Saturday, July 22, 2006

as always with arkin: wtf?

* arkin:
"But is Israeli military action against Hezbollah, even if it is intense, really the behavior of a "war criminal"?

So far, in eight days of fighting, about 300 Lebanese civilians have died. It is hard to assess whether this is "normal" collateral damage because the United States and other Western militaries refuse to methodically study civilian deaths in war.

What we are left with instead is the stories of a family hit here, a village hit there. The New York Times reports that in Srifa, "a neighborhood was wiped out — 15 houses flattened, 21 people killed, 30 wounded — in an Israeli airstrike. The town’s mayor, Afif Najdi, called it a massacre."

When Israel and the United States fight, they jealously guard operational details. In this hyper-secret vacuum, this kind of one-sided anecdotal reporting paints a certain picture of war, that it is indiscriminate and fruitless.

In Srifa though, what we don't know is whether Hezbollah was firing rockets or taking sanctuary in the neighborhood. The dead in this type of reporting are most always listed as civilians. Given the limitations of access to only the civilian side, the reporting thus promotes the suggestion that Hezbollah fighters aren't there, aren't being killed, that they don't even exist.

When the U.N. high commissioner for human rights and former war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour raises war crimes and argues that there is "indiscriminate shelling of cities," I guess she is referring to Hezbollah's indiscriminate attacks on Israel. I might not like what Israel is doing, and my personal tendency might be anti-war, but I just don't see war crimes or indiscriminate anything in Israel's conduct.

It seems to me that airpower and Israeli guns, even its attacks on infrastructure to profoundly disrupt Lebanese civilian life, are having an effect. In the south, Hezbollah's capabilities are being depleted and its supply lines cut off. Civilians are being warned. Israel is using the highest technology and employing sophisticated intelligence. Because of the Beirut bombing, the international community is being pushed to pressure external actors to limit their support for Hezbollah.

As bad as the current air war may be for the civilian population caught in the crossfire, a ground invasion would likely result in more civilian deaths and perpetuate a state of warfare over a longer period of time, auguring even greater civilian harm in the future."
as always with arkin: wtf?

there's so much here that's wrong that i barely know where to start. the definition of war crimes, AFAIK, has nothing to do with whether the 'collateral damage' is "normal".

this: "The dead in this type of reporting are most always listed as civilians." is laughable (see scott)

this: "I guess she is referring to Hezbollah's indiscriminate attacks on Israel." is intentionally disingenuous. a) we hate war crimes (and war) regardless of who is guilty, and b) Hezbollah apparently doesnt have 'smart bombs.

this: "It seems to me that airpower and Israeli guns... are having an effect." is downright criminal. war crimes are intended (usually) to have an effect. that doesnt justify them. i don't remember that 'out' clause in the Geneva conventions.

and the same goes for this: "a ground invasion would likely result in more civilian deaths and perpetuate a state of warfare over a longer period of time"

grrrr.

update from the comments - Damien adds some of the detail that I was too lazy to add. In part:
"The western media and leadership elite certainly seem to have entered a collective la-la land on this. Total nonsense. Ordinary people understand.

The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits collective punishment: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed." And it outlaws "causing extensive destruction ... not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly." Amnesty International has called the actions war crimes.

The state of Israel is in absolutely no danger of perishing. It is the fourth largest military power in the world. Terrorising civilians and destroying infrastructure are crimes against humanity. I don't think Israelis (by and large) are confused about this. When children start writing on missiles you know the enemy is vermin, untermenschen. It's not a pleasant idea."
thnx D.

7 comments:

damien said...

Leo, a blog adversary of mine at the Melb Age had this to say: "Citing Juan Cole or the "Daily Kos" as "evidence" that Israelis are "committing war crimes" is hardly anything to go by. After all you may as well cite Hezbollah's Al-Manar broadcasting service. Not much difference there."

He was taking exception to Juan Cole reporting that "Israel has bombed a hospital in Lebanon; the country's largest dairy farm, Liban Lait; a paper mill; a packaging firm and a pharmaceutical plant"

And he simply ignored Margaret Cohen's account of the destruction of Gaza's main power plant and it's effects on 700,000 people.

The western media and leadership elite certainly seem to have entered a collective la-la land on this. Total nonsense. Ordinary people understand.

The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits collective punishment: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed." And it outlaws "causing extensive destruction ... not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly." Amnesty International has called the actions war crimes.

The state of Israel is in absolutely no danger of perishing. It is the fourth largest military power in the world. Terrorising civilians and destroying infrastructure are crimes against humanity. I don't think Israelis (by and large) are confused about this. When children start writing on missiles you know the enemy is vermin, untermenschen. It's not a pleasant idea.

At one website I visit I can't get a protagonist to admit that "PALESTINIANS ARE HUMANS TOO." Apparently, he will choke if he says the words.

lukery said...

thnx D

post updated.

hope your world is ok today.

l.

damien said...

The greatest suffering of my life is that I look like John Howard.

lukery said...

ewwwww

jeebus.

i hope your mum forgives you

damien said...

Not quite as bad, I must say. I think I'll change for a while and become Anthony Fortiori. Yossarian had the right take on things:

"Well, do you know what you are? You are a frustrated, unhappy, disillusioned, uindisciplined, maladjusted young man!" Major Sanderson's disposition seemed to mellow as he reeled off the uncomplimentary adjectives.

"Yes, sir," Yossarian agreed carefully. "I guess you're right."

"Of course I'm right. You're immature. You've been unable to adjust to the idea of war."

"Yes, sir."

"You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you're at war and might get your head blown off any second."

"I more than resent it, sir. I'm absolutely incensed."

"You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don't like bigots, bullies, snobs or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate."

"Consciously, sir, consciously," Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. "I hate them consciously."

Kathleen said...

I'm gonna go with "consciously" and instinctively, conscientiously.

lukery said...

i'm gonna add incensed, as well.