Could be Better

Seumas Milne on Hamas, Gaza and Israel:

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces in the past week, of whom one in five were children and more than half were civilians, according to the Israeli human rights group B\’Tselem. During the same period, three Israelis were killed, two of whom were soldiers taking part in the attacks.

I agree this is more than a little bloodthirsty but redo those numbers. In urban fighting, scragging 50% enemy soldiers, with 50% civilian casualties (the so called "collateral damage"), taking out 60 armed enemy while losing 2 of your own. In most armies that would be considered a very respectable result.

The ins and outs of why the fighting is going on, sorry, but this has been going on since I learned to read and I\’m sure it will still be doing so when I am decomposing in the grave and beyond reading about it. I\’m afraid that it all simply washes over me: but I suspect that those actual figures quoted by Milne simply aren\’t evidence of the atrocities that he wants us to believe they are.


8 thoughts on “Could be Better”

  1. “and more than half were civilians”. Since any involved in combat would have been Hammas I would have expected 100% to be civilians – and telling combatants from non-combatants impossible.

  2. Milne is the guy who wrote, “For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality.”

  3. The figures also come from a highly suspect and biased source. The terrorists worked out long ago that the media is a battleground, and on it casualties work the other way around from a normal one. So, as the al Dura affair proved, they’ve gotten very good at exaggerating and manufacturing them wholesale. Remember Green Helmet? Or the woman who, in the Lebanon war, was photographed crying in front of dozens of destroyed buildings, all “hers”? The photoshopped pics? To take these casualty figures at face value is ludicrous.

    (B’Tselem must be the only Israeli organisation whose pronouncements are not “alleged” in the Western media.)

  4. It is pretty hard to imagine any other state in the world responding with such restraint against a hostile entity making repeated rocket attacks against civilian population centres from territory that had only recently been ceded to it by the state under attack. Imagine if Spain handed over control of the Basque region and ETA were still setting off bombs in Madrid. I feel that the main reason that the conflict has dragged on so long is that Israel has felt itself constrained by its basic decency from inflicting a truly crushing defeat on the Palestinians. That would of course involve casualties on both sides several orders of magnitude higher than this latest incident, but it’s probably the only way to lance the boil.

  5. What he is really bleating about is the fact that Hamas aren’t nearly as effective at killing, as the IDF are. The number of attacks by Hamas is very high, but their success rate in killing civillians is very low. The Israelis rarely hit back, but when they do they always hit the launch points, which are always full of civillians.

    So he doesn’t want a reduction in casualties, he wants an increase.

  6. Perhaps it would be pertinent to ask Mr Milne to explain his definition of the words “children” and “civilian”. Both terms can be extremely flexible depending upon one’s agenda.

    For example some types have been known to extend the boundaries of childhood to the age of 21 or older*. Meanwhile, our Middle eastern chums aren’t always as discriminating as westerners when it comes to arming genuine children (ie sub16 year olds).

    And by civilian I’m guessing Mr Milne means people not actually carrying a weapon. Reports I’ve read from Iraq indicate that the bad people know the rules of engagment intimately and often place such a civilian to do things like spotting the fall of mortar rounds knowing they won’t get slotted.

    Brit troops in Iraq call these characters “dickers”. A good, old-fashioned Ulster Troubles nickname with which Mr Milne should be familiar.

    *US gun control activists trying to scare politicians about the number of children killed by firearms, for one.

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