Archive for April 2nd, 2012
General (Ret) James David (who is mentioned on the cover of the third edition of former Republican Congressman Paul Findley’s ‘They Dare to Speak Out’ book about the power/influence of the pro-Israel lobby on the US political system and media) sent through the following as well:
James David wrote:
UN rights body launches probe into Israeli settlements
GENEVA | Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:06am IST
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations launched an international investigation on Thursday into Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, with the United States isolated in voting against the initiative brought by the Palestinian Authority.
The U.N. Human Rights Council condemned Israel’s planned construction of new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying they undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-state solution and the creation of a contiguous and independent Palestinian state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly dismissed the Geneva forum on Thursday evening as “hypocritical” and having an “automatic majority against Israel”.
The 47-member forum adopted the resolution to launch a probe by a vote of 36 states in favour, including China and Russia, with one against (the United States). Ten abstained, including European Union members Italy and Spain.
The text was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and co-sponsored by states including Cuba and Venezuela.
“In violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, Israel is continuing construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories including East Jerusalem,” Pakistan’s ambassador Zamir Akram told the talks.
The Council’s resolution called on Israel to take serious measures to prevent settler violence “including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions”, and protection of Palestinian civilians and property in the territories.
The three investigators are to be named at a later date.
About 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Palestinians seeks the territory for an independent state along with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Palestinians say settlements, considered illegal by the International Court of Justice, the highest U.N. legal body for disputes, would deny them a viable state. Israel cites historical and Biblical links to the West Bank and says the status of settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.
“This is a council that should be ashamed of itself. The U.N. Human Rights Council has no connection to human rights,” Netanyahu said.
“It was enough to hear the Syrian delegate today talking about human rights to understand how far the Council is detached from reality.”
In Geneva, Israel’s Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar denounced “the level of hypocrisy and double standards” in the Council which adopted other resolutions on Thursday on Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the right of Palestinians to self-determination.
“The resolutions are unjustified and counterproductive. They will add tension and bitterness to an already explosive situation. This Council, by its own doing, is adding fuel to a fire which is our duty to try and extinguish,” Leshno-Yaar said.
Israel was strongly committed to a two-state solution and wanted to see the resumption of direct bilateral talks without preconditions with the Palestinians, he told the talks.
The United States said it continued to be “deeply troubled by this Council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel, as exemplified by the creation of another one-sided United Nations mechanism related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
It was inappropriate to prejudge final status issues that could only be resolved through bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestine, U.S. political counselor Charles O. Blaha told the Council.
“The U.S. position on settlements is clear and has not changed: we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. The status quo is not sustainable for either the Israelis or the Palestinians,” Blaha said.
But Washington could not back a “one-sided resolution that launches an international investigation of Israel,” he said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; editing by Andrew Roche)
U.S. pressing UN Human Rights Commissioner to cancel West Bank settlements probe
Israeli settlers grab West Bank water springs – UN report
Faith in Action：Israel walls off Lebanon, Egypt
Palestinians thirsting for change as Quartet to meet
Jeff Halper: Is the Two-State Solution Dead?:
Israeli soldier clubs Danish protester with rifle
ZIONISTS WON’T LET YOU SEE THIS ON YOUR TV
The General’s Son:
Valentino’s Ghost (new documentary about US media coverage of the Arab/Muslim world):
Take Action: House Vote as Early as Tomorrow to Expand U.S.-Israeli Military Ties
From Tampa to CBS, the Light Is Shining Through
General (Ret) James David (who is mentioned on the cover of the third edition of former Republican Congressman Paul Findley’s ‘They Dare to Speak Out’ book about the power/influence of the pro-Israel lobby on the US political system and media) sent through the following:
James David wrote:
Sent: 4/1/2012 2:03:36 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: When a son heads off to war
When a son heads off to war
Politicians seem perfectly happy to pick fights and then let other people’s kids throw the punches.
By David Freed
April 1, 2012
A few days ago, on a tranquil spring afternoon, I hugged my only son, holding back tears because he hates sappy stuff like that, and watched him go off to war. With luck, we’ll be together again around Christmas. I had hoped that I might see him sooner, but the mid-tour leaves that he and his soldiers had been promised got canceled amid Pentagon budget cutbacks.
My sorrow was tempered by great pride as we traded goodbyes. He is a born leader. During recess, he was always the kid who organized the games. In high school, he played back-up quarterback. Now, at 25, he is a powerfully built, self-assured infantry first lieutenant who has breezed through some of the Army’s most rigorous training, including Airborne and Air Assault schools. “Don’t worry,” he tells me. “I’ll be fine.”
I want so much to believe him. Yet given the vagaries of modern combat, I know that my son’s rank and extensive preparation offer no guarantee of his safety in Afghanistan or wherever else he may end up. He volunteered for this, I tell myself. This is what he’s long wanted to do despite my efforts to persuade him otherwise. And it is his life.
None of that, however, assuages my concern for his well-being — nor, for that matter, my disdain for those who speak blithely of America’s need to prolong a costly and questionable approach to foreign policy without understanding the true impact on the warriors and their families, who shoulder the weight of that policy.
I thought about that when the story broke of Robert Bales, the Army staff sergeant accused of horrifically gunning down 17 civilians in Afghanistan. Bales has served under two commanders in chief without combat experience, and the vast majority of members of Congress who funded the two wars to which Bales was sent have themselves never heard a shot fired in war.
Mitt Romney, meanwhile, routinely vows that if elected, he will beef up defense spending so that “we” can continue to project freedom and democracy abroad. We? I am irked by his use of the collective pronoun, considering that neither he nor any of his five sons have ever been in the military.
Bales was on his fourth overseas deployment when he purportedly went on a homicidal rampage. No one at this point can say definitively to what extent, if any, his alleged actions were influenced by his combat record. But there is no denying reports that he was dismayed at having to go to Afghanistan after he’d already done three tours in Iraq.
Likewise, there is no denying the reason why tens of thousands of other soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen have had to go back again and again: because there simply are not enough of them to sustain the ambitions of tough-talking politicians, Republican and Democrat, who seem only too happy to pick fights and then let other people’s kids throw the punches.
Would upping defense spending, as Romney proposes, reduce the frequency of multiple deployments? Perhaps. But heaving more money at the problem misses the point. It’s not just about how many people serve. It’s about who serves. And those who are serving in America’s all-volunteer military are typically not the children of the politicians who occupy the national stage.
About 1 in 5 current members of Congress is a veteran, but less than 1% of their offspring are. There are some notable exceptions, of course. One of John McCain’s sons was a Marine in Iraq. Vice PresidentJoe Biden’s son, Bo, put in a stint as an Army lawyer in Baghdad. Those who enlist today, though, are more likely to hail from a hardscrabble strata of society far distant from the halls of power. Politicians can talk all they want about how gut-wrenching it is for them to write letters of condolences, or attend memorial services for the fallen, but they really have no idea what it’s like to have a child or spouse die in battle, or to live with the lurking dread that they might.
Certainly those who join the military today know what they’re getting into — or should. Nobody’s twisting their arms. Some, including my solidly middle-class son, are motivated to join for patriotic reasons, or because they, like him, naively believe that getting shot at sounds like grand adventure. But I suspect that most enlistees, including Robert Bales, sign up also because getting shot at it means a steady paycheck in a down economy.
The sons of Mitt Romney don’t have such concerns. Regardless of their patriotism, they each had many options beyond the military, thanks in no small measure to family money. The oldest helps run a private-equity firm. The youngest develops real estate in San Diego. Two other of Romney’s sons also work in property development or finance. The fifth is a physician. They often appear en masse at photo opportunities celebrating Dad’s latest primary victory. Meanwhile, far from public view, other bands of brothers and sisters — soon to include my son — hunker down in faraway lands, sweating out mortar barrages and hoping not to set off improvised explosive devices.
I remind myself that statistics are on my side: Hundreds of thousands of other parents have gone through the emotional hell that my wife and I now face, and most of their kids came back OK.
Still, I’m not sure how I’ll cope in the coming months. Will my heart race every time I hear a car stop outside the house, worrying that it has brought an Army casualty notification team? Should I try to keep abreast of developments overseas, worrying myself sick? Or should I purposely avoid the news in this paper and on TV, pretending all is well, that my son is OK, even if days have passed without a word from him?
One thing, though, I do know: My fears are something that neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama — nor most of this nation’s leaders — can ever fully comprehend.
David Freed is a screenwriter and former Times’ reporter who covered Operation Desert Storm. His first novel, “Flat Spin,” is due out in May.