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Gaza's and other wars: exit wounds

By Dave Riley

I'm wondering how so many poignant images can be shared globally on the Palestinian suffering but other conflicts, which can be as horrendously destructive, hardly get a look in like that.

Bombs, mortar and rocket fire do the same damage no matter what the human target.

One difference is that the Palestinian conflict (as the Lebanese invasion in 2006) targeted built up areas.

Another aspect is that the Levant Arabs are so very effective in using the media -- Lebanon with its blogs and Palestine esp with sites such a s the Electronic Intifada. But equally as note worthy is the way the world wide protests have been showcased in video and photographic form.

It's not all due to Al Jazeera.

Left I takes up the contrast in this comment on The Daily Show interview with a Al Jazeera reporter in regard to depicting "gore".
" Stewart "explained" or "excused" this by saying, and he was 100% serious, "American audiences are not big on gore."
In that sense, this war has pushed the boundaries a lot in the way the real impact of war is seen to fall on a population. Imagine if you can that the Palestinians' have "only" lost over a thousand -- how many is the current toll in Iraq?

When I was in the army reserve in another life we'd practice on standard NATO round hand held weaponry and we all knew what a standard round was capable of. While it entered a target as a small hole, coming out the other side was something very different --a very big hole. None of this lodging of bullets in the musculature.

What musculature?

A simple exit wound

And we were taught to not bother hiding behind trees as modern rounds simply go through most tree trunks.

People, bought up on fictional Western style cowboy gun fights have no sense of how destructive modern armaments are -- and my experience was eons ago in the late sixties!

Have you ever wondered why cops never manage to just "wound" a suspect today -- even with small hand guns which are short calibre. Theoretically (going back thirty years at least ) you should have been able to catch the bullet in a t-towell at 20 feet (that was the joke applied to the WWII Thompson machine gun for instance and told to any bank teller who was taught how to shoot at a robber with the one weapon kept under the cashier's desk).

So these graphic images tell the real face of modern warfare -- in Gaza and everywhere else and, as Frederick Engels noted, some time back in 1881, there is indeed a case to be made for The role of force in history.

Nonetheless, despite Engels argument, in modern times no war is ever won for those oppressed by force of arms -- yes, not even Vietnam's. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq or Palestine are tactical questions. Wars are won, or lost, so often on the basis of the politics that prevails.

Look at Afghanistan.A country that has been in constant warfare for 30 years. There's no military solution to be had there, nor in Iraq nor in Palestine. The form the national liberation struggle has so often adopted since the Second World War has obscured that salient fact. Just as the Second World War showed us how much force, and how many millions dead, was required for one side to win.

Today, in the 21st Century, it is extremely hard to imagine that one country can occupy another and, to deploy a phrase, "get away with it." Constant warfare; constant destabilisation and sabotage; a constant process of politicisation and re-alignment among the occupied peoples will surely follow. This is why the the hang over guerillaist bands , like the FARC in Colombia , seem so out of place today in Latin America. Warfare as a political strategy seems to have reached its use by date.

I'm not arguing that a people don't have a right to defend themselves -- but the point is that once you go down that path as your primary strategy, you need to recognise what may be ahead of you in your chosen path.

That may be my point of view -- but it's not my business going to ETA or the Tamil Tigers or one of the Palestinian military factions and saying I'm not supporting your cause because I think your tactics aren't the best possible practice. Contrary to popular perception, neither Ho Chi Minh nor Fidel Castro pursued a military strategy. They used warfare as a tactic but they never considered that winning was simply a question of just scoring on the battlefield. It was part of something much broader.

If you look at the body count -- the Vietnamese lost both the American and the French war.

This reminds of the black joke about Uncle Ho:
Ho Chi Minh once said that there is nothing so important as independence and liberation.
After he dies, he returns to Vietnam in the late seventies for a visit.
Ho looks out across his country and says, "But there is nothing....."
And this is the major complication -- the price any one pays for standing up against imperialism or its lackeys. This is also why there will be no peace in the world while this system rules over us.. Imperialism is history always ruled by force. It ain't one historic role among many but its modus operandi.

But Engels died too early to experience it is staggering capacity to destroy.

And if you think Israel has done bad by the Palestinians imagine what Zionism could do with its 200 nuclear weapons it has in stockpile. As Left I also asks:
Can anyone now doubt, having witnessed Israel's willingness to use both powerful and grotesque weapons in the slaughter of more than 1300 virtually defenseless Palestinians, the danger to the world posed by the 200 nuclear weapons in Israel's arsenal? Is there anything other than their fear of nuclear fallout reaching their own citizens that would prevent Israel from using its weapons in its "defense"?

I'll come back to this in a later post, but the German Playwright, Peter Weiss wrote once:
We condemn to death without emotion
And there's no singular death to be had
only an anonymous cheapened death
which we dole out to entire nations
on mathematical basis
until the time comes
for all life
to be extinguished

At least with Palestine we transcended that, this time anyway, collectively after so many many years of Palestinian deaths being cheap and anonymous....

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