Monday, July 24, 2006

Death Toll Mounts in Lebanon

Despite Secretary Rice' s stop in Beirut today, the death toll as a result of the airstrikes in Lebanon continues to rise, and UNICEF estimates that a third of those killed have been children. The numbers aren't solid, but it's hard to argue that children make up a large share of the dead and wounded when you read stories like this one:

An Israeli missile had struck their green Mercedes as they fled the southern town of Mansuri, where the family had been vacationing. The boy's uncle, Darwish Mudaihli, was dead, too. The bodies were left in the burning car. Mahmoud's sister Mariam, 8 months old, lay next to him, staring at the ceiling with a Donald Duck pacifier in her mouth. Her eyes were open but lifeless, a stare that suggested having seen too much. Her hair was singed, her face slightly burned. Blisters swelled the tiny fingers on her left hand to twice their size. In other beds of Najm Hospital were their other brothers, 13-year-old Ali and 15-year-old Ahmed.

Again, the Israelis seem to be operating with a reckless disregard for the lives of those who are attempting to obey their order to evacuate southern Lebanon:

Israeli forces repeatedly struck cars on southern Lebanon's already perilous roads in attacks that victims said were indiscriminate. Seven people were killed, three of them when an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at a white minibus carrying 19 people fleeing the village of Tairi, which Israeli forces had ordered residents to evacuate. The missile tore through the roof of the vehicle as it sped around a bend in the road.

I can tell you frankly that I have no idea what the strategy here is. I don't understand why the Israelis tell the Lebanese to evacuate the south while bombing the roads they need to evacuate on, then bombing the cars driving north to get away. It seems the Lebanese must take their lives in their hands to even get away from the bombing. Exactly what do they think are in those cars? Hezbollah fighters, trying to escape? Missiles and weapons being snuck away north? I honestly wonder what intelligence sources they have that they are repeatedly bombing civilian vehicles. Do they really believe that their sources so good that they're willing to do this?

The day before in Bint Jbeil, two cars carrying seven people were following a Red Cross ambulance when one was wrecked in an Israeli attack, he said. Two wounded women were put in the trunk of the other car. They had died when they arrived at the hospital in Tyre.

I suppose the Red Cross are just dupes for Hezbollah militants sneaking away from the fighting?

And it seems to me that Israel is simply incapable of understanding how this makes them look to the world, and even to people such as myself who support Israel and believe firmly that they have the right to take action against terrorist threats. As egregious as some of our bone-headed bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq have been, even we cannot be accused of recklessly bombing civilians who are trying to get the hell away from the war zone. I don't know what the strategy is, but the IDF seem almost completely unconcerned with the scale of cvilian casualties. That's why I simply can't support what they're doing now, and why the Bush administration should be doing their best to bring it to an end.

1 comment:

Nat-Wu said...

Maybe they're trying to provoke a war with other powers in the area. Whatever they're doing, it certainly isn't rooting out terrorists.