Friday, August 29, 2014

Obama does damage control on Isis and Ukraine while Isis and Putin keep doing damage.

In a pre Labor Day press conference that he probably wishes he had never called,   fielding questions related to the two most current and pressing foreign policy issues at the moment, Isis and Russia's continued armed invasion of eastern Ukraine Obama announced, as has now been widely reported, that in dealing with Isis in Syria, something that had been called to his attention more than a year ago, he has no strategy. Yet.

That led to a lot of damage control by the White House in trying to explain that statement and almost everything else Obama said in his press conference which reeked of an inadaquacy  that seemed to stun even the usually compliant media, though Jim Acosta at CNN managed to call Obama's announcement of inaction with either Isis or Putin as "cautious".

But for the most part Obama couldn't stop the criticism and head shaking at just how ineffective and tepid his statements were and the more Obama spoke the worse it got as he tried to explain his strategy in dealing with Isis in both Syria and Iraq and with Putin and his continued invasion of Ukraine.

Obama's statement that they haven't decided on a course of action against Isis in Syria was met with incredulity since Obama had been told about the threat more than a year ago even though Isis has now erupted into a full blown crisis.

Syria was where Isis started and where they might have been nipped in the bud had Obama taken Hillary Clinton and then Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta's  recommendation at the time to arm the moderate groups of Syrian rebels.  But that would have meant Obama would have had to make a  decision beyond " dont do stupid stuff". Instead Obama did do stupid stuff by deciding to do nothing and now, Isis has become the threat he was warned against and  is on the march and getting stronger and is now even threatening attacks against the U.S.

In response to that, in Iraq, Obama says his strategy against Isis is to degrade and disrupt Isis as well as protect U.S. assets on the ground.   But in talking about degrading and disrupting,  Obama left out the one word that starts with a "d" that anyone cared about, the one word that starts with a "d" that is the only word that really matters when it comes to Isis. And the only word that amounts to a real strategy of any consequence.  And that word is "destroy". And that word was missing from Obama's strategy even in Iraq.

Which, as Barbara Starr pointed out on CNN was a message Obama sent to Isis that for the moment,  probably made them throw a party thinking they have nothing to fear from the U.S.  That message has also been pointed out and criticized by almost everyone except the most loyal and blind Obama sycophants of which there seems to be fewer and fewer.

A former member of the Joints Chiefs of Staff was quoted anonymously saying Obama's failure to mention "destroy" as part of the strategy against Isis in Iraq  demoralized the U.S. military and it also sent a message to Isis that they have nothing to fear from the U.S. which will only embolden them.

The same not so coincidentally, has been  true for Putin who also knows he has nothing to fear from Obama as he's known from the beginning. In dealing with the Russian insurgence in Ukraine,  it's only been the election of Poroshenko who, once he came to power,  rejected Obama's weak and ineffective approach and did what Obama seems incapable of, taking decisive military action which changed everything and resulted in the Ukraine military retaking much of the territory the rebels were able to seize while the interim government under Obama's guidance, capitulated.

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark returned from a trip to Ukraine in March and  in an interview at the time said that the interim government had been given "guidance" by the Obama administration in dealing with Crimea to avoid bloodshed at all costs and to do nothing that might provoke Putin into invading. That led to a series of humiliating surrenders by the Ukraine military and ulimtately to the Russian annexation of Crimea. It also led to the expansion of the rebels into eastern Ukraine and a wider war with Putin's interference.

Just as Isis could have been nipped in the bud with decisive action a year ago in Syria, the war in eastern Ukraine could have been avoided with decisive military action in standing up to Putin and the rebel forces in Crimea in the first place -- exactly what Obama advised against.

In his press conference Obama reiterated that there would be no military aid to Ukraine  even as Putin has been sending in more tanks, thousands of troops and the Buk missiles that brought down MH-17. It has resulted in recent heavy losses for the Ukrainian army which is now fighting against Russian troops and heavy weapons supplied by Putin. Obama's head in the sand idea of helping Ukraine has been with "non-lethal aid",  which led a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, disgusted with Obama's response, to call Obama's aid to Ukraine as  " nothing more than camping equipment".  Which, as with Isis, also let Putin know he has nothing to fear from the U. S. in helping  the Ukrainian military.

Then  in response to a question about Russia's military intervention in Ukraine and the lack of U.S. military help,  Obama's answer, incredulously, were that  the sanctions were working. This is an answer which can only be described as either self deluded or selling snake oil from the back of a horse drawn wagon.  The sanctions had only one purpose. To deter Putin from annexing Crimea, to deter Putin from massing troops on Ukraine's border, and to deter Putin from sending Russian troops and heavy armor and weapons into Ukraine to help the rebels. That's how well the sanctions have been working. The sanctions have done none of those things because Putin doesn't care about the sanctions. He wants Ukraine. And sanctions aren't going to stop him. Putin has dreams of reconstituting the old Soviet Union. He has sent Russian troops into Ukraine who have been killed in the process and is sending more. Does anyone think he cares if interest rates go up, unemployment goes up or the ruble goes down?

Yet for Obama, the sanctions are working. Leading anyone to conclude that Obama is unable to grasp the difference between sanctions having some effect on the Russian economy which to a small degree they are, and having any effect on Putin and his actions which to a total degree they aren't.

What's needed for Ukraine as Wesley Clarke pointed out,  is military help from the U.S. and other NATO countries in the form of weapons both offensive and defensive, intelligence capabilities, and any other help, including advisors on the ground, to help the Ukrainian military trying to defend the freedom of 45 million Ukrainians from Russian dominance. And to let Putin know that if he continues arming the rebels NATO will view that as a threat to Europe and begin military aid to Ukraine. Instead Obama talks about the obvious,that  Russian military aid is streaming into Ukraine but offers nothing else.

It was clear from the beginning that Putin was using Hitler's strategy of taking the Rhineland and the Sudetenland by concocting a phony need to defend  German speaking people and used the same pretext for invading Crimea and then successfully annexing it, thanks to Obama's weakness. Having steamrolled, intimidated and essentially bullied Obama in Crimea,  Putin, predictably, has been moving on eastern Ukraine again counting on Obama's weakness and inability to stand up to him. And so far Obama has not disappointed. And we know from Syria and Assad's use of chemical weapons, that if Obama draws a line in the sand he will draw it at the water's edge where even a low tide will wash it away. It has only been Poroshenko's resolve and use of his military that has kept Putin from overrunning eastern Ukraine.

There is no doubt that Putin wants Ukraine and has dreams of re-creating the old Soviet Union. He is counting on Obama and NATO which is U.S. led, to let it happen and not have the backbone to stand up to him militarily. So far he's been right with Obama, sounding more like Neville Chamberlin every day, proclaiming " the sanctions are working".  They are not working.

There is that old adage that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Putin has invaded eastern Ukraine as surely as Hitler invaded the Rhineland and the Sudentland. And with a U.S. president who has already proved he can't or won't stand up to Putin (or anyone else for that matter)   and a NATO alliance and EU not doing any better, it's now an open question as to whether they will  let Putin take Ukraine the way Hitler took Poland. Because sanctions will not stop it.

But  when you're a president that has been as ineffective as Obama has been on all fronts, with his actions as well as his statements on Isis and Putin making him look clueless, maybe being able to say anything is working is an achievment. Even if its the plumbing.

NOTE: Days after being mocked, not only here but in congress and around the world for his weak, tepid,  almost antiseptic statements about what to do about Isis, Obama changed his tune at the NATO summit and is now freely using the "D" word about Isis that he managed to miss in the first place - "destroy". 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Israel, Gaza and the myth of the disproportionate response.

With the five day Gaza cease fire at an end, ended with rocket fire from Hamas even before the cease fire expired, Israelis and Hamas have already begun another round of military exchanges with the same results as before.

Which almost assures that, along with the usual inadequate,sometimes mindless, coverage by the news media who can't get enough of Hamas controlled, supplied or approved video of casualites or destruction used as propaganda which the media runs on a loop,the previous exercise in journalistic absurdity from those like JD Tapper at CNN  others will begin again: the issue of the "disproportionate response".

The "disproportionate response" issue began before the last cease fire as a visceral response to the Hamas approved video of emergency rooms and rubble. But it's starting again. You see it in the reporting of journalists like Laura Carlsen in an opinion piece at  Al-Jazeera, where she has defined Israel's response to Hamas' terrorist rocket attacks as the "Israeli offensive" ( it's actually her reporting that's offensive) and defines the Gaza war as an Israeli offensive solely based on the disparity between Palestinian casualties and Israeli  and the failure of Hamas to cause more. Which is what makes  the idea of disproprtionate response in war not just mindless but with no basis in reality or morality and no relation to anything taking place in Gaza as a military response.

In matters of life of death there is no such thing as a disproportionate response. What matters is putting an end to an attack. That is true on an individual level, a law enforcement level and a military level. In fact the Powell Doctrine used in the first Gulf War was predicated on the use of overwhelming force against an enemy.

A disproportionate response is if someone takes your parking space and you shoot them. The space that Hamas wants to take, according to their charter, is the entire state of Israel which they regard as "the occupation".  Using all the force necessary to stop or defeat a state enemy that is attacking you militarily with rockets and other offensive weapons with the intent to cause mass casualties is never and can never be disproportionate.

To highlight the stupidity of the "disproportionate  response" argument, especially as it pertains to the Israeli military action to destroy attack tunnels and rockets in Gaza,  those who bring up "disproportionate response" always  point to the disproportionate casualties as the crux of their argument. A few journalists have made this simple minded comparison, among them JD Tapper, and Nick Schiffren,  a journalist for Al-Jazeera. 

Its disproportionally stupid to think that the difference in casualty figures has anything to do with disproportionate response. Hamas launched 3500 rockets into Israel, each capable, if they landed in the  heavily populated areas Hamas was trying to hit, of killing at least 10 people if it hit a crowd, and wounding many more. (see the above image of the cows killed by a single Hamas rocket hitting an Israeli dairy farm).A simple hand grenade thrown into a crowd would kill 5 or 6. If the Hamas rockets had hit their targets in cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa or Jerusalem and  Israel didn't have it 'a warning system or the Iron Dome, the rockets would have had the potential to kill 35,000 Israelis and wound tens of thousands more. That they didn't is no cogent argument that Israel's military response  to take out those rockets was disproportionate.

What those who bring up a disproportionate response are really complaining about ( if complaining is what they're doing)  has nothing to do with disproportionate response but Israel having disproportionate success both offensively and defensively. Which,if that's what they  really mean, is a morally bankrupt argument. Which is why Hamas also makes it. 

To further expose the absurdity of the number of casualties as the criteria for a disproportionate response,  imagine if a group of 20-30  terrorists piled out of a van in Times Square and opened fire with automatic weapons shooting at people indiscriminately with bullets flying wildly and civilians diving for cover.And imagine that only two or three civilians were actually hit.  And imagine an NYPD Swat Team arriving and killing all the terrorists.  What would happen to JD Tapper or any other journalist who tried to raise the issue of whether the NYPD response was disproportionate in killing all  the terrorists because only two bystanders were hit in the attacks?  It would be the end of their careers as journalists. And probably still should be.

It is no different on a personal level. If you are asleep in your bedroom with a gun on a night table for self defense and an intruder kicks in your door and enters with a knife, what are you doing to do?  Try and get to the kitchen to get your own knife so your response is proportionate? Or pick up the gun and shoot? 

Even in terms of  casualty figures the numbers offered by the UN have already proved to be bogus and not to be trusted since they are  given to the UN by Hamas and the Hamas controlled Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. That includes  the percentage of civilian casualties which the UN keeps parroting and journalists keep reporting, ignoring the fact that the UN has no way of checking the figures or the percentages, that Hamas would never be truthful about the number of their fighters killed, and that their  percentages are at disproportionate odds with the IDF figures of Hamas fighters killed which the UN ignores. According to the IDF over 900 Hamas fighters have been killed. That would put civilian casualties at 50% not the ever changing 70-80% Hamas and the UN keep reporting. 

For the news media or those who insist on using casualty figures to keep score like it was a game, Hamas had sent human bombers into Israel who killed 1400 from 2006-2007 but are not taken into account perhaps because the images of those casualties arent recent enough. But it's those casualties that are at the heart of the border closings and blockade that is at the crux of the current war.  It was the intention of Hamas to tunnel into Israel to cause more of those casualties while they now fire rockets with the irrational  idea that  they can force  the reopening of those borders. 

Which again shows there is no such thing as a disproportionate response to force Hamas to end their attacks and if necessary, destroy Hamas militarily if they refuse to stop voluntarily. 

The "disproportionate response" argument  also keeps citing  the number  of "innocent civilian" casualties as fuel for the disproportionate response argument. The term is  bandied about by the media as if "innocent" and "civilian" automatically go together. Certainly the children in Gaza are innocent having been victimized by the adults in Gaza who brought this all on.  But are the adult civilians who support Hamas really that innocent?  As Hillary Clinton pointed out  Hamas is responsible for all of the civilian casualties in Gaza. And it was the civilian adults in Gaza who elected Hamas, a psychopathic collection of terrorist killers to be their government and act on their behalf when they could have elected Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Had Abbas been controlling Gaza there would be no blockade or border closings. And no war. But the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas in 2007 knowing full well what Hamas is.And in that way makes them as responsible as Hamas for causing the circumstances they have been enduring that they want to see end. 

There is more evidence that many of these "innocent civilians" are not so innocent.  Rockets have been stored in the homes of these "innocent" civilians, assembled in the homes of these "innocent" civilian and fired from the homes of these "innocent civilians". And every terror tunnel had its entrance started in a civilian home with the help and support of the civilians who lived in those homes.Which is why those homes were destroyed.

The Institute for Palestinian Studies issued a shocking report in 2012 on these tunnels and reported that, with information supplied by Hamas, 160 Palestinian children being used by Hamas to dig those tunnels were killed digging those tunnels. And that doesn't count all the children Hamas used that survived. Children who were used with the permission of their parents to help Hamas dig tunnels whose sole purpose was to kill Israelis and their children . Which also doesn't sound very innocent. 

Before the cease fire ended there was a rally in Gaza attended by thousands of Palestinians who,  according to reports, were showing their support for Hamas and calling for more rocket fire and attacks on Israel if Hamas demands were not met while at the same time refusing Israeli demands that Gaza be demilitarized. There was talk that Israel might agree to an easing of the blockade with international supervision at the crossings to inspect what goes in and out. But that wasn't good enough for Hamas.

Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas official who led the rally in Gaza said Hamas would never give up its arms under any circumstances and demanded Israel open its borders and lift the blockade.

Mushir told the crowd. "Our fingers are on the trigger and our rockets are trained on Tel Aviv, Lod and beyond".

This is the organization the Palestinians in Gaza elected to be their representative government and to act on their behalf. Again, they could have elected Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and there would be no blockade or border closings. And no war. But they didn't.

Now, as the cease fire has ended Palestinian negotiators in Egypt who want the blockade lifted say that Palestinians in Gaza deserve to live like normal people. Maybe they do but first they should start acting like it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How Hamas can have the Gaza blockade lifted: Leave Gaza.

With Hamas ending the cease fire by resuming the firing of rockets into Israel  as a result of Israel refusing to meet it's demands and the Israeli delegation leaving Cairo, negotiations which never had a chance in the first place are at an end.

The conventional wisdom in the current Israeli-Palestinian-Hamas conflict is that it's a complicated situatation. Conventional wisdom is never wise, precisely because its conventional and almost always misses the point, the simple and the obvious. And it does again.

The demand that Hamas has made is that Israel lift the blockade and border crossings that it put in place in 2007 after Hamas used those crossings to send human bombers into Israel to blow up buses, restarants, hotel dining rooms to kill Israeli civilians. They killed 1400 Israelis and wounded thousands more.

The sea blockade is to keep Hamas from being resupplied with rockets by Iran. The Egyptian border closing is to keep Hamas and Palestinians out of Egypt which the government there has always considered a threat and to keep Hamas from importing material that can be used for offensive purposes into Gaza.

It should be noted the UN has said the sea blockade is legitimate, legal and appropriate under international law.

Which makes the whole issue pretty simple. If Hamas really cares about the Palestinians in Gaza, if they really want them to be able to resume a more normal life and engage in trade and be able to freely enter into Israel, Hamas can get everything it wants for the Palestinians in Gaza. All they have to do is leave. As in lay  down their arms, let Israel or international monitors go in and destroy the rest of their rockets, then get out.

No Hamas, no rockets, no tunnels, no human bombers, no problem. The borders open, the blockade lifts, security forces from the Palestinian Authority and perhaps other international peace keepers prevents Hamas and the other terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad from returning and rearming  and things in Gaza get back to normal.

Its not complicated at all. Its simple. And easy. And there's precedent.  It wouldn't be the first time a ruler or a government stepped down for the good of its people. Even the Pope resigned when he thought he could no longer be effective.

But the Palestinians and their leadership who never wants to take responsibility for anything, who began the conflict in 1948 by refusing to accept the UN resolution that created the state of Israel and instead started 5 wars and multiple terrorist attacks since, who reneged on agreements like the Oslo Accords, then claims victimhood, sees everything in reverse to suit their own purposes. 

The Palestinian chief  negotiator issued a statement saying that the rockets " would stop if Israel lifted the blockade immediately".  The reality for everyone else is that the border crossings would reopen if Hamas left immediately. Or at the very least lived up to the Oslo Agreement which required the demilitariazation of Gaza. If Hamas is no longer a threat, the borders would reopen. When the Palestinian negotiators figure that out, then progress can be made. Not before.

 That Hamas refuses to agree to leave or disarm in return for the border crossings reopening is all anyone needs to know about Hamas' true motives and goals which has nothing to do with the Palestinians in Gaza or their well being but only to use Gaza as a base for attacking Israel. No more no less. It also reveals the "it's not our fault" attitude of Palestinians and their negotiators.

 The response from the Palestinian side  to Israel's demand that Hamas give up it's weapons is that Israel has no right to demand  a soverign elected government, which Hamas is in Gaza, to give up their military capabilities. Yet the Palestinian negotiators who live in their own world,   think Hamas has a right to demand that Israel , a soverign government, do what they demand with their borders and who Israel lets in to its own country. This is why the Palestinians are in the same place they've been for decades -- starting wars, losing them,  then making one sided demands -- also ignoring that Hamas is a terrorist organization who has no rights, moral standing or legitimacy.

Which is why Hamas could care less about civilian casualties most of whom, except for the children of Gaza, are supporters of Hamas and their actions anyway, have allowed their homes to be used to store rockets, build rockets, and launch rockets at Israel and allowed their homes to be used to dig the tunnels that Hamas planned to use  to attack Israeli civilians, something the news media chooses to ignore and why many homes were destroyed. And when it comes to children, there is an independent report by the Institute For Palestinian Studies, that documented in 2012 that Hamas used Palestinian children, clearly with the permission and support of their parents, to initially dig the attack tunnels until the tunnels were large enough for adults to continue the work. In the process, according to the report from the Institute For Palestinian Studies,  160 Palestinian children were killed digging those tunnels.  That is who Hamas is, that is who many of the Palestinians in Gaza are who let their children be used to dig tunnels to kill Israelis and their children and what the Israelis are dealing with. 

The demilitarization of Gaza, which is another way of saying de-fanging and declawing Hamas,  is non-negotiable for Israel and everyone knows it. And is provided for in the Oslo Accords. Except it seems Palestinian negotiators think that there is only the obligation for one side to live up to agreements and it isnt the Palestinians continuing to  ignore the requirements in the Oslo Accords. 

As long as the military wing of Hamas is armed and remains in Gaza there will be no lifting of anything. Except maybe lifting of the fascade Hamas uses that ending the blockade has anything to do with a better life for Palestinians in Gaza.

If Hamas wants the borders reopened and the sea blockade lifted, they could get it immediately.All they have to do is leave Gaza. And not let the door hit them on the way out.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Israeli Gaza conflict images CNN doesn't show.

Hamas has started still another war and has been firing rockets into Israel for three weeks demanding that Israel open the border crossings from Gaza into Israel.  The pictures above show why the border crossings have been closed since 2006.

They show the aftermath of Hamas human bombers sent into Israel to kill and maim Israeli civilians and women and children at a time the border crossings were open.

While CNN continues to show the Hamas fed and authorized video that Hamas uses as propaganda showing the rubble and civilian casualties that Hamas itself does everything it can to cause for their own propaganda purposes, to listen to CNN journalists showing the footage over and over again and lamenting the civilian casualties you would think that nothing related to the Israeli-Hamas conflict occurred before last Wednesday. They forget the carnage that occurred in Israel a few years ago caused by Hamas and their human bombers which is what led to the border closings in the first place. It's ignored by CNN so they can bring you the up to the minute video of rubble and casualties taking place in Gaza now, the result of Israel going after the tunnels and rockets Hamas has been firing for three weeks in trying to cause mass casualties. And going after  Hamas fighters themselves.

CNN and other news outlets have conveniently ignored the carnage in Israel which was caused by Hamas that is directly linked to what is happening in Gaza now. And why? Because it happened years ago and doesnt make as good television as what's happening in Gaza now?  Or maybe because it gets in the way of their other storyline, that the rockets fired by Hamas are really not doing that much damage while the Palestinians who support the rocket fire are really suffering. So the intent of Hamas to cause mass casualties is, for the news media, besides the point. It's only success that counts. Keeping score.

Except the pictures above show the suffering Hamas caused in the past and would do again if it was able (there are images that are much worse than what you see here if youre inclined to do your own search).

Those pictures show what  Hamas did before the border closings and it's part of the reason the borders from Gaza into Israel are closed which Hamas has fired 2600 rockets to stupidly try and force Israel to re-open. But CNN forgets all that too. CNN also forgets that Hamas is in power in Gaza because the Palestinians who live there elected them, chose them in an election over the Palestinian Authority and Abbas knowing full well who Hamas was and what they do.

So while CNN  shows nothing but video of the casualties and rubble  in Gaza  they've forgotten about the casualties in Israel caused by Hamas and their human bombers  blowing up buses, a Sbarros crowded with mothers having lunch with their children, a Passover seder at a large Israeli hotel, or a crowded street, cafeteria, or school, in Israeli cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.

For weeks CNN and some other news outlets having been showing the Gaza video either provided by Hamas or with their permission and  the civilian casualties, something CNN eats up judging by how many times they show the same footage over and over again until they get something new. They show destroyed homes in Gaza but barely giving passing lip service to the fact that Hamas uses those civilian homes and structures to build rockets, store rockets, fire rockets and also to dig their tunnels. All with the permission or help of the Palestinian civilians living in those homes.

And while CNN and others parade the casuality figures like it's a soccer match  (supplied only by Hamas and with UN cooperation though the UN has no way to confirm the truthfulness of the reports) they forget, as the photos above remind us,  that more than 1400 Israeli civilians were killed in those Hamas human bombings and tens of thousands more maimed and wounded.

For perspective in terms of deaths and injuries it would be equal to the United States being subjected to 1,000 Boston Marathon bombings in American cities across the country.  That would be one Boston marathon type  bombing  either at an event, or a shopping mall, or a school  or on a bus and the attendent deaths and injuries, once a day, every day 7 days a week for 3 years.

Now imagine it was all the work of  single a foreign government and we knew who that government was and where.  There would not be a U.S. president, not even Obama, would not be compelled to use all the might of the U.S. military to attack that country and not stop until that government and their capability to conduct those attacks were completely destroyed. We would not just have boots on the ground but all the boots necessary to get the job done. No doubt many of their civilians, most of whom supported or aided or abetted the government doing the attacking would be killed or arrested. Just as most of the Palestinians in Gaza support, aid and abet Hamas, a small issue the journalists bringing you the awful pictures in Gaza refuse to bring up with the Palestinians on the street they interview. Not once has any journalist in Gaza ever asked a Palestinian if they voted for Hamas.

As any expert will tell you, Hamas is conducting a guerrilla war. As any expert will  also tell you its impossible for a fighting force to conduct a guerrilla war without the complete support of the civilian population who aid and abet them. And most of the adult civilians in Gaza do.

It must always be kept in mind that the adult civilians in Gaza are not hostages of Hamas. If the election results are valid ( and no one ever bothered to find out if they were), Hamas , a psychopathic group of killers and terrorists were duly elected as the  government of Gaza by the Palestinians in Gaza who knew just who they were. And this is the group they elected to represent them and act on their behalf.  That is about as innocent as the German people electing Hitler and supporting the Nazi party. Hamas has always and is now, acting for Hamas' own ends with the support and protection of the Palestinians in Gaza. Those civilians allow Hamas to store rockets in their homes. To build rockets in their homes. To fire rockets from their homes . And dig tunnels from their homes into Israel to kill Israelis and Israeli children. And now those Palestinian adults are having to deal with the consequences of who they chose to support. The children of course are innocent. Many of the adults are not.

When Wolf Blitzer interviews Osama Hamdan, the spokesman for Hamas and gives air time and equal weight and credibility to the people who caused the carnage in the pictures above and lets them lie as Blitzer always does, without challenge, (Don Lemon didn't ) he gives them legitimacy. And fuels their rocket fire. If he did that with a terrorist group who caused  equal damage in the U.S.  he'd be out of a job.  And probaby still should. Blitzer has proved to be a complete fool as a journalist, consistantly played for a fool by Hamas who uses him as nothing more than an official conduit for their lies and propaganda which he listens to, accepts, and can't muster the courage or integrity to stand up to or challenge during his interviews.

After looking at the pictures of what Hamas caused in Israel before the borders were closed, and watching the Hamas fed footage of casualties including tragically, the child casualties that Hamas loves and that  CNN runs on a loop, then watching Wolf Blitzer who thinks thinks he's being noble by giving the spokesman for the killers who caused whats in those pictures equal time for their point of view, repeating himself contantly as the video from Gaza plays, talking about the "horrible, horrible, terrible, terrible, awful awful,  " things happening in Gaza to ingratiate himself with Hamas so they'll do more interviews,  the Wolf Bltizer with a short memory, or maybe no memory at all or more likely no integrity, after having watched more video of the rubble and collapsed buildings in Gaza and  thinking yes, war is hell, now, after looking at those pictures above and remembering why the borders are closed and that Hamas is still firing rockets into Israel trying to cause mass casualites and demanding those borders reopen,  its easy to understand why 97% of Israelis support the military offensive and why every time there is a huge explosion in Gaza caused by the Israeli military, it gives a lot of people a reason to cheer. At least as big a cheer as the media reports of cheers going up in the streets from the innocent civilians in Gaza every time they see Hamas launch another rocket.

NOTE: In terms of truth and honest reporting, the UN had been reporting for weeks that 80% of the casualties in Gaza are civilian. At first blush, the number was always preposterous and probably dishonest for a number of reasons. First, the UN has no direct access to the IDF figures of Hamas fighters killed, which the IDF announces periodically. Second, there is no way for the UN to independently confirm the percentage of civilian casualties to Hamas fighters for precisely that reason. And third, the civilian casualty figures are given to the UN by the Hamas controlled Health Ministry.

 More than a week ago when the death toll was 600, the UN said 80% were civilians. That would mean the Israelis killed 120 Hamas fighters.  But the IDF said independently at the time they had killed 246 Hamas fighters twice the number the UN claimed. If the IDF number is accurate (and its probably more accurate than the UN since the UN has no access to the number of Hamas fighters killed)  then the civilian toll would be 60% not 80%. Yes, still high although as pointed out above, many civilians have been actively engaged in aiding and abetting Hamas in the fighting and Hamas has widespread support for the rocket attacks.

The UN is now backtracking to a degree on the percentage of civilian casualties and  now, instead of giving out that number as definitive they qualified it by saying they "think"  the civilian casualties are 80% no longer willing to give that percentage as a certainty.Which shows how  irresponsible the UN can be since if they weren't sure, if they couldnt really confirm the percentage of civilian casualites they had no business announcing inflammatory figures like that in the first place. And other figures say those numbers are wrong.