Bombs Away!

by W.D. Ehrhart

I turned on my computer this morning and was greeted by this headline in the Washington Post: “Six months into Gaza war, Biden confronts the limits of U.S. leverage.”

It was all I could do to keep from shouting at the top of my lungs, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?” Can Joe Biden really pretend that he’s run up against “the limits of U.S. leverage”? Can an editor of the Washington Post write such a headline with a straight face, or the publisher print it without either gagging or laughing?

According to Axios, in 2022, the U.S. government gave $3,300,000,000 to Israel, 99.7 percent of that money going to the Israeli military. According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in 2023, the U.S. gave Israel $3,800,000,000. Various other sources consistently report the same figures.

On the very day that the Israeli Defense Forces killed seven World Central Kitchen civilian aid workers with American-made weaponry while they were engaged in trying to provide food to starving Palestinians in Gaza, President Biden authorized the release of yet more bombs to the Netanyahu government.

This latest arms package included 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound blockbuster bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs. In addition, Biden authorized the shipment of 25 more F-35A fighter-bombers to Israel. It is probably safe to assume that at least one task of those new warplanes will be to drop those new bombs on the Palestinians of Gaza.

And President Biden thinks he’s reached the limits of U.S. leverage against Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government?

Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 33,000 with thousands more injured and millions unhoused and displaced, the overwhelming majority of these people innocent civilians, one third of them children. According to the World Health Organization, over a million Gazans are facing catastrophic hunger, somewhere on the order of 12 percent to 17 percent of them children under the age of five (yes: 5).

I wonder what would happen if the United States government simply stopped subsidizing the Israeli war machine. I wonder why Biden continues to provide material and direct support to what has become—not withstanding October 7th—a crime against humanity in its own right.

No sane person, no thoughtful or caring person, no person who deserves to be taken seriously, has excused or can excuse what Hamas did that day. But what Netanyahu and the IDF have done in Gaza over the past six months dwarfs by orders of magnitude what happened on October 7th, 2023. Almost the entire Gaza Strip has been bombed and shelled and beaten flat. Hospitals destroyed. Schools. Roads. Infrastructure of all kinds. Look at the photographs. Google the pictures. See for yourself.

And there seems to be no end in sight. It just goes on and on, day after day week after week, and now month after month. This is not self-defense. This is not defense of any kind. This is retribution. This is vengeance. This is not even an eye for an eye. This is eyes, ears, nose, arms, legs, and life for an eye.

Nevermind the insanity of Netanyahu and his supporters imagining that all of this will somehow irradicate Hamas or convince Palestinians to accept whatever oppression and discrimination and—yes—apartheid conditions the Israeli government chooses to saddle them with.

Does Biden really think his political fortunes are dependent on his continued support of an utterly inhumane and violent policy of mass destruction that increasingly looks like an attempt to leave Gaza depopulated and uninhabitable?

Some people might call me anti-semitic. They would be wrong. This is not “the Jews” who are doing this. It is the government of Israel, and more specifically the Netanyahu regime, who is responsible, and against whom I am “anti.”

Indeed, most of the Jewish people I know are equally appalled by what has been happening in Gaza these past six months. Back in February, I attended a presentation of the Middle Eastern antiwar organization Combatants for Peace that took place at a Jewish synagogue here in Philadelphia.

A month later, I took part in a silent march calling for a ceasefire in Gaza that was largely organized by Jews and led by a rabbi. Shouting “anti-semitism” is simply a way of allowing yourself to dismiss rational discourse and go on turning a blind eye to what has become a blood-letting madness.

And if Biden thinks his schizophrenic approach to the destruction of Gaza is anything other than a political liability, he may find out otherwise on November 5th. Very few voters are going to vote for Donald Trump because of Biden’s approach to Gaza.

But a lot of them may vote for Robert Kennedy, Jr., or Jill Stein, or Cornel West, or not vote at all. I myself will vote for Biden only because a non-vote or a vote for a third-party candidate is actually a vote for the most disastrous candidate in American history. But I fear that a significant number of voters—especially younger voters—fail to grasp the consequences of not voting for Biden, however odious that choice has become.

And I fear that Joe Biden does not grasp the consequences of his continuing military support for the destruction of Gaza and the Palestinian people. I want the madness in Gaza to stop. And I don’t want another four years of madness in the White House.


W. D. Ehrhart is a retired Master Teacher of History & English, and author of a Vietnam War memoir trilogy published by McFarland.

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