Made in USA

If you read the Failing New York Times‘ coverage of the Israeli bombing Gaza, it sounds like it’s all just something that kind of … happened. Nobody attacked a mosque full of Palestinians and injured over 170, firing rubber-covered steel bullets into the mosque, you know, the bullets were just flying through the air when they happened to hit some people. And some airplanes happened to be flying over dropping bombs, etc.

If you look for “Israeli airstrikes” you’ll find pictures of explosions and aftermath, or posed shots of the mighty warplanes used with such success against unarmed civilians. It’s the American way of making war: bomb the shit out of people, then claim that you needed to defend yourself against that raggedy-ass motherfucker who’s throwing rocks at next-generation military gear.

Other than US-made Paladin self-propelled guns, there are F-15s (made in USA!) and F-16s (made in USA!) and F-35s back in the hangar getting maintenance. The F-15s and F-16s are reliable work-horses. In the case of Gaza it’s hardly as if they’re dodging antiaircraft fire, or anything – it’s just bombing civilians.

Made in USA.

The US government wrings its hands about selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, then cooks up some bizarre arrangement in which the US provides fuel, maintenance, and satellite intelligence then claims it’s not helping the Saudis. It’s a practiced maneuver – we practiced it on Israel.

Popular Mechanics: [pm]

According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, Israel is dividing its airpower into two categories: jets that can strike targets just over the border in Lebanon and Syria, and jets that could hit distant but important targets such as Iran’s nuclear program. Israel has the F-35 for the former task, and it is building a strike force of F-15s for the latter. Although the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has stealth and sensors capable of picking up targets on the ground, it doesn’t have the range to strike targets up to a thousand miles away in Iran

Israel has had a nearly 40-year love affair with the F-15. It was one of the first countries to receive the Eagle and was the first to use it in action. The F-15 provides an impressive combination of power and range, allowing Israel to strike targets beyond the reach of most air forces. And because it’s a large fighter, it has room to add new systems as necessary. Israel’s defense industry has a long history of supporting the aircraft and creating upgrades to give the country’s Eagles a decisive edge.

The US’ arms industry has played a weird game in the Middle East, often giving Israel money ear-marked for spending on specific weapons systems. For example, the Israelis did “buy” F-35s, but they did so with money the US Congress gave them to spend on F-35s. It’s probably the only way that the US could get anyone to “buy” the damn things.

all made in USA

Israel has been doing a fine job of interfering with the Iraqi weapons program, without having to do any acts of war in the air, but that’s not good enough for the US or Israel. Israel, nobody mentions, is an undeclared nuclear state, which is not signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty – basically they’ve gotten a carte blanche to do what the Iranians are not being allowed to do. Personally, I’m unhappy that more nuclear weapons have been brought into the world, and I think that the international community should be opposing all of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, including the US, China, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, India, and North Korea. Governments should not be producing weapons of mass destruction while wagging the finger of authoritarian justice at other states that are manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. We’ve seen that the US is willing to use them; the US is in no position to shit-talk anyone on the topic.

I remember, during the protests in Tahrir Square, the camera panned across the field and I recognized a US-made M-119 armored personnel carrier. The US has been selling weapons to the very worst governments for a very long time and that ought to stop. Because the planes just fly themselves and bombs fall from them into a crowded city. Shit just happens.


Battles were waged in the skies above southern Israel and the ground below Gaza City, as Israeli warplanes bombarded the warren of tunnels used by Hamas militants to launch attacks.

Oh, those pesky battles! Meanwhile: Hamas!

Doesn’t a “battle being waged” require that there be two sides in the air? Or is it a “battle” when you fly over undefended airspace and drop bombs on civilians?

It reminds me of my painful and laborious deconstruction of Sam Harris’ “Why do you never criticize Israel?” blog posting [stderr] Oh, did I mention Hamas? That totally justifies bombing civilians. Why are we programmed to reflexively hate Hamas? Because they bomb civilians! It’s a self-licking ice cream cone.

Looking up the link to the Sam Harris piece, I wound up reading a bit of Harris’ argument. /yeccch. Remember, that’s a guy who writes books on morality. Well, you can judge the quality of his thinking pretty easily – and judge his understanding of history, because he tries to justify Israel’s actions based on Hamas’ threat, and he appears to be ignorant of when Hamas came into being, and when the colonization of Israel started. Wow, that’s some sloppy thinking, Sam.


  1. bodach says

    It all makes kind of sense, y’know. Israel “gave” the West Bank to the Palestinians and then decided to put some new houses there (just a few) and then maybe a couple more and then, for whatever reason, some Palestinians started throwing rocks and even some missiles (kinda like M-90s with wings) so, of course, the Israelis had to bomb them to rubble.
    Not even a war, just policing the area.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    I’ve been thinking about your earlier post on disproportionate responses. I think this is the logic: if you’re riding in the back seat with your brother, and he hits you in the arm, and you just ignore it or hit him back with equal or lesser force, then your brother will never stop hitting you. Whereas if you react by slamming his face against the window and send him to the hospital, then he will be too scared of you to ever hit you again.

    At least, this seems to be the logic that the Israelis used during the last 15-20 uprisings. It’s been working great so far — why should they ever do anything different?

  3. brucegee1962 says

    You know, I’m not sure if questions of morality really apply to nations. Individuals can be moral or immoral, but nations have interests. North Korea has decided that they don’t want to get pushed around by the superpowers, and their means of doing so by developing nukes may be immoral, but it certainly seems to work.

    What bugs me most about Israel isn’t that it’s immoral — it’s that its tactics are manifest failures. If their goal is to keep their citizens safe, it really really isn’t working. Yet they do the same thing over and over and over and over…

  4. John Morales says


    You know, I’m not sure if questions of morality really apply to nations. Individuals can be moral or immoral, but nations have interests.

    Of course it does.

  5. Ridana says

    “the warren of tunnels”
    Indiscriminately over-breeding rabbits live in warrens. Clearly such animals deserve less sympathy than those poor battles which are passively waged without their consent.

    It appears the times has amended the quoted paragraph. At 1:57 pm ET, it was changed to

    Battles were waged in the skies above Israel and the ground below Gaza City, as Israel bombarded the network of Hamas tunnels and tried to shoot down Hamas rockets.

    I guess that’s a little better? Still passive battles and Hamas!argh! though.

  6. komarov says

    Re: Ridana

    Well, if you want to (possibly over-)analyse the text, consider “trying to shoot down Hamas rockets.” It has a hint of desparation and suggests overall failure. Yet I remember reading somewhere (BBC?) that Israel claimed an interception rate of maybe 90% and that most of the rest were short rounds.

    Quite apart from that I still have no idea what those tunnels were actually used for other than maybe bunkers or storage. Whenever there’s tunnel-talk it seems to suggest they’re there for ground assaults which would have been huge headlines, had they happened. The only actual use I’ve ever heard about was to smuggle supplies across the border, and that was a while back. How do you wage an underground battle against air raids, anyway?

    P.S.: Ok, wikipedia has a list of tunnel attacks half a page long. It’s probably not going to be categorised under “stellar military successes”, given that these attacks inflicted 11 casualties in total and in some cases were ended by, you guessed it, Israeli airstrikes before they began. Unless there are updates it ends in 2014…

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