Archive for January, 2008

Now THIS is a great response.

The other day I wrote a short post about Yona Metzger’s utterly arrogant comments regarding the Palestinians.

Well, today Neturei Karta of the Orthodox Jewry put out a press release (pdf) responding to Metzger’s comments, and this document does not mince words. (Emphasis in original.) This is just an excerpt:

The State of “Israel” is an illegitimate rogue regime whose very existence is leading the world to World War III. Palestinians have an inherent right, guaranteed under international and moral law, to return to their land in historic Palestine and to establish their independent state in the entire Holy Land, which was forcefully taken from them by the Zionists. Indeed, many Gazans are refugees who were expelled from other areas of Palestine by the Zionists ever since 1948.

Chief rabbis of the Zionist state, whether Metzger or anyone else, are merely very well-paid stooges of the Zionists and serve their Zionist masters without regard for the welfare of the Jewish People, the Palestinians, or any other nation in the world.

The Chief Rabbinate of the Zionist State, just as all Zionist institutions, has importance only because of its coercive power over the religious, economic and everyday life of the Jewish residents of Zionist occupied Palestine. Whoever recognizes and supports the Zionist State, even innocently, has been taken over by the heretical Zionist movement, no matter how large the halo that it is granted by Orthodox rabbis.

…We urgently appeal to the leaders of the world nations, especially the great powers, to stop supporting the Zionist regime. Many nations believe that supporting Zionism shows friendship to the Jewish People. This is incorrect! True friendship to the Jewish People can be demonstrated by saving all the peoples of the Middle East, including Jews, from the bloodthirsty machinations of the dangerous State of “Israel” and by dismantling the Zionist regime entirely.

May Almighty G-d protect us from the influence of Zionism in general, their evil warmongering bloodthirsty leaders, and from their wicked servants who call themselves “rabbis.”

This is what it’s going to take to snap people out of their stupor, this kind of blunt, raw truth. Anything short of this will not work. And it’s completely appropriate and necessary that this message be delivered from within the Jewish community and, in particular, from respected Jewish religious leaders, as I explained here.

This response exceeded all my expectations. Totally. Amen.

Perilous Times

Various people this past year have claimed that there would be a war with Iran. Some of them seemed pretty certain, but I do not recall understanding why they were so certain until yesterday, when I read this. It’s kind of long, and I will try to summarize the main points as best I can, but if you wish to understand the peril facing the world in 2008, I highly recommend you read the whole thing. Keep in mind that the windows of opportunity for war proponents are closing one by one, putting them in a state of desperation. If this plan is to ever unfold, pressure mounts daily for the precipitating events to occur.

The E.U., led by France and Germany, has actively supported Anglo-American foreign policy since the onslaught of the “Global War on Terror.” This has resulted in the ever expanding NATO involvement in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Both NATO and Israel are slated to take on major responsibilities in forthcoming regional conflicts with Iran and Syria, should they occur. This is evident by the positioning of NATO troops and warships in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and on the borders of both Iran and Syria.

He goes on to explain the role of Gaza and Hamas. Saudi Arabia worked as a proxy for the US/UK, putting forth proposals that led to neutralizing Hamas (expressing the legitimate will of the Palestinians) and empowering Fatah (a puppet for the West), the eventual goal being to set international forces into Gaza, to “supervise”, you see.

While the Saudi’s played their part in America’s “New Middle East” venture Fatah was manoeuvred, at a loss for better words, into fighting Hamas so that an understanding would be required between Hamas and Fatah. This was also done with the knowledge that Hamas’ first reaction as the governing Palestinian party would be to maintain the integrity of Palestinian unity. This is where Saudi Arabia comes into the picture again through its role in arranging the Mecca Accord. Saudi Arabia did not give Hamas any diplomatic recognition before the Mecca Accord.

The Mecca Accord was a setup and a means to entrap Hamas. The Hamas-Fatah truce and the subsequent Palestinian unity government that was established was never meant to last from the day that Hamas was deceived into signing the agreement in Mecca. The Mecca Accord was in advance a preparation to legitimize what would happen next, a Palestinian mini-civil war in Gaza.

…This brings us to Nicolas Sarkozy’s proposals for a Mediterranean Union. The economic integration of the Israeli economy with the economies of the Arab World would further the web of global relationships being tightened by the global agents of the Washington Consensus. The Saudi-proposed Arab Peace Initiative, the Agreement of Principles, and Annapolis are all phases for establishing the economic integration of the Arab World with Israel through the Project for the “New Middle East” and the integration of the entire Mediterranean with the European Union through the Mediterranean Union. The presence of troops from both NATO and E.U. countries in Lebanon is also a part of this goal.

Now to a key player, Avigdor Lieberman, former Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs. He has been pushing for NATO “peacekeeping operations” in Gaza. I guess the idea is to manipulate NATO into Gaza through some artificial pretext, and then get Israel into NATO (formally), so that in the end Israel controls Gaza militarily from within.

Israel has established a high-level military cooperation agreement with NATO. Avigdor Lieberman has stated that Israel is destined to become an outpost of the E.U. and a formal member of NATO. [7] The former Israeli minister also managed Israeli high-level contacts with NATO and the Iranian war dossier. He has been involved with the U.S. and NATO in regards to coordinated preparations against Syria and Iran.

Since the founding of the Jewish State, Israel has been perceived as a protrusion of the so-called “West” and its interests into the Middle East and the Arab World. Israel is an active member of NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour in the Eastern Mediterranean. Although Israel is not a NATO member, Israel together with Turkey constitute the backbone of NATO strength in the Middle East. Both Turkey and Israel are slated in the future to also take on major military roles in the Mediterranean region.

By the end of 2007 Israel started claiming that it was given the “green light” from the U.S., the E.U., and their mutual military body, NATO, to launch an attack against Iran. This would spark an all embracing war in the Middle East. The Israeli military has been training continuously and Israeli troops have been told by their superiors to prepare for an “all-out war.”

Gaza is strategically critical because of it’s small size and coastal geography. It would make a great barrier for Israel in the event of a war, and that’s why they want to control it completely. Thus the wall.

Another strategic barrier has been created by Israel in South Lebanon.

Another important point is the Israeli military’s firing of about 3 million (or more) American-supplied cluster bombs into South Lebanon during the 2006 war against Lebanon. What came across as extremely sinister was the Israeli rush to saturate South Lebanon with these cluster bombs when the Israeli 2006 attacks on Lebanon were drawing to an end. South Lebanon’s geography gives a partial explanation; it is the region of Lebanon which borders Israel.

The mass ejection of the Israeli cluster bombs into South Lebanon was a calculated move to create another Israeli barrier from potential combatants in a future Middle Eastern war. These cluster bombs have basically become landmines that will prevent a wave of Lebanese fighters from crossing into Israel in the case of a major war against Iran, Syria, the Palestinians, and Lebanon.

Now here is the crux of the matter: Israel has been given the “green light” to strike Iran. The Western powers will come to Israel’s rescue immediately, but they cannot initiate the war. This is risky because Iran has superior military capabilities (Israel’s main advantage being nuclear weapons, which theoretically they would restrain themselves from using. Emphasis on theoretically.) If the Western powers change their mind, “poor” Israel would be in deep trouble. But apparently it’s not that risky. Israel has tremendous confidence that the Western powers will carry out their part in the plan. Israel has been given assurances.

After returning from his trip to Western Europe and conferring with NATO Headquarters the former Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, said on early-July, 2007 that he received the tacit blessing of the E.U., the U.S., and NATO to initiate an Israeli military strike on Iran. “If we start military operations against Iran alone, then Europe and the U.S. will support us,” Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli Army Radio, in a message geared towards Israeli servicemen, following his European tour and his meetings with E.U. officials, José María Aznar of Spain, and the Deputy Secretary-General of NATO.

Avigdor Lieberman also asserted that because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the U.S., Britain, and their European allies were unable to initiate a war with Iran and its allies, but were willing to allow Israel to attack Iran.

Avigdor Lieberman also affirmed that the U.S. and NATO would intervene on the side of Israel once the war with Iran and its allies were started. The message conveyed to Lieberman by NATO and E.U. officials was that Israel should “prevent the threat herself,” which means that Israel must launch the war against Iran and its regional allies. [15]

Of course, the ever-present argument about Israel’s “right to exist” will be used as the all-purpose counterweight to the government’s illegal and immoral actions. This part is totally predictable: the manipulation of public opinion.

This is a premeditated arrangement. The leaders of NATO will tell their citizens that Israel was compelled to attack Iran out of fear and because of its “right to exist.” Then they will close ranks with Israel. It should also be stated when a living organism’s “right to exist” comes at the deprivation of the “rights to exist” of everything else around it then it becomes a threat like cancer.

If the U.S. or Britain were to take the initiative to launch another war, their political leaders would face fierce opposition from public opinion, which could threaten the Anglo-American political establishment and even create national instability. But if Israel were to launch a war the situation would be quite different.

If Israel were to launch a war on the pretexts of defending itself from a growing Iranian menace, the U.S. and NATO would intervene to “protect Israel” from Iranian reprisals without appearing to have started another illicit international war.

Blame would be shouldered on the Israelis for the war rather than on the U.S. administration and its indefectible British ally. Western political leaders would argue that it is their national duty to protect Israel regardless of the Israeli breach of international laws.

There’s much more to this article. It is well worth reading and understanding. It’s a very good thing for ordinary citizens to have some idea of the view from 100,000 feet because it puts things in context. The Strait of Hormuz Incident? Put it in context. When you read that Iran and Egypt have renewed their diplomatic ties, put it in context. When you hear that Musharraf and Shimon Peres had a historic meeting at Davos, put it in context. When you see the Palestinians streaming into Egypt unmolested, put it in context. When you read that Arab leaders now openly disregard Bush, put it in context. When you read that Admiral Fallon vowed there would be no war on his watch, put it in context.

Plans are afoot. The players on the world stage are moving around; they are taking their positions. But will Israel succeed in starting a war with Iran? It’s not so easy. Iran is cooperating with the IAEA, and elBaradei will report on progress in March. A good report card for Iran takes the wind out of the warmongers’ sails. So they will probably look for an opportunity to do something soon, before that good report card comes out. But everyone paying attention expects that, too, and they will be prepared to counteract a false flag operation. And if Israel misses this late winter opportunity, there’s only a few more months left of Neoconpalooza in Washington. What to do, what to do?? These are perilous times, people. Perilous times.

We the People

I can’t summarize. Just go read it, if you’re a human being, that is. Otherwise, please move along.

Forever and Ever

May I direct your attention to this post as a follow-up to Dangerous Games, in which the internal battle waged is over if/when/how fast/how slow the troops will be drawn down.

Bush’s plan is to stay in Iraq forever.

Next move?

Who is more vociferous about smoking than an ex-smoker?

Do you know what I mean? The people who understand a problem from personal experience and have overcome it tend to have strong opinions about it. Smoking is but one example, but it’s a common one to illustrate my point. If you are sitting with an ex-smoker, and you decide to have a butt, your friend will probably send you outside or at a minimum make a disparaging personal remark about your filthy and disgusting habit. Right? This happens all the time. They can do this with authority because they have earned the right, by overcoming the addiction, to point out the obvious fact that you still have a problem. It’s different, say, than having someone who has never smoked nag you incessantly about quitting. You can tune that person out, reminding them (as you will) that they don’t understand how hard it is to quit.

But you can’t say that to the ex-smoker. He knows exactly how hard it is to quit, but he did it anyway. The ex-smoker has credibility. He’s been there. You might as well shut your mouth, because you’ve got nothing.

This applies to all kinds of situations. You don’t know how much work night school is until you go to night school. You don’t know what’s involved in parenting until you become a parent. You don’t understand military culture until you join the military. You don’t know what it’s like to be dependent on other people until you get sick/lose your job/grow old. Et cetera.

This rule (which needs a name) also applies to politics and culture. We need to take responsibility for the groups we belong to, our identity politics. The natural tendency is for large groups to fan out into branches, which is what’s happened with American Christianity. The problem is that some branches get so far away from the original concept that they no longer resemble it at all. They root themselves in other soil and grow into another plant. For example, in this country we’ve seen bizarre theological distortions like the Gospel of Bling, a “theology” which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the teachings of Christ. (And there are other large, wayward branches on Christianity.)

Somebody has to point this out and lop this aberration off the tree called Christianity. And who is more qualified to wield the handsaw than other Christians, those who understand Christian theology? Christian theologians have credibility on matters of Christianity, just like Bill Belichick has credibility on football. And if you want to have credibility as a Christian, or a football fan, or a gardener, or a musician, or whatever you enjoy, you must know your topic. You have to study and learn the nuances. And when you do, then you can speak your opinion with some confidence. This is why we have leaders.

And the point is, sometimes we all need to speak up about things we know are wrong, especially when the matter involves our own group. When a group understands that some members have gone off in aberration and rooted themselves in other soil, the group must take responsibility to wield the handsaw. They alone can see where to make the cut so that the healthy part survives.

My Country Needs Jewish Liberals to Expose Neocons as a Jewish ‘Special Interest’

I’ve long argued here that American Jewry won’t be healed, and neither will American leadership, till we come to terms with the neocons as an expression of a hawkish Jewish interest in the Middle East, and a powerful expression at that. For this conversation to take place, it is necessary for liberal and leftwing Jews, even centrists, to turn on their cousins whose thinking they understand intimately–the hawkish neocons–and explain how fears for Israel came to pervade the Jewish establishment post-67 and ‘73. It means, in essence, trusting America enough to say, “Guess what, Junior just blew up the neighborhood with his rocket set…” Can the Jewish family do that?

That is the question.

Let the Convoy Pass

Here is an action alert from the UN Observer.

Jewish Peace News has been passing along information about an Israeli convoy of goods, accompanied by approximately 1500 activists, which tried to cross the border into Gaza on Monday to deliver supplies to Palestinians under siege. There was always a good chance that the convoy would be blocked and prevented from entering Gaza. This is in fact what has happened, as the report below describes; still, the organizers will continue to do everything they can, up to and including an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, to get these (non-perishable) supplies into Gaza.

It is of course an outrage that these humanitarian supplies are being blocked. Israeli officials when discussing the siege will often throw in some pro forma statement about regretting any suffering caused to the civilian population. Whatever personal feelings these officials might or might not have about the plight of Palestinian civilians, the refusal to permit humanitarian interventions such as the attempted convoy puts the lie to any expression of regret.

But it is important to keep in mind that the convoy IS in fact succeeding on several levels (at least), in spite of this set-back. Every act of public resistance, every event that stirs sympathy for the victims of these brutal policies, raises the cost of continuing the occupation in general and the siege in particular. But even more, the convoy is a strong, symbolic expression of solidarity, bringing together and empowering members of the Israeli peace community, generating international support, and acting as a potent expression of sympathy with the Palestinians under siege.

We can all act to help further the success of the convoy on these levels, and work to get the goods through. Below is an action alert with information on how to get involved.

Here is the rest, chock full of emails, fax numbers and links.

Sample letter
Dear Sir

I am writing to urge you to authorize without further hindrance the entry into the Gaza Strip of the humanitarian goods carried in the convoy of Saturday 26, 2008, and held up near the Gaza Strip border ever since then. The goods held up consist of sacks of flour, rice and other basic food-stuffs, purchased with donations from Israel and all over the world*; of water filters, likewise purchased by donations, which are desperately needed due to the extreme pollution of Gaza’s water supply; and of parcels and packages which Israeli families bought as a gesture of goodwill to families in Gaza. All these goods are urgently needed in Gaza, and the passage of none could in any conceivable way endanger Israel’s security in any way. The continued holding up of these goods, as well as the continuation closing of passage of vital goods into Gaza in general, is a shame which must be ended.

Sincerely Yours,

Here’s my personal message to the Israeli Government:

Is God a God of Mercy and Justice? Yes. The Law without Mercy and Justice is nothing but Tyranny. Holy people follow God by walking in Mercy and Justice. You, the Israeli Government, do not walk in Mercy and Justice. Therefore, you are not holy people. You are Tyrants.

I will continue to write about and expose your illegal, cruel and inhumane punishment of innocent Palestinian civilians for as long as it continues. I can do it every day, and I will.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. - Proverbs 9:10

Dangerous Games

Jim Lobe has an interesting post up about a potential shuffle in Central Command. Commander Fallon (”put the crazies back in the box”) and General Petraus have a very strained relationship. But Petraus is the one who enjoys the fawning support of the neocons.

While one swallow does not a spring make, a seemingly off-hand remark in a post by Max Boot in Commentary’s blog, ‘Contentions’, last week about Gen. David Petraeus’ possible promotion to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO struck me as at least a hint that neo-conservatives and their allies in the administration may be engaged in a below-the-radar campaign against Adm. William “Fox” Fallon, the current chief of the U.S. Central Command (CentCom), perhaps for being too dovish on Iran.

In the post, Boot, who just returned from an 11-day stay in Iraq, argues against the assigning Petraeus to NATO on the grounds that it would be like switching horses in mid-stream, particularly given the scheduled departure in the next few months from the threater of Petraeus’ second-in-command, Gen. Raymond Odierno.

The really interesting part comes in this link to a Gareth Porter article back in September. One can appreciate the level of hostility between Petraus and Fallon, and therefore, it does seem highly likely that the neocons would like nothing better than to get rid of Fallon. Who can forget how Petraus was practically canonized by when he testified in September? Well, you may be forgiven for missing this while the MSM was busy rolling out the red carpet for Petraus. Here’s the other side of the story:

Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickenshit” and added, “I hate people like that”, the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior [Bush].

That extraordinarily contentious start of Fallon’s mission to Baghdad led to more meetings marked by acute tension between the two commanders. Fallon went on develop his own alternative to Petraeus’s recommendation for continued high levels of U.S. troops in Iraq during the summer.

The enmity between the two commanders became public knowledge when the Washington Post reported Sep. 9 on intense conflict within the administration over Iraq. The story quoted a senior official as saying that referring to “bad relations” between them is “the understatement of the century”.…The policy context of Fallon’s extraordinarily abrasive treatment of his subordinate was Petraeus’s agreement in February to serve as front man for the George W. Bush administration’s effort to sell its policy of increasing U.S. troop strength in Iraq to Congress.

In a highly unusual political role for an officer who had not yet taken command of a war, Petraeus was installed in the office of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, in early February just before the Senate debated Bush’s troop increase. According to a report in The Washington Post Feb. 7, senators were then approached on the floor and invited to go McConnell’s office to hear Petraeus make the case for the surge policy. Fallon was strongly opposed to Petraeus’s role as pitch man for the surge policy in Iraq adopted by Bush in December as putting his own interests ahead of a sound military posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia — the area for which Fallon’s CENTCOM is responsible.

The CENTCOM commander believed the United States should be withdrawing troops from Iraq urgently, largely because he saw greater dangers elsewhere in the region. “He is very focused on Pakistan,” said a source familiar with Fallon’s thinking, “and trying to maintain a difficult status quo with Iran.”

…Fallon was reported by the New York Times to have been determined to achieve results “as soon as possible”. The notion of a long war, in contrast, seemed to connote an extended conflict in which Iraq was but a chapter. Fallon also expressed great scepticism about the basic assumption underlying the surge strategy, which was that it could pave the way for political reconciliation in Iraq. In the lead story Sep. 9, The Washington Post quoted a “senior administration official” as saying that Fallon had been “saying from Day One, ‘This isn’t working.’ ”

One of Fallon’s first moves upon taking command of CENTCOM was to order his subordinates to avoid the term “long war” — a phrase Bush and Secretary of Defence Robert M. Gates had used to describe the fight against terrorism. …During the summer, according to the Post Sep. 9 report, Fallon began to develop his own plans for redefine the U.S. mission in Iraq, including a plan for withdrawal of three-quarters of the U.S. troop strength by the end of 2009.

The conflict between Fallon and Petraeus over Iraq came to a head in early September. According to the Post story, Fallon expressed views on Iraq that were sharply at odds with those of Petraeus in a three-way conversation with Bush on Iraq the previous weekend. Petraeus argued for keeping as many troops in Iraq for as long as possible to cement any security progress, but Fallon argued that a strategic withdrawal from Iraq was necessary to have sufficient forces to deal with other potential threats in the region. Fallon’s presentation to Bush of the case against Petraeus’s recommendation for keeping troop levels in Iraq at the highest possible level just before Petraeus was to go public with his recommendations was another sign that Petraeus’s role as chief spokesperson for the surge policy has created a deep rift between him and the nation’s highest military leaders. Bush presumably would not have chosen to invite an opponent of the surge policy to make such a presentation without lobbying by the top brass.

….Fallon is a veteran of 35 years in the Navy, operating in an institutional culture in which an officer is expected to make enemies in the process of advancement. “If you are Navy captain and don’t have two or three enemies, you’re not doing your job,” says the source. Fallon acquired a reputation for a willingness to stand up to powerful figures during his tenure as commander in chief of the Pacific Command from February 2005 to March 2007. He pushed hard for a conciliatory line toward and China, which put him in conflict with senior military and civilian officials with a vested interest in pointing to China as a future rival and threat. He demonstrated his independence from the White House when he refused in February to go along with a proposal to send a third naval carrier task force to the Persian Gulf, as reported by IPS in May. Fallon questioned the military necessity for the move, which would have signaled to Iran a readiness to go to war. Fallon also privately vowed that there would be no war against Iran on his watch, implying that he would quit rather than accept such a policy.

A crucial element of Petraeus’s path of advancement in the Army, on the other hand, was through serving as an aide to senior generals. He was assistant executive officer to the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Carl Vuono, and later executive assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Henry Shelton. His experience taught him that cultivating senior officers is the key to success.

This puts events in clearer perspective. The conflict going on at the top is not some “you say potato I say potahto” parlor disagreement. These guys are playing Russian Roullette.

Stunning Arrogance

Is this supposed to be a generous offer?

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger says the Gazans should be moved into the Sinai desert. A Palestinian state “could be constructed for them”. Oh, and who would build the nice city? Why, funny you should ask. Britian, the EU and the US can build a city for the Palestinians in the Egyptian desert. There (brushing hands together). That was easy.

According to Metzger, the plan would be to “take all the poor people from Gaza to move them to a wonderful new modern country with trains buses cars, like in Arizona - we are now in a generation where you can take a desert and build a city. This will be a solution for the poor people - they will have a nice county, and we shall have our country and we shall live in peace.”

Metzger was quoted as telling the paper that the plan was new and he had not presented it to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

“I have thought about it with some wise people only in the last two weeks, and I think it is a great idea - nobody spoke about it before.” He expressed his intent to discuss the matter with Olmert and anticipated that the idea would find popularity among Israelis. He prefaced his comments by pointing out that he could not advise on political matters as he is a religious leader in Israel, noting that according to the law he “cannot be involved in political situations.”

Unbelievable. Where does one even begin with this kind of thinking?

Easy Predictions

The situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. The lack of power has caused (among many other hardships) the sewage to back up and run down the streets.

Saifi lives next to what has become a newly formed pool of waste. This used to be the street leading to home. “It’s getting worse day by day,” says neighbor Said Ammar, an engineer, and father of four.

The sewage treatment plant in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City requires 20,000 liters of fuel a day. Last week Israel ceased delivery of all fuel and supplies to Gaza. The consequences have been catastrophic.

Without fuel to pump it away, the waste backs up, flooding the streets and clogging the plumbing. The local ministry of health has declared this an environmental catastrophe.

Doctors have warned that a medical catastrophe could follow by way of spread of cholera and other diseases. That is at a time when not even life-saving medical services are on offer any more.

Of course. Like night follows day, we know that disease will follow raw sewage running down the street. Millions and millions of people in poverty stricken areas of the world, especially little children, have died for lack of sanitation, clean water and simple medicines.

But Israel is not a third-world country. Israel has the resources to end this suffering (paid for by US citizens), but they will not release the supplies. We know this blockade, unless it’s stopped immediately, will result in more suffering and death of innocent civilians. Let nobody say, “Oh, alas! Who could have predicted that people would die for lack of electricity, food and clean water?”

I hope the Israeli government is thinking this through carefully. There’s a limit to how many dead, innocent Palestinian children you can brush under the rug before everyone wises up to the fact that you’re murdering them in cold blood.

Curious Timing

A young diplomat, having finished his assignment in Pakistan and ready to return home, is found dead in his bathroom by Pakistani police. He suffered a bullet wound to the head, and obviously, this death has been labeled a suicide. I mean, because you can see how a 37 year old man who has been away from his family for a year and will be going home in a matter of days would be beyond despair at the prospect. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani authorities found the body of a U.S. diplomat with a bullet wound in his head at his home in Islamabad on Monday and were investigating a suspected case of suicide, police and the Interior Minister said.

The U.S. embassy named the dead man as 37-year-old Keith Ryan, an immigration and customs enforcement attache from the Department of Homeland Security.

“There will be a full investigation; however, there does not appear to have been any foul play,” the embassy said in a brief statement.

The embassy said Ryan had “passed away” on Monday morning, and his family had been informed.

Kaleem Imam, a Senior Superintendent of police in Islamabad, said the diplomat had been in Pakistan for a year and had been due to return to the United States on Monday, having finished his assignment.

“But, he did not come out of the home and was found dead in the bathroom. There is a bullet wound in his head,” Imam said.

Ryan’s body was found in his residence on a leafy avenue close to the diplomatic enclave in the Pakistani capital.

“We expect it is suicide, but we are investigating,” Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told Reuters.

The United States does not let diplomats posted to Pakistan take their families, because of the security threat posed by Islamist militants.