Orbiting Dicta

The First Casualty is Truth

As if cued by President Bush’s nationwide address today, Israel has sent ground forces into Gaza against the pleas of the Arab League, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Pope, among other international agencies and world leaders.  As with the fraudulent claim that Saddam Hussein had caches of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq which justified his 2003 war, Bush’s statement was erected on the pretentious scaffolding of a lie – that Hamas came to power in a coup.  George W. Bush came to power in a judicial coup.  Hamas in fact came to power in January 2006, when in a general legislative election it defeated its main rival Fatah, the party of the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas.  Since then, Hamas has attempted to govern Gaza while resisting the efforts of Abbas to wrest control away, defying the United States, and mounting largely futile rocket attacks against southern Israel.  It is worth noting that more Israelis have died since the current military strikes began than before.  So poorly executed are these defiant but haphazard launches that with them Hamas has killed almost as many Palestinians as Israelis.


Without doubt Hamas’ sporadic rocket attacks and other gestures of defiance are terrorist tactics if, like the stones slung at Israeli tanks by Palestinian teenagers, effectively more symbolic than destructive.  But the massively disproportionate air and now ground offensive by Israel is state terrorism at its most blatant, as it marshals sophisticated and powerful weaponry (U.S.-made and U.S.-financed) against a defenseless civilian population caught in the crossfire between massive military might and an increasingly desperate rebel force.  Terrorism comes in many guises.


Ironically, perhaps the nearest historical precedent for this Goliath-versus-David contest seems to be the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, with its pattern of encirclement, confinement, starvation, and the eventual eradication of a civilian population and a handful of increasingly desperate resistance fighters.  Perhaps not.  Hopefully not.  In this instance, for one thing, fifteen thousand Hamas fighters stand ready to defend their homes and land.  One way or the other, in the sad twilight of his presidency, George Bush has at last abandoned any pretense of the even-handedness he promoted as the Roadmap to Peace on June 24, 2003.