Excessive casualties?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by 2cents, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. http://washingtontimes.com/commentary/20060814-100820-9092r.htm

    Excessive casualties?
    By Bruce Fein
    August 15, 2006

    Has Israel used unnecessary force to cripple or destroy Hezbollah?
    About 1,000 Lebanese have been killed. Many have been civilians placed in harm's way by Hezbollah guerrillas. More than 3,000 have been injured, and tens of thousands have been displaced. Hezbollah has fired approximately 3,650 rockets at Israeli civilians, killing 51 and injuring 430. At present, it remains a viable fighting force, and civilian casualties on both sides are not diminishing.
    Israel's critics insist it is employing more military might than necessary to achieve legitimate war objectives. They point to the obligation under international law of a nation at war to kill, injure or displace the fewest number of civilians consistent with the military goal sought.
    Killing or otherwise harming civilians for its own sake is morally reprehensible. But as with Israel in Lebanon, nations at war commonly injure civilians either in attacking military targets, seeking to accelerate surrender by destroying enemy morale or aiming to deter future aggression. Whether the civilian casualties inflicted were incommensurate with a legitimate military goal is generally unanswerable.
    The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tens of thousands of Japanese civilians were killed or maimed. Military installations, however, were also destroyed. And the unprecedented explosive power of the bombs prompted Emperor Hirohito to surrender within a week. It probably saved millions of American and Japanese lives -- military and civilian -- that would have perished with a land invasion. The bombings may also have averted a Soviet presence in postwar Japan akin to the division of Germany or Korea. And they may have deterred Josef Stalin from invading Western Europe in the initial Cold War years before the formation of NATO in 1949.
    Detractors of the atomic bombings argue Hirohito was poised to surrender in any event and that the Soviet Union was satisfied with its side of the Iron Curtain and had no craving to dominate West Germany, France or Italy. Their claims can neither be conclusively proven nor disproven. Nor can the opposite claims of the defenders of the atomic bombings. Too little is known of what is necessary to secure surrender or to deter aggression. Indeed, the concept of minimal military force to achieve war aims is an empty vessel.
    Winning means convincing the enemy it has been defeated. And defeat is more a state of mind than a tally sheet of weapons and manpower. Before the fact, knowing whether projected bombings that anticipate civilian deaths will push the enemy past that mental threshold is unknowable. The United States did not know with certainty that Hiroshima and Nagasaki would lead to surrender on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Indeed, Hirohito was fiercely opposed by powerful military and ministerial officials who craved to turn all of Japan into a mass grave.
    The United States' firebombing of Dresden killed and injured tens of thousands of civilians. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill instructed the RAF to make the rubble dance in German cities. The American and British bombings hoped to demoralize Nazi Germany and accelerate victory. A parallel war aim was to inflict a crushing defeat that Germans would accept, in contrast to the Versailles Treaty that concluded World War I.
    Whether Dresden hastened Germany's surrender can only be speculated. The bombings might have provoked Germans to turn against Adolf Hitler. But they might also have engendered a German desire for revenge and a spirit of fighting to the finish. Experience and human nature teach either effect was plausible. William Tecumseh Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea devastated the countryside but may have considerably shortened the Civil War and hastened the full re-integration of the South into the Union.
    With these examples and understandings, it is fatuous to condemn Israel for excessive force in fighting Hezbollah because of consequential injuries to civilians. Hezbollah terrorists routinely conscript civilians and civilian property to assist in killing or injuring both the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and Israeli civilians. The IDF legitimately targets Hezbollah for destruction even if civilians will be inescapably killed acting as human shields. These deaths are not incommensurate with the IDF military goal. If they were, terrorists could attain de facto immunity from attack by taking civilian hostages.
    The IDF's bombing of roads, bridges or electric power plants have occasioned hardship for Lebanese civilians. But the misery is not disproportionate to the goal of curbing a resupply of Hezbollah in the south. Neither is it excessive when measured against the goal of engendering the political resentment of Hezbollah necessary to empower the Lebanese government to assume control over its border with Israel. Even if the goals are not ultimately attained, the failures would not discredit the reasonableness of the IDF's bombing.
    In sum, knowledge of the causes and prevention of war is too primitive to permit even a blurry dividing line between commensurate and incommensurate harms to civilians in pursuing legitimate war objectives.

    Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer and international consultant with Bruce Fein & Associates and the Lichfield Group.
  2. bsmeter


    Since when did the MOB ( Masters of Bush) care about "excessive casualties".

    After the American invasion of Iraq, more Iraqis have died than the the number who died under Saddam. Americans have been intentionally leaving radioactive depleted Uranium shells in the Iraqi farm land. Goes to show how much the MOB cares about civilian or military casualty. The MOB is infested with demons, that might explain why they love human blood.
  3. http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/000903.html

    August 06, 2006
    First Casualty

    This weekend, Charles Johnson uncovered yet another breach of journalistic integrity: Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?. Reuters has since killed the bogus photo and posted the original, unaltered photo. Apparently the photograher thought the photo of Beirut being bombed wasn't dramatic enough.

    From Ynet News: Reuters admits altering Beirut photo.

    A Reuters photograph of smoke rising from buildings in Beirut has been withdrawn after coming under attack by American web logs. The blogs accused Reuters of distorting the photograph to include more smoke and damage.
    The photograph showed two very heavy plumes of black smoke billowing from buildings in Beirut after an Air Force attack on the Lebanese capital. Reuters has since withdrawn the photograph from its website, along a message admitting that the image was distorted, and an apology to editors. ...

    Adnan Hajj, the photographer who sent the altered image, was also the Reuters photographer behind many of the images from Qana – which have also been the subject of suspicions for being staged.

    Reuters has dropped the freelance photographer, who is claming that he was just trying to "remove dust marks." Yeah right. More on the work of Adnan Hajj at Riehl World and Ace of Spades.

    UPDATE I: Jawa Report exposes another altered photo and inaccurate caption filed by Hajj.

    UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin has more links on the topic (and still more).

    UPDATE III -- Aug. 7: Reuters withdraws all photos by Lebanese freelance (via Michelle Malkin who has a good suggestion for what Reuters should have done instead)

    And Power Line notes more creative captioning by Hajj.

    UPDATE IV: Drinking From Home raises questions about two more photos (not by Hajj though). (via Tom Pechinski)

    UPDATE V: Power Line recently questioned whether controversial photographer Adnan Hajj had staged major elements of a series of photos showing a destroyed bridge in Lebanon. However...

    In the comments to the LGF post about the photos, I wrote:

    I have strong doubts about these photos being staged with cars being moved, the bridge falling, etc. There's not an easy way to described what I'm seeing (a diagram would help), but I think that extreme foreshortening of a telephoto lens contrasted with the inclusiveness of a wide-angle lens could explain [what] appear to be anomalies.
    For instance, the bridge appears to me to have already fallen in every picture. Notice the white, angled piece of pavement hanging on the right, far side, directly behind the upright car. You can see a hint of it in every picture, indicating to me the bridge is already down.

    I think the overturned truck is simply cropped out of the picture of the guys running across the bridge. Notice the red-and-white posts. One near the rear of the truck (see truck pics) has a rust-colored object on it. That post is not seen in the "running across the bridge" shot, indicating to me that the photographer could have been standing with the truck just out of frame.

    Notice, too, as someone else has already mentioned, that a large rock-like object directly under the truck bed is catching the sunlight in both pictures of the truck, suggesting the truck was not moved. There is also a flat piece of debris with a rock beside it in both photos.

    There's no doubt that Hajj is untrustworthy, and there may very well be some acting going on in these photos. But I'm not yet convinced of the other accusations.

    I later added:

    Another indication to me that the truck was not moved is the fissure in the pavement. You can see it or a hint of it in every photo (expect of course the one of the river [Photo 3]). In the first pic [Photo 1], the guys are running across the fissure on the far right-hand side of the bridge. In the first photo of the overturned truck [Photo 2], you see a faint line of the fissure running in front of and parallel to the truck, and under the guy's feet. In the last pic [Photo 4], the truck is near the fissure (bottom left corner) on the far left-hand side of the bridge. This all indicates to me that the truck was simply out of frame in the first photo. ... I'm completely ignoring the last photo posted at Power Line since it is obviously not the same bridge [Photo 5].
    I decided to quickly create some diagrams to illustrate my point. These are not intended to be anywhere near scientific or even to scale. I simply wanted to show how the differences in wide angle and telescopic lenses, as well as camera position and cropping, could explain the effects some are misinterpreting as staging. The links below contain photos 1, 2 and 4 from the Power Line post:

    Diagram: Photo 1 (wide angle lens)

    Diagram: Photo 2 (telescopic lens)

    Diagram: Photo 4 (wide angle lens)

    Sub-Update I: I added the tower to each diagram, and I added Photo 3 to the Photo 1 diagram for better context.

    Sub-Update II: Power Line points to this photo. It was taken from the opposite river bank, but it still fits with my diagrams.

    Posted by Forkum at August 6, 2006 06:46 PM
  4. http://www.nysun.com/article/37320

    Although Hezbollah has refused to make public the extent of the casualties it has suffered, Lebanese officials estimate that up to 500 fighters have been killed in the past three weeks of hostilities with Israel, and another 1,500 injured.

    Lebanese officials have also disclosed that many of Hezbollah's wounded are being treated in hospitals in Syria to conceal the true extent of the casualties.They are said to have been taken through al-Arissa border crossing with the help of Syrian security forces.

    full article:
    August 4, 2006 Edition > Section: Foreign

    Iran Is Compensating Families of Hezbollah Dead

    By CON COUGHLIN - The Daily Telegraph
    August 4, 2006

    Iran has set up a fund to compensate the families of Hezbollah fighters killed or wounded in the conflict with Israel, Lebanese security officials have disclosed.

    Iran's Shaheed Foundation is making initial payments of $1,000 to relatives, in a program that was originally set up in the 1980s to compensate the families of Iranian soldiers killed during the country's eight-year war with Iraq.

    Tehran is believed to have set aside $2 million for its Lebanon compensation fund, and further payments will be made to bereaved families when Iranian officials have assessed their needs.

    Although Hezbollah has refused to make public the extent of the casualties it has suffered, Lebanese officials estimate that up to 500 fighters have been killed in the past three weeks of hostilities with Israel, and another 1,500 injured.

    Lebanese officials have also disclosed that many of Hezbollah's wounded are being treated in hospitals in Syria to conceal the true extent of the casualties.They are said to have been taken through al-Arissa border crossing with the help of Syrian security forces.

    Iran's compensation payments offer further proof of its close ties with Lebanon's radical Shiite Muslim militia.

    Although Tehran has denied having any direct involvement in the hostilities in southern Lebanon, Lebanese security officials say the Shaheed Foundation has sent a number of representatives from Iran to set up temporary offices in local schools and kindergartens — closed for the summer holidays — to assist with the payments. An estimated 20 commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps are already based in Lebanon, helping Hezbollah with the Iranian-made rockets being fired into Israel.

    Iran has previously paid compensation to the families of Palestinian Arab suicide bombers who have hit Israeli targets.

    Hezbollah's operational council has drawn up casualty lists that have been passed to the Shaheed Foundation. Copies have been seen by the Daily Telegraph and have also been obtained by Lebanese newspapers, which have been pressured by Hezbollah not to publish them.

    "Hezbollah is desperate to conceal its casualties because it wants to give the impression that it is winning its war," a senior security official said. "People might reach a very different conclusion if they knew the true extent of Hezbollah's casualties."
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/w...247590ca2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    Christians Fleeing Lebanon Denounce Hezbollah

    TYRE, Lebanon, July 27 — The refugees from southern Lebanon spilled out of packed cars into the dark street here Thursday evening, gulping bottles of water and squinting in the glare of the headlights to find family members and friends. Many had not eaten in days. Most had not had clean drinking water for some time. There were wounded swathed in makeshift dressings, and a baby just 16 days old.

    But for some of the Christians who had made it out in this convoy, it was not just privations they wanted to talk about, but their ordeal at the hands of Hezbollah — a contrast to the Shiites, who make up a vast majority of the population in southern Lebanon and broadly support the militia.

    “Hezbollah came to Ain Ebel to shoot its rockets,” said Fayad Hanna Amar, a young Christian man, referring to his village. “They are shooting from between our houses.”

    “Please,’’ he added, “write that in your newspaper.”

    The evacuation — more than 100 cars that followed an International Committee for the Red Cross rescue convoy to Tyre — included Lebanese from several Christian villages. In past wars, Christian militias were close to Israelis, and animosity between Christians and Shiites lingers.

    Throngs of refugees are now common in this southern coastal town, the gateway to the war that is booming just miles away. The United Nations has estimated that 700,000 Lebanese, mostly from the southern third of the country, have been displaced by the war.

    But thousands of people have been left behind, residents and the Red Cross say.

    What has prevented many from fleeing is a critical shortage of fuel. Roland Huguenin-Benjamin, a spokesman for the Red Cross who accompanied the convoy to Tyre, said Red Cross officials had offered to lead out any people who wanted to drive behind, but many did not have enough gasoline for the trip.

    Those who did get out were visibly upset. Some carried sick children. A number broke down it tears when they emerged from their cars here.

    “People are dying under bombs and crushed under houses,” Nahab Aman said, sobbing and hugging her young son. “We’re not dogs! Why aren’t they taking the people out?”

    Many Christians from Ramesh and Ain Ebel considered Hezbollah’s fighting methods as much of an outrage as the Israeli strikes. Mr. Amar said Hezbollah fighters in groups of two and three had come into Ain Ebel, less than a mile from Bint Jbail, where most of the fighting has occurred. They were using it as a base to shoot rockets, he said, and the Israelis fired back.

    One woman, who would not give her name because she had a government job and feared retribution, said Hezbollah fighters had killed a man who was trying to leave Bint Jbail.

    “This is what’s happening, but no one wants to say it” for fear of Hezbollah, she said.

    American citizens remain in some southern villages. Mohamed Elreda, a father of three from New Jersey, was visiting relatives in Yaroun with his family when two missiles narrowly missed his car, while he was parking it in front of his family’s house. His 16-year-old son Ali was sprayed with shrapnel and is now in a hospital in Tyre.

    “I have never seen anything like this in my life,” said Mr. Elreda, who arrived here on Thursday morning. “They see civilians, they bomb them,” he said, referring to the Israelis.

    “We had to move underground like raccoons.”

    He said a person affiliated with the United States Embassy arrived in Yaroun and shouted for everyone to join a convoy that the Israelis had promised safe passage.

    He left in such haste, he said, that he had pulled on his wife’s sweatpants (they had a pink stripe running down the length of each leg). His son’s blood still stained his shoes.

    He said Yaroun had been without electricity and clean water for more than a week, and he had stirred dirty clothes in a pail of water and bleach to make bandages for his son’s wounds.

    The village is largely Christian, but has Muslim pockets, and Mr. Elreda said he walked at night among houses to the Christian section, where a friend risked his life to drive his son to Tyre, while Mr. Elreda stayed with the rest of the family.

    On Thursday he joined his son at the hospital.

    “He’s my son,” he said, standing at the foot of the boy’s bed. “I just can’t see him like this.”
  6. hezbollah guerillas lightly armed?? yeah right...

    Israel, Hezbollah Assess Arsenal, Consider Lessons as War Halts
    Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Israel and Hezbollah, their war at least temporarily halted by the United Nations-sponsored cease- fire, are each pondering military lessons of the conflict -- and assessing the weapons available should it resume.

    Israel's U.S.-supplied armed forces, structured for conventional warfare, proved unable to knock out Hezbollah during a month of combat, even as it eliminated many of the militia's soldiers and medium-range missile sites. Analysts say Hezbollah retains as many as 9,000 unguided Katyusha rockets, as well as some medium- and long-range missiles and anti-ship and anti-tank weapons supplied by Iran and Syria.

    While its arsenal is less sophisticated than Israel's, Hezbollah was able to keep striking northern Israel, forcing its adversary into a combined air-and-ground operation that was time- consuming and dangerous. ``If you store a rocket in a cave, there's nothing to see from 10,000 feet,'' said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. ``You're looking for needles in a very big haystack.''

    Iran gives Hezbollah a $300 million annual subsidy, about two-thirds of it for weapons, according to Ariel Cohen, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation. The arms are flown to Syria and then trucked to Lebanon under Syrian supervision, said Yiftah Shapir, editor of the ``Middle East Military Balance,'' an annual survey published by Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.


    While the UN cease-fire resolution calls for a halt to this flow, Israeli military experts are skeptical. Resupply will happen ``relatively fast,'' said Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of research at Israel's Military Intelligence division. ``They haven't abided by any UN resolutions so far, so the chances they're going to abide by this one aren't so good,'' he said.

    Hezbollah has been linked to scores of terrorist attacks on Israelis and Americans, including rocket assaults on Israeli towns, 1983 Beirut bombings that killed 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 French soldiers, and the 1994 attack that killed 85 people at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

    Hezbollah's long-range rocket, the Zelzal, which means ``earthquake'' in Farsi, contains a 600-kilogram (1,322-pound) warhead, said Doug Richardson, editor of Jane's Missiles and Rockets, published in Coulsdon, England. Hezbollah's medium-range Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets carry 90- and 175-kilogram (198- and 386-pound) warheads respectively, Richardson said.

    Hezbollah also has an anti-ship missile, the Noor, which has a radar-jamming device that gives it a 98 percent hit rate, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Before the conflict began, Israel was unaware of this weapon, which killed four of its sailors in an attack July 14.

    Supplied by Syria

    Hezbollah also used unmanned drones supplied by Iran and claims to have destroyed two advanced Merkava-4 Israeli tanks with a new Russian-made, laser-guided anti-tank missile, which according to Israeli officials was supplied by Syria.

    Hezbollah's anti-tank missiles include several Russian-made models, such as the AT-4 Fagot, AT-3 Sagger and laser-guided Kornet, according to a display of captured weapons organized by the Israel Army yesterday in Tel Aviv. The arsenal also included Iranian copies of the U.S. TOW wire-guided weapon.

    Still, the most persistent, widespread damage to Israel was inflicted by the relatively low-tech Katyushas.

    While Israel's precision-guided technology has been useful in locating and destroying the medium- and longer-range systems, ``for the Katyushas it hasn't been effective,'' said Avi Segal, an expert in military strategy at Emek Yezreel College in Afula, Israel, about 40 miles north of Tel Aviv. Some Hezbollah missiles hit near the college.

    Missile Defense Thwarted

    The Katyushas' short flight time and low trajectory neutralized Israel's missile defense, the Arrow system for intercepting longer-range Scuds and other weapons possessed by Iran. The U.S. since 1990 has given about $1.4 billion to the Arrow's development, or about half its cost, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service in Washington.

    ``The only way to deal with the Katyushas is to control the ground,'' Segal said. They are almost impossible to eliminate from the air ``because the launchers are so mobile and the rockets can be launched with timers,'' he said.

    Kenneth Katzman, a CRS Middle East terrorism expert, said Israel initially ``thought along the `shock and awe' line,'' calculating that air power ``would be so overwhelming and so precise that Hezbollah would be scared into capitulating.'' When that didn't happen, he said, Israel ``settled into a pattern of making slow and steady degradation,'' using both air power and ground forces.

    U.S. Aid

    The U.S. since 2001 has given Israel $6.3 billion worth of arms and another $10.5 billion in financing that Israel can use to buy weapons and equipment from U.S. companies or its own firms, according to an analysis by the New York-based arms- control group World Policy Institute.

    Israel's air force used a wide range of U.S. systems against Hezbollah, according to the air force's Web site.

    The weapons included the F-16 fighter and C-130 Hercules transport made by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp.; F-15 fighters and AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships from Chicago- based Boeing Co.; and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters made by Providence, Rhode Island-based Textron Inc.

    They also included CH-53 and UH-60 transport helicopters from Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp.'s Sikorsky Aircraft unit and a Beechcraft King-Air B200 ``Tzufit'' propeller aircraft produced by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon Co. for intelligence gathering, the air force said.

    The fighter aircraft dropped both laser-guided bombs and Boeing Global Positioning Satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions.


    Among the 49 Apaches in Israel's inventory are ``Longbow'' versions with Northrop Grumman radar mounted above the rotor blades. The Apaches carry as many as 16 Hellfire anti-armor missiles. Dubbed the ``Saraf,'' the Longbow ``is the most advanced of all aircraft,'' according to the Israeli air force.

    Israel also used for the first time a U.S. system dubbed the ``Destroyer,'' a mobile rocket-launch system built by Lockheed Martin that can fire ripples of 12 rockets armed with anti- personnel warheads up to about 20 miles. Israel bought 48 of these systems at a total cost of up to $200 million, said Dan O'Boyle, a U.S. Army spokesman.

    Israel fired more than 45,000 artillery rounds into southern Lebanon, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Much of the shelling came from M-109 155mm self-propelled howitzers made by United Defense LP, which is now owned by London-based BAE Systems PLC.


    Israel used unmanned drones made by state-owned, Tel Aviv- based Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. and Haifa-based Elbit Systems for 24-hour reconnaissance, weapons launch and in at least one case a ``suicide'' attack by drone on a suspected Hezbollah truck.

    Still, said Shapir of the Jaffee Center, ``somebody in Hezbollah was thinking out of the box. We definitely need to consider how to defend ourselves better against these weapons.''

    To contact the reporters on this story:
    Tony Capaccio in Washington at acapaccio@bloomberg.net;
    Timothy R. Homan in Washington at thoman@bloomberg.net;
    Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv at jferziger@bloomberg.net.