World roundup: December 8 2023
Stories from Pakistan, Senegal, Guatemala, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
December 8, 1953: US President Dwight Eisenhower delivers his “Atoms for Peace” speech to the United Nations General Assembly. Eisenhower’s speech, and the program it announced, was meant to focus international attention on the peaceful uses of nuclear power, either as a way to ease fears about nuclear weapons or as cover for the massive US nuclear buildup that followed. Or, hey, why not both? And maybe drum up some revenue for US companies along the way? The Atoms for Peace program helped build research reactors in Iran, Israel, and Pakistan. Two of those countries eventually weaponized their nuclear programs, though ironically it’s the one that didn’t that’s become the DC Blob’s obsession.
December 8, 1980: Former member of the Beatles John Lennon is shot and killed outside of his home in New York City by Mark David Chapman.
Responsible Statecraft’s Paul Pillar considers the Israeli military’s (IDF) own casualty estimates and concludes that “eliminating Hamas” is far from its only war aim:
Consider the following numbers. Israeli officials claim that their operation in Gaza has so far killed 5,000 Hamas fighters. The officials admit that this is a squishy estimate, and the outside world has no way of knowing whether it is even close to being true. But assume for the moment that it is. By the Israeli military’s own estimates, Hamas’ military wing numbered about 30,000 fighters at the start of this war, implying there are still 25,000 yet to be eliminated. The latest estimates of the fast-rising count of total Palestinian casualties from the war so far are 16,000 dead, including more than 5,000 children.
Do the math. At the current pace and with Israel’s current methods, finishing the supposed job of destroying the Hamas military wing would entail almost 100,000 dead Palestinians, including more than 30,000 dead children. And that does not include the damage from Israel going after the rest of Hamas besides its military wing, including the senior leadership whom Israel has vowed to kill, as well as the Hamas-run civil administration of the Gaza Strip, which Israel has vowed to eliminate. Nor does it consider that the rate of civilian casualties from Israeli military operations currently escalating in the southern part of the Strip — now crammed with those who had fled the north — is likely to be at least as high as from the previous operations in the north.
These numbers are not only orders of magnitude greater than anything that could be justified as a response to the brutality Hamas committed in Israel in October. They strongly suggest that in addition to eliminating Hamas, killing civilians and pushing as many Palestinians as possible out of Gaza is an Israeli objective.