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Crickets Chirping At The ICRC?

With all the hue and cry about Korans in toilets in Guantanamo, where are all the staunch defenders of the Geneva Conventions now?

The terrorists are operating within civilian areas, many times with the actual assistance of these civilians, and more often than not with their tacit approval. Brace yourselves for the palestinian propaganda offensive going into overdrive, including stories about civilian deaths, many of which may not be true.

Here's another point:

We are lectured a great deal about the importance of democratizing the Middle East as, somehow, a strategy to defeat terrorism. I do not want to reargue this issue or make too much (again) of the fact that popular elections have thus far succeeded in empowering terrorists.

My question for the moment is this: Does this democratization ever entail any responsibility? The Palestinian "civilians" were given a choice in 2006, and they chose to elect Hamas -- a choice that was overwhelming in Gaza, where the terror organization -- having ousted the more "moderate" terror-mongers from Fatah -- now rules. If the civilians, eyes wide open, opt to be led by a terrorist organization whose chief calling card is its pledge to destroy Israel (a sentiment shared by a large majority of the "civilian" population), how upset are we supposed to get when the said civilians get caught in the cross-fire that is provoked by the savages they elected?

I have always thought that one of the aims of the Israeli pullout of Gaza was to demonstrate that the Palestinians are incapable of forming a functioning state, and of having someone accountable when Israel is attacked. If that was the goal, it seems to have succeeded. Hamas has declared war (or actually, Hamas has never not been in a state of war with Israel, since the destruction of Israel is one of its primary purposes), and now it will have to accept the consequences.

Hamas is blatantly violating just about every one of the Geneva Conventions, I suspect, but I fearlessly predict that only Israel will be charged with "war crimes." We know that the world will claim that the death of every innocent civilian in Gaza, among whom these war criminals hide, will be Israel's fault. No one, after all, can ever violate the Geneva Conventions except for the US and Israel, even when they don't.

Hmmmm...I wonder what the ICRC has to say about this?

[wandering over and reading]

The most recent release related to the subject is from Thursday, in which it simply tells both sides to "use restraint" against killing civilians. It says nothing about military operations among civilians in Gaza, or indeed anything specific at all, about anyone's behavior. I thought that they were supposed to be the defenders and upholders of the Conventions? Why can they not denounce this?

[Update a little while later]

I just reread the release at the ICRC site, and I just can't get over it. Let's just unpack this one graf:

Numerous rockets have been fired at the Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Sderot, hitting civilian areas and landing inside a hospital compound. At the same time, the Israel Defense Forces have carried out several air strikes inside the Gaza Strip. On both sides, there have been civilian fatalities and injuries.


"...rockets have been fired, and 'at the same time' the IDF have carried out several air strikes." Surely they don't mean literally "at the same time"? As though both Israel and Hamas decided to bomb babies, just for the hell of it?

All right, no doubt by "the same time," they are simply expressing an equivalence between them, not literally saying that the events were simultaneous. Of course, the reality is that first the rockets were fired, with the deliberate intent of killing Israeli civilians to the maximum degree possible, given the crude aiming capability of the rockets, which was followed, afterward by air strikes from Israel whose purpose was to take out the facilities that were launching the rockets in order to prevent further rocket attacks.

This moral equivalence, with no mention whatsoever of the daily, ongoing war crimes by Hamas, is simply nauseating. The ICRC may have moral standing in the world, but it has none with me.

[Update on Sunday afternoon]

A good point in comments. The release isn't even neutral. "Rockets were fired" (passive voice--who knows who fired them? Maybe they fired themselves?) versus the active and specific "IDF carried out air strikes."

[Update a little later]

Here it comes. The Saudis (who else?) are accusing Israel of war crimes. And not just any war crimes, no. Nazi war crimes.

And a bad word for the state that is actually committing war crimes.

[Via LGF]


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Bruce B. wrote:

Note also the use of passive voice in the first part, "...rockets were fired..." No blame attached, person, or persons unknown fired rockets. And very specifically, not Hamas. But later, the IDF fired rockets, so you have a specific agency.

Clever wording that looks balanced, but is not. Passive voice spreads the blame out so there is no blame for the rockets; the IDF is mentioned specifically so there is blame. A very clever and subtle way to make a point without appearing to make the point.

Jonathan wrote:

The NYT on, I think, Friday morning ran a despicable front-page story that scrupulously observed the conventions of moral equivalence: There had been exchanges of fire between Palestinian "militants" and Israeli forces. 9 people had been killed, including one Israeli and several Palestinian civilians. You had to read the story carefully to understand that Palestinian terrorists started the fight by firing rockets at an Israeli town in an attempt at mass-murder. The Israelis then counterattacked against the terrorists who, as usual, based themselves in a populated area. But to the NYT, self-defense by Israelis is morally equivalent to the actions of the people who are trying to destroy them. The NYT really is on the other side.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on March 1, 2008 1:02 PM.

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