Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Warning leaflets vs. Ball bearings

Humm, Israel using leaflets to warn, vs. Hezbollah using ball bearings to kill... you decide who's the real guilty party here.

From Human Rights Watch...
Lebanon: Hezbollah Rocket Attacks on Haifa Designed to Kill Civilians
Anti-personnel Ball Bearings Meant to Harm "Soft" Targets


(New York, July 18, 2006) – Hezbollah's attacks in Israel on Sunday and Monday were at best indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, at worst the deliberate targeting of civilians. Either way, they were serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today.

In addition, the warheads used suggest a desire to maximize harm to civilians. Some of the rockets launched against Haifa over the past two days contained hundreds of metal ball bearings that are of limited use against military targets but cause great harm to civilians and civilian property. The ball bearings lodge in the body and cause serious harm.
Or more details, from Reuters.
"In my medical opinion, they [these rockets] are supposed to injure as many people as possible," said Dr. Eran Tal-Or, director of the Surgical Emergency Room at Haifa's Ramban Hospital. "If you wanted to bring down a building, you would make a weapon with a heavier blast. And you wouldn't bother with the balls inside that don't do much harm to buildings; just to people."

Human Rights Watch interviewed three railway workers at the hospital wounded by the ball bearings in Sunday's lethal blast.

Under international humanitarian law, parties to an armed conflict may not use weapons in civilian areas that are so inaccurate that they cannot be directed at military targets without imposing a substantial risk of civilian harm. Such attacks can constitute war crimes. Deliberately attacking civilians is in all circumstances prohibited and a war crime.
h/t to Steve Janke.

11 Comments:

  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 08:16:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Brandon said…

    Are you trying to suggest that Israel has *only* dropped leaflets?

    Or did you forget that they've bombed all sorts of civilian infrastructure targets as well. Perhaps they really meant to drop leaflets but forgot that they had live munitions?

     
  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 09:35:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous drew said…

    True. I saw on the news the other day that they even bombed a Christian part of the city, killing many Christian civilians, and I'm pretty sure they weren't involved in any of the attacks on Israel.

    I don't see how anyone can support either side in this whole thing. They've both got innocent blood on their hands. We can demonstrate grace to both sides (they are all God's children after all), but to support either side isn't going to help anyone.

     
  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 10:45:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Ryan said…

    Well Drew.....

    One side supports the utter distruction (I'm talking holocost) of the other. The other side is defending itself and its citizens against an unprovoked attack.

    One side uses terrorist tactics such as suicide bombing, the other side uses traditional military tactics.

    One side tries to limit civilian casualties, the other side targets only civilians.

    One side is supported by western democracies, the other by Iranian dictator. (A dictator who recently said Isreal needs to be wiped off the map, and Isreal is a one bomb state)

    One side is a legitimate state, the other side is a military faction opporating within a state that does not support its activities.

    One side is surrounded by countries that hate it and deny its right to even exist, the other side risks complete destablization of the region by constantly forcing the hand of the other into military responses.

    If you can figure out which side is which you should be able to pick a side in this conflict.

     
  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 12:08:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Pete said…

    Ryan, you seem to be equating Hezbollah with Lebanon. At least implicitly, and not necessarily consiously. This is a mistake. (Though I do recognize your third last paragraph, just the other comments seem to gloss over the point, is all.)

    Both Hezbollah and the Israeli army are killing civilians and destroying infastructure, and the Israelis to a much greater extent. They are no longer defending themselves, except in a very narrow sense of the term.

    There are reasons why neighbouring states don't like Israel. A lot of it stems from the, for lack of a better term, ethnic cleansing of many Palestinian areas for increased Israeli settlement starting in the late 1940s and, if one looks at the Wall, continuing all the way to the present day. The partition plan of 1947 was a horrible mistake in many regards, but it is in the past and we must like with its consequences.

    And some of those consequences are a people denied a state and freedoms in the name of another people securing their own state and freedoms. It is unfortunate that the security and freedom of one seems, historically at least, to require the oppression of the other.

    But that is a different conflict--an ongoing conflict that has also escalated quite rapidly recently though is lost to our (or at least my) media sources due to the explosive nature of Israel's attacks on a neighbouring sovriegn state, its people, and its infastructure.

    In your second to last paragraph you suggest that one is risking destabilitizing the region. I think that has already been done, at least for the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples.

    I am not suggesting, or hope I am not suggesting, that I support Hezbollah. But I surely cannot support the Israeli's disporportionate assualt on Lebanon and Palestine, and their people. Israel is not, nor was it ever (in Biblical and Modern time frames) an innocent state. It has blood on its hands and enough skeletons that the closet cannot be closed.

    The victim, and side that is supportable, at least to me, consists of the Lebanese and Palestinian people who are doing their best with the mess they inherited in the face of foreign pressures and, until recently and perhaps again in the Lebanese case, occupation.

    (The Israeli's suffering under Hezbollah's attacks are not to be forgotten, nor is their suffering to be trivialized. The situation in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories is just that much more urgent that it demands more recognition.)

    I do not imagine that I could propose a way out of this mess, the damage was done sixty years ago by our own short sided predecessors with the original partition plan. We live with its consequences.

    So, here I am, in the middle, annoyed and angry by the aggressors on both side. Happy, at least, that those I know who were planning to be in Lebanon this week for business and to visit family didn't have plans to be there two weeks ago. There is a crisis going on that cannot be painted in black and white--the grey scale isn't great enough to paint all the distinctions that need to be made. But vibrant colours only confuse things.

    I guess I should add a qualified "confused" to the angry and annoyed.

    Cheers

    (No promises that I'll wander back here, I use the CanCov to find my articles to read in quite random fashion.)

     
  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 01:50:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous drew said…

    "One side is surrounded by countries that hate it and deny its right to even exist"

    I don't support the right of any nation to exist either. A nation is nothing more than a lump of land that certain people decided should be called a certain name and run by certain laws, nothing more. No nation that I can think of has any ontological right to exist. Realistically, the existence of nations all comes down to who has the most power and/or the most powerful outside supporters willing to back them with their power. As Buffy (or was it the First Evil?) said, "it's about the power."

     
  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 01:56:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Pete: Ryan is fully correct. In any military stategy, there are two prongs to an attack. One is tactical, the other strategic.
    The destruction of infrastructure is fully in keeping with the strategic side of battle. That is, reduce your ememy's ability to wage war. You deny him fuel, water, electricity, communication and mobility.

    The tactical side is quite simply, kill the ememy.

    If one understands that by destroying the strategic targets, the conflict is more likely to end sooner, rather than later, because the losing side is eliminated quicker, and therefore the over-all civilian casualties will be less. Long protracted wars of attrition are what kills more people.

    The sooner Israel kills ever last, filthy terrorist, punishes every colaborator(a lot of the 'innocent civilians' are colaborators),the sooner this war will end with a better outcome to the people of the region. Israel WILL prevail, and the antagonists to the Jewish state might as well be killed or quit before the enevitable happens. But make no mistake, it will be a Israeli victory.

    Innocent civilian casualties are a media-myth. They harbour and hael the thugs because they are kindred spirits. Terrorist's can't exsist in the general population unless there is wide-spread public support of their aims and ideology.

    Time for the rest of us to remove our multicultural-rose coloured glasses. These terrorist bastards don't even pretend to deny what they really want and yet we still think that they are really just ' poor, mis-understood blokes that are oppresed and have a hard time expressing themselves' and will come around to be good neighbors just as soon as we invite them to join our little Club. NOT!

    They will never stop killing and destroying until every last Jew and non-muslim is dead. It's not really too difficult to understand.....they keep telling us this in plain language and deeds. Are we stupid, or what?

     
  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 02:32:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    Drew:

    Certainly the nation-state concept is a relative new phenomenon, but numerous political philosophers (such as even the quasi-postmodernist Max Weber, who is probably still the most dominant philosopher in the theory of international political science) have both defended its existance and theorized that it is the best way to govern in the contemporary world. To suggest that this paradigm simply disappear is, in my opinion at any rate, draconian and undesirable - certainly withhout a viable alternative to replace it.

    Sure, I know you could reply that the nation-state will be eliminated conceptually at the return of Christ, but until that date arrives I think the nation-state is likely the best way of doing things in the modernized world. Besides, national rivalries and disputes existed long before the emergence of the nation-state in the early 20th century as the dominant paradigm of political organization.

     
  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 02:42:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous drew said…

    Not arguing against that, Blake, at least not too hard (I do suspect there still might be some better ways that we have yet to fully consider, but until then we're stuck with what we have). My point was simply that no nation-state has an ontological right to exist in and of itself, be it Israel or any other nation. :)

     
  • At Sat. Jul. 22, 03:27:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    I believe that national groups do have the right to self-determination; that has been largely recognized by the world within reasonable limits. That includes Israel, that also includes the Palestianian Arabs. I'd even say that includes Quebec, again, within reasonable limits.

    So I guess you can call me a supporter of the notion of the modern nation-state. :)

     
  • At Sun. Jul. 23, 10:41:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Ryan said…

    Pete:

    I certainly understand that there is a difference between Lebanon and the Lebonese people, and the terrorist organization Hezbollah.

    "One side is a legitimate state, the other side is a military faction opporating within a state that does not support its activities"

    I agree that both Hezbollah and Isreal are killing civilians. Like any rational person I think this is detesable, and I pray for the families on both sides of the conflict.

    However, I must note that Hezbollah have fired more that 900 missles into Isreal. The difference is that the missles used by Isreal are modern advanced missles that can be guided with some accuracy, where as the missles used by Hezbollah are not at all acurate. Isreal is trying to limit civilian casualties by using advanced weapons systems. Hezbollah is simply chucking bombs at urban centers with the hope that it will kill. Indicriminant killing is more effective at instilling fear.

    Also, I would point out that it is part of the strategy of Hezbollah to imbed itself with civilians in order to ensure that any attack would incure signifant civilian death, thereby discrediting its enemy in the eyes of the world. Additionally, most of these civilians know that Hezbollah is in the neighborhood, many openly support the efforts of Hezbollah.
    So much of the responsibity for the high number of civilian deaths on the Lebonese side lay upon the shoulders of Hezbollah.

    Also, I'm not interested in debating the legitmacy of the state of Isreal. Its there now. I can't think of any nation in the history of mankind that does not have blood on its hands. All states rise to power by conquering the peoples that occupied the land before them. The fact that for most nations this occured many generations into its past does not make its formation any more noble than Isreal's. Isreal certainly has as much a cliam to the land as any other group, its changed hands many times since the Roman's took control of the area. Cetainly one cannot deny that the Jews have made the desert bloom since reclaiming their homeland.

     
  • At Sun. Jul. 23, 12:22:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous ryan said…

    "The First Protocol to the Geneva Conventions reads in part: “The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.... The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.”

    If you attempt to use civilians as human shields, you are yourself guilty of war crimes. What is more, the responsibility for any civilian deaths that occur as a result falls on you, not the attacking party"


    excerpt from Adrew Coyne's blog article

     

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