Occupation Corrupts: What The Times Strives to Hide
Short on time? Skip my thoughts and head straight here, an easy read that will open your eyes and set your mind to wondering.
Being an Occupying force circumstantially corrupts the people serving under arms. The Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank highlight this. Coincidently, the US military has been, as Time Magazine headlines it "Learning the Art of Occupation from Israel"
For residents of the Sunni Triangle, who have spent years watching TV images of the residents of the West Bank and Gaza living under siege, surrounded by checkpoints and suffering periodic air strikes and military sweeps, the Palestinian experience offers a ready template for understanding the turn taken by their own lives over the past six months. Whole villages have been surrounded by razor wire, their residents forced to pass through checkpoints; U.S. aircraft and artillery have blasted buildings suspected of being used by insurgents; there have even been instances of family members of suspected insurgents being taken into custody when their wanted relatives can't be found. As one Iraqi waiting on line at a checkpoint last week told the New York Times, "I see no difference between us and the Palestinians."
The echoes of the Israel control of the Occupied Territories are sadly apparent. Sadder still- the possibility that like the Israeli's, our soldiers may be killing children routinely.
According to UNRWA, between August 1989 and August 1993, 1085 persons treated in its clinics had been shot in the head, 545 of whom were under sixteen, and 97 of whom were under the age of six. A study by the Association of Israeli and Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights (PHR-Israel) reveals that during the five years of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, a child under the age of six was shot in the head every two weeks.
From The British Medical Journal, October 2004
Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest—the sniper's wound. Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorised to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat.
"Routinely" is a pretty strong claim. Very strong given the subject matter, soldiers shooting children. Kids heads are small, my guess is the chances of regularly accidentally shooting youngsters in the head are slim. But the realities we don't hear about in the media paint a stark picture of the reality of war, of the reality facing people deployed under the circumstances of occupation.
Ft. Stewart, GA -- Yesterday [April 27] at Ft. Stewart Georgia, U.S. Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman was dealt a setback in his battle with the U.S. Army when his application for Conscientious Objector status was denied by his command.
Benderman applied for CO status after having already served one combat tour in Iraq during which his Captain ordered personnel in the unit to fire on Iraqi children throwing rocks. This was one of many incidents during his deployment that Benderman said convinced him that war is immoral and it is his duty to refuse to kill.
The "bad guys" kill children, civilians, indiscrimately, we all know that- not Americans, and, according to what the New York Times reports not Israelis.
War is an ugly persuit which has death as it's overarching theme and control as it's aim. Occupation subjugates as a stalemate, not quite winning but in control, dominating overtly power-wise while the occupied people's wish for freedom roils as a subtext to their manifestly inferior status. Violence and fear are the tools of the occupier,constant wielder of military might. Violence and fear are the tools of the occupied, in lesser, intermittent doses. Violence and fear is what corrupts the personalities of an occupying military power. The supporters of occupation are similarly corrupted.
The case of The New York Times is instructive in that " the paper of record" offers less than honest reportage on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. "Off the Charts: Accuracy in Reporting of Israel/Palestine -The New York Times" shows us how news may be slanted "to make friends and influence people"; winning the average American media consumer over so as to lead her/him to support a cause which, when reality is is revealed, is unconscionable. The Times deftly sweeps the realities of the the Israeli occupation, illegal under international law, under the carpet. The owners and editors of the Times know "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" as Thomas Jefferson said; the US taxpayer subsidizes the Israeli occupation of Palestine- and actually will be funding Israeli
"disengagement" in Gaza- that is, paying Israel to leave stolen land to conform to international law.
Here are some illustrative samples from the statistical report, complete with graphs "Off the Charts: Accuracy in Reporting of Israel/Palestine -The New York Times". The killing of children, non-combatants, seems to me to highlight the barbarity of the Occupation of Palestine.
While at least 82 Palestinian children were killed before the first Israeli child’s death, only 9 of these Palestinian children’s deaths were reported in The Times headlines or first paragraphs.
It is significant to compare the curves of The Times’ coverage of deaths. In doing this, we discover the newspaper reported both death rates almost identically. In fact, as the year went on, the number of prominent mentions of Israeli children’s deaths exceeded the actual number of deaths (due to repetitions in coverage), while The Times reported fewer Palestinian children’s deaths than Israeli deaths – despite the fact that almost five times more Palestinian children were actually being killed than Israeli children.
Finally, we see that while the death of an Israeli child was prioritized above the killing of an adult (125% of Israeli children’s deaths were reported compared to 119% of Israeli deaths in general), the killing of a Palestinian child was de-prioritized (18% of children’s deaths compared to 42% of deaths in general). This occurred despite the abnormally high proportion that Palestinian children made up of Palestinian casualties. One might expect the fact that Palestinian children constituted such a high percentage of deaths to have been considered newsworthy in itself, not the reverse.
In 2004, we find the disparity of reporting on Israeli and Palestinian children’s deaths even greater than in the coverage of the first year. In 2004, 4 out of 8 Israeli children’s deaths were reported. During the same period only 12 out of 176 Palestinian children’s deaths were reported.
Again, Palestinian children were making up a much greater part of the total number of Palestinians killed than Israeli children were of Israeli conflict casualties. Children’s deaths accounted for 21.5% of the Palestinians killed, while children’s deaths accounted for only 7.5% of Israelis killed during this period.
During 2004, 22 times more Palestinian children were killed than Israeli children.
The truth about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is both unsettelling and illuminating. The fact that The New York Times has obviously taken sides is clearly shown through the record of it's reportage. Unsavory aspects of the Israeli Occupation are revealed when the truth is shown. That children are targets in war belies the John Wayne image we have of our own forces and those we support in armed conflict; war is about killing- "purity of arms" is a PR dream, a myth sullied by reported fact.
By the way, 32 Palestinian youngsters have been killed this year, 1 Israeli. This years senselessness, as of April 9...