As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fleet's In

Israel warned Gaza residents to expect "heightened warfare," as if they've been showing restraint until now. This probably means that they're gearing up for ground operations inside Gaza City, which is incredibly dense. As if residents could evacuate their homes if "terrorist elements" are nearby. In an area the size of Providence, RI sibjected to aerial bombardment, mortars and tanks.

By the way, it's not like the Israelis haven't already targeted Gaza:

Intense firefights had already forced Shahin and his family to abandon their home north of Gaza City and seek refuge with relatives in the Shati camp. He said dogs were eating corpses in the streets of his old neighborhood. Gazans have seen firsthand the power of Israel's military many times over the years, he said. "But this time, it's different. It's awful. It's like a monster attack."

Meanwhile, here's your tax dollars at work.

The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.

The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as "ammunition" on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

A "hazardous material" designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.

Appalling. And this is why the United States cannot be blameless for the fighting, nor surprised when the result is increased hostility toward the United States. Just because Israel "had to do something" doesn't mean they had to do this, nor does it mean that we have to provide material support.

Although, I have to say, Bush made the right call here:

President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign officials.

White House officials never conclusively determined whether Israel had decided to go ahead with the strike before the United States protested, or whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel was trying to goad the White House into more decisive action before Mr. Bush left office. But the Bush administration was particularly alarmed by an Israeli request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country’s only known uranium enrichment plant is located.

The White House denied that request outright, American officials said, and the Israelis backed off their plans, at least temporarily. But the tense exchanges also prompted the White House to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, a major covert program that Mr. Bush is about to hand off to President-elect Barack Obama.

This actually sounds a little too neat to me, like it was leaked by Bush loyalists to prove he's not a madman or something. Or, since Robert Gates emerges as the hero, convincing Bush that an overt attack would be catastrophic, it could have been pushed by his people to give him a bit of a halo going into his new role under Obama. Finally, it forces Obama to have to continue the covert program or risk leaks from the same people that Iran has been strengthened, etc.

All that said, I'm glad nobody gave Israel a bunker buster. Just look what they're doing with conventional weapons already.

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