Archive for August, 2006

For Feedreaders

31 August 2006

For people who read the feed but don’t visit the actual blog, the feed is now at Feedburner, the address is now Although, to the best of my knowledge, the wordpress feed will still exist for as long as the blog does, the Feedburner feed is better, and apparently more compatible with feedreaders. Looking at my stats there are a bunch of people who read the feed but not the blog itself, and if you’re one of them I urge you to move to the Feedburner feed.


Israeli Offensive Kills Nine

31 August 2006

Israeli soldiers killed nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to The New York Times. Although the NYT article did not say anything about the other eight, one of those killed was a teenage boy.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas to cease the firing of rockets into Israel. “What is happening in Gaza as a result of rockets fired in vain must stop right now because there is no interest in this continuing,” apparently asking both sides to cease the killing and noting that both the attacks by Israel and the rockets fired by Hamas are causing needless deaths. His point is overwhelmingly valid: Israel has far more military force than Hamas, and it is not realistic to think that firing rockets into the region will cause Israelis to leave, and also because Hamas will not be stopped by killing Palestinians, because Hamas is a guerrilla force and cannot truly be destroyed, the way a traditional military could be defeated.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely either side will listen to him.

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Bush Uses Facts, Kind of

30 August 2006

In discussing his foreign policy recently, Bush admitted its lack of popularity, both in the US and in the eyes of the world, according to MSNBC. He declared though that he didn’t have to try to be popular, a statement which apparently extends to mean that he didn’t have to have popular policies. Pretty ironic coming from a president who was only popularly elected half of the time.

He went on to say that terrorism came to America’s “shores,” so it was right to take the fight to them and bring foreign terrorists to Iraq (like al-Zarqawi, who ran “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” event though he was Jordanian), so that they can kill innocent Iraqi civilians instead of Americans. IN regards to shores, he went on to say that there were “failures” in the federal response system when Katrina hit.

He also said that, although the decisions to withdraw US support from the International Criminal Court and not sign the Kyoto Treaty were unpopular, “you’ve got to make decisions based upon what you think is right — that you can’t try to be popular.” Apparently signing the Kyoto Treaty would be the wrong thing to do. He said that “this is a country that is doing a lot of good,” mentioning that “when the tsunamis hit, it was the United States of America who took the lead.” Although in terms of dollars, the US gave the most, per capita the US ranks 19th and per dollars in GDP the US ranks 20th. Per person, the US gave only a little over 11% what Norway gave. And despite his failure to agree to the Kyoto Treaty, Bush maintains that one of his two main issues is reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

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Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Civilians

29 August 2006

Israeli troops shot and killed two civilians Monday in the Shijaia district of Gaza City. Later, near the Rafah Airport in Gaza City, Israeli soldiers killed a man whom medics also identified as a civilian, an incident to which Israeli military officials had no immediate comment, according to The Daily Star. Also, in the West Bank, Israelis shot and killed an unarmed 64-year-old civilian in Jenin.

More than 180 people, over half of them civilians, have been killed since Israel began an offensive to release a kidnapped soldier in June, presumably concerned that his kidnappers would kill him.

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Lebanese Villages Facing Lack of Water and Aid

28 August 2006

According to an article in the Herald Sun, many Lebanese villages in the south still have not received aid, and are without electricity and water. Philippe Royan, a European official, noted that “It is surprising to find villages very damaged (by Israeli bombardments) that have not received visits from humanitarian organisations.” He is head of the European Commission’s office of humanitarian aid.

He also said that although a number of aid organizations were operating in Lebanon, they were not organized with one another. This is apparently allowing some villages to fall through the cracks.

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Translator Killed in Iraq by Gunman

27 August 2006

Two sisters who were working for British forces as translators were shot at recently in Iraq. One was killed and the other seriously wounded. They had been near their home in Basra when they were attacked, according to Scotland on Sunday.

A person saying he is a member of the Brigades of Imam al-Hussein, a shi’ite militia, claimed responsibility for the attack, and said that he was giving the Iraqi people the good news of the deaths of “two agents who work for the British forces.”

The killing of civilians by Iraqi militias is no more acceptable than the killing of civilians by occupying forces, and vice-versa.

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NATO Pilots Kill Afghan Civilians

26 August 2006

NATO pilots have been accused of killing thirteen civilians in Afghanistan, including nine children, according to The Independent. A family of thirteen along with three others was attempting to flee in a pick-up truck they rented. NATO records say that a vehicle was destroyed by an aircraft that matches what the survivors describe, a NATO A-10, which uses a 30mm cannon to destroy armored vehicles. NATO says that the vehicle was a type used by the Taliban.

The nearby emergency hospital says that 227 people were admitted to the hospital in July, double the number in June.

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Reasons for Convoy Strike in Lebanon Remain Unclear

25 August 2006

The reasons for an Israeli strike against a convoy in Lebanon that carried civilians fleeing their homes remain unclear. Israel says that although the UN requested permission for the convoy to pass, the IDF denied it, while UNIFIL says it was agreed to, according to an article by MSNBC.

Of the 3,000 civilians in the convoy, seven were killed and 36 wounded. Israel says it was concerned that the convoy was carrying arms to Hezbollah. The military later acknowledged that their concerns were baseless.

Israel maintains that the attacks on towns were acceptable because they warned civilians to leave, which apparently proves that anyone remaining must be a militant. Israel, however, says it denied the right to pass to the civilian convoy. First the civilians are told to go or be bombed, then they’re told they can’t go, then they’re bombed.

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Cluster Bombs Leave Hazard for Children

24 August 2006

Thousands of cluster bomblets remain in Lebanon from Israeli attacks, leaving a threat to both children and those who stumble on them, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Though demining teams are on the ground, the progress is not fast enough. Israel maintains its claims that the bombs, many of which came from the US, were used legally, because technically they did not target civilians. The facts that cluster bombs are not noted for their accuracy and that cluster bomblets on the ground are a serous threat to returning civilians is another matter, apparently.

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Child Soldiers in Sudan

23 August 2006

Involuntary recruitment of people who don’t want to fight, for all of the many reasons one might not want to, to fight in wars where they may be killed or seriously wounded, is wrong on all accounts. Military recruitment of children is especially wrong. And the kidnapping for military purposes of young children who may be killed, seriously wounded, and/or abused physically and sexually is beyond wrong.

In the US it would cause outrage and be stopped immediately (unless, of course, it was necessary for national security). In Sudan though there is not much people can do to stop it, and neither can the other countries where children are soldiers. Child welfare groups estimate that at least 100,000 children around the world are soldiers.

Unfortunately, Europe and the US are usually relatively unconcerned about children in their own countries, much less other people’s countries. Oil, though, is another matter.

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