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Monday, July 17, 2006

The "Civilian Targets" Myth Unhinged

Europeans and detractors alike are making claims that Israel is purposely targeting civilian infrastructure in some mad attempt to destroy Lebanon, or wreak revenge, or for whatever excuse they can come up with. What these people don't comprehend are the rules of war and the definition of legitimate targets. That's why they don't see a difference between what Israel is targeting and what Hezbollah is shooting rockets at. Morally equivicating, since they believe Israel is targeting civilian targets, there is no moral difference between what they and Hezbollah are doing. Let me make is a little clearer to the dense out there.

Israel is NOT targeting civilian infrastructure. You might be referring to the Beirut airport. A little fyi on the rules of war. Once a civilian structure is being used for military purposes, it is no longer civilian. Hezbollah has repeatedly used the airport to receive weapons, ammunition, and strategic materials. They may have also attempted to use the airport to transport the kidnapped soldiers. Therefore, the airport is a legitimate military target.

Hezbollah has been using the roads and bridges connecting Lebanon to Damascus and north-south Lebanon roads to also transport weapons and goods from Syria, and there was positive intelligence that Hezbollah was planning to transfer the kidnapped soldiers from Lebanon to Iran via Syria. Therefore, the roads are legitimate military targets, not civilian infrastructures.

Making the claim that Israel is targeting civilian infrastructure would be the same as accusing the Allied Forces, during WWII, of targeting civilian infrastructure when they bombed German rail-road tracks. On one hand, the tracks were being used for civilian purposes. On the other hand, the German and Nazi forces were using the tracks to transport weapons, supplies, food, and other strategic material to forces on the front. Making the claim that this was targeting civilian infrastructure is ridiciulous.

Another rule of war is that if enemy forces are using a specific area for strategic purposes, as Hezbollah is with southern Beirut and Lebanon, you can declare that area a war zone, and all buildings and infrastructure in that given area are legitimate military targets. Like, Berlin during WWII. In modern day, the best example for legitimate military infrastructural targets is the American inter-state high-way system, built during the height of the Cold War and is still maintained today by the Department of Defence. (By the way, that's why you don't have to pay to drive on it.) Therefore, hypothetically speaking, attacking any part of that highway system would be considered legitimate, even-though it would damage the civilian quality of life.

You really need to gain perspective here. If Israel were "targeting" civilian infrastructure, they would have attacked all of Beirut, not just a specific part of it, and would not be honing in on specific targets. They would indiscriminately be bombing random buildings, which they're NOT. They are bombing Hezbollah headquarters in southern Beirut. Those headquarters are also in violation of international law since Hezbollah is a recognized terrorist organization, and their headquarters are purposely in the middle of a densely populated civilian center in order to use surounding civilians as human shields and ensure more civilian casualties. Most of these buildings have also been enlarged over the years in order to store stock-piles, meeting the above condition of a legitimate military target.

HAMAS, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah have learned this lesson very well and violate these laws every day as they run through crowded streets with rockets and hold children's hands as they fire Kassams at Israel, knowing that the IAF won't fire at them as long there are children or any other civilians in the vicinity. There is no such thing as sanctity of life to these "people". It is groups like Hezbollah, HAMAS, Islamic Jihad, etc. that are responsible for the death and injury of their fellow citizens as they purposely choose to use them as pawns, PR fodder, and human shields for their cause. Civilian casualties are 100% guaranteed, even with all the precautions the Israelis use to prevent them, when your enemy is running, sleeping, and fighting amongst that civilian population. It is guaranteed when your enemy digs tunnels to transport terrorists and weapons, and when the entrance to the tunnel starts under the bed of a 5 year old boy. It is guaranteed when you fire rockets from some house's backyard while children play not 5 feet away from you in the yard of the house next door.

Hezbollah has also designated southern Lebanon as their state within a state, autonomous from Lebanese control. Therefore, the entire area of southern Lebanon is a legitimate military target, and any civilians who refuse to evacuate the area on IDF warnings, rather choosing to aid and abett Hezbollah forces are aiding terrorists and are no longer non-combatants. The ports, airport, and fuel tanks are perfectly legitimate military targets, as they have have been used by Hezbollah to receive weapons, goods, and other strategic materials. Even if not, if there is an intention to use them for their military campaign, they are still considered legitimate military targets.

There is no gamble here. They are precision targets of military and strategic origin, aimed at destroying Hezbollah, which is something that Lebanon did not do herself up until now, even-though they are required to under UN Security Resolution 1559.

(This was written jointly by myself and the husband.)

13 Comments:

At 6:53 PM, Blogger plunge said...

"On the other hand, the German and Nazi forces were using the tracks to transport weapons, supplies, food, and other strategic material to forces on the front. "

You forgot to include something else that made them legitimate targets: they were using them to transport Jews to death camps.

 
At 7:38 PM, Blogger Publius said...

(By the way, that's why you don't have to pay to drive on it.)

I beg to differ with this. There are toll stations all over the place, they are just not known as such. They are referred to as gas stations and they collect federal and state taxes on every gallon pumped that is specifically earmarked for the building and maintiaining of the highway system.

 
At 7:40 PM, Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

publius,
the point was that they were built and are maintained for military reasons - Inderct taxes are taken on everything you do.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Derek said...

"...the American inter-state high-way system, built during the height of the Cold War and is still maintained today by the Department of Defence. (By the way, that's why you don't have to pay to drive on it.)"

Although President Eisenhower tended to use national defense as justification for they system, proponents have always focused both on the defense and commerce benefits of the system. And indivdiual states, not the DOD, are responsible for its maintenance.

Additionally, segments of the system are maintaned as toll roads, where one does, in fact, have to pay to drive on it. Tolls and gasoline taxes cover about 1/2 of the costs of maintenance and construction. The Federal Budget swallows the other half.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

plunge, I purposely left that out. The Allies weren't thinking about that when they bombed the tracks. In fact, they refused to bomb specific areas of the tracks leading to Aushwitz. Therefore, I did not include that as a reason.

derek, regardless of the tolls, as an inter-state highway system, it is federal, not state. It is because of the inter-state highway system that the Civil Rights Act was able to be passed under the jurisdiction of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Therefore, regardless of tolls, it is a federal system, and as such, it is used to transport military and strategic goods across state lines. If Mexico or Canada decided to attack the US, the interstate highway system would be a perfectly legitimate target. It doesn't matter it's "intended" purpose. I'm sure Lebanon never intended their beautifully new airport to be used by Hezbollah as a front to transport weapons through it. I'm sure Lebanon never intended for their highway system to be used by Hezbollah to transport weapons to and from their head-quarters and in from Syria. However, that's the case, and if the enemy thinks that it could be used later as a military transport system, it's STILL a legitimate target, regardless of its intended civilian purposes.
-OC

 
At 8:46 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

publius, that's actually a pretty silly answer. Gas stations aren't tolls. They're for refilling gas, regardless of the fact that your tax money goes to the state and federal governments. You can drive on a highway without filling up gas. Does that mean you didn't pay the "toll"? Toll booths on the entrance to certain highway systems, like the Ohio Turnpike are there for the sole purpose of paying to drive on that road. What if you refill gas on the Turnpike? Are you then paying more than ONE toll? C'mon.
-OC

 
At 8:58 PM, Blogger Derek said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger Derek said...

Olah, you appear to be missing my point. I was not disputing your assertion that a highway system would be a legitimate target in a time of war. I was pointing out an error in your description of the Interstate Highway System. Pointing out an error in your presentation of an argument is not the same as disagreeing with it.

 
At 10:44 PM, Blogger Publius said...

olah,

Of course it is, but so is saying something like we don't pay to drive on them. Just because there is no direct payment at the time of use doesn't make it free.

You made a silly comment and I replied in kind.

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

derek, I misunderstood you then, and I apologize. I understand what you're saying now, and I think we're completely on the same page.

publius, I understand what you're saying, but I still disagree with what you're saying. Nothing's free. Of course, you pay for the roads in some form or another on. Making the statement that the highway is paid for by the military inherently implies that our tax money is paying the military to pay for the roads. They get their money from us. However, you don't pay to use the roads directly. You dont pay tolls to use the roads. Your gas and income taxes paying for the roads is a lot different than you paying tolls to directly use the road. Ask a New Yorker about it.
-OC

 
At 3:05 PM, Blogger Derek said...

derek, I misunderstood you then, and I apologize. I understand what you're saying now, and I think we're completely on the same page.

Apology accepted, though really not necessary. We are on the same page. I'm just paying closer attention to the footnotes. (heh.)

 
At 3:05 PM, Blogger Derek said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

I totally understand, and it's appreciated. We're all human, right? We all make mistakes, and my writing is bound to have mistakes from time to time. I'm not a newspaper that's not going to admit or recant when I have an error. Thanks for pointing it out. I look forward to seeing more of you around here.
-OC

 

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