"But is Israeli military action against Hezbollah, even if it is intense, really the behavior of a "war criminal"?as always with arkin: wtf?
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."
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"
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.thnx D.
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."