31 May 2010

Speaking of things

That get people too tongue twisted to make any sense and declare facts of the matters involved with agreement:

Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship

Headline masks the underlying confusion of who killed who, and there's not much discussion of what's on the boats. If there are weapons, that's one thing, as that's more or less why Israel claims it needs to blockade the Gaza strip. (update: doesn't seem like the flotilla was carrying weapons, and the death toll right now stands at 19-0, Injured 60/70-2, which is pretty typical for these kinds of Israeli raids and attacks).

If it's carrying food and medicine, or really any non-military goods (such as apparently, cement and other building materials for reconstruction following the Gaza "war" in 2008), that's fucked up.

Despite all that, the big question is what this does with Israeli-Turkish relations, which are continuing to deteriorate after several very public disasters in foreign relations and now an attack on a ship with Turkish/Cypriot civilians on board. For that discussion, it really doesn't matter what the ship was carrying. Taking the one quasi-friend they have in the region and pissing them off does not seem like the actions of a friendly nation. It seems like the actions of a belligerent drunkard. All the more reason for us to start quietly backing away from the table. If this is what Israel wants to use as its messages to its friends and enemies alike, then by all means let it. We can just cease offering any support for doing so.

Because the real reason this matters, or should matter, to America is these pesky and fruitless foreign engagements with Muslim nations throughout that whole region, supposedly in pursuit of terrorists, who are often stirred up by a perception (which I think is largely accurate) of Israeli intransigence and aggression, which is further perceived, because of large amounts of military aid to Israel, as emanating from America in the first place. Attacking a humanitarian convoy as part of a stiff blockade mission is not likely to diminish this perception in the slightest. It will not matter how much we condemn such actions with words. It will only matter how much we continue to support actions like this in the future by deeds.
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