Nov 22, 2023

Biden and the Washington Post Combine to Argue for War

Photograph Source: The White House – Public Domain

David Ignatius, the Washington Post’s national security columnist, has been an apologist for the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency for the past several decades.  In the past, he has defended the CIA’s political assassination program as well as its torture and abuse program.  He never condemned the CIA training of death squads in Central America and never deplored the Phoenix program during the Vietnam War, when the CIA ran a paramilitary campaign of interrogation, torture, and assassination that targeted many innocent victims.  Now, he has a new client—the Israeli Defense Forces—and the IDF couldn’t have a better stenographer than David Ignatius.

Following last week’s briefings from the IDF, Ignatius reported on November 19 that the Gaza War was “moving into a new phase that will require fewer troops and much less bombing” that should “result in fewer Palestinian casualties.”  This will shock the Palestinian civilians who have been tortuously making their way to South Gaza only to meet more aerial bombardment and death.  “Militarily,” according to Ignatius, the “Israeli campaign against Hamas has been relentless and successful.”   This outrageous statement is belied by the absence of evidence regarding the so-called command and control center under the Al-Shifa hospital compound, let alone any success against the Hamas leadership or overall Hamas forces.

The only Israeli losses, according to Ignatius, are in the information war, which is a callous and cynical way to look at the indecent toll to civilians, particularly the children of Gaza each and every day.  More Palestinian children have been killed in the past several weeks than the 3,000 children killed in all the world’s major conflicts—involving two dozen countries—during the year 2022.  Nevertheless, Israeli military spokesmen credit the IDF with taking “all feasible precautions” to “mitigate harm” to civilians…and Ignatius agrees.

There is ample and mounting evidence of the war crimes of the IDF, but Ignatius refers to the Israeli forces as “thoughtful, professional soldiers.”  He is “impressed by their skill and dedication.”  His only criticism of the Israelis is their lack of “a clear conception of ‘the day after.’” He adds that the Israelis have “no consensus about next steps,” as if any country knows what it will do following all-out war.  Think of the United States in the context of two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan without any idea of what victory would look like, let alone what four different administrations would do if it had been achieved.

Ignatius concedes that he is looking at the Gaza War “largely through Israeli eyes,” and, as a result, credits the IDF with trying to “separate Hamas from the civilian population, a classic precept of counterinsurgency warfare.”  But Israel is not fighting a counterinsurgency war; it is  fighting a horrific counter-value and counter-force war that is annihilating the civilian population and infrastructure.  Ignatius credits the Israelis with having “dropped leaflets, issued warnings, made phone calls,” but this is a cynical deceit that too many Israeli spokesmen have sold to U.S. news networks on a regular basis.  The fact is that Palestinians have nowhere to go, and are being killed in record numbers, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his “war cabinet” have no problem with this.

Finally, Ignatius credits the Israelis with “embracing a tactic the CIA has used effectively during the war in Ukraine—declassifying intelligence and pushing it into the public domain.”  The problem with that tactic is the simple fact that the Israelis have no credibility in the international community because of their deceit and disinformation ever since the War of Independence in 1948, when the Israelis drove 700,00 Palestinians out of Israel.  In a future column, I will trace the series of Israeli lies that have never been sufficiently challenged by the mainstream media, let alone by U.S. administrations.

To add to the Post’s calumny, it carried an oped by President Biden on 19 November as well.  Biden is creating a serious political problem for himself on the domestic front by defending Israel’s “collective punishment” of the Palestinians, which an international and domestic audience is finally beginning to question.  Biden has been trying to have it both ways since the war started by traveling to Israel and taking credit for cautioning the Israelis to temper their tactics, but returning to Washington to approve billions of dollars of sophisticated weaponry to “sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge.”  In so doing, he has compromised his stance against Russian terrorism of a Ukrainian population, which is no different than Israeli terrorism against the Palestinians.

Once again, Biden refers to himself as the “first American president to [travel to Israel] during wartime,” which is a peculiar way to proclaim his support for Netanyahu’s brutal and horrific campaign.  Biden writes that there can be “no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza,” which is exactly what the Israelis are trying to impose.  His response to the extreme violence of the Israeli military and the settlers on the West Bank against innocent Palestinians is to state that the United States is “prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank.”  I’m sure that this will be treated with laughter from the racists in the Netanyahu cabinet.

Finally, Biden takes credit for preventing the conflict “from spreading and escalating further” by sending U.S. carrier groups to the region to “enhance deterrence.”  The Middle East has been a briar patch for the United States for the past fifty years, and one more U.S. effort to pull Israeli chestnuts from the fire won’t help to “pivot” U.S. forces from the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific, which President Obama and Vice President Biden promised 12 years ago.  In truth, Biden is simply the latest American president to ignore the misery of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank at the hands of Israelis.  Instead of challenging Israel’s brutal occupation, Biden is justifying and supporting the violence of Israeli policy.

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