Israeli Bombing of UN Position

(See here) a New York Sun article that reports on the Israeli attack upon the UN observers in Lebanon.
A Canadian U.N. observer, one of four killed at a UNIFIL position near the southern Lebanese town of Khiyam on Tuesday, sent an e-mail to his former commander, a Canadian retired major-general, Lewis MacKenzie, in which he wrote that Hezbollah fighters were "all over" the U.N. position, Mr. MacKenzie said. Hezbollah troops, not the United Nations, were Israel's target, the deceased
observer wrote.
Mr MacKenzie stated:
What he was telling us was Hezbollah fighters were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them, and that's a favorite trick by people who don't have representation in the U.N. They use the U.N. as shields knowing that they cannot be punished for it.
There does appear to be some controversy over whether or not Hezbollah fighters were in the immediate vicinity on the day the base was hit by Israeli warplanes. However, at a minimum, it does appear that UN Secretary General Annan's hasty pronouncement that the attacks were "deliberate", prior to an investigation, might have been ill advised.

As Mr Mackenzie stated:
We've received e-mails from him a few days ago and he was describing the fact that he was taking fire within, in one case, three meters of his position "for tactical necessity" not being targeted...


Blogger Michael said...

The targeting was obviously "deliberate". Context, David.

That is, it wasn't an "accident" insofar as stray bomb or a targeting failure. The UN complex was specifically targeted in the attack.

Now, I assume that there was some sort of intelligence failure at play but it is highly doubtful that the targets chosen for bombardment by the IDF are particularly well considered. After all, razing entire neighbourhoods and destroying all the buildings hardly constitutes "precise" or "smart" bombing. This "mistake" by the Israelis is simply a manifestation of this loose policy of bombardment in Lebanon.

What infuriates the rest of the world and certainly myself is that Israel is more upset about the secretary general's statement than about the gross military error/incompetence that has occurred. They have destroyed a UN compound, killed at least 4 UN observers and expect the rest of the world to be satisfied with a glib statement that there is an "internal investigation". One assumes that the same sort of "mistake" that occurred here is killing civilians on a daily basis.

Michael Tam

7/29/2006 02:49:00 AM  
Blogger Little David said...

For one thing, it is my understanding that Israel does not yet possess the smart bombs that the US uses. I understand that America is trying to make these types of weapons available to Israel in an effort to allow the Israeli bombing to become more precise. However once the decision is made it takes some time for the weapons to arrive and for the capability to be fitted to the aircraft.

You state that you assume some sort of intelligence failure was at play. So might I expand on that thought by stating some sort of "mistake" was obviously made by someone? Perhaps by the pilot or someone on the ground who requested that the building be bombed thinking they were taking fire from it while not realizing it was part of a UN compound? So if a "mistake" was made then the bombing was not "deliberate".

From Merriam-Webster comes this definition of deliberate when used as an adjective: characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration.

From this understanding of the definition of the word, I take Secretary-General Annan's condemnation of "deliberate" bombing as meaning he thinks the UN base was intentionally targeted BECAUSE it was a UN base, not as a result of gross military error/incompetence as you state.

7/29/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I think that was a misinterpretation of his choice of words.

"Deliberate" in that it was specifically targeted.

I may be mistaken, but I am pretty sure that Israel does in fact have the "smart" weapons that the US has (as it is in fact supplied by the US). Even if Israel does not have the newest equipment, I'm pretty sure that the US bombs from Gulf War I are within its arsenal.

Michael Tam

7/30/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Little David said...

You are mistaken if you think Israel had such weapons at the opening of current actions in Lebanon. They might have them now, or they might still be in the process of obtaining them. It is certain they will soon have them if they do not have them now.

It has been widely reported that the US was going to start providing such weapons to Israel and that this would be a new weapons capability for the Israeli arsenal. Reports were that, at least in part, the US was motivated to start providing these weapons in a effort to assist Israel in limiting civilian casualties.

As for SG Annan's use of the word "deliberate", I do not see it as a misinterpretation of his choice of words. The meaning of the word is clear. If Annan did not mean what he said, then he should issue a clarification.

7/30/2006 11:00:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home