Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Face Of War Is Death

One of the most enraging aspects of the debates over "military action" is the antiseptic language used to describe it. "Police actions" target "militants" who are "neutralized." "Militants" are "targeted" using "precision weapons."

In Gaza, one of the most densely populated places in the world, "precision targeting" is an oxymoron.

And this little boy paid the price:

Little Mohammad Naser Al-Buri was just five months old.

His crime? His parents' apartment happened to be near one of the "militants" that the Israeli military decided to take out.

Snuffed out so young.

He'll never know the simple pleasure of a sunrise or the joy of learning. He will never grow up and discover his potential. He will never know the joy of falling in love or growing old.

Instead, he is a mangled and chilled corpse in a Gaza mortuary, a forgotten casualty of endless pontification by the would-be "leaders" of this latest conflict.

The face of war and conflict are not statements by Hamas, or the Israeli military, or the US administration, or some EU gasbag bureaucrat.

The face of war is death. The face of war is this mangled little boy.


Delaware Watch said...

No wonder Israel is keeping the press out of Gaza. Pictures like that one tell a lot about the accuracy of the so-called precision bombing that Israel engages in.

Worse yet is their policy for attacking people. Much is made of their doctrine of not targeting non-combatants per se. But that is misleading. If one combatant is in a home and several non-combatants are there also, Israel will go ahead and attack, claiming that the non-combatants were not the targets and just collateral casualties. This in spite of the fact that Israel knows perfectly well that the non combatants are also likely to die or be injured.

Brian Miller said...

The whole notion of "precision bombing" is a fraud, especially in a densely populated area.

This child is what the US government would refer to as "collateral damage." Lovely, dehumanizing language, this war thing.

Anonymous said...

I believe that war in a necessary evil. The difficulty is determining wherein necessity comes to be. Certainly, pictures like this should remind us that the path from diplomacy to violence should be a long, difficult one.

Hube said...

Indeed. Many Gazan "parents" prepare their kids for that same fate as the poor youth in that photo -- as suicide bombers.

But, of course, when Israel regrettably causes the death of Gazan children in their struggle against the genocidal-minded Hamas and their ilk, it's "appalling."

Delaware Watch said...

"Many Gazan "parents" prepare their kids for that same fate as the poor youth in that photo -- as suicide bombers."

"Many" is a lot. Do you have a number? I bet it is FAR less than the number of children that Israel has killed as "collateral damage."

"But, of course, when Israel regrettably causes the death of Gazan children in their struggle against the genocidal-minded Hamas and their ilk, it's "appalling."

Is Hamas using MY tax dollars to carry out suicide bombings? Is Israel using American tax dollars to carry out its bombing campaigns? Of course, Americans should find the use of their tax dollars in these ways as particularly disturbing because they are morally responsible for these needless deaths.

They are also morally responsible for effectively underwriting the illegal occupation of the West Bank by over 200,000 Israeli settlers. The transfer of a foreign population into occupied territory is expressly forbidden by the Geneva Convention and represents a war crime--over 200,000 war crimes committed every day by Israel.

Anonymous said...

It's a horrible picture, but i'm sure there are hundreds of Israeli children slaughtered every year by Palestinian suicide bombers as well.

At the end of the day, it appears that the Palestinians are the aggressors. The Oslo Accords would have given them most of what they wanted, but that wasn't enough for Hamas because the Accords evidently didn't have a provision for the complete extinction of Jews.

Hamas is nothing but a terrorist organization that was voted into office by the Palestinian people. Aside from the random suicide bombmers, they lob rockets into Israel on a regular basis. Imagine if Canada was firing rockets into Michigan. Would we just sit idly by and let it continue?

Israel may be overreacting, but this has gone on for decades. Enough is enough. Hamas needs to be destroyed once and for all and peace talks are clearly not the answer.

Steven H. Newton said...

I agree with you, ironically, that peace talks are not the answer. The whole dichotomy between war and peace here is faulty.

Unfortunately, so is the Canada/Maine analogy.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth; development there is simply not possible; the Israelis repeatedly have halted incoming humanitarian supplies, but strangely enough cannot seem to cut off the reinforcement of Hamas missiles.

People keep pointing out that Israel has been acting with forebearance, because Hamas has been lobbing those missiles in for a long time. The question of timing is critical. Consider the following three items

1) We are in an Israeli election campaign that Olmert stands to lose to Netanyahu, and his poll numbers go up everytime he bombs Gaza. Coincidence? In the US nobody would accept that idea of Bush, would they?

2) This is also occurring during the last, lame duck weeks of an American administration that is publicly giving Israel a blank check, and the ability to essentially pre-commit Obama to a specific policy.

3) Ambassador John Bolton has now floated the trial balloon that the US should either perform or support a surgical strike against Iran's nuclear program, at least in part using the Hamas-Iranian connection as a justification. He wants such a strike now--even before the inauguration.

You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to begin connecting some dots that make this more than an issue of Israel v Hamas.

Anonymous said...

It's a horrible picture, but

I'm violating your rights, but...

It's unfair that I am going to kill you now, but...

You have a first amendment right to free speech, but...

Amazing, the predation and depravity that three little letters can "justify."

Anonymous said...

Gee, Brian, how convenient that you neglected to quote the rest of the sentence. Is it safe to assume you're ok with the slaughter of countless Israeli children by a terrorist organization?

Sure, the Jewish children get killed, but...

Jesus. Think it through. I think we all agree that war sucks. Now that we've cleared that up, what exactly do you expect Israel to do?

Brian Miller said...

how convenient that you neglected to quote the rest of the sentence

Does it really matter what the "rest of the sentence is?"

My mother's family in Europe was killed, to the last one, at Dachau, by some guy who argued that "the greatest good for the greatest number" was the way to go.

Once you stop seeing people as individuals and start seeing them as "collateral damage" or a "sad tradeoff," your humanity evaporates.

Anonymous said...

Each time I see a picture like this I get angry before I think.

Then I remember that this happens on both sides. That is what war is.

That is why those brave few who don't take sides, but wage war against the violence, evoking the sentiments embedded in every parent to make the case that peace is more important than who is in power....

are usually the ones who start the ball rolling....

I'm thinking of the two housewives in Ulster who got that conflict resolved... I haven't thought about it for years... Peace is such a wonderful thing, but having close contacts on both sides, I remember betting that the conflict would never be solved in my lifetime....

Anonymous said...

Steve, you are a genius.

the Israelis repeatedly have halted incoming humanitarian supplies, but strangely enough cannot seem to cut off the reinforcement of Hamas missiles.

Could it be that certain elements of the Israeli's are implicit in supplying the rockets?

That makes so much nonsense that it makes sense, if you understand Israeli politics....

Early Ehlinger said...

Israel is acting in self-defense.

Is their attack "commensurate" with the rocket attacks from Gaza? Of course not. Nor should it be.

I ask, if a band of Native Americans in Tunica, MS, decided they wanted North America back, and started lobbing rockets into Memphis, killing random folks, what should the response be?

If you're an Israeli living under the cloud of terror placed over you by Hamas, what should your response be?

War is ugly. War is vile. Once started, it has a tendency to escalate.

Hamas ended the cease-fire with a barrage of missiles into Israel. They knew exactly what Israel's response would be, yet they proceeded anyway. Why?

The bottom line is that, VERY SADLY, there will be no peace in the middle east until one side or the other is completely annihilated. No peace talks, accords, bargaining, or other niceties will cause cooler heads to prevail there.

Unless you've found my trusty magic wand?