"And this is my problem with Israel's war on Lebanon. The Olmert government wants to clean Hizbullah's katyusha rocket emplacements out of the area above its northern border with Israel. That may or may not be a realistic goal. Larry Cohler-Esses at the Jewish Week reports that a lot of military experts think Israel's military plan is impossible to accomplish. But it is legitimate for the Israeli government to fight Hizbullah and to attempt to destroy the missiles, once Hizbullah showered Israel with missiles (and even thought the missiles have mostly failed to hit anything).
But the Israeli military from the beginning of this conflict did not limit itself to fighting Hizbullah or to hitting its arsenal. The Israeli air force bombed Beirut airport (and bombed it again on Wednesday), and bombed the sea ports of Tripoli, Jounieh, Beirut, Sidon and Tyre. It bombed civilian neighborhoods and villages and killed whole families.
Israel has fought a lazy war, both morally lazy and militarily lazy. It is work to surveil enemy shipments. So, you just blow up the airport and the ports and roads and bridges, regardless of whether you have reason to believe that any of them is used by Hizbullah for their war effort. Just in case. It is a just in case war. You bomb Shiite villages intensively, just in case they have military significance to Hizbullah. Maybe they don't, and you've just blown up a civilian neighborhood and killed whole families. Where blowing up things has no immediate and legitimate military purpose and harms innocent civilians, it is a crime. It can be prosecuted, especially in Europe.
That is collective punishment. It is holding millions of innocents hostage and threatening them with death. It is state terror. I don't think the Israelis get it."
* juan cole posts a reader's comment:
"' Given the 15 or so deaths of Turkish soldiers and police at the hands of Kurd "terrorists" over the past few weeks - and the inability of the Government of Iraq to control these "terrorists" - I wonder if U.S. officials believe that Turkey has the right to defend itself by bombing the Baghdad airport, destroying bridges and roads in Iraq, and generally smashing the hell out of Kurdish territory. Probably not. '"