Battlepanda: The Just-in-case War


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Just-in-case War

I don't know what the latest body-count is, but what is unlikely to have changed since I last checked is the fact that the overwhelming majority of the dead in Lebanon have been innocent civilians. Many have suggested that this ratio be excused by the fact that Hezbollah have been known to fire rockets in civilian homes. I disagree. If the Israelis have concrete info that rockets are being fired from a civilian home, that's one thing. If they are using the fact that there could be hezbollah rockets to fire on random civlian homes, that's something different all together. Given the scale of the bombings and the very low number of Hezbollah killed, I'd say that they've been doing more of the latter than the former. Here's Juan Cole:
That kind of broad gauge approach is not allowed by the modern laws of warfare. If you have good reason to think that a truck is carrying weaponry to Hizbullah, you can bomb it. But just bombing any old civilian truck is a war crime.

So, the Israelis could have attempted to surveil trucking and where they had good reason to think that a truck was transporting weapons, they could have hit it. But just blowing up random trucks is criminal.

Israel has fought a lazy war, both morally lazy and militarily lazy. It is work to surveil enemy shipments. So, you just blow up the airport and the ports and roads and bridges, regardless of whether you have reason to believe that any of them is used by Hizbullah for their war effort. Just in case. It is a just in case war. You bomb Shiite villages intensively, just in case they have military significance to Hizbullah. Maybe they don't, and you've just blown up a civilian neighborhood and killed whole families. Where blowing up things has no immediate and legitimate military purpose and harms innocent civilians, it is a crime. It can be prosecuted, especially in Europe.
Maybe they feel like they are in something of a supermarket sweep of bombing campaigns -- they have a limited time window, they have to hit as many targets as possible in that time frame -- and they don't have to pay at the checkout.