Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Civilian Death Toll

Six Israeli civilians have died today as a result of Hizbullah rocket attacks aimed to kill innocent civilians.. This follows the death yesterday of a man who was just riding his bicycle with his dog in a Kibbutz. So far, 25 Israeli civilians have died. Hizbullah is very sorry about that - 25 isn't enough for them.

The Lebanese government has said that so far 900 civilians have died in Lebanon. That is a startling, tragic number. While I'm sure we aren't targeting civilians, there is something horribly wrong with the way we are conducting the war. Some of the Lebanese civilians have been killed because Hizbullah operates from residential areas, but that cannot be the only explanation for the high toll. Our military must be much more careful than it is.

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  1. No mention of the 900 Lebonese civillians also killed, or are they just not worth the mention?

  2. You're right. See the updated post.

  3. emmanuel:

    With such vastly superior airpower (most casualties are the result of aerial bombardment) it's hardly a surprise to see such high numbers of civilian victims.

    I don't believe the IDF is targeting civilians on purpose but something is indeed wrong. This is not in Israel's interest at all...

  4. Good on you mate! That is a pretty even handed gesture and gets my respect. I hope both Israel and Lebanon get it together, find their peace and get on with doing what they have been doing for 1000s and 1000s of years - and that is making amazaing contributions to the betterment of mankind. Failing that lofty goal I wish a workable and durable peace for at least one generation so even handed folk like you on both sides have enough influence in your respective societies to help stabilise and hold onto a peace that bring workable prosperity.

    I do want to make this observation about superior airpower though... Tora Bora in Afghanistan, and Shock and Awe in Bagdad both show that superior airpower does not a war win... rather it seems to encourage the grounds for an entrenched ensurgency because civillians get killed, encouraging their surviving loved ones to either allow an insurgency to operate in their midst - which is the only way one can survive - or actively contribute to the insurgency by supplying family members as warriors.

    With 750,000 newly disposessed Lebs, on top of the surviving loved ones of 900 dead civillians(assume, say, an average of 20 family members close enough to the deceased be motivated to actively seek revenge) and the 3,000 wounded (assume ave. of 10 family members close enough to become radicalised to militancy) Israel wont have peace for the next 25 years. That will be the prime of YOUR life devoted to living in fear with that as the inheritance for your kids.

    The way I estimate it that tomorrow's Hesbollah have the motivated support of 798,000 unhappy Lebs. Israel have guaranteed their Hesbollah's recruiting division a big future.

    In addition Hesbollah is becoming further legitimised in the eyes of the Arab world and more legitimised in the eyes of the west. There is drive on in Australia to overturn their classification by our government as a terrorist organisation. That won't happen here but it will have broad support in countries less tied to the United States.

    Certainly you have guaranteed it's deepr entrenchment in Lebanese politics. As Gert said... the bombing is not in Israel's interests at all.

    Now about 41 Israeli soldiers have died and about 50 Hesbollah soldiers. If this were the only scoreline then world opinion could probably accept what is going on.

    The secret therefore to winning the war was ground invasion backed by pin-point intelligence and very limited air cover. Mano-e-mano. A real war against a real enemy conducted in an honourable and respectful way. More IDF soldiers would die in the short term, but they sign up with this possibility in mind, the fight for peace would be harder, but more durable. The Lebs would respect you as warriors, and hot hate you as murderers as well. They and the Arab world would see the IDF as a warrior force and not a military welfare client of the United States spending their dole check in an orgy of destruction.

    I am expressing my opinion and hope to stimulate discussion rather than cause offense and I well understand that it is not me or people I know hiding in shelters from Katsuyas so this is informing my perspective.

  5. I was against a ground invasion at first. Israel has had a bad experience with that in Lebanon before. But maybe now there is no other option other than deepening the ground war, though I hope it will be much more limited than the "40 km" of 1982.