Thursday, July 20, 2006

Terrorist Milk

The Bush Administration and Hillary Clinton are rabidly supporting Israel's invasion and war on Lebanon's non-Hezbollah government and civilians. I don't see a problem with it. You never know where the terrorists are, so might as well attack anything suspected of being a target. For instance, yesterday Israel bombed a milk factory, some wheat silos, and some ambulances trying to get medical aid to civilians. Hezbollah spokespeople like Helen Thomas may decry these attacks as indiscriminate or even call them war crimes, but I think it's clear from these photographs that they were legitimate targets. Judge for yourself:

Seems pretty clear cut to me. As for the media's coverage, well, they seem to be having a problem defining it as a war:


Dewy24 said...

If you don't read it already Juan Cole's "Informed Comment" blog is excellent.

He posted this today and it seems dead on to me.

"The Lebanese government says that the Israelis have now killed more than 300 persons, all but a handful innocent civilians. Some of the military personnel killed were Lebanese army troops hundreds of miles from the Hizbullah positions in the South, who were not doing anything that threatened Israel. In fact, Israeli officials keep saying that want the help of the Lebanese army to curb Hizbullah. But then they bomb the Lebanese army. Say what?

Israeli war planes fired on two parked trucks in the Christian Ashrafiyah district of Beirut. These innocuous trucks in a Christian area were clearly not legitimate military targets in a struggle against Hizbullah. The message the Israeli air force is trying to send with such actions is that Lebanese should stop driving trucks for a while, or else they will be targets.

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.

[A reader writes:

' 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. '

That kind of broad gauge approach is not allowed by the modern laws of warfare. If you have good reason to think that a truck is carrying weaponry to Hizbullah, you can bomb it. But just bombing any old civilian truck is a war crime.

So, the Israelis could have attempted to surveil trucking and where they had good reason to think that a truck was transporting weapons, they could have hit it. But just blowing up random trucks is criminal.

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."

Dan said...

I thought this was going to be a comment telling me that I was gay for Goebbels or something.

good blog, good post. The only thing I would question is the statement that the Hezbollah missiles failed to hit anything. I think approximately 15 Israeli civilians have been killed in Haifa.

good comments by the reader, as well. Though I don't think we'll see any prosecution of this type of war crime until a consensus of condemnation of Israel's military tactics is reached. And unfortunately, that includes the US.

attacking Christian trucks? WTF?!!? We should send these reinforcements over there:

Dan said...

sorry. that's:

with AMG_Blog_Photos/truck_jesus.jpg on the end.

Dewy24 said...

In fairness he did say that "the missiles have mostly failed to hit anything" which I guess you could argue makes light of the Israeli causalities. But I think his point is that, in terms of how many missiles Hezbollah has fired into Israel, the damage has been minimal and dwarfed by Israel's response. I do think it is important to point out that Hezbollah is indiscriminately firing at civilians as well so is hardly blameless in this mess. That said one would be hard pressed to argue that Israel is not the aggressor in this instance. Like Juan Cole says Israel has every right to blow up anyone lobbing missiles into their country but the moment you stop making any effort to limit civilian casualties, you've crossed a line.

Another thing we need is some consensus on how to spell "Hezbollah". I suggest "Hizbizzle".

Dan said...

I did notice the mostly, but I have a problem with the quantification of casualties thing, so I figured I'd point it out since the mostly was the disclaimer in a statement that implied that the missiles were harmless. Like "yeah, but only 15 people died". It's little consolation for those people and their families that most of the other missiles missed.

but dewy24 and I will argue about anything. I think we are actually in agreement about this one.

Sean said...

I would argue that your approach to Political Science is far, far too complex.

Dan said...

Has that guy reproduced yet, or is there still time to stop it?

Dan said...

please also note this quote from an article from today's

the 28 people who were reported killed across the country today signaled a sharp, if momentary, decline in the daily death rate [in Iraq].

someone should tell georgie to cut that shit out. and give him a backrub.