women named Rice who are willing to be appalling hacks to rise to the top of the foreign policy establishment are a precious national resource. However, I thought we faced serious supply constraints. Clearly I was wrong.

Seriously though, stuff like this really does make you respect the system. It turns out white supremacy was a less important part of the machine than we'd believed, and can be jettisoned without too many problems. Or at least for now—it's possible getting rid of the most obvious white supremacy will eventually lead to angry white 9/12ers becoming so roiled up they manage to install one of their own in power, who will then accidentally destroy the system, along with much of humanity.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at September 18, 2009 12:29 PM

Please send an email to Ms Rice and let her know exactly what you think of her statements. Thanks.
or call the comment line...
Opinion & Comment line: 212-415-4062

ps I am a bit puzzled that someone in her postion NEEDS to read the whole a.k.a. lengthy report to know what happened with Operation Cast Lead.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 18, 2009 01:27 PM

Well the racism is the chief tool for anti-socialism / divide and conquer. Set the working class against each other. Make them more upset over the idea that some black person might be getting one of their tax dollars than that some rich person (of any race) might be getting a thousand.

Who is at the top of the tree never makes any difference. Do feminists go around saying women are better off than men now that the head of the first and most important branch of government is a woman? Does anyone even notice Obama is black any more?

Posted by: DavidByron at September 18, 2009 01:59 PM

"Does anyone even notice Obama is black any more?"


Don't you just hate rhetorical questions?

Posted by: Duncan at September 18, 2009 03:11 PM

Divide and Conquer is the chief tool for fascism -- the chief tool for anti socialism is the truth.

Posted by: tim at September 18, 2009 04:24 PM

From the linked Reuters report....
"Rice said the focus should be the future."
Whose future she is thinking or talking about?
From the leaked UN report, it does not seem like she is talking about the future of Gaza!

A leaked UN report has warned that Israel's continued economic blockade of Gaza and lengthy delays in delivering humanitarian aid are "devastating livelihoods" and causing gradual "de-development".

Is it like torture, one should only look forward and forget about and not worry about the past?

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 18, 2009 04:57 PM

Yes, it must be quite embarrassing for the U.S. to see Israel charged with war crimes since the U.S. backed the savage assault on Gaza and then later applauded the slaughter reiterating Israel’s right to “protect” itself. In fact to accuse Israel of war crimes is in this case the same as accusing the U.S. of war crimes. Guilty as charged.

Posted by: Rob Payne at September 18, 2009 05:50 PM

The only real war crime is failure to participate. WE learned THAT back in the 60's.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 18, 2009 06:07 PM

Mike Meyer:
I appreciate your sentiment and I think that’s largely true yet real war crimes are occurring right now and people are losing their lives. Of course you could argue that people are losing their lives because there isn’t or hasn’t been enough participation especially by the so-called anti-war organizations that have remained silent on Afghanistan.

Posted by: Rob Payne at September 18, 2009 07:25 PM

David Byron wrote: "Who is at the top of the tree never makes any difference."

I and George Orwell agree with you (see Nineteen Eighty-Four part 2, chapter 9 “Ignorance Is Strength”-- the chapter’s third from the very last paragraph:

“In principle, membership of these three groups [Inner Party, Outer Party, Proletariate] is not hereditary. The child of Inner Party parents is in theory not born into the Inner Party. Admission to either branch of the Party is by examination taken at the age of sixteen. Nor is there any racial discrimination or any marked domination of one province by another. Jews, Negroes, South Americans of pure Indian blood are to be found in the highest ranks of the Party, and the administrators of any area are always drawn from the inhabitants of that area. In no part of Oceania do the inhabitants have the feeling that they are a colonial population ruled from a distant capital. Oceania has no capital, and its titular head is a person whose whereabouts nobody knows. Except that English is its chief lingua franca and Newspeak its official language, it is not centralized in any way. Its rulers are not held together by blood-ties but by adherence to a common doctrine. It is true that our society is stratified, and very rigidly stratified, on what at first sight appear to be hereditary lines. There is far less to-and-fro movement between the different groups than happened under capitalism or even in the pre-industrial age. Between the two branches of the Party there is a certain amount of interchange but only so much as will ensure that weaklings are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious members of the Outer Party are made harmless by allowing them to rise. Proletarians, in practice, are not allowed to graduate into the Party. The most gifted among them, who might possibly become nuclei of discontent, are simply marked down by the Thought Police and eliminated. But this state of affairs is not necessarily permanent, nor is it a matter of principle. The Party is not a class in the old sense of the word. It does not aim at transmitting power to its own children, as such; and if there were no other way of keeping the ablest people at the top, it would be perfectly prepared to recruit an entire new generation from the ranks of the proletariat. In the crucial years, the fact that the Party was not a hereditary body did a great deal to neutralize opposition. The older kind of Socialist, who had been trained to fight against something called ‘class privilege’, assumed that what is not hereditary cannot be permanent. He did not see that the continuity of an oligarchy need not be physical, nor did he pause to reflect that hereditary aristocracies have always been shortlived whereas adoptive organizations such as the Catholic Church have sometimes lasted for hundreds or thousands of years. The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but with perpetuating itself. Who wields power is not important provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same.“
Posted by: Steve in Los Angeles at September 18, 2009 08:34 PM

Rob Payne: A column of tanks shows up. Participants, those with weapons, attack and hide and live to attack again. They are TRAINED on how to survive and attack. The INNOCENT, NON participants, end up run over or shelled. They are NOT trained, the viable hiding places, bunkers, are manned by participants, NON's are unarmed and naked before the onslaught. The crime bares the punishment of death. The participant lives to fight on and he may be killed. To him it is glory and he is WILLING to take that risk. The NON participant just wants to live and grow old, does not want to fight, does not want that glory, sees NO reward in it, so just like the citizens of Dresden, is punished by hellfire.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 18, 2009 10:44 PM

Mike Meyer:
True, civilians always get hurt and die in wars especially when civilians are purposefully targeted. But I’m not sure what you are trying to say here. Are you saying everyone should participate in wars? I must be reading it wrong because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t really believe that.

Posted by: Rob Payne at September 18, 2009 11:46 PM

This crap has gone on too long. And these ugly crimes the US is supporting is the reason politicians lie about why we were attacked on 9/11. See my new video why lie?

Posted by: Tom at September 19, 2009 02:22 AM

Jon - Heather?

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at September 19, 2009 09:35 AM

Rob Payne: YOU missed it, Rob. I'm saying No one should participate in wars. BUT should a war show up one one's door step, as they might, and there's nowhere to run, no place to hide, and one wants to live, then fight. REMEMBER a dead soldier gets his name on a wall, those that live, medals and money, parades and acolades, position and power. BUT dead civilians, why I'll ask, "name ONE name of a child that died in Gaza ONLY 9 months ago, or who was that child's slaughtered mother?"

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 19, 2009 10:39 AM

Israeli Human Rights Organizations, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Adalah, Bimkom, B’Tselem, Gisha, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Yesh Din are

1.Calling upon the Israeli Government to take the report seriously and
2. To refrain from automatically rejecting its findings or denying its legitimacy and
3. The the groups expect the Government of Israel to respond to the substance of the report's findings and to desist from its current policy of casting doubt upon the credibility of anyone who does not adhere to the establishment's narrative.

May be Ms Rice is not aware of this!?

And is it not POWER that gives impunity and makes an entity brutal which destroys humanity, making colour and ideology irrelevant?

ps anyone interested in watching the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict - Public Hearings, can go the website below.....

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 19, 2009 11:40 AM

Aaron - Heathers. Great movie.

Posted by: ethan at September 19, 2009 11:50 AM

Mike Meyer:
If we back Israel with money and propaganda to cover up the truth about things like the attack last December then that makes us guilty as hell. If you agree, fine, if you don’t that’s fine as well. If you don’t wish to discuss it at all that’s okay to.

Posted by: Rob Payne at September 19, 2009 12:11 PM

Susan Rice earned her apparatchik-to-power badge back in the Clinton administration.

Her appearances in this article about the Central African slaughters make it clear what a cold character she is.

[hat tip to Donald Johnson in comments at Distant Ocean]

Posted by: Nell at September 19, 2009 01:22 PM

A must watch short documentary....
"I am Israel"

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 19, 2009 01:48 PM

Rob Payne: I don't the USA or really anyone to give EITHER side ANY money or help. YOUR TAX DOLLAR defiles and poisons The Holy Land. The wages of a thief or the hire of a whore are NOT acceptable before the Lord.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 19, 2009 04:06 PM

Mike Meyer,
I don’t agree with you. First of all the average person has no say in foreign policy period. The government does not represent me or anyone I know. If the federal government represented the wishes of the general population then yeah you could say it’s our fault for what the government does. If you look at recent polls a majority of Americans want out of Afghanistan yet there we remain with every prospect of escalation in the near future. However I think you are absolutely correct that our tax dollars are paying for this and doubtless if everyone refused to pay their income tax the government would take notice. However that is only practical for people who have their own business. People who work for others have their taxes removed before they receive their paychecks. I suppose the logical conclusion would be for everyone to stop working or quit their jobs which would be the moral thing to do but it wouldn’t go very far for putting food on the table and paying the rent.

Posted by: Rob Payne at September 19, 2009 07:12 PM

Nell--Not that it matters, but I think I linked that at Unqualified Offerings.

The Obama people have decided that the Goldstone report was unfair to Israel. Sarcasm seems superfluous.


Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 19, 2009 09:35 PM

MJ Rosenberg over at TPM Cafe has the complete statement. I'd link, but for some reason when I try to go back the downloading seems to take forever. Anyway, here's the statement--

MR. KELLY: Okay. So I have a reaction to the report of the fact-finding mission of Justice Goldstone. As President Obama made clear at the time of the events covered by the report, we are deeply concerned about the loss of life and humanitarian suffering in both Israel and Gaza. As we've said previously, prior to U.S. membership, the UN's Human Rights Council set forth a one-sided and unacceptable mandate for this fact-finding investigation.

Although the report addresses all sides of the conflict, its overwhelming focus is on the actions of Israel. While the report makes overly sweeping conclusions of fact and law with respect to Israel, its conclusions regarding Hamas's deplorable conduct and its failure to comply with international humanitarian law during the conflict are more general and tentative.

We also have very serious concerns about the report's recommendations, including calls that this issue be taken up in international fora outside the Human Rights Council and in national courts of countries not party to the conflict. We note in particular that Israel has the democratic institutions to investigate and prosecute abuses, and we encourage it to use those institutions.

We believe this report should be discussed within the Human Rights Council, and we look forward to participating in that discussion. We will approach discussions on the report keeping in mind the underlying causes of the tragic events in Gaza earlier this year - the lack of a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the attacks by Hamas against innocent civilians.

Our focus right now, as I've said before, is to get all sides to take steps to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian negotiations so we can end this conflict and the humanitarian suffering it has caused. We will move forward in discussions of the report while keeping that overriding goal at the forefront. We hope efforts related to the Middle East at the Human Rights Council and other international bodies will look to the future and how we can support the goal of a two-state solution."

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 19, 2009 10:05 PM

Sarcasm is unavoidable. I particularly liked the following parts--

"UN's Human Rights Council set forth a one-sided and unacceptable mandate for this fact-finding investigation."

Leaving out the fact that Goldstone quite properly refused to accept this mandate and broadened it to include all sides.

"We also have very serious concerns about the report's recommendations, including calls that this issue be taken up in international fora outside the Human Rights Council and in national courts of countries not party to the conflict. "

Yeah, think of the precedent--suppose other Western democracies faced the prospect of having their high-ranking war criminals prosecuted.

"We note in particular that Israel has the democratic institutions to investigate and prosecute abuses, and we encourage it to use those institutions."

Just like the US.

"keeping in mind the underlying causes of the tragic events in Gaza earlier this year - the lack of a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the attacks by Hamas against innocent civilians."

Nice to see which atrocities deserve specific condemnation.

Actually, come to think of it, the whole damn thing is a masterpiece--is it any wonder everyone thinks Obama represents a breath of fresh air, the President who really can serve as an honest broker in this long conflict?

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 19, 2009 10:17 PM

Rob Payne: When an American VOTES then that citizen AGREES to the end result of that (presumedly honest) election. That citizen AGREES that the elected person REPRESENTS them as the winner of the election. SO, that ELECTED official ACTUALLY does represent US. WE may or may not like what this person does, none the less that's what WE AGREE upon when participating in an election. One could always IMPEACH should things go arye beyond what the electors are willing to live with. IF YOU VOTE then they represent YOU.
As far as refusing to contribute TAXES, I've got NO ANSWER FOR YOU. I found MY answer. I'm NOT YOUR accountant or anyone elses. YOU MUST figure YOUR OWN way as each citizen must. IF one is WILLING to live with what is going on then the answer is indeed EASY, KEEP PAYING.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 19, 2009 10:34 PM

I think there are some things we just aren’t going to agree on. But I think we can agree on some things. For example I think we agree that some kind of peace needs to be achieved and the most likely way to pursue that is to pressure the U.S. government to influence Israel to halt its colonial activates. The U.S. government is in a unique position to influence Israel more than any other nation since we supply Israel with military aid in the form of millions of dollars each year. Whether our government would be receptive to such pressure seems unlikely yet it is certainly worth the effort.

Posted by: Rob Payne at September 20, 2009 02:24 PM

Rob Payne: Its certainly worth a try. What form of pressure on OUR government would that take? HOW could it be applied? WHO is willing to apply that pressure and where, the Administration Congress? When will said pressure show up?
FIRST though, may I point out, the settlements are gone from Gaza YET they get blasted. SECOND, where the settlements exist, the West Bank, NO tank columns attack, NO jets drop White Phosphorous.
IF I may also point out, after 2 years of calling Pelosi EVERYDAY, her office people TELL me not many call over issues I promote so I ABSOLUTELY expect no one to agree with me. PLEASE don't let that bother YOU, it doesn't bother me.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 20, 2009 03:49 PM

I don’t think anyone is going to pressure the government to the degree that the government would listen. Israel holds a “special” place in the American psyche. It’s almost as if for many people Israel can do no wrong. Perhaps that is changing. I don’t believe that the attack on Gaza last December has helped Israel’s PR but I haven’t seen any polls on how Americans now view Israel. And I didn’t say I didn’t agree with everything you say I said I don’t agree with some things you say, there is a difference. You know if you do something for as long as two years with no discernable difference made then maybe it’s time to try something different. And maybe that’s part of what is wrong with progressives, they do the same things they have been doing for years and it doesn’t work and nothing changes.

Posted by: Rob Payne at September 20, 2009 08:49 PM

Rob Payne: Perhaps progressives just plain GIVE UP too soon. As far as calling Pelosi, well I ALWAYS knew one person, ALONE, won't accomplish much and APPARENTLY no one else has even TRIED. I'll continue to call.
Hey, WHEN RUSHBO SEZ CALL the callers CRASH Pelosi's system in ONLY a couple of hours. THAT'S why they win, why the Dems ALWAYS back down, WHY the progressives ONLY move ahead when otherside REALLY, REALLY screws up everything. (example 8 years of Bush and not one but 2 stolen elections)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 20, 2009 10:34 PM

I wasn’t trying to discourage your phone calls to Pelosi in fact I respect that you do that; it’s more than I do. What I was thinking of and what you said reminded me of really was how progressives have backed the Democratic Party for many years but it doesn’t seem to have accomplished much. Mostly wars. WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War etc. So I’m just saying if one approach doesn’t work why not try another one. Please don’t ask me what that would be because I frankly have no idea.

Posted by: Rob Payne at September 20, 2009 11:59 PM

THAT'S why they win, why the Dems ALWAYS back down...

Maybe the "democratic" inputs to the system - like calls to Congress or angry crowds at town hall meetings - are just there for show?

Right-wingers generally get their way because their agenda is generally aligned with the the corporations that rule our government. When right wing populists attempt to go against the corporate agenda, they don't win either - like when they opposed the $700 billion in TARP funds.

When a health care "reform" bill is finally passed, it will be a word-for-word recitation of exactly what the insurance and drug companies agreed to eight months ago: some minor regulatory changes in return for an "individual mandate" that forces tens of millions of working-poor people to buy their shitty products. So what was all the shouting about, unless it was to give a democratic veneer to a process that has nothing to do with democracy?

Posted by: SteveB at September 21, 2009 08:58 AM