Earlier today, a US patrol came under fire from the rooftops of an Iraqi neighborhood. In attempting to get the situation under control, US troops killed "two women and a young girl", according to an Associated Press report.
The US military spokesman said regarding the incident:
"We regret that civilians are hurt or killed while coalition forces search to rid Iraq of terrorism...Terrorists continue to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence."
Some who read these words may scoff and think them trite, but it is very important to understand (a) that they are true, and (b) why it is important to understand that they are true.
Juan Cole's blog, Informed Comment blog looks at the carnage occurring in southern Lebanon and comes to the apparent conclusion that it is the fault of the Israelis. I disagree. In response to his post of July 21st, 2006, here are the comments I posted to his website:
It's interesting to observe the two political camps: One looks at Israel and says they have no right to bomb southern Lebanon, and the other says that if Lebanon would get rid of a pack of bloodthirsty terrorists from their midst, then Israel wouldn't be forced to defend themselves all the time.
I subscribe to the views of the second camp, and so far, I have not seen anything that convinces me otherwise. Israel is perfectly justified to root out Hizballah (more aptly would they be named Hizbshaitan [Arabic for the 'political' party of Satan]) from southern Lebanon, especially after granting the gigantic concession of the Gaza, which has done nothing more than give the Hizballah terrorists another lie to tell and a closer base of operations from which to attack, murder, and kidnap Palestinian Israelis.
It is extremely sad that the everyday Lebanese are caught in the middle of the fighting, but I cannot understand how anyone could put the blame for that on anyone except the Hizballah terrorists.
If I am missing something, please educate me.
As did the government of Saddam during Operation Desert Storm, so do the Iraqi terrorist insurgents, and so do the Hizballah terrorists in Lebanon. As an example, Saddam made great 'political hay' when an American Tomahawk missle destroyed much of an apartment building in Baghdad, killing several innocent civilians. What got reported, much later and much less forthrightly, was that the missile was targeting an Iraqi command post, which Saddam had intentionally put in the same building as the civilian apartments.
Similarly, Hizballah has insinuated itself so tightly into the southern Lebanese society that retaliation by Israelis against Hizballah's terrorist attacks will no doubt cause civilian casualties, as it already has.
Similarly, Iraqi terrorists use the civilian populace as a cloak from which to attack US and Coalition forces.
The question is, how can someone blame the Americans when terrorists in Iraq use civilian neighborhoods as a shield from which to commit heinous acts against American peacekeepers? And how can someone blame the Israelis when Hizballah deliberately endangers civilians around Hizballah's Lebanese training bases and weapons storage areas, when they know those bases and storage areas will be a target of Israeli retaliation?
In a very few instances (albeit admittedly too many) the Americans in Iraq have committed atrocities. I'm sure that Israel will commit some in Lebanon as well. But three points are crucial here: (1) Hizballah and Iraqi terrorists commit atrocities practically EVERY DAY, (2) Israel's and the United States' militaries' reasons for being where they are is not to cause mayhem (and they feel genuinely saddened when civilian loss of life occurs, ESPECIALLY when committed in rare cases wantonly by their own members), but to protect and/or establish freedom and peace, where fewer armies will be required in the future, and (3) the purpose of the terrorists in both Iraq and Lebanon is to either wantonly kill or endanger civilian life every chance they get and then to use subsequent civilian casualties as propaganda against the peace process, a propaganda that is all to easily consumed by a weak-minded, gullible media.