Tuesday, March 11, 2008

crying wolf

by Quincy Saul

Never cry wolf, we have been warned. This taboo has held my tongue for over a week now, even while witnessing this rapid escalation of violence and the means thereto, an increasingly global military deployment concentrated around a small strip in Palestine. But I hold my tongue no longer. Common sense suggests that one should cry wolf while one still can. After all, that opportunity is lost when the wolf has your throat in its teeth. Ask any Gazan.

So who and what is this wolf? Let’s get specific. Does the U.S. dog wag the Israeli tail, or is it the other way around? Who is really in control, and to what end? In light of recent history and events, I am lead to agree with Israeli commentator Michel Warschawski: "There is neither a dog nor a tail, but one global war of re-colonization, and one aggressive monster with two ugly heads."

Global war is the wolf I am crying about. Gaza has become the focal point of a world war of occupation, center stage in the spotlight of imperialism, the locus of a whirlpool into which the globalized military apparatus is spinning, faster and faster.

The architects of the war on Palestine are well aware of this. Several days ago, the military intelligence chief for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Amos Yadlin remarked that "the fact that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are not shooting now does not mean they are out of the battle".

The US, never one to miss out on international military conflagration, has stationed the USS Cole and two other destroyers off the coast of Lebanon. These warships, US commentator Justin Raimondo reminds us, are not on a cruise:

“The USS Cole and accompanying warships are not merely making a strong gesture; they have also effectively blockaded the Lebanese coast and will surely be intercepting any arms coming from Turkey or elsewhere, readying the battleground for the Israeli incursion.”

The diplomatic effect of this move by the US military has no fewer repercussions. The governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain have all warned their citizens to get out of Lebanon as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Lebanon is going through a contentious electoral process, which has already been delayed 15 times. The shadow of the US military can’t help but empower extremists. Fuses get shorter and matches are piling up everywhere.

To what extremes of violence could this conflict escalate? Olmert has declared that as far as Gaza is concerned, “nothing is off the table.” In politician-speak, this has always been code for the use of nuclear weapons. Of course, the size and scale of geography in Palestine would preclude a nuclear strike from any kind of sane perspective. But sanity has never been a prerequisite for power. We were not consoled to read in Haaretz that the Israeli Defense Department has recently purchased a new supply of “Logol” pills that treat the effects of nuclear radiation.

So. It’s tempting to be optimistic, to assume that some degree of sanity is present in political and military leadership, and to bury our fears in the “never cry wolf” narrative. But power just doesn’t listen to these conversations. Soldiers shoot, torturers torture, civilians die and mourn and fight back. Bombs fall and innocents die buried beneath rubble. Farmers starve and children beg while skyscrapers soar and stock markets boom. So disposession and extermination straddle the globe, posing themselves as an incontestable ultimatum to any resistance.

This is the wolf in the living room, a global war of recolonization.
Gaza is on stage, but as Marcos reminds us, there are no seats outside the ring.

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