Like I said, extreme myopia when it comes to Israel makes it difficult to have a rational discourse, people seem to lose their sense of right and wrong. If it had been any other nation there would be talks of war, international tribunals, piracy etc.. Anyway I think the Guardian has done a fair job thus far:
The Israeli army has all but admitted that the activists did not have guns of their own before the raid. Army spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said two pistols were seized from activists but these had been taken from the troops raiding the boat. She claimed the magazines of both weapons had been emptied before they were seized back.
Once again it seems odd that somehow US newspapers cannot or will not interview eyewitnesses.
There has been extensive reporting in the Guardian from eyewitness accounts regarding the carnage on board the Marmari, but I am yet to see a single US newspaper interviewing any of the people there. Their response to this is as tepid and docile as that of the administration. On TV it is the same thing. FNC is now the official mouthpiece of the Likud party, while MSNBC is trying to catch up fast, the closest they came to giving a voice to an Israel critic was when Greenwald was on Dylan Ratigan's show today (hosted by Eliot Spitzer who basically made the show a platform for Likud propaganda). Neither Rachel Maddow nor Keith Olberman even addressed this issue for a fleeting second. I don't watch CNN, but I am guessing they are no better or worse.
But one cannot rest all the blame on the administration for their tepid response, it is becoming more and more evident that both sides of the aisle are deep in the pockets of the Israel lobby, whether it be a liberal like Weiner or a conservative like Cantor. The race is on to show who can make the last stand with this Likud government. Gone are the days when a politician like James Baker could speak his mind (yes GHWB was the last president to try and honestly broker a peace deal, since then it has been extremely lopsided), unfortunately he got labeled as an "anti-semite", as would any politician who would try to stand up to the Israel lobby.
Which brings me back to the reason for this lop-sided coverage. I can only speculate that some of it is the extreme myopia of the majority of American Jews when it comes to Israel. As far as the general public goes, it is easier to hate brown-skinned Palestinians and buy in to the myth that they are but primitive and violent people, compared to the overwhelmingly white Israelis. But that's just my opinion, because nothing else can explain the lack of any outcry in the US in face of this atrocius act. Imagine what the reaction would be if this were the Cubans, or Iranians, or for that matter any state other than Israel.
The WH has "expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today’s incident, and concern for the wounded"
The State Department: "We support expanding the flow of goods to the people of Gaza. But this must be done in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation."
The US to UN: As I stated in the Chamber in December 2008, when we were confronted by a similar situation, mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so. These non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms should be the ones used for the benefit of all those in Gaza. Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances. . . . We will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza to address the full range of the population’s humanitarian and recovery needs. Hamas’ interference with international assistance shipments and the work of nongovernmental organizations complicates efforts in Gaza. Its continued arms smuggling and commitment to terrorism undermines security and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
For further details: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/31/israel/index.html
I was in India with my wife's family and we traveled all across North India. Historically it is supposed to be quite cold (most nights it used to get near freezing) during that time of the year, but temperatures in Delhi hardly dipped below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be a hard summer this year.
Unlike the all pervasive Pakistani army that is in charge of everything in Pakistan, the Indian army is firmly under civilian control. So I don't think any high level army official will have direct and unfettered authority to strike deals with US officials without the defense department of India being involved.
There is no coherent policy here. It's as if the policy is "let's throw everything at the wall and see what sticks". Here are a few things to ponder, while this plan for military strike is going on, US is also actively involved in selling military equipment, unamanned drones, F16s etc. to Pakistan, as well as a huge multi-billion dollar aid package. Now can someone tell me, wouldn't it be better to stop the aid flow and impose sanctions and force the Pakistani army to act.
The problem is who will they attack? The problem is not compartmentalized or limited to one province, anti-US sentiments is pervasive throughout the Pakistani society and army. There are reports that a major in the Pakistani army helped Shahzad in planning the failed Times Square bombing. Similarly there is evidence that a colonel in the Pakistani army helped orchestrate the attack in Mumbai. So on the one hand the administration is planning military strikes and on the other hand giving military equipment and gobs of tax payer dollars. Color me unimpressed, but we have a more coherent policy for Iran and the last I checked Iranian citizens, even though much maligned by the US media, are not trying to blow up bombs in Times Square or in different embassies around the world.
By all accounts of independent scientists and oceanographers, it was extremely naive for the administration to trust BP for so long. End of the day no one has the data to analyze the extent of this disaster, which includes not just the huge amounts of oil you see on the surface but also the vast plumes of tar that are below the surface.
For quite some time the NOAA went along with the BP estimate of 5000 barrels spill per day, now after forcing them to reveal the underwater footage in real time that estimate has been upgraded to a conservative 100,000 barrels per day. Essentially oil has been spilling at the rate of about 4 million gallons per day for the last month, and that is a conservative estimate. If that is not a disaster I don't know what is. I know Obama has set up a commission of some sort, which looks a lot like political handwaving to me. But right now the ecological disaster affecting the entire Gulf coast is frankly unmitigated. Worse, because the scientists did not have adequate data they don't know and are unable to suggest the best way to approach this disaster. If that's not enough, since BP is still in charge of clean up, environmental experts have limited access to the marshlands and beaches of Alabama and Louisiana, so there is limited wild life rescue there. While BP is to blame for this, we cannot absolve this adminstration's response or for that matter the extremely lax oversight prior to this disaster.
In the end the economy of the entire Gulf Coast will suffer. I don't see people visiting the beaches of those states for a long time, the marshes need to be burned, many endangered animals will die, the entire shrimping industry will take a huge hit for decades.
I found two links which explains the enormity of the disaster, the first is an NY Times article and the second is a Kos diary.
Historians will probably conclude that the package of reforms was surprisingly modest given the depth and severity of the 2008-09 financial crisis. A harsher historical judgment might find that the political and economic power wielded by the financial industry in the late 20th and early 21st centuries was so extensive that it could weather a near total collapse of the system without having to yield its power or privilege.