Secretary of State John Kerry, who was on every network political show over the weekend justifying Israel’s actions in Gaza, was caught on a hot mic giving a very different assessment. Kerry said “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” while talking to an aid on the phone, mocking the accuracy of Israel’s weapons strikes which Israel claims are limited and precise.
Though there is a raging debate over the morality of Israel’s actions, there is no honest debate over whether Israel is killing a lot of civilians. The UN has already published a report estimating 80% of those Palestinians that have died are civilians with numbers breaking 500 total dead. There is, indeed, nothing “pinpoint” about this operation.
The hot mic moment occurred while Kerry was prepping for his appearance on Fox News Sunday in studio. Chris Wallace, the show’s anchor, played the clip for Kerry on the show and Kerry responded by defending Israel’s actions and saying he reacted the way anyone would to the deaths of “young children and civilians.” The state department later issued a statement concerning the interview and use of Kerry’s comments.
Given the range of important global events we are not going to spend time litigating whether taping and playing Secretary Kerry’s private conversation was consistent with acceptable protocol. Regardless, his private comments were consistent with his publicly stated view on all five shows: Israel has the right to defend itself including against recent tunnel attacks, but he has encouraged them to not only take steps to prevent civilian casualties, but to take steps to de-escalate and we’re working together to achieve a ceasefire.
But is the State Department and Obama Administration really working towards a ceasefire? All indications are the US has made zero threats on pulling diplomatic cover at the UN or the billions of US tax dollars that Israel uses for its defense. When you are not using the only leverage you have, you aren’t really trying.
Instead of using that leverage, US officials like Kerry make pro-Israel statements while correspondingly claiming they will act as a neutral party to resolve the dispute. Is anyone still buying this pinpoint communications policy?