First, my apologies. Due to some weird wordpress snafu, this post was not published yesterday as intended. It has been updated to reflect information seen today. Also, Please do not respond with information regarding the cease fire, as I have already posted a blog on that topic.

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Most of us are aware that journalists have protections put into place during times of war. Journalists were not always protected, which is why we have specifics regarding them today.

Linkage to Sources for the Protection of Journalists

Protection of journalists during war

Adoption of the 1977 Additional Protocols

Protocol I

Articles 76 and 77, 15 and 79 provide special protections for women, children, and civilian medical personnel, and provide measures of protection for journalists.

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1) (2nd part)

Article 79.–Measures of protection for journalists
1. Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians within the meaning of Article 50, para-graph 1.
2. They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this Protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians, and without prejudice to the right of war correspondents accredited to the armed forces to the status provided for in Article 4 A (4) of the Third Convention.
3. They may obtain an identity card similar to the model in Annex II of this Protocol. This card, which shall be issued by the government of the State of which the journalist is a national or in whose territory he resides or in which the news medium employing him is located, shall attest to his status as a journalist.

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It is those facts, and those facts alone, that reports coming back from Gaza show me that Israel is committing something horrifying in Gaza.

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Im going to be jumping around a little between Monday and Tuesdays events, but I hope in the end, it will make sense to you.

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On the 19th, Al Jazeera English interviewed Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev about air strikes that hit a building in Gaza where local and foreign journalists were staying.

So what you are saying is that a local Arab journalists life is less than an international journalist?

“We hit the targets we want and we are not targeting the media,” Regev said. 

He said journalists affiliated with Hamas are “not legitimate.”

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Also on the 19th, Electronic Intifada posted that When Israel says it doesn’t target journalists, it is lying

Israeli army spokesperson admitted clearly and candidly that the army obviously knows there are journalists in the building.

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On Tuesday, November 20th, Sherine Tadros posted the following article on the Huffington Post: Covering This Gaza War

There is a general problem with media when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The need to sanitize events so as not to be controversial and upset the wrong people, the lack of humanizing the conflict for fear that it will make you look sympathetic or worse empathetic to the Palestinians, which could be career suicide. But not being bold and telling it how it is ultimately is a disservice to the truth and to journalism.

But the thing journalists seem to be struggling most with right now is what constitutes a legitimate target.

Journalists in Gaza who are covering this conflict have no idea where a safe building would be. Potentially, (at least according to Israel) any building isnt safe. And Israel isnt telling international reporters which buildings are safe either.

However, reporters utilizing a building already ‘hooked up’ for media coverage is a smart idea. In other conflicts in other countries, this strategy is used. And, funny thing is, when strikes get close, the whole world cries out for the media to remain safe.

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The Huffington Post also posted the following: Israel Hits Agence France-Presse Building In Gaza Airstrike

Israel said that it was targeting a Hamas operations center in the building. It added that Hamas members “weren’t in the media building to be interviewed,” and told journalists to “stay away” from them, as they were being used by Hamas as human shields.

(Funny how I saw NO reports from any media outlet making the claim that they were being used as human shields)

Abigail Hauslohner, the Cairo bureau chief for the Washington Post who is reporting from Gaza, had a tart response to the tweets. “Nothing like a good threat before bed,” she wrote, before tweeting at the Israeli Defense Forces account, “Seriously, if Hamas is in room 208 (I’m in 209), tell me now.”

And this, (which is mentioned in the post I linked to in the Guardian below)

Israel has also controversially said that it does not consider anybody working for Hamas-affiliated organizations to be legitimate journalists.

Video: 

Yesterday (the 21st) The Guardian posted about the Three journalists killed in Gaza

I know many Americans wont care that Palestinian journalists were killed and I know that the fact that they worked for Hamas run tv wont score them any sympathy points.

And, I have no way of knowing if the Israeli military is telling the truth when they claim these journalists were Hamas operatives (as stated within this article).

But, just because they work for a Hamas run news organization, does NOT make them operatives.

Asked whether Israel had widened its range of targets to include journalists working for media run by Hamas or other militant groups, Leibovich said: “The targets are people who have relevance to terror activity.”

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The Committee to Protect Journalists also covered these deaths

Three journalists killed in airstrikes in Gaza

The Ma’an news agency also took notice of the killing of Gaza journalists, going as far as calling Israel’s bombing of Gaza journalists ‘heinous crime’

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Journalists In Gaza Shaken As Blasts Go Off All Around Them

Reports mostly stated how windows were blown out and how the buildings shook. And contained within this article is a video CBS posted showing the hotel they were staying at.

Correspondent’s close encounter with an air strike

Note that the reporter calls the attacks relentless as well as talks about the civilian casualties in the context of Israel is supposedly targeting Hamas.

Reporters Without Borders condemns Gaza strikes

“Even though the outlets targeted are linked to Hamas, it does not legitimize the attacks,” he said. “Attacks against civilian targets constitute war crimes.”

Later within this same article:

Sky News Arabia issued a statement condemning the attacks and saying they caused extensive damage to its property and “considerable and unacceptable distress to our staff.” 

The statement claimed the Israeli attacks “targeted journalists covering the current military operations in Gaza” and demanded “that Israeli authorities respect and abide by the international conventions not to target media and to ensure the safety of journalists covering conflict zones.”

Hmmmm

Today (the 22nd) Business Insider talks about The Killing Of Two Gaza Cameramen Raises Questions About Israel’s Choice Of Targets

The unprecedented killing of two cameramen for Gaza’s Hamas TV station in a missile strike raised questions about whom Israel considers to be militant operatives, and thus legitimate targets.

Yes, unprecedented because despite the fact that is IS a Hamas TV station, and clearly work for Hamas, and are clearly not objective, they are quite clearly reporting on what is going on in Gaza.

A supporting article posted on the Huffington Post also goes even further stating that even after the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters without Borders contacted Israel regarding attacks on the press, attacks on Gazas media center continued.

Gaza’s Dirty Little Secret Finally Revealed By Reporters

The timing of these attacks on journalists is also significant.

Several reporters were tweeting reports of what was occurring in Gaza, as they were happening, including a report that a cameraman was injured and had to have part of his leg amputated – [ Gaza journalists defiant after Israeli attack on media center )  ]

But Netanyahu spokesman Marc Regev appeared on Al Jazeera this week and tried to blame the journalists themselves for their deaths, questioning whether Palestinian and local journalists should be considered journalists and insisting that the strikes on the building only hit and affected the roof.

(This appeared on the prior video posted near the beginning of this blog post)

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Lets all get real now

Journalists, no matter which network they work for, have opinions. And even though we all know that journalists arent supposed to voice those opinions, sometimes you can tell which view they are espousing. Here, in America, most of those journalistic views are associated with whatever network they are seen on. (re: FoxNews, MSNBC etc) And…..for the most part, our journalists work hard to at least bring us the basic facts.

For the most part, most reports Ive seen here on our mainstream media, has been supporting the views of Israel and their right to defend themselves, and not the other way around.

You would think that Israel would not be giving our media any reason to believe otherwise. These blatant attacks on journalists, no matter where they come from to report on the Israel-Gaza war, definitely bring new light as to just how lopsided the coverage has been.

At the time I was writing this post, an NBC News Reporter Blames U.S. For Not Recognizing Hamas And Not ‘Reining In’ Israel

Granted, this reporter seems pretty alone in his sentiment, and Im sure he will be lambasted by the American people for this line of reasoning (as have many others who want to see Palestinians be treated as human beings).

But the difference between the Americans and Israelis are that, even despite this lone reporters words, we wont consider him a terrorist or any less of a journalist for vocalizing those thoughts.

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After some heavy discussions on this latest Israeli-Palestinian war, I decided to do some research that wasnt buried in pro-con sources. I wanted to know when the Israeli Occupation began in Gaza and why.

And, I didnt want to use biblical-literalists opinions.

After my last blog post on this topic, (Israel – Gaza, Its Complicated) I planned on doing a post strictly pertaining the United Nations violations going on in this area, but a facebook friend of mine posted a graphic that led me to do this post.

Heres the image: 

Biblical Context: Israel believes that God told them this land belonged to them and no one else. I found a page on wikipedia that strictly pertains to the lands of Israel based on biblical scripture: Lands of Israel

However, there is the simple fact that Christianity began in Palestine, and that Palestinians were among the first converts to Christianity. (See –Aint Nobody Gonna Like This / The Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-428) / The Rise And Triumph Of Christianity / Palestinian People / Acculturation)

Those biblical representations aside, there are some facts about Palestinians and Jews that need to be discussed when the subject of Gaza and the Israeli occupation is brought up.

There is no truth to the centuries old adage that the war between the Palestinians and Israelis has been ongoing since the beginning of time. (I just found out this fact today, and Im pretty shocked) In fact, prior to the Zionist Jew conflict, Jews actually flourished amongst the Arab world.

From what I could find regarding this conflict, (not on a wikipedia page) most of the problems arose around 1915 when the Jews began to start settlement areas. This situation was further aggravated in 1922 when land was stripped from the Palestinians by the Jews. (Mandates for Palestine)

During the time of World War 2, over 150,000 Jews fled to Palestine, as refugees. (What happened in Palestine during World War II?) This migration would in fact, assist the Jews in the ‘conquering’ of Palestine.

In 1947, Britain requested that a permanent solution be addressed by the United Nations. (I admit, I do not fully understand this situation due to the oddly worded 2 state solution [Arab/Jew] or Independent solution. And I still do not fully understand which one they went with) (Israel Statehood)

Either way, Israel was granted statehood and became a member of the United Nations shortly thereafter and the destruction of Palestine truly began.

Alot of people have stated the similarities between the American Indians and the Palestinian people due to the way the land was ‘divided’ up. Jews were given the fertile land while Palestinians were (in my words) screwed.

It was around this time that Palestinians were forced off their property. Many fled during the Deir Yassin massacre (The Deir Yassin Massacre of 1948) In watching several documentaries, the Palestinians were clearly a victim of ethnic cleansing.

Once the Palestinians fled these areas (some estimates say 700,000 Palestinians fled), the Israelis took over that land. It was also around this time that we know that the West Bank was controlled by Jordan and Gaza controlled by Egypt.

After the United Nations enacted a resolution in 1948 that would allow Palestinians a right to return (forgive the use of wikipedia, but its the most comprehensive on this subject Palestinian Right of Return) However, Israeli leaders would not allow that to occur.

Unfortunately, even though Palestinians still held deeds to properties, they were turned into Jewish settlements. And lets be clear about what that means.  The land owned by Palestinians who fled was managed by the Israeli government and it was leveled.

In 1967, another war broke out and another exodus of Palestinians took place. (Some of these Palestinians were expelled) These refugees fled to the West Bank and Gaza.

Even after the United Nations passed resolution after resolution, they failed to take action.

Ill skip ahead a bit to the late 1980s when the first intifada occured. Palestinians demonstrated/protested in a non-violent manner against the Israelis. (Most of these demonstrations were kids throwing rocks at tanks) Yitsak Rabin decided to respond with the brutality that we now know to be called ‘break the bones’. (I will not link to those videos but they are easily found)

During the 7 years of peace after the Oslo Process was began (1993) the Palestinians plight actually got worse. Israeli settlements expanded and any demonstration/protest against Oslo labeled you as a terrorist.

Over 740 homes were demolished during the Oslo Process.

In 2006, the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) was seen as a failure and Hamas was voted in.

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Jewish settlers gain the benefit because Israel controls the power, the water, trash removal, and the roads, while Palestinians suffer from a lack of those services.

Most Jewish settlers on the always changing borders of Gaza/West Bank, have been offered ‘low’ costs for housing. They get a loan to relocate and if they are still there in 10 years, it does not need to be paid back.

In 2000, the Second Intifada began. The Palestinians mobilized against the oppression. It should be noted that Israelis used live ammunition against unarmed protesters.

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Palestinians have lived in an oppressive environment for years. They have to go thru various checkpoints just to go down the street. This is also a clear violation of international law.

The saddest thing is that United Nations havent been allowed into Gaza to see these violations because Israel wont let them in. (Am I the only one who finds this odd?)

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In August 2005, after 35+ years of occupation, Israeli forces began dismantling settlements in Gaza.

This was seen as a sacrifice.

Over $227,000 was offered to those settlers who offered to relocate. Israel asked the United States to pay twenty-two BILLION in aid to cover this cost. (I can find no sources as to when this money was allocated)

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And while Israels presence is no longer ‘visible’ they still control the air space, water, and the border.

Speaking of border – there was a separation wall built. Its said to be twice the height of the Berlin wall. Its used to separate Palestinians in Gaza from land, family, schools and medical treatment.

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There is now an entire generation of Palestinian children who have watched as their families have been treated in an inhumane manner.

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Human rights activists who have been allowed into Gaza (i.e. World Vision) have been reporting these living conditions to no avail.

In fact, when activist Rachel Corrie was crushed by a bulldozer at the age of 23, the United States Congress refused to investigate.

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Israel has the largest military presence in the world (behind the United States) and is the 5th largest nuclear power in the world.

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It is also worth noting that the United States is seen as the sole supporter of Israel. Most of this support comes from two areas: The US lobbying organization known as AIPAC or from the fundamental religious groups, who believe that a strong Israel is ‘Gods plan’.

These organizations/groups would like us to view this as a good vs. evil situation, and would like us to have blind support of Israel.

Im sorry, but those of us who look beyond the deceit that our American media presents to us cannot do this. Our media has a total bias regarding the plight of the Palestinian people.

It is clear that Israel does not abide by the rules and regulations set forth at the 4th Geneva Convention – (i.e. settlements, control of travel etc)

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American tax payers support this. Israel receives the most aid of any other country that the United States supports. (Israel gets 1/3 of the total aid by the US each year) In 2003, TEN BILLION dollars in aid went to Israel.

This money could be spent domestically in many areas. (But thats an entirely different blog)

Warning, this posts covers alot of territory (no pun intended). There is alot of information, including videos and links to other sources. 

Unless youve been living under a rock, you are aware that Israel has attacked Gaza AGAIN. As of the time Im writing this, a ground war has not yet begun, but there are reports that Israel has called up reservists.

[Just a small fact before you get reading: Gaza is home to a ‘little’ over a million people who live in an area 4 wiles wide and 25 miles long. Gaza is also under siege by Israel. Gaza has no army, air force, or navy.]

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A few years ago, Israel and Gaza were ‘at war’ with each other and I had posted what I thought to be facts on my facebook page. A serious discussion ensued and I was introduced to Robert Fisks documentary Beirut to Bosnia.

Prior to watching this 3 part documentary, I thought I had a handle on what most of the fighting in this area was about. I admitted it then, and Ill admit it again now, I had no clue and I was sadly misinformed.

In case you havent heard about it, I have embedded all three parts:

Part 1: 

Part 2: (This is the one specific to Palestine/Gaza) 

Part 3: 

In case you dont have time to watch all three parts, make sure to watch Part 2.

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November Surprise?

This latest round seems to go back to last Thursday when Israeli soldiers invaded Gaza, and in the process killed a 12 year old young boy. Obviously, there has been some back and forth since….and then on Sunday, leaders within the Israeli government were quoted as saying  “cut off the head of the snake. Take out the leadership of Hamas in Gaza.”  They have even threatened to cut  off of water, food, electricity, and fuel shipments to Gaza’s 1.7 million people.

On Monday, (11-12) Palestinians were said to have brokered a truce if Israel stopped the attacks.

On Wednesday, Israel forces assassinated Ahmed Jabari, who is the leader of Hamas military.

I was unable to embed the video of the strike on Jabaris vehicle, but heres the link to the youtube video:  IDF Pinpoint Strike on Ahmed Jabari, Head of Hamas Military Wing

(Side note: If Israel was able to target Jabari like this, then why so many innocents being killed or injured?)

In the process of assassinating Jabari, innocent civilians have also perished, including the 11 month old son and sister in law of a BBC journalist (The story behind the photo: Journalist’s 11-month-old son killed in Gaza strikes)

(Inserting my own WTH Israel? comment here)

Reuters reported that Israel may have lured Jabari out into the open with a ‘phony’ truce. (Phony truce may have lured Hamas man into open)

The closest number of civilian Palestinians killed on Wednesday I could confirm is 13, and that includes 3 children. Over 100 hundred citizens are injured and I see numbers between 25-30 children included in that figure.

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The continuing LIE

So, can anyone trust Israel again after straight up shattering this truce? In case after case, Israel has shown blatant contempt, and seems to be manufacturing a crisis to have an excuse to attack Gaza.

QUOTE – Israel committed war crimes in that one-sided conflict, targeting and killing hundreds of civilians, using indiscriminate weapons, and intentionally destroying civilian infrastructure. It has become an accepted fact – even among critics of Israel – that the offensive was a response to Hamas rocket fire. The rocket fire did indeed occur immediately before the assault, but it was in response to Israel’s breaking of the six-month cease-fire, which even Israeli officials in WikiLeaks cables admitted Hamas had kept to. END QUOTE

(Source: GazaUnderAttack | Israel’s Latest Assault on Gaza: The Lie of Who Started It)

Written in 2009 but still pertinent – Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?

People think Israel is a big bully – Israel’s war on Gaza This is a SCATHING post if you are on the side of Israel.

Whats even odder about the Israeli-Palestinian war is how the media is portraying each side….with Israel being the good guy and Gaza, the bad guy. Linguists including Noam Chomsky condemn “reprehensible” Gaza coverage

QUOTE -News items overwhelmingly focus on the rockets that have been fired from Gaza, none of which have caused human casualties. What is not in focus are the shellings and bombardments on Gaza, which have resulted in numerous severe and fatal casualties. It doesn’t take an expert in media science to understand that what we are facing is at best shoddy and skewed reporting, and at worst willfully dishonest manipulation of the readership.-END QUOTE

In the above mentioned article, it is also noted how the Palestinians oppression and terror are portrayed in a dishonest manner by more than just the American media. In todays internet based culture, you would think that a majority of the world would be incensed at the crimes perpetuated by Israel. However, it seems as if those countries support these atrocities against the Palestinians. This is further demonstrated via The Huffington Post (U.S. Condemns Hamas, Voices Support For Israel)

Even the New York Times has entered this blame game when they ran the editorial Another Israel-Gaza War?

Not interested in a cease fire? 

So, there IS confirmation that Israel wasnt serious about the agreed-upon cease fire after all: Israel won’t halt Gaza operation until Hamas begs for truce, say officials

Its not really surprising once you consider all the facts presented.

Complicity

Here in America, it seems like if you fault Israel for provoking Gaza and going against cease fire agreements, and siding with Gaza in that process, you must be anti-American.

As the Stanford Daily states: We are complicit in Gaza violence

Our country has unwavering support for Israel and sends BILLIONS of dollars in aid to support their military.

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Does America fear the wrath of Israel?

Its complicated.

For one, The United States of America isnt a territory Israel has ever made claim on for religious purposes. Lest they forget that Israel itself wasnt a ‘nation’ until 1948 (State of Israel Gives Jews a Homeland) Israel and Palestine have been at odds over land since the beginning of time….and the history is pretty ugly — and very complicated by religious zealots and politicians.

Its pretty obvious that our generation isnt going to make a difference between these two.

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Do you all remember the group of hackers -Anonymous? Well, last night after reports that internet service would be turned off in Gaza, they passed around information about how to stay online (Sorry, I dont have that link) as well as hacking Israeli websites:  Anonymous Hackers Hit Israeli Sites In Retaliation For Gaza Attacks (from Forbes) and Anonymous Attacks Israeli Websites To Show Gaza Support In Conflict (from Huffington Post) While attacks like these really dont make a difference, they do show solidarity with the Palestinians.

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Some other sources/articles/blogs I found interesting regarding the Israeli-Palestinian ‘situation’

 

Ive been wanting to comment about this ‘Marines urinating on dead afghan soldiers’ story since it broke. Today, I got to my breaking point when I saw this post appear in my facebook stream. 

In case you missed this entire saga of repulsiveness, I give you some links:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/Marines-guilty-of-shocking-act-against-Taliban-identified/Article1-796578.aspx

Quotes from above linked article:

“Certainly what is apparently occurring in that video is deplorable and does not live up to the very high standards set for the US Marines or, broadly, the US military,” he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Panetta in deploring the video, saying “it is absolutely inconsistent with American values, with the standards of behaviour that we expect from our military personnel.”

Considering what Im seeing online, (from a Marine) these quotes are far from the truth.

The conversation I commented on in my facebook stream, went from what you see to ‘whats the difference between murder and urination’ very quickly. Beyond those comments, its apparent that if you havent served in the armed forces, you have no right to comment…..what?

Even later in this same thread, its even commended that our military formerly suppressed evidence such as this video–Which makes me seriously question the ethics of our service personnel.

Heres another link:  http://www.theroot.com/marines-urinating-dead-taliban-soldiers

And another:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2085872/Urination-video-4-US-Marines-charged-hours.html

Quote from the above linked article:

‘If verified as authentic, the video shows behaviour that is totally unbecoming of American military personnel and that could ultimately endanger other soldiers and civilians.’

 

And Americans wonder why these people HATE us?

I dont care if you disagree with how Afghanistan treats its citizens. As an American woman, I can certainly see where one can get angry at the way they treat females who speak their mind. But to desecrate ANY dead body, whether they were a soldier, insurgent, or just a citizen is wrong and immoral.

The argument that they would do the same to us is moot. Two wrongs do NOT make a right. Period.

JUSTIFICATION?

And how can you justify this when stories about maimed and neglected soldiers incense you?

See: http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/war/wantwar/maimed_mistreated_neglected.html

Quote:  According to an officer, their living conditions were so unacceptable for injured soldiers he said they “were being treated like dogs.”

And how can you justify this when stories about our soldiers remains being thrown in a dump incense you?

Or see this: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/210961.html or this:  http://www.presstv.ir/detail/209679.html (Articles on throwing US soldiers remains in the dump)

Quote:  According to the reports, the mortuary was even responsible for severing the limb of a fallen soldier without his family’s consent, simply because they were unable to fit it into his uniform.

Funny how this is how WE treat our own service personnel?

No, I havent served in the armed forces. And no, I dont plan on serving. But that shouldnt be the basis for dismissing my points.

If desecration of human remains is wrong, then its wrong on ALL levels. Yes, ALL of them.

Personally, if you can even justify the behavior that was caught on video, you arent worthy of my respect. I dont care what branch of the military you serve/served in. Your tolerance for such a disgusting and repulsive act speaks for itself.

Some people will claim that OBL is still alive in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan….others claim he died in the winter of 2001.

Which is it?

Just a little mini-rant here.

Why is it that so many people want to beleive that one party is better than the other? Honestly, there is no difference….

Lets take a few examples:

Former Pres. Bush implemented the Patriot Act. Many were flabbergasted at this violation of privacy. When now Pres. Obama was Senator, he was against this….now, he has continued the Patriot Act….hmmm

Former Pres. Bush was accused of putting our soldiers in harms way for two “illegal” wars in the Middle East. And….Our current Pres. has continued them.

Can someone tell me what exactly is the difference here?