The War Goal that Led to Qana

Nehemia Shtrasler, a columnist in Haaretz, Israel’s most respected newspaper, today explains the goal of the Israeli invasion:

“The Olmert-Peretz plan was to shell and demolish south Lebanon and south Beirut until the Lebanese public demanded that its government vomit Hezbollah out from its midst.”

With a goal of demolishing much of the part of a neighboring country, it is ludicrous to pretend that killing civilians is accidental.  Laying waste trumps recognizing the lives of women and children.

Shtrasler notes, “Instead of demanding that Hezbollah be dismantled, the people of Lebanon want revenge, and they want it now. That is their response to the killing of 750 civilians and the destruction of thousands of homes, bridges, roads, villages and towns, putting Lebanon 20 years in the past.”

It will be interesting to see how many weeks or years it takes American commentators to match Shtrasler’s perceptiveness or honesty.  


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13 Responses to The War Goal that Led to Qana

  1. W Baker August 1, 2006 at 10:10 am #


    I’m not sure how Hezbollah is supposed to be dismantled without, say, running 40% out of the country and, as the neocons would have it, into the Mediterranean Sea. Bush et al. keeps talkin’ ’bout Hezbollah as if it were an occupying army.

    I know the poor fellow and his minions have tunnel vision and poor “intelligence”, but surely they understand sectarian/sectional factions. Gosh, they seem to have cottoned onto the notion of the Kurds. How quickly do you think that Washington would throw down the law should a couple of Kurds grab a few Turks and haul them over the border and Turkey proceed to bomb the bejesus out of Kurdistan?

  2. Jim August 1, 2006 at 10:31 am #

    I am beginning to wonder whether Bush has spent a great deal of time studying the Hezbollah issue. But perhaps his halfwit comments are simply a smokescreen to hide the fact that he doesn’t give a damn about how many Lebanese civilians get killed.

    That is an excellent analogy on the Kurds and Turks. The Bush team’s indignation could not be more selective.

  3. Jim August 1, 2006 at 11:13 am #

    I am posting a detailed email I received in response to my original comments (which I also posted at blog).

    From Baron Chile:
    Mr. James Bovard:

    You fail to acknowledge, in any degree, the single most import subject matter of the Qana Lebanon civilian causalities. Failure to address this one issue and bring it into the spot light will contribute to more civilians deaths. The subject you fail to note is called “human shield”

    Human shield is an internationally recognized military term describing the presence of civilians in or around combat targets to deter an enemy from attacking those targets. Using these techniques increases the civilian casualty rate, which can then be used for propaganda purposes against the opposing forces.

    The term human shield includes individuals, suburbs, cities, or the whole population of a nation where one military party in a conflict intentionally positions its military assets amongst a civilian population, close to civilian facilities, hospitals, schools, community centers, and mosques, in the expectation that the other party will be reluctant to attack them.

    Furthermore, if the other party attacks these targets to destroy active military operations those who have placed these civilians in harms way use the tremendous propaganda value against the opposing force when these civilians are killed. International law also precisely defines the use of human shields to protect targets and detour attacts as a war crime.

    Effective as it is it is highly illegal in any nation that is party to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids the use of any civilian or civilian population as a shield: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.” (Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949, 6 U.S.T. 3516, 75 U.N.T.S. 287, art. 28)

    The United States, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and without exception, most all free states take extra ordinary measures to assure the civilian population is not placed in harms way. Its time to call a spade a spade and expose, denouce, and shout to the heavens about the Islamic terrorests using human shields, or it will never change. Once the users of human shields see that the world and united in condemnation for this murderous and cowardly act, the sooner they will stop using human shields. If civileans choose to stay with the fighting forces they their causalities are not civilian. Plane and simple.

    In the case of Islamic fundamentalists, which always position themselves, their operational headquarters, their munitions, and fighters in and amongst the civilian populations, the blame for these civilian casualties clearly rests on them. However it is harder to know if these civilians are really nother more then staged marters that want to use their lives and the lives of their children as martyers for that cause. In this case, they are not civilains. Fight terrorests is not a fair fight. And giving them any break for using civlilians as human shields make you not different then they are.

  4. W Baker August 1, 2006 at 12:49 pm #

    Baron Chile’s comments miss the forest for the trees. There are few better examples of Fourth Generation Warfare than the present fighting in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Mr. Baron seems to imply that fighting factions – of which there are legion – should line up in eighteenth-century fashion complete with bugle and drum corps. (There were similar complaints by Yankee generals regarding General Forrest’s raids. ‘He just disappears into the civilian population.’)

    Here’s a more logical solution: maybe we could supply Hezbollah with F-16’s, training, cluster bombs, and bunker busters – as we have and are doing so with Israel – so that the fight could be a little more evenly paced.

    You want to make a fight fair: don’t supply one side with instruments of hell and complain when the other side uses any means necessary.

  5. Jim August 1, 2006 at 12:53 pm #

    Wes, this is the kind of thinking that is going make it impossible for you to ever find a job in Washington.

    Good ol’ Bedford Forrest – always glad to see that he is not forgotten.

    It is ironic that so little attention has been paid in the US media to the fact that the US govt is providing the planes and bombs that are wreaking havoc. This all comes back to the “government exemption” definition of terrorism.

  6. W Baker August 1, 2006 at 1:42 pm #

    Damn, Jim, do you mean to tell me that I just wasted four hours sending out résumés and essays of interest to Joe Lieberman, Tom Lantos, and Chuckie Schumer? I thought the mention of political devolution, non-interventionism, and strong arguments in favor of a second Southern secession made me a shoo-in!

  7. Jim August 1, 2006 at 9:17 pm #

    I am posting this for someone whose email name is
    Franco and email address is baronusa@…
    Date: August 1, 2006

    This comment is in direct relation to Jim’s comment on Baron Chile’s comment above.

    Jim closes his argument with “You want to make a fight fair: don’t supply one side with instruments of hell and complain when the other side uses any means necessary”.

    Lets take a closer look at the logic in Jim’s wording and thus tour into the mind that wrote it.

    At first glance it seems to make some sense when held (out of context), but a closer look (in context) at the chosen working will show the actual heart and mind of the author.

    For this wishing to read on, this whole discussion is centered on the use of “human shields” in time of war. The Baron Chile posting above accurately and correctly defines the international recognized term “human shield”.

    Look at Jim’s wording carefully again in context. “You want to make a fight fair; don’t supply one side with instruments of hell and complain when the other side uses any means necessary”.

    This logic implies that if the US stops aiding Israel in its fight for survival against an enemy sworn to its complete overthrow and destruction, thus making more of a fair fight, then the terrorists wont have to go the extremes of using human shields. The statement even goes so fare at to say no one has the right to complain when the terrorests uses “any means” which include human shields.

    Can anyone see Jim’s civilian blood stained hands yet?

    Lets look at this idea of a “fair fight”. As noted in the Baron Chile posting above, there are no modern nation states anywhere in the world that use “human shields”. In fact this nations put the solgers lives at additonal risk to protect civilians. Jim knows that, and he knows the Islamic terrorests use this against modern nation states to advance their blood thirty cause while civilian casualty numbers continue to mount as a result. The only “fair fight” against any Islamic terrorist group is to completely militarily destroy them as quickly as possible. That is fare to civilians, that is fare to governments with this Islamic terrorist cancer growing in their bowels. It is fare to brave peace loving people all over the world who rather risk their lives by refuring to be human shields, then to subject their lives to aid such an evil and cowardly Islamic militant.

    Jim on the other had does not agree with my logic. He thinks terrorists deserve to be equally armed and have the right to put all the civilians in hams way that they want.

    The problem with Jim’s logic is, it isn’t’ logic at all, its sympathy for the devil.

  8. Jim August 1, 2006 at 9:21 pm #

    The Baron II comment makes me wonder if this guy is the long lost twin of Baron I, given the trademark grammar and innovative spelling they share.

    I am amused to see Baron II railing against me and announcing that plans to “tour into the mind that wrote it” — when he is responding to Wes’s comment, not mine.

    I reckon these little details get lost when one is shoveling too quickly.

    Both Barons (assuming that they are two different people) are hot to argue about human shields in the abstract. They choose to ignore the report in Haaretz (which, the last time I checked, was not Saudi owned) that the IDF had renounced its claim that Hezbollah was firing rockets from Qana on the day that the IDF killed scores of civilians there.

    Perhaps the Barons believe that this detail is not worth stooping to notice, given the boundless evil of Islamists. But it does seem relevant to judging the conduct of the IDF.

  9. Steve August 1, 2006 at 9:26 pm #

    Let’s talk fair. Hezbollah and any other Islamic militant group using human shields needs to be squished like a bug and done so with over whelming force and as quickly as possible. That is the fair thing to do for all of civilization

  10. Mark August 1, 2006 at 9:33 pm #

    A democratic government that denies the exercise of its power in the face of a real threat, is a ticking time bomb, waiting to be distorted by its enemy, through its failure to engage those powers to protect the rights of its citizens it is sworn to protect.

  11. Jim August 1, 2006 at 9:41 pm #

    What does protecting rights have to do with blowing up apartment buildings in neighboring countries?

    I have yet to see anyone seek to justify the actual rules the IDF is apparently using in Lebanon. As Hezbollah launched missiles into Israel, the IDF is entitled to go after Hezbollah.

    But, despite the announcement of the Israel Justice Minister, Israel is not entitled to kill all civilians in south Lebanon.

  12. W Baker August 1, 2006 at 9:56 pm #

    To Franko, Steve, and Mark,

    Let me say at the outset that I’m the one with the “fair fight” remark. Jim Bovard, a sagacious gentleman, would never make such provocative remarks.

    That in mind, let me say, once and for all, that we and our first State in the Middle East, ain’t killin’ enough. We’ve done our best in Iraq, and lately Israel has been trying to catch up. But it ain’t enough. Steve and Mark, both Christian names, I might add, have it right: death, destruction, and, most importantly, the further empowerment of the US and Israeli states are the wisest courses. This is, of course, our Constitutional and Revolutionary birthright.


    Wesley D. Baker
    Anniston, Alabama

  13. Jim August 1, 2006 at 9:59 pm #

    Wes, I always get nervous when someone calls me a gentleman.