The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Amnesty International misses the obvious

Amnesty International seems to have missed the obvious. And, in other news, the sun rose in the East today.

Read the report here. Then, when you're done, read about how Hezbullah hides behind civilians. Amnesty International, as usual, shows itself to be as reputable as Kofi Annan. Be sure to check out the rest of this article, and join me on my adventure as I (shudder) read and analyze this magnificent report!

Some highlights from the report:

The briefing does not cover in any detail the broader implications of the bombing campaign. ... Nor does it address the attacks by Hizbullah into Israel and their impact on civilians – these are being addressed elsewhere.

Obviously, Hezbullah's wholly unprovoked missile attacks are not nearly as important as the Israeli Evil Zionist counter-offensive. And not as easily packaged into neatly pre-wrapped anti-Israeli diatribe, either.

Israeli forces pounded buildings into the ground, reducing entire neighbourhoods to rubble and turning villages and towns into ghost towns, as their inhabitants fled the bombardments.

Or, as their inhabitants moved from house to house, firing missiles into the Evil Zionists' faces!

Entire families were killed in air strikes on their homes or in their vehicles while fleeing the aerial assaults on their villages.

Not that Hezbullah would use civilian vehicles as weapons transports.

The Israeli Air Force launched more than 7,000 air attacks on about 7,000 targets in Lebanon between 12 July and 14 August, while the Navy conducted an additional 2,500 bombardments.(1) The attacks, though widespread, particularly concentrated on certain areas.

Compared to the 4,000 missile launches from Lebanon, which were aimed at random civilian areas, these 9,500 Israeli strikes were definitely concentrated... on areas which were the source of the missile launches!

In addition to the human toll – an estimated 1,183 fatalities, about one third of whom have been children

Is that your final answer? Or will be revising these figures down a'la Qana?

Amnesty International delegates in south Lebanon reported that in village after village the pattern was similar: the streets, especially main streets, were scarred with artillery craters along their length. In some cases cluster bomb impacts were identified. Houses were singled out for precision-guided missile attack and were destroyed, totally or partially, as a result.

Israel is well within its rights to try and limit the transport of terrorist weapons by bombing main highways. And also well within its rights to destroy any residence being used to launch said weapons! Amnesty, of course, is not interested in hearing about Hezbullah's deception...

Israeli government spokespeople have insisted that they were targeting Hizbullah positions and support facilities, and that damage to civilian infrastructure was incidental or resulted from Hizbullah using the civilian population as a "human shield". However, the pattern and scope of the attacks, as well as the number of civilian casualties and the amount of damage sustained, makes the justification ring hollow. The evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of public works, power systems, civilian homes and industry was deliberate and an integral part of the military strategy, rather than "collateral damage" – incidental damage to civilians or civilian property resulting from targeting military objectives.

Insisted? Perhaps they are telling the truth. Given the VAST open support of Hezbullah we are seeing come across the wires over the past week, the extent of "civilian" casualties can only be the result of a populace openly content with being used as human shields! Israel's justification doesn't ring nearly as hollow as Shamnesty's rediculously one-sided report!

The widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports, in addition to several statements by Israeli officials, suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population in an effort to get them to turn against Hizbullah.

Or, in terms of traditional military campaigns, Israel's actions were intended to DENY the use of these same "civil" resources by an openly-hostile terrorist group?

International humanitarian law governs the conduct of war, and seeks to protect civilians, others not participating in the hostilities, and civilian objects. In an armed conflict, military forces must distinguish between civilian objects, which may not be attacked, and military objectives, which, subject to certain conditions, may be. The principle of distinction is a cornerstone of the laws of war.

Considering that the Geneva Convention only applies to armies which wear a uniform, and behave in a manner compliant with the Convention, it's odd that Amnesty makes this claim about the enemy that wears no uniform! The provisions for a "military force" to be fully recognized under the Conventions are,

It would appear to me, that Hezbullah violates ALL FOUR PROVISIONS. Tell me again why they should be dealt with in terms of a treaty of honor?

Objects which are normally considered "civilian objects" may, under certain circumstances, become legitimate military objectives if they are "being used to make an effective contribution to military action". However, in case of doubt about such use, the object must be presumed to be civilian.

Doubt? What doubt?

Israel has asserted that Hizbullah fighters have enmeshed themselves in the civilian population for the purpose of creating "human shields". While the use of civilians to shield a combatant from attack is a war crime, under international humanitarian law such use does not release the opposing party from its obligations towards the protection of the civilian population.

Then why am I not hearing about Shamnesty bringing war crime allegations against Hezbullah? Against its leaders? Who does Amnesty think should stand trial for war crimes...?

Many of the violations examined in this report are war crimes that give rise to individual criminal responsibility. They include directly attacking civilian objects and carrying out indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks.

Israel, of course! Hezbullah, as we now know, is a "charity." It would never launch missles at Israel the Evil Zionists!

People against whom there is prima facie evidence of responsibility for the commission of these crimes are subject to criminal accountability anywhere in the world through the exercise of universal jurisdiction.

Is Shamnesty going to call for the arrest of Hassan Nasrallah? I can predict the entire contents of their press release announcing such an action:

-cheep cheep-

This report is the biggest joke I've read since Rathergate. I know it technically isn't the product of "photojournalism," so it is somewhat out of place here, but I just had to highlight some of the funniest parts of it. Hopefully, you'll forgive me for straying from my core topic on this brief occasion!

  #Israel/Lebanon War 2006


#1 Israeli 23-Aug-2006
I cried. Not just of sorrow... but in relief to see decent people out there.
#2 Snarking Dawg 23-Aug-2006
Excellent analysis.
#3 Margie in Tel Aviv 23-Aug-2006
It looks like nobody remembers the lessons we learned in the Jenin 'Massacre'. I'd like very much to see aerial photographs of the Lebanese targets to see exactly what was destroyed and further I would like to see them matched against videos of the launching of katyushas and other rockets aimed at the civilian population of Israel.

I also have very serious doubts about the numbers reported. How many bodies from Qana were included in this report? How many 'legitimate' targets (ie Hezbollah members) were included in the final count? And how many of those coffins were actually occupied?
#4 captainfish 23-Aug-2006
How about holding Hezbollah accountable for its actions as a terrorist organization? How about NOT treating it like it is a world-renowned charity organization worthy of statehood similar to Isreal or the US? How about holding Red Cross accountable for the shameless showing of dead bodies? How about BELIEVING a democratically elected government from an established country and NOT wholly believing every word from terrorists? How about not calling Isreal lying bastards in a global press statement? How about recognizing the massive evidence in this world that Hezbollah and Hamas hate their own people so much they use them as shields and aggressively use those bodies to berate Isreal in the press? How about just recognizing when you are being used by an enemy of freedom? How about asking yourself this question, "would your organization still be around if Germany or Russia would have won their global wars, and even now if Islamic radicals when theirs???

Answers: I think they won't.
#5 Benny 24-Aug-2006
Amnesty International is purposefully obfuscating the facts:

Israeli government spokespeople have insisted that they were targeting Hizbullah positions and support facilities, and that damage to civilian infrastructure was incidental or resulted from Hizbullah using the civilian population as a "human shield".

Namely, that the mere presence of civilians doesn't render a target immune from attack:

*Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War*

Adopted on 12 August 1949 by the Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of
International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War, held in Genev from 21 April to 12 August, 1949 (entry into force 21 October 1950)

*Article 28*

*The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.*

And — lo and behold — Human Rights Watch agrees (via Electronic Intifada, of all places):

Questions and answers on hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah

(Report, Human Rights Watch, 17 July 2006)


—Can Israel attack neighborhoods that house Hezbollah leaders or offices? And what are Hezbollah's obligations regarding the use of civilian areas for military activities?

Where the targeting of a combatant takes place in an urban area, all parties must be aware of their obligations to protect the civilian population, as the bombing of urban areas significantly increases the risks to the civilian population. International humanitarian law obliges all belligerents to avoid harm to civilians or civilian objects.

*The defending party — in the case of Beirut, Hezbollah — must take all necessary precautions to protect civilians against the dangers resulting from armed hostilities, and must never use the presence of civilians to shield themselves from attack. That requires positioning its military assets, troops, and commanders as much as possible outside of populated areas. The use of human shields is a war crime.*

So, yep, Israel was pretty much entitled to bomb the sh*t out of Lebanon.
#6 BB in Beirut 05-Oct-2006

40 days after you wrote this, do you still have the same doubts? If yes then would you find it acceptable that anyone expresses doubts about the crimes the nazis commited against humanity? Sadly, many people in Europe still express doubts about facts and numbers regarding WWII and the IIIrd Reich... fortunately, in Europe, there are laws bywhere one could be convicted for publically expressing such doubts!
#7 Brian 05-Oct-2006

It's pretty obvious that the numbers of casualties are [b]significantly[/b] lower than Nasrallah's goons tried to have us believe they were.

Nice try, though. It's good to see that Hezbullah is out in force this morning.

And by the way, the only genocidal goons that we need to worry about in today's world is murderous groups like Nasrallah's.
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