Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

White House Says Continued Civilian Slaughter “Is Going To Happen” In Gaza

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told the press on Tuesday that the continued killing of civilians in Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza “is going to happen”.

“This is war,” said Kirby. “It is combat. It is bloody, ugly and it’s going to be messy, and innocent civilians are going to be hurt going forward. I wish I could tell you something different — I wish that wasn’t gonna happen, but it is going to happen.”

“And that doesn’t make it right,” Kirby added. “It doesn’t make it dismissible. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to express concerns about that and do everything we can to help the Israelis do everything they can to minimize it. But that’s unfortunately the nature of conflict.”

Oh okay well as long as you’re going to “express concerns”.

The information interests of Israel and its western allies have been greatly served by framing this onslaught as a “war”, when that label doesn’t actually apply here. A war is when two nations or groups are in a state of armed combat with each other; one side may be more powerful than the other, but the combat is decidedly going two ways.

That’s not what’s happening here. Israel is raining high-tech military explosives upon civilian infrastructure inside a giant concentration camp densely populated with children, and every now and then a militant in Gaza fires back a type of rocket that is essentially a glorified firework which historically hardly ever kills anyone. Israel is killing civilians by the thousands and turning entire city blocks to rubble, while Hamas and other resistance groups in Gaza are doing some light property damage in what amounts to a performative display of defiance.

That’s not a war. That’s a massacre.

By calling this something that it isn’t instead of what it is, Israel apologists are able to respond to all criticisms of its actions with a shrug and a “This is war, man. War is ugly, what can I tell ya?” They wouldn’t be able to do that if they were addressing this atrocity truthfully.

The only thing truthful about Kirby’s framing was his statement that the slaughter of civilians is going to keep happening. The death toll from airstrikes in Gaza has reportedly surpassed 6,500, with the 24-hour periods from Monday to Tuesday and Tuesday to Wednesday both exceeding 700 deaths each. As Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp notes, this large escalation in deaths coincides with claims from Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel has escalated its bombing campaign.

This is all being funded and supported by the United States, who has been ramping up its military presence in the middle east in some pretty disconcerting ways. Not one but two US aircraft carrier strike groups have been deployed to the eastern Mediterranean since the killing began, and the Pentagon has told the press that it expects a “significant escalation” in attacks on US troops in the middle east in response to Israel’s relentless assault on Palestinian lives. US military advisers have been sent to Israel to help the IDF prepare for its ground invasion of Gaza, and as usual Australia is joining in the US warmongering by sending more troops to the middle east as well.

So we can expect a lot more killing in the near future, one way or the other. No meaningful pressure is being placed on Israel to stop butchering civilians, and an escalation into a broader war in the middle east is not at all outside the realm of possibility. Things could be headed in a direction that makes a genocidal massacre look like sunny days in retrospect.


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