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The US Has A Standing Policy Of Ignoring The Human Rights Violations Of Its Allies
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has been repeatedly refusing to tell the press whether he believes Israel has been following the laws of war in Gaza.
Here’s a transcript from an exchange with The Hill’s Niall Stanage at a White House press conference on Tuesday:
Stanage: You said today, as you’ve said a number of times, about the importance of the laws of war being upheld. Israel has killed around 11,000 Palestinians. Around two thirds of those are women and children. The situation in the hospitals is dire. Israel has dropped an astronomical amount of ordnance in very built-up areas. Is Israel, in your view, abiding by the laws of war? And if it is, how do you come to that conclusion?
Sullivan: Well, as I said yesterday, I — Jake Sullivan, standing here — am not in a position to be judge and jury to make that determination. It’s a legal determination. What I can do is state for you the clear policy of the Biden administration, which we have been unequivocal about from the beginning of this conflict. And that is that even though Hamas is using civilians as human shields, is burrowing into civilian areas with its rocket emplacements that they are continuing to launch every single day at civilian areas in Israel, that puts an added burden on the IDF but it does not lessen their responsibility to act in ways that separate terrorists from civilians and does everything in their power to protect civilian lives.
Stanage: But the —
Sullivan: That is — that was the case. That remains the case today. That is the message that we’ve said publicly and we communicate to our Israeli counterparts privately —
Stanage: But —
Sullivan: — and we do that on a daily basis.
Stanage: I’m just trying to be clear, though. The administration’s view is that the IDF is doing that?
Sullivan: What I’ve told you is that I am not in a position to give you a legal determination to your question. I am not in a position to do that. What I’m in a position to do is to state the U.S. government position on how Israeli operations should be conducted. And that is what I have done. That is what I continue to do. That is what I can do from this podium.
Sullivan performed the same evasive dance routine during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, telling host Dana Bash “I’m not going to sit here and play judge or jury on that question” when asked if Israel is operating according to the rules of war.
It was funny because Bash’s question arose from Sullivan’s own assertion that Israel has a “responsibility to operate according to the rules of war”; Sullivan asserted that this was Israel’s responsibility on his own, but then immediately refused to say whether or not that was actually happening.
Of course, Sullivan has only been performing these freak show contortions with regard to questions about the criminality of governments which align themselves with the interests of Washington; he’s been directly and repeatedly accusing Russia of war crimes in Ukraine without the slightest bit of hesitation from the early days of the conflict.
You see this glaring inconsistency over and over again in US foreign policy, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office or which party is in control. The criminality of US allies gets ignored, downplayed and frantically obfuscated, while the criminality of US enemies gets spotlighted, exaggerated, and pushed to the forefront of international attention.
We’re seeing this inconsistency illustrated today by Hillary Clinton, who just published a think piece with The Atlantic war propaganda outlet forcefully defending Israel’s mass atrocities in Gaza, after spending the last two years tweeting things like “If Russian leadership would rather not be accused of committing war crimes, they should stop bombing hospitals.”
Speaking of former US secretaries of state, it’s probably worth mentioning here that a leaked 2017 State Department memo addressed to then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson explained that this inconsistency regarding the criminality of US allies vs US enemies is actually a standing policy within the inner workings of the US government.
The leaked memo from the early days of the Trump administration showed neoconservative empire manager Brian Hook teaching the political neophyte Tillerson that for the US government, “human rights” are only a weapon to be used for keeping other nations in line. In a remarkable insight into the cynical nature of imperial narrative management, Hook told Tillerson that it is US policy to overlook human rights abuses committed by nations aligned with US interests while exploiting and weaponizing them against nations who aren’t.
“In the case of US allies such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines, the Administration is fully justified in emphasizing good relations for a variety of important reasons, including counter-terrorism, and in honestly facing up to the difficult tradeoffs with regard to human rights,” Hook explained in the memo.
“One useful guideline for a realistic and successful foreign policy is that allies should be treated differently — and better — than adversaries,” Hook wrote. “We do not look to bolster America’s adversaries overseas; we look to pressure, compete with, and outmaneuver them. For this reason, we should consider human rights as an important issue in regard to US relations with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. And this is not only because of moral concern for practices inside those countries. It is also because pressing those regimes on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically.”
So if it sometimes seems as though the US has no actual morals or values regarding human rights, it’s because that is precisely the case. You see things like White House spokesman John Kirby crying about civilians dying in Ukraine yet shrugging indifferently at civilians dying in Gaza because his tears are cynical weapons used to advance US interests on the world stage, not a normal empathetic response to human suffering.
The US empire stands for nothing, believes in nothing, and values nothing apart from its own power. Those who understand and align with this reality find themselves elevated to the highest echelons of power within the US empire, while those with normal human empathy centers in their brains find nothing but locked doors past a certain point in government.
The US empire is a psychopathic killer wearing a plastic smiling mask of compassion and humanitarianism. But if you look closely it’s not hard to catch a glimpse of the snarling, blood-spattered face underneath.
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