Moving the Goalposts: When Civilian Deaths Don't Matter

Sunday, August 06, 2006
One thing Hezbollah's latest stupidity has done is to highlight the difference in scoring the MSM has used depending on whose "civilians" are targeted.

For example, when Israelis are targeting Hezbollah's brave civilian-garbed warriors in Lebanon, the Hezbollah deaths are lumped in with "innocent" civilians. For those unfamiliar with MSM scorebook rules, those deaths are debited against Israel as a "bad score" for Israel, and favors Hezbollah.

On the other hand, then Hezbollah tosses 120 missiles loaded with ball bearings willy-nilly into Israel, at no particular target and civilians are hit without an Israeli soldier near, those deaths are credited to Hezbollah's side as a "good score" for Hezbollah and is bad for Israel.

Similarly, in Iraq, while the US was an occupying force in Iraq, each US death was a "bad score" for the US and favored the "militants". Each civilian Iraqi death was also a "bad score" for the US, because civilian casualties were presumed "collateral" to US operations.

Since Iraq's elected government took charge, each US death continued to be a "bad score" for the US and Iraq as before (no surprise here). Further, each additional Iraqi policeman, soldier or member of the government is another "bad score. But there is more. Suddenly, in addition Iraqui government personnel, each Iraqi civilian casualty purposely targeted and killed by "insurgants" is also a "bad score" for the US, even if it is a brutal, execution style murder.

In the Israeli Hezbollah conflict, deaths on both sides are layed at the feet of Israel even though their rules of engagement for the most part comport with International Law and Hezbollah's rules do not. In Iraq, any death is the fault of the US, even though it is no longer (until recently asked by Iraq to help in Baghdad)conducting military operations.

This sure seems perverse to me. I wonder if Victor David Hanson has run into this phenomenon in his studies of the history of warfare.

4 comments:

gumshoe1 said...

"In the Israeli Hezbollah conflict, deaths on both sides are layed at the feet of Israel even though their rules of engagement for the most part comport with International Law and Hezbollah's rules do not."

"This sure seems perverse to me. I wonder if Victor David Hanson has run into this phenomenon in his studies of the history of warfare."

vnjagvet -

why should Int'l law seem perverse?
it *is* perverse.

i'm no military historian,
but it *very* clear to me that changing the rules of the game
IS the game.

and the preferred method is
irrationality,better known as
"by any means necessary".

all creatures
are collateral damage
to such a world view.

Dr. Zawahiri just coughed something to that effect from his cave in the past week.

it a prime example of the hipocracy of one of the left's favorite mockeries of the"military-industrial complex":

"it was necesary to burn the village to the ground
in order to save it".


but it is the mind of the village
they seek to burn(with terror,with unreason,not that there's a great deal of difference)...

"stop defending yourself,
so i can kill you."

also known as:

"any idiot can burn down a barn..."

lurker said...

As the Hezzies fire more rockets, will that change or convince the world's opinions against them?

As Rick Moran points out, killing the Israeli reservists were not targets of Hezzies. They were unlucky civilian targets.

vnjagvet said...

Gum:

International law is not necessarily perverse. But twisting it and applying it as Kafka recognized Russian civil law was being applied in his day is perverse.

Up is down. Black is white.

Ninteenth and Twentieth Century philosophy is haunting everyday life now.

I thought that stuff would never make it into popular thought when I was in college nearly fifty years ago.

Boy was I wrong.

loner said...

Sort of off-topic, just so as to include a movie review of sorts this weekend for those who wander through this little corner of the confusion we inhabit looking for one:


Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do or die.


—Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade


The Showtime group of pay channels has been showing the 1968 version of The Charge from time to time during the past month or so and will continue to show it from time to time for at least another month or two. I generally stop in if I'm looking for something to watch and it happens to be showing.

It tells the story of certain military men at a certain time when Victoria's England was at peace and then of those same men when she was at war. Being that it was made during the Vietnam Era it is decidedly unsympathetic to those men, but then those men, despite Tennyson, or more particularly their officers, were not all that sympathetic a bunch. The politicians, somewhat surprisingly, get something of a pass. The press, interestingly enough, does not.

The highlight of this version are the animated sequences in the style of the cartoonists of the day. They are phenomenal.

Of course, watching, with the benefit of hindsight, stupidity and incompetence win the day, as they did on that part of the battlefield on October 25, 1854, serves as a useful reminder that even the most powerful and enlightened of nations can and do go charging off into the wrong valley (the wrong war) from time to time. Hopefully, they survive to fight, maybe even with better reason and result, another day.


For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on thy people, Lord!


—Rudyard Kipling, Recessional


The last verse of the first "modern" poem, published in 1867, comes to mind:

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


—Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach