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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Civilian casualties

To begin with, civilian casualties are a sad fact of war. Throughout history, not only have non-combatants always suffered, but they have often been deliberately targetted. It would be impossible, even in this modern, technological day and age, to complete avoid civilian deaths.

In my daily habit of reading the news, editorials and commentaries across the country, I'm noticing a rather disturbing falsehood being perpetuated, particularily amongst letters to the editors, and almost universally among those who blame Isreal for the current crisis in Lebanon. What these people are claiming is that Isreal is deliberately targetting civilians, and that all these civilian casualties are blood on the hands of Isrealites.

According to the Geneva convention, when a combatant uses a civilian as a human shield and that civilian is killed, that death is counted as a casualty caused by the side that used that person as a shield, not by the side that killed to get at the combatant.

The attacks in Lebanon are targetting Hezbollah (sp?). Unlike conventional wars, if there even is such a thing, this isn't a war of country against country, soldier against soldier. Groups like Hezbollah are funded, harboured and supplied by several countries. They are not soldiers, in any normal sense of the worth. They are terrorists. They, like all terrorists, deliberately target civilians - soldiers are the last people they want to go up against. Their battle is as much a battle against the psyche of their target, as it is against flesh and blood.

More to the point, Hezbollah is a group that imbeds itself within the population. There is nothing to differentiate members of these sorts of groups from ordinary civilians. They place their bases of operations in the heart of communities, knowing their enemy will hesitate because of the inevitable harm attacking them will cause to innocent bystanders. In other words, these groups are using entire towns and cities as human shields.

Which means that, as defined and determined by the Geneva convention, all those civilian casualties are actually deaths caused by Hezbollah, not Isreal. It is not Isreal that is "responsible for the killing of innocents." The innocent blood that's being spilled is, by definition, on the hands of those who hide among those innocents. Those casualties should be counted as deaths caused by Hezbollah, because they are the ones using these innocents as shields to hide behind.

1 comment:

  1. it would be nice if we could all play a game of chess, but who's to say the good guy would win, who's to say he's win in a bloody war either... that is why I enjoy the little things in life,, you just make sure you wake up smiling (after coffee or tea) and in the end your day should be ok,,,


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