During the last few days a pitched battle began, briefly raged, and hopefully ended in the Southeast area of the Gaza Strip. It comes to light that the Hamas representatives of the Muslim viewpoint were incited to violence by the ongoing closure of borders of the Gaza Strip by Israelis and Egyptians, making the free movement of people and goods impossible. These borders have been sealed on and off since 2007; they are now open. Intense shelling during this short-lived battle resulted in the deaths of civilians , including women and children, as well as many uninvolved civilian men on both sides.
It speaks well of America, and the American media, that CNN, a principle news source, seemed to take the unusual course of sympathizing with the Islamic population of the Gaza Strip. American news icons placed themselves within Gaza, in harm’s way, and covered the real time reports of incoming shelling, destruction, pain, and death. Other media outlets were also objective and impartial. Knowledgeable readers are familiar with such details as the anti-missile missiles and the role of the Egyptian government. It wasn’t lost on the media that this brief conflict offered a preview of what a war involving Iran might be like.
Knowledgeable readers are also aware of US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s important and praiseworthy role in the peace negotiations during these final days of her term in that high office. Recent media reports indicate that it is likely that current US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, will fill that vacancy during the administration’s second term, despite criticism and alleged incidents in her recent history. Some observers have been outspoken about Rice.
We cannot help but wonder what hold Ambassador Rice has over the Obama administration. It was Rice who boycotted the Iranian president when he spoke in September to the UN General Assembly. While the administration was and is characterized by a dedication to diplomacy vis-à-vis threats of war and destruction, Rice nevertheless was able to coerce the American UN delegation to walk out on an important world leader. Erin Pelton, a spokesman for Ambassador Rice, said in a statement, “Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the UN not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people, but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel.” As it turned out, Ahmadinejad’s words to the world body were neither repulsive not threatening. In fact he spoke eloquently for peace, patience,and wisdom. “It’s particularly unfortunate that Mr. Ahmadinejad will have the platform of the UN General Assembly on Yom Kippur, which is why the United States has decided not to attend,” Pelton said. While we appreciate the Israeli sensitivities, we abhor the unwillingness to listen, an unwillingness reminiscent of the bloody and venomous George W. Bush administration.
So, then, we question the president for having failed to address the walkout. We praise the news media, and CNN, and we praise Secretary Clinton, even as we despair at the pain and suffering of the victims of combat.