[I]n the Gaza Strip, we've returned in full to the worst moments of the twentieth of century.
I don't mean to belittle the situation in Gaza, which is obviously tragic, but Merino likewise shouldn't be belittling all the tragedies of the previous century. Several hundred people is, relatively speaking, a small number of deaths. So is Gaza as bad as Hiroshima and Nagasaki? How about the Somme, Verdun, Stalingrad, the Red Army's pillage through Eastern Europe, the Turks in Armenia, Auschwitz, Srebrenica, Rwanda? Clearly not.
Still this week, the president of the United States continued saying that the war in the Gaza Strip won't be resolved until the Palestinians are totally inert, defeated, and subjugated. Which is to say, never.I don't consider it a defense of George W. Bush (and I hope you won't) to point out that Merino is factually incorrect here. W has never embraced any sort of total war on the Palestinian people, nor, after listening to years of sunny fantasies about other nations' people loving us, do I expect he ever would. Here are some of the Prez's relevant comments on the operation, from his radio address a few days ago:
This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas -- a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel's destruction. Eighteen months ago, Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in a coup, and since then has imported thousands of guns and rockets and mortars. Egypt brokered a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, but Hamas routinely violated that ceasefire by launching rockets into Israel. On December 19th, Hamas announced an end to the ceasefire and soon unleashed a barrage of rockets and mortars that deliberately targeted innocent Israelis -- an act of terror that is opposed by the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people, President Abbas.
The United States is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation facing the Palestinian people. Since Hamas's violent takeover in the summer of 2007, living conditions have worsened for Palestinians in Gaza. By spending its resources on rocket launchers instead of roads and schools, Hamas has demonstrated that it has no intention of serving the Palestinian people. America has helped by providing tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid, and this week we contributed an additional $85 million through the United Nations...
In addition to reducing humanitarian suffering, all nations must work toward a lasting end to the violence in the Holy Land, and a return to the path of peace...I urge all parties to pressure Hamas to turn away from terror, and to support legitimate Palestinian leaders working for peace.
You could argue that Bush's words on the matter were misleading, and that his policy in the Middle East has been wrong-headed and unbalanced from Day 1 (I would argue both), but whatever the case, he never talked about defeating the Palestinian people, but rather Hamas, which is a pretty big distinction.
Merino went on to say that the events in Gaza are the result of the persistence of an international warlike consciousness evident in Bush's worldview as well as in Mexico's use of the military to fight drug gangs. That could be an intriguing argument, especially if you're a pacifist, but when you play loose with the facts, it all seems like hogwash.
For a more reasonable Mexican take on Gaza (thought not much more optimistic), check out Ricardo Raphael.