The Meaning of “Ceasefire”

Apparently, Israel is preparing to proclaim a unilateral ceasefire.  Good news for the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip.  The reason that the ceasefire is unilateral is because Hamas is refusing to back down:

 

Hamas has said a cease-fire alone is not enough.

“We are working in every direction so we can achieve our objectives in stopping the aggression, lifting the blockade, opening the crossings, and the compensation of our people and the rebuilding of the Gaza strip,” said Hamas delegation spokesman Salah Bardwill.

 

Alright, Hamas, do I really need to explain what the word “ceasefire” means?  It means that you stop shooting at each other while negotiating a permanent end to the fighting.  Get real, Hamas!  The only way you can achieve those objectives is if you and Israel stop fighting and start negotiating.  Your military, in conventional terms, cannot match the IDF.  That’s why you sit in Gaza and pop off rockets at them.  So the only way, let me repeat, that you can stop the Israelis from bombing you and get them to open up again, is through negotiation.  I thought that was the strategic calculus behind attacking the Israelis terrorist-style.

I suppose, though, there is one way army_of_the_deadthat Hamas could conquer Israel (because that’s the only way they’ll be able to achieve that without negotiation).  Let’s say Aragorn (you know, from the Lord of the Rings) comes along, and brings his super awesome horde of ghosts (at right).  If Hamas could persuade him, he might lend them the Ghosts to help them beat Israel.  Oh, but I forgot, they all went away.  Tough.  Guess Hamas will have to sit down and negotiate with Israel.  But first, a ceasefire.  Because it’s the right thing to do for the people of Israel and Palestine.

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Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

Okay, I’ve dished out some criticism some of the anti-Israeli people out there.  So, just to be fair, it’s time for some pwnage of pro-Israeli Americans, and it’s not like this is really hard.  Honestly, it’s like shooting goldfish in a bowl.  Their analogies are the worst ever.  For instance, there’s George Will, saying, “All Americans know what we would be doing if rockets were landing in San Diego from Tijuana.”  (I like Jon Stewart’s response: “Yeah!  We’d open them up and pull out the tequila and hookers!  Am I right, people?  It’s a frickin’ Tijuana rocket!  If you can’t go to spring break, they’ll just fire it to you!”)  Let’s flip these analogies (the rest are pretty much the same).  What if you and your family, along with 1.5 million other souls, have been forced to live, for the past several years, in a very densely populated area.  The economy is virtually nonexistent, and there are some yahoos in the area lighting off rockets at the country keeping you hemmed in.  You’d rather just get on with your life, without all the douchebaggery from both the neighborhood yahoos and the (de facto) occupying power.  Then one day, the people surrounding you get tired of those pesky little rockets (they are, by the by, pretty much all bark and no bite), and start a massive air, ground and naval assault.  They put on a smiley face and say, “We are doing everything we can to minimze civilian casualties.”  And yet you and your family are in the thick of it.  People defending the actions of the occupiers say, “But they warned people to get away before they started bombing.”  The only problem, of course, is that everywhere is a target, and so all the messages do is, in effect, is scare you.  For several weeks, bombs and artillery shells rain down all around you.  Nowhere is safe, and if you go out, you’re liable to get caught in the crossfire.  So do you think you would feel warm and fuzzy things towards the people who are bombing the shit out of your home?  My guess…no.  That is the Palestinians’ perspective.  Before you start barfing out uncritical support of Israel, let’s have some perspective, and see it another way.  And that’s the way it is.

P.S. This is the Daily Show clip about Gaza.  It is excellent.

Open Letter to Israel

Dear Israel,
How’s it going? Probably not so well, huh? Well, let’s hear no more moaning from you. No more, “Oh, but the naughty Palestinians are launching rockets into our lands.  They’re really loud, and we get so startled when they hit!”  I don’t care how startled people are getting, your suffering is not nearly on the level of the Palestinians in Gaza.  Nowhere near that.  Ok?  This is not at all anti-Semitism, it’s just the truth.  So no more whining about the Qassams, please?  See, when a few mosquitos sting you, you don’t get rid of them by blasting away with a machine gun.  You might kill something or someone who isn’t a mosquito, and it’s a terribly inefficient way of killing mosquitos.

Face it, this whole offensive thing is not going to work.  The only way, militarily, you could possibly get rid of Palestinian attacks is if you totally wiped them off the map, like the U.S. did with the Native Americans.  And then everyone in the world would hate you, and the state of Israel would die, since much of your economy is based on foreign trade.

But I’d like to ask a question here, and this is more directed at the high-level chaps and chappesses in the Israeli government: What have you folks been smoking?  For f@&%’s sake, do you even have any sort of strategic goal other than “Kill Hamas”?  How could you have possibly been so stupid as to go into a conflict like this without any real strategic goals?  That has to be the very first rule of warfare: know what the f@&% you want to do before you start doing it.  And your public relations stuff has been s%&#ty as hell.  Okay, it’s not enough to have Twitter and YouTube, you need to have a good message to put on it, or else you’re just wasting server space.

And anyway, let’s face it, people draw their own conclusions.  We goyim out here are not idiots.  When Palestinian dead rise to over a thousand, and there are less than 20 Israeli dead, we can see the disparity.  We can count.

In the end, folks, all this will do is cause the radicalization of a new generation of Palestinians.  Perhaps, when you’re not “accidentally” bombing UN compounds, or claiming they were somehow chock-full of Hamas fighters, you could read this blog post at World Politics Review, about Hamas and the Palestinian will to resist.

The lesson here?  Something that I would have thought Israel, of all people, would have already learned.  You can’t bomb the s%&# out of people and expect them to like you.  It’s very simple.

Oh, and those settlers out in the West Bank?  Put a leash on those stupid motherf@&%ers before they cause another huge uprising in the West Bank.  That would not be cool.  In fact, even if they don’t cause an uprising, you should hold onto them tightly, because they appear to be colossal pricks.  Oh, and pardon my language.  Hope there weren’t any children around (a rule you would be wise to apply to explosive devices).

Stay classy,

Patton

The Long Slow Descent of the Republicans

Today in the Department of Stupid Jokes:

A candidate for the Republican National Committee chair [Chip Saltsman] sent out a holiday CD to committee members that includes the song “Barack the Magic Negro,” a parody first aired on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.

And here’s the heck of it.  Mr. Saltsman may have done a good thing- for his campaign:

Four days after news broke that the former Tennessee GOP chairman had sent a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” to the RNC members he is courting, some of those officials are rallying around the embattled Saltsman, with a few questioning whether the national media and his opponents are piling on.

It’s not piling on to question the judgment of someone who would like to head the Republican National Committee when he sends out a borderline-racist bad satire of the president-elect.  If the Republicans wish to become more than just the party of the South (and not all of the South, as Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida would testify), they need to stop pulling these sorts of stunts.  First of all, it’s not funny.  I read the lyrics for that song and it just wasn’t funny.  Second of all, you’re not going to gain more people by reaching to the right.  If anything, the GOP should be reaching out in other directions.  But this is the sort of thing that alienates moderates who want civil discourse, not bad satire.  And finally, let me offer a reason to question Saltsman’s fitness to be chairman of the RNC for a different reason.  He managed Mike Huckabee’s campaign.  As in, a failure.  I admit, Howard Dean became chairman of the DNC after failing and may have paved the way for Barack Obama to sit in the Oval Office come January, but Dean had some new ideas.  He failed because he was ahead of the curve.  The Internet, which Dean almost managed to harness, became Barack Obama’s biggest asset in the election.  Saltsman’s idea of change for the RNC?  Blame “[l]iberal Democrats and their allies in the media” for making a big deal out of his little Christmas gift.  Please join me in a communal eye-rolling at the old Republican excuse.  It’s like “the dog ate my homework,” except dumber.  Particularly because people like NEWT GINGRICH are criticizing him.  Newt Gingrich is many things.  A “[l]iberal Democrat” he is not.  Let this be the end of “Magic-Negro-gate”:  Chip Saltsman is hereby judged to be a tool.  He should be banished to the netherlands of Shame, if the Republicans hope to regain a majority.  While some people might share Rush Limbaugh’s sense of humor, I doubt there are many not on the right.

(H/T Politico, via The Daily Beast)

This Is The Army For Me…

The German Bundeswehr, to be precise.  Not only are they more likely to be overweight than civilians, they also get gallons and gallons of beer and wine, in AFGHANISTAN!  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Once upon a time, heck, within memory of some living people, the words “German Army” connoted ruthless efficiency and ability.  Even during the Cold War, the Bundeswehr wasn’t that bad.  But this is ridiculous.  Why do the Russians have their undies in a twist about the possibility of the Germans having a bigger military?  Their soldiers are so damn fat they probably won’t fit in the tanks!  Okay, I can understand a college student like me being fat.  I’m not expected to defend my country!  Because there are certain expectations for a soldier.  For one thing, I thought soldiers were at least supposed to make an effort to be fit.  But maybe it isn’t their fault.  Seeing how very few NATO countries have spent the amount on military spending that NATO guidelines ask for, it’s barely possible that they cut back on PT in Germany and spent it on alcohol instead.  And only a few years ago, Europe was supposed to be the next superpower.

Why am I so upset about this?  Partly because the Germans are theoretically supposed to help defend us if something bad happens (It’s in that frickin’ treaty.).  And partly because the Germans have resisted requests from commanders in Afghanistan to move their troops from the relatively more stable north to the volatile south, where they are actually needed.  So the Canadians, and the Brits, and the Dutch, and the Americans down there are taking the brunt of the Taliban’s resurgence, while the Germans are sitting up in northern Afghanistan, drinking tons (literally) of beer and wine.  I’m sure that’s not actually the case, but that’s what it kinda seems like to me.

Gotta Love Georgia…

…where lawmakers can act like dicks and pretend that they’re “tough on crime”.  Case in point:

Wendy Whitaker, 29, has been on Georgia’s sex offender list for more than 12 years.  Her crime?  She performed oral sex on a high school classmate just after turning 17.  The boy was just shy of his 16th birthday.  Both were sophomores.

I think, at this point, I must borrow that great line from Charlie Wilson’s War: “Excuse me, what the fuck?”  Tell me, representatives, why is this necessary?  Why?  Why?  Why?  WHY??  She got a blowjob when she was a teenager.  So that puts her on par with vicious rapists?  Excuse me, have you lost your goddamned minds?  Okay, here’s a little simple math for you: consensual teenage blowjob ≠ vicious rape.  It’s just that damn simple.  What makes you think this protects the kids?  How?  Really, I want to understand what weird logic makes you think this way.  Because I don’t know how you can morally justify keeping Wendy Whitaker on the sex offenders list.  And you know what?  You bloody well better justify it very well or repeal it before the next election, or there will be HELL TO PAY, DICKHEADS!

Too Much Bad Stuff (UPDATED)

As I’m writing, I’m watching the 24 movie, and in a commercial break just before, I saw an two interesting commercial(s).  One by the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee), basically accusing Jim Martin of enabling child prostitution and drug dealers who hang out near schools.  And then I saw a Jim Martin commercial accusing Saxby of not caring about the middle class (kind of the thing jim’s been hammering since the economic troubles started) and not knowing what a recession is.  Just one more thing to make me love this runoff.  I can’t wait ’till December 3rd.  If you’re not in Georgia, you are damn lucky.

UPDATE: I found a quite excellent item on FactCheck.Org (if you don’t read them…why don’t you?) about the NRSC ad, and another ad from a different conservative group.  Both equally false.  No word yet on the Martin ad.