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    Saturday, July 20, 2024

    Biden’s failure in Palestine

    I worked hard on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in 2020. I made close to 200 calls. I wrote letters, convinced friends to vote, worked on a small local campaign. I thought Donald Trump was a genuine danger to the nation, and was relieved when he lost power (this was months before his attempted coup). I remember it clearly. The winning margin ticking past seven million votes. Church bells ringing in American cities. Global celebrations.

    Biden’s presidency seemed like a return to normalcy. Those first few years were mostly good, as politics go. There were problems (the failure to enact meaningful voting reform appears ready to haunt us), but many of those problems could be excused as typical Washington dysfunction. Biden seemed like a leader we could trust.

    Then came October 2023.

    The Oct. 7 attack was shocking and brutal. Perhaps more damning in terms of what was to come, it was embarrassing. One of the most militarized nations on the planet failed to prevent a massive, coordinated attack by a relatively small group of insurgents armed with mostly small arms. Israel was humiliated. In doing so, Hamas broke a cardinal rule of armed resistance: resist, but never humiliate. After Little Bighorn comes Wounded Knee.

    Someone with even an elementary knowledge of the history of Palestine could have predicted what was going to happen next. In fact, you could have just listened to people in the Israeli government, who stated their intentions clearly. Within two days, Israel’s defense minister ordered a complete siege of Gaza — no food, water, or electricity — for all 2.3 million people living there (at the time, the size of Hamas was estimated at about 30,000). There was open talk of extermination.

    What was Biden’s response? He sent bombs.

    For a while, one could (as our national media and government so ardently did) excuse the subsequent violence as self-defense. But the pile of bodies became too large to obfuscate. Tens of thousands of murdered human beings. Mass graves. Executions. Bombings of hospitals, kindergartens, refugee camps. Images of little children hanging from buildings with their limbs blown off. The sounds of people burning alive. On our phones. Every day.

    And what was Biden’s response? More bombs. More funding. More diplomatic cover and propaganda on their behalf.

    The question is no longer if Biden should be president. He should not be. The question now is if he and his team will ever face an international tribunal for aiding and abetting war crimes. If you’re not keen on international law, as Americans tend not to be, you could try him for breaking national law. It is illegal to send weapons to forces that commit war crimes. Biden has done so despite hundreds of documented examples of Israeli war crimes. Take just one. Israel blew up an ambulance. They said they did it. That is a war crime. Biden sent them weapons anyway. That is illegal. Biden is a criminal.

    Equally distressing is our Congress, our elected officials who are eager to see the destruction continued. This is not a partisan issue, apparently. Even historically decent representatives, like our very own U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, appear to be unmoved by the screams of children obliterated with our very own weapons (Courtney voted yea on a massive $26 billion weapons and financial transfer to Israel; the bill also places additional limitations on life-saving aid for Palestinian refugees). Even here in this little district, there is hardly a decent national leader in sight. No backbone. No conscience. The lack of moral courage at every level in our government is unlike anything I’ve seen in my life.

    I don’t have consoling words to part with. Our leaders will continue to fund and arm mass murder. They will tell us we are wrong for objecting. Each night, they will ensure that Israel has every destructive tool it desires, and each morning, Palestinians will wake to see which of their friends and family are still alive. On Biden’s final day in office, I won’t feel relief. Only sorrow. And rage.

    Michael McLean grew up in Old Lyme. He is a graduate of Lyme-Old Lyme High School and holds a Ph.D. in History from Boston College.

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