Sunday, August 22, 2010

Palestinians Are Cynical Over Negotiations Success, More Mercenaries Left In Iraq Than US Troops

Katie Couric
"President Obama was in Hollywood for a star-studded fundraiser. They raised a million dollars and converted him to Scientology." – Jimmy Kimmel

"I don't understand why the president has to drive. He could just flap his ears and fly anywhere." –Jimmy Kimmel

"After three weeks of jury deliberations, Rod Blagojevich was convicted yesterday on only one of the 24 counts against him. The one count he was convicted for? Transporting illegally silky hair across state lines." –Jimmy Kimmel

"He could get up to five years, though that's very unlikely. He'll probably do somewhere between Lindsay Lohan and Lil Wayne." –Jimmy Kimmel

"According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a growing movement among Democrats to replace Joe Biden as VP with Hillary Clinton in 2012. Do you realize that if that happens, for the first time Hillary will be directly under a president." –Jay Leno

Although both Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu have kindly accepted the US's invitation to the dance come Sept 2, they still have a good couple of weeks to ruin it. Historically, it has been the Israelis who have done things like bulldoze down a Palestinian village or militarily invaded Gaza to strike ay Hamas. Hamas has contributed its fair share of misery by firing rockets into Israeli territory and acting like thugs among the Palestinian populace. The pawns in all of this, and the ones who end up with nothing but a cynical outlook towards the success of any new negotiations, are the Palestinian citizens:
"There has been a lot of talk of peace, but we have seen no results. We no longer have hope," - Luay Kabbah
"Peace process? What peace process? That's so nineties. After 18 years, don't they feel silly? There are only two scenarios. The optimistic one is more of the same. The pessimistic one is it's going to get worse." - Ahmad Aweidah
"We have no hope. Netanyahu will not give a thing, not in a year, not in years. Abu Mazen was forced to agree and therefore the talks will never succeed." - Jamal Khamis
"We are the audience in a theatre. We have memorised the play so many times, it is repeated in different forms, and sometimes with different faces, but it's the same. We know the final outcome. We don't feel hope coming out of it." - Samir Hulileh
Unfortunately, this maybe the final act of the play, and if a Palestinian state doesn't emerge out of these talks, then it never will. Netanyahu is against the establishment of a Palestinian state, he sees in it the seeds of destruction of the Israeli state, and so it's why he wants to talk about security matters before talking borders. His reasoning was explained in a speech he gave in 2002 before the Knesset, quoting from Yaakov Hazan:

“Guaranteeing our national survival requires that we fight against the establishment of another Arab state on the West Bank. The entire essence of such a state would be directed against the existence of the State of Israel. No agreements or contracts would do any good – nor would peace treaties. Life is stronger than any of these.

“Squeezed in between two states – Jordan on the east and Israel on the West – this state would be a pressure cooker, always on the verge of bursting, with the explosion directed first of all westward – against us.

“It would be a state that would not be able or want to control the ‘dissidents’ among it, with the excuse that it is too weak to do so. It would become the most dangerous of jumping boards for terror directed against us. And ultimately, when we once again would be required to take matters into our own hands – and to fight with one raid following on the heels of another, we would appear in the eyes of the world to be conspiring against the existence of a young state that had just been born.”

So, does Hillary or Barack have a Plan B for Palestine? It looks more and more that they will need several alternatives, and handling the two major participants will be worse than dealing with Sarrah Palin and Glenn Beck combined. If I may humbly suggest that we begin each session of negotiations away from all of our experts, and offer everyone a selection of wonderful medical marijuana products from California and Colorado? See what we mean when we say Shop Colorado Proud... For a radical change, may I also offer that all world leaders start taking acid trips together. Instead of Bedouin tribes, we'd have Rainbow tribes... I can see Benjamin Netanyahu tripping out with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, maybe watching some old re-runs of Star Trek, or dancing to old Grateful Dead albums... Please Don't Dominate The Rap, Jack...

Talk on the Sunday shows was dominated by the troop withdrawal in Iraq, trying to find significance and solace that it was done so matter-of-fact, without any parades or picnics, without any hugging and kissing in the streets. Instead, we got an orderly pullout, produced by KBR.

Much hoo-haa is made that we have taken out combat troops, and the 50,000 troops left behind are just going to sit around by themselves playing video games and emailing home while sipping cool drinks by Saddam's old swimming pools. Nothing has been said about the 72,000 private contractors still hired by the Department of Defense, who will probably do all of the dirty work, maybe follow each soldier around and cut their meat for them or wipe their ass when needed. Then, the[re are the private contractors who are hired by the State Department, and the private contractors hired by the Iraqi government, and the private contractors hired by private companies... All in all, there should be enough to neutralize any upswing in insurgent activities, and we don't have to count them in any official statistics... The problem with private contractors, is that they are solely mercenaries, working for money. Where the US military and the Iraqi military is largely composed of people who are patriotic to our countries, mercenaries no longer have those moral equivalencies. Most US private contractors are made up of ex-military, combined with ex-intelligence services, combined with people who, shall we say, lived their lives on the wrong side of the law? You have private companies that sell arms, some run drugs, some harvest and sell human organs, some find and sell radioactive materials, some traffic in human lives, and yes, some traffic in children. There's not much difference in these companies and international criminal cartels, look at the evolution of Blackwater's Eric Prince, who started out as a rich super-duper Christian spook, and evolved into an amoral person willing to skirt the laws of the US and Iraq, enough to have been fined $42 million by the US Justice Dept, and now he has taken his family to live in Abu Dabi, where he thinks he will be hassled less.

I have yet to see any investigative journalism into where the Pentagon's disappearance of $87.1 billion dollars went, that was supposed to have gone for reconstruction projects in Iraq. Guess that's why there's no reliable electricity in Iraq, or plumbing, or waste management. I haven't seen a list of those companies hired to do those kinds of projects, or any Congressional hearings. Guess that's not up there on the mid-term election list of things to do. $87.1 billion would be nice to recover, but I don't see it happening unless the public starts making a stink about these things, prompting the media to start asking embarrassing questions... I saw L Paul Bremer 111 being asked his opinions on what progress we had made in Iraq. So funny, the last time I saw him, he was dodging questions from Henry Waxman, saying that he couldn't remember what happened to the $1 billion in cash he had sent over to Iraq in a military transport for his personal use...

Modern warfare no longer is about any clear-cut ends or objectives being met. If we had left Iraq and Afghanistan immediately after our military had defeated them, the situation would be more clear. But we stayed, and like all occupations, things don't always go as planned, or lack of plans. We have nothing that a soldier can proudly point to and say that the lives of his friends contributed in the making. We don't have any grateful nations thanking us or even remaining on friendly terms with us. I don't see any package vacations being offered to Baghdad or Kabul anytime soon. Instead, we have brought a more impersonal face to war, it now resembles a video game, with unmanned drones replacing the grunts on the ground. The Pentagon and its hierarchy has become obsolete as our military has become more competent and professional, more able to make sound decisions and communicate with the host countries on their own. Perhaps Robert Gates will get rid of some of these lame ducks before he retires...

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