Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.
We are witnessing the obliteration of Gaza. The death toll has already surpassed 16,000 as Israel continues to pummel targets with American-made bombs and missiles. Even CNN is worried (from my email update this AM):
Top UN officials are warning of an “apocalyptic” situation in Gaza with “no place safe to go” for civilians as the deepening humanitarian crisis sparks international concern. Israel is expanding ground operations to the entire territory to “eliminate” Hamas and has told Palestinians to flee large swaths of southern Gaza, where many had previously sought refuge. But the war-torn region is in the midst of a near-total internet blackout as the last major telecommunications operator said services are completely cut off. This means many Palestinians are unable to communicate with one another or call for help while evacuating, and emergency workers can’t coordinate their responses.
Caitlin Johnstone has a telling article in which she states an important truth: Israel couldn’t be doing this without generous U.S. support. Israel is dropping the bombs, firing the missiles, and shooting the artillery rounds and bullets, but the U.S. is largely serving as the merchant of death for all this, though “merchant” is the wrong word. The U.S. is giving all this deadly weaponry to Israel as “aid,” even as there’s much rhetorical gnashing of teeth in Washington about Israel’s “indiscriminate” bombing and wanton killing of Palestinian innocents, including thousands of children. I say “rhetorical” because as Johnstone notes, the U.S. government could curtail Israeli military action by turning off the spigot of arms flowing from U.S. arsenals and warehouses to Israel.
But that’s not going to happen. AIPAC has a hammerlock on Congress; those few members of Congress who’ve called for a ceasefire in Gaza are already being targeted by the powerful pro-Israel lobby, with AIPAC promising to spend upwards of $100 million to unseat those politicians who aren’t consumed by bloodlust against Gaza. The power of AIPAC is reinforced here by the MICC, the military-industrial-congressional complex that Ike warned us about in 1961, which stands to profit immensely from more war in the Middle East as well as Ukraine. The combination of AIPAC with the MICC is akin to Mechagodzilla, an almost unstoppable monster of immense power.
Godzilla in its various incarnations would be hard-pressed to duplicate the scenes of devastation we’re seeing in Gaza. Israel is practicing its own version of the infamous statement from America’s war against Vietnam: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”
The Israeli version: We had to destroy Gaza to save it from Hamas.
It made no sense in Vietnam, and it makes no sense today in Gaza. But this is not about making sense: it’s about power and vengeance and profit.
William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools. He writes at Bracing Views.