Sunday, July 30, 2006

Questions On The Conduct Of War 

I have not written about the Israeli-Hezbollah war here because this is King's place, and I don't think I should be using it as a medium to express my thoughts on the subject. However, two things occurred in the last twenty-four hours that I think need to be discussed. So here goes.

First, Israel conducted an airstrike on Qana, a civilian populated area that they believe Hezbollah was using to fire rockets into Israel. The strike destroyed a building causing an estimated 60 civilian deaths, including an estimated 19 to 34 children. Any time civilians are killed in war it is a tragedy that demands our sympathy. The fact that the dead include up to 34 children makes the tragedy expediently greater, at least in my mind.

The second event, which is interrelated to the first, is a report in the Australian Herald Sun exposing Hezbollah's tactics. Specifically, the Herald Sun has obtained photos showing armed Hezbollah fighters dressed in civilian cloths, manning crew served weapons, and launching rockets from civilian populated areas. This evidence lays to rest any doubt that Hezbollah is using civilian populated areas to launch rockets into Israeli towns and cities.

Since this is not my Blog I will not offer my opinion on whether the Israeli strike was justified and who bears the blame for the death of these civilians, including children. If your are interested in my opinion I give it at the Lamplighter. The purpose of this post is to throw out a few questions to think about:

1. Who bears the responsibility for civilian deaths when a populated area is used to launch rocket, artillery, or other attacks - the force launching the attack or the force engaging in counter battery attacks?

2. Is force justified to strike military targets deployed in populated areas?

3. If strikes on military targets located in civilian areas are not justified, then is that granting de facto immunity from attack to the those who violate the laws governing war and deploy military forces in civilian areas??

4. Using civilians as human shields violates "international" law, but how do you enforce that law?

5. Is the Lebanese government and international community responsible for this war because they refused to enforce UN Resolution 1559 - which required Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah and the Lebanese government to take control of southern Lebanon?

Just some questions, but the answers I think are important.

Up date:
1. For more thoughts on Qana and the background can be found at:
Power Line
Harry's Place
Captain's Quarters
I have no doubt that others with insightful comments will be weighing in shortly.

2. Sorry, my opinions were not up at my place when I posted this. They are now, so if you are interested just hit the link to Lamplighter above.