Today's Blogs

A Very Long Disengagement

Bloggers discuss Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to disengage Israel from the Gaza Strip. They also react to the second round of bombings in London and a new federal standard for driver’s licenses.

A very long disengagement: Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel’s departure from Gaza might be pushed forward to avoid further protests from settlers.

Seattle musician Matthew Duss of What is the War? questions Sharon’s motives. The decision to withdraw “certainly wasn’t to ‘jump start’ the peace process,” he writes. “Pulling out of Gaza enables him to represent himself, with the aid of extremely compliant U.S. news media, as a courageous compromiser, even as he moves to ramp up settlement activity in the West Bank.” Israeli software engineer Zaman Biur of Biur Chametz wonders why “Sharon the Bulldozer” has put so little effort into building support for his plan. The only explanation, he concludes, is that Sharon means to make the transition as difficult as possible: “And when, a year or two down the line, the Arabs or the Europeans or the Americans call on Israel to take the next logical step and pull out of Hebron, or central Samaria, you can point to the social devastation left in the wake of the Gaza ‘disengagement.’ ”

Others criticize extremist protesters. History professor Juan Cole of Informed Comment denounces Israeli extremists as “a sort of southern Mediterranean ‘fascist.’ … Although they phrase their concerns in the language of Israeli security, what they are really about is invading other people’s lands and homes and stealing them.” Freelance reporter Lash Balint of Jerusalem Diaries: InTense Times was embarrassed by Monday’s protest at Netivot: “The hysterical tone of the young M.C. who opened the event, and the interminable speeches by a long line of rabbis, combined with a lengthy prayer service all led to a feeling that we were at a religious revival.”

Read more about Israel’s disengagement from Gaza here.

More London explosions: Three subway trains and a bus were hit by small explosions this morning in London. There was one injury and no fatalities.

Health care director David Kitchenham of Duenna Care Ltd. approves of the sparse media coverage. “Terrorism is a media fed fire, if it was not for the countless television channels then such actions would be futile,” he writes. “Media may well be the capitalist’s tool, but it is the terrorist’s proffered weapon and they know how to use it.” Christian blogger J. Marcus Xavier of Very Small Doses, on the other hand, is incensed by the mild response: “Has it totally escaped the notice of everyone that the only reason that there isn’t another field of dead in London right now is that the people who orchestrated this thing screwed up? … The prospect of having to live in a situation like Israel—where massive random orgies of death are a common occurrence—does not sit well with me at all.”

Australian artist Toxicpurity of One Dog Said to the Other sneers, “Bloody amateurs. They not only deserve contempt for their sheer callousness, but also for being both inept and unimaginative.” ThinkingMountain’s John Pilger, an environmental management consultant, directs his contempt elsewhere: “Blair brought home to this country his and Bush’s illegal, unprovoked and blood-soaked adventure in the Middle East. Were it not for his epic irresponsibility, the Londoners who died in the Tube and on the No 30 bus almost certainly would be alive today.”

Read more about the London bombings here.

REAL not so genius?: On Monday, the National Governor’s Association discussed the implications of the REAL ID Act. The law creates a federal standard for driver’s licenses and requires DMVs to determine the citizenship status of license applicants.

Most bloggers are disgruntled. Environmental manager Brian of Life’s Been Good to Me So Far complains, “Law abiding citizens at the very least will be subjected to a whole slew of new bureaucratic red tape at the DMV. The states will once again bear the cost for a federally mandated program and the terrorists will continue ignoring the laws of civilized man.” Montana resident Dave of A Different Lemming points out, “Think about how many times you’ve heard of the government giving up any of the power or authority it has accumulated. Think about how many government ‘policies’ and ‘programs’ you’ve seen implemented over the objections of the people that were subject to them. Now, can you honestly say you don’t think REAL ID will grow into something more?”

The Open Society Paradox’s Dennis Baily, COO of an information technology firm, welcomes the tightened security. “Unlike those who like to drink the bathwater and eat the baby, I’m one who believes that security enhancements such as improved driver licenses…are a positive step forward. The question is not whether we can prevent 100% of people from using false IDs, but can we raise the bar for those with criminal intentions.”

Read more about the REAL ID Act here.