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Posted by on Jun 5, 2010 in Breaking News, International, Law, Media, Politics, Religion, Society, War | 0 comments

Liz Cheney: How Dare Obama Describe Aid Activists’ Deaths as Tragic?

Wherever there is moral ugliness, Liz Cheney will show up sooner or later. I’m just surprised, in the matter of Israel’s assault on the flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to blockaded Gazans, it took her until now to voice her outrage — at Barack Obama’s use of the word “tragic” to describe the human lives that were ended on the flotilla ship:

From Liz’s new statement…

Yesterday, President Obama said the Israeli action to stop the flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was “tragic.” What is truly tragic is that President Obama is perpetuating Israel’s enemies’ version of events. The Israeli government has imposed a blockade around Gaza because Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction…

President Obama is contributing to the isolation of Israel, and sending a clear signal to the Turkish-Syrian-Iranian axis that their methods for ostracizing Israel will succeed, and will be met by no resistance from America.

There is no middle ground here. Either the United States stands with the people of Israel in the war against radical Islamic terrorism or we are providing encouragement to Israel’s enemies — and our own. Keep America Safe calls on President Obama to reverse his present course and support the state of Israel immediately and unequivocally.

This is noteworthy because it shows how little oxygen Obama’s response to the raid has lent to right-wing criticism. Obama has declined to criticize Israeli conduct, has repeatedly alluded to Israel’s right to defend itself, and has not taken a clear stand on whether the administration wants meaningful international involvement in the probe of the whole affair. Not much here to criticize.

Also: When Obama used the term “tragic,” on Larry King last night, he was clearly referring to the loss of life resulting from the attack. It’s particularly interesting that Liz sees fit to criticize Obama’s description of these casualties as “tragic,” given that one of the dead was an American citizen.

Note the sentence I have bolded. Alex Pareene, in Salon, notes how little the Obama administration has given its political opponents to criticize in its response to the Israeli assault, if the most objectionable thing Liz Cheney can point to is the President’s halfhearted acknowledgment that the deadly violence was “tragic”:

Liz Cheney desperately needed to find some excuse to fault Barack Obama for not being Cheney-ish enough in his response to the Israeli flotilla attack. There’s only one problem: In American politics, Republicans and Democrats agree that Israel can and must shoot whomever it wants to — even American citizens! — to protect itself from the very real threat posed by the potential delivery of toys to desperately impoverished Palestinians.

So Obama’s response has been tepid and “neutral” (read: pretty much toothless). So Liz is just grabbing onto whatever she can to convince Americans that the president is not willing to do what it takes to protect us from… some sort of nuclear slingshot aimed at America, from Gaza (or perhaps a “sharpened pole” long enough to reach our shores)[.]

Glenn Greenwald has written at length about the right-wing and corporate media treatment of Israel’s actions, and with his usual attention to first sources (i.e., people who actually saw what happened as opposed to parroting Fox and CNN talking points). I urge everyone to read his piece in its entirety, including all the linked material (or as much of it as you can). His posts are among the few correctives to the uninformed, blindly pro-Israel tribalism that passes for accurate, fact-based reporting on this issue.

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