Obama’s Deafening Silence On Gaza

Judging by some editorials, letters to the editor, and some comments in Facebook, it appears that there is a block of Obama’s supporters that are quite unhappy at Obama’s silence during Israel’s action in Gaza against Hamas. And there is at least some portion of this block that are especially vexed because Obama was quick to condemn the Mumbai Massacre.

For example, this from Khalid Mish’al, writing in the Guardian

Once again, Washington and Europe have opted to aid and abet the jailer, occupier and aggressor, and to condemn its victims. We hoped Barack Obama would break with George Bush’s disastrous legacy but his start is not encouraging. While he swiftly moved to denounce the Mumbai attacks, he remains tongue-tied after 10 days of slaughter in Gaza.

And these similar sentiments, from a comment on an article posted in Facebook

What is more abhorrent is the President-elect’s silence over the carnage in Gaza, while he was quick to condemn the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

What I find interesting here is the equivalency between the Pakistani killers in Mumbai and the Israelis in Gaza. Here’s how I would size things up.

  • Whereas the Mumbai killers struck against innocent people, minding their own business, staying in a hotel or serving in a place of worship, the Israelis are striking against a group that has sent thousands of missiles toward the 800,000 Israelis living within Qassam, Grad, and Fajr rocket range.
  • Whereas the Mumbai killers struck without (a real) warning and shot victims indiscriminately, the Israelis have used intelligence assets, precision guided munitions, air-dropped leaflets, and phone calls in an effort to reduce the inevitable loss of innocent life that is occasioned when combatants live and operate within a civilian population.
  • Whereas the Mumbai killers struck targets that were known to be popular among travelers from the United States and the west, Israel is striking targets that have been characterized as a proxy for Iran and Syria, targets that no doubt danced and celebrated in the streets when the US was struck seven years ago.

Focusing for a moment on the idea of Hamas as proxy, consider this article from the TimesOnLine, titled Palestinian group Hamas admits that its fighters are trained in Iran

“Iran is our mother,” the commander said. “She gives us information, military supplies and financial support.”

Or this article, also from the TimesOnLine, titled Hamas wages Iran’s proxy war on Israel

So far, 150 members of Qassam have passed through training in Tehran, where they study for between 45 days and six months at a closed military base under the command of the elite Revolutionary Guard force.

Of the additional 150 who are in Tehran now, some will go into Hamas’s research unit if they are not deemed strong enough for fighting.

Conditions at the base are strict, the commander said. The Palestinians are allowed out only one day a week. Even then, they may leave the base only in a group and with Iranian security. They shop and “always come back with really good boots”.

According to the commander, a further 650 Hamas fighters have trained in Syria under instructors who learnt their techniques in Iran. Sixty-two are in Syria now.

But what Hamas values most is the knowledge that comes directly from Iran. Some of it was used to devastating effect by the militant group Hezbollah against Israeli forces in Lebanon in 2006.

Recall that during the campaign, Barrack Obama spoke pretty tough about Iran. It was Obama that refused to take military options off the table. It was Obama that talked of big sticks and big carrots. It was Obama that characterized a nuclear Iran as unacceptable. Other than Obama’s favoring some level of diplomatic talks, I didn’t see much difference between McCain and Obama in regard to Iran.

So what must those vexed by Obama’s silence be thinking? They seem to favor a President that is gripped by a Carter-esque anti-semitism. From what we know so far, it appears that they will be disappointed.

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