When bin Laden conceived of making war with America it was absurd on multiple levels, not least of which was that so few Muslim's cared about his obsession with US bases in Saudi Arabia. It took a really long time for him to catch onto the Israeli oppression of Palestinians as a cause he could exploit. In spring of 2002, the Arab League offered a way out, but Bush was too obsessed with framing Iraq for an invasion to pay any attention. When Obama finally took over in 2009, there was some hope that he might understand the nature of the conflict he had inherited--particularly when he put George Mitchell in charge of the most intractable part.
But that was the only hopeful sign, aside from the Cairo speech, and now after
sinking deeper and deeper into the morass of repeating past follies, this has to be the last straw. Glenn Greenwald gets it right:
As I stated in the Chamber in December 2008, when we were confronted by a similar situation, mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so. These non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms should be the ones used for the benefit of all those in Gaza. Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances. . . . We will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza to address the full range of the population's humanitarian and recovery needs. Hamas' interference with international assistance shipments and the work of nongovernmental organizations complicates efforts in Gaza. Its continued arms smuggling and commitment to terrorism undermines security and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
Given that the Israelis refuse to allow anything other than the most minimal "necessities" to enter Gaza, I'd love to know what "non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms" exist to deliver humanitarian assistance? And it's extraordinary that we refuse to condemn a blockade that, as classic "collective punishment," is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, and even refuse to condemn today's violent seizure of ships in international water.
It's hard to imagine how we--or Israel--could do anything more self-destructive than this. But I'm sure we'll dozens of more ways of making this even worse in the next few days. How can your average Muslim anywhere in the region not think that US is at war with Islam? Of course it's not true. But it might as well be with this latest mega-installment in the annals of fighting fire with gasoline.