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I have been watching this newest conflict in the Middle East with an increasing sense of a mix of dismay and horror.  Though fairly uneducated about the whole long and complicated history of the region, I have formed an opinion, not infallible, but mine at this point.  I am a person who is prone to choose the "underdog" and is always skeptical about anything the Bush Administration supports so fully.  With my very independent personality and background combining with a lack of personal connection to Israel, my sympathies lie with the Lebanese/Palestinian people.  You may disagree, many will I am sure, but it is better just to be open about where I stand from the start because this can get to be such an emotionally and bitterly debated issue.

More after the fold...  

Given my particular feelings about the conflict and the different parties involved, I find it easy to believe that the Israelis did, in fact, deliberately target the UN Observers, as was claimed earlier by UN Secretary General, kofi Annan.  However, it did come as a shock to have heard someone such as Annan say it outright.  I don't believe he is one for sensationalism, and in his position, I think that sort of thing would cost him dearly.  So, what do you think???  I think he must have some pretty convincing evidence to come out so boldly.    

Originally posted to bittergirl on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Poll

Do you believe Israel deliberately targetted UN observers in Lebanon?

57%74 votes
18%24 votes
24%31 votes

| 129 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think they did. (5+ / 0-)

    First of all, they always brag about their accuracy.

    Secondly, they have advanced weapons, surveillance and targeting systems including spy satellite and it is foolish to think they wouldn't know that it was a UN compound since they make such things extremely clear (like painting UN on the roof in giant letters for instance).

    Thirdly, if it had been a mistake, they would have made an announcement about it by now. The fact that they haven't commented yet says to me that they are trying to find a way to spin a deliberate attack on the UN in a positive light.

    Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

    by Arken on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 04:57:22 PM PDT

    •  the post (0+ / 0-)

      isn't exactly a tiny one. It's been around since...the 70's.

      It's a hallmark on every map. (somebody should google earth that post)  I bet It'll be fun, to show anybody can find out where the post is.

  •  What's the motive? (4+ / 0-)

    Seriously, why would Israel deliberately target the UN? It makes no sense and in no way could be to their benefit.

  •  As I said in the other threads.... (10+ / 0-)

    Annan says the compound was fired on 14 times today. The Isreali army aren't that bad a shot.

  •  you might get into (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Proud SW FL Lib
    a lot of ridiculous thinking with the value of "rooting for the underdog", combined with an ignorance of history.

    one is best informed by the other.

    I don't have tattoos. I have moles. They were free.

    by Miss Devore on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 04:59:03 PM PDT

    •  true... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bittergirl

      although, to her credit, she is asking what other people think, so it's not that ignorant.

      Check out my podcast of piano improvisations.

      by tunesmith on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:04:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  still (0+ / 0-)
        it would also be interesting to know what s/he knows about the Lebanese and Palestinians, since s/he has come down on their side.

        I don't have tattoos. I have moles. They were free.

        by Miss Devore on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:12:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have to say though (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bittergirl

          it's refreshing to see something on this conflict where the author flat out states their bias.
          That doesn't say anything about the accuracy, but it's still nice to see

          •  when ignorance becomes refreshing (0+ / 0-)
            I feel parched.

            I don't have tattoos. I have moles. They were free.

            by Miss Devore on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 06:55:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think that it is important to admit (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tunesmith

              to a certain ignorance on the subject matter because everyone seems to be an "expert" on this one.  I can and will admit that I am not an expert.  I am learning, or at least willing to try.  Let's just say that the more I learn about the arab/israeli conflict, the more I realize that I know very little.  I read a great diary (I think by MeteroBlade, if I am not wrong) who mentioned where all of his vast knowledge on the subject had come from.  He had read an incredible amount of literature on the subject written by experts from all sides.  And even he didn't suggest that he was an expert.  If he isn't an expert, then I am totally uneducated, and should say it openly instead of proposing to be proficient.

              Not saying that ignorance and emotion isn't a bad mix... it probably is, it just happens to be where I am at right now.  (Hopefully not for long.)  

              "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know". -Harry Truman

              by bittergirl on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 07:23:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  well, it's a dry time (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not saying I agree with it. I just appreciate someone stating their bias at the start and admitting that it is going to color their position

  •  well.. (7+ / 0-)

    The Israeli Defense Force has made a hellish battleground among the civilians in the Balata and Jenin refugee camps.  We are getting reports of pure horror - that helicopters are strafing civilian residential areas...

    ~Peter Hansen, Commisioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, Press Statement, 4.8.2002.

    That was in reference to the Jenin 'massacre', which Annan also spoke out against, claiming that Israel had violated International Law in its mission.  Both the UN and Human Rights Watch later determined no massacre took place.

    So you'll pardon me if I take this statement with a grain of salt until the facts arrive.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:02:36 PM PDT

  •  friendly fire - anything is possible (0+ / 0-)

    Operations Branch Head Major-General Gadi Eisenkot says five casualties incurred in fighting in south Lebanon when shots fired by helicopter gunship towards Hizbullah gunmen hit IDF soldiers.
    http://www.ynetnews.com/...

    Friendly fire may have downed Apache
    http://www.jpost.com/...

    Israel says soldier died of friendly fire
    http://www.alertnet.org/...

  •  This is one of those questions (3+ / 0-)

    that is going to always be colored by who you personally believe is in the right or the wrong, because it will never be answered definitively to anyone's satisfaction on either side of the divide because the physical and logistical evidence will be gone long before any third party can examine it. Even with hard evidence one way or the other, there will be believers on both sides of that question still firmly rooted in their positions on that.

    War is hell on people and places, and bitter partisanship is hell on nonbiased forensics.

    There will be people who will be offended to the point of getting the shakes for the suggestion that Israel could do such a thing, and there will be people who will be enraged that there could be any doubt that this was anything but a deliberate act.

    There is no answer except somebody has to have the guts to step into this frey and get a ceasefire and an international force in place as soon as possible.

    "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrel." -Samuel Johnson

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:06:13 PM PDT

  •  Nope (4+ / 0-)

    You may think the Israelis are cruel, but it's pretty uniformly agreed that they're both very good at what they do, and rather clever (in their minds) about why they do it - they're not stupid. Applying that to the situation here, I come to two conclusions:

    1. The Israelis were trying to hit the compound. A descision was made that it was a strategic target, and hence it was destroyed. These posts have been around for a while, and Israel knows all about them - you don't hit one mistake.
    1. There's something more to the story that we're not being told. By making the descision to take out the position, Israel knew it would be opening itself up to political attacks over it, and get a whole bunch of bad PR. Therefore, the target had to have some value that we're not seeing. Thus, did the Israelis target UN Observers? I don't think so. But did they target the Observer compound? Highly likely.

    "The NSA offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application."

    by Scipio on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:08:38 PM PDT

  •  I think you're on the right track (6+ / 0-)

    I'm also an underdog supporter, and Israel is the brazenly out-of-hand guns-blazing fool in this conflict, to me.  They claim to have greater morals than Hezbollah; they don't.  They should be conducting a careful, surgically perfect war; they aren't.  They want nothing but sympathy; they aren't getting it.  It's hard to offer sympathy to a country that creates almost a million refugees, bombs civilian infrastructure and - now - bombs a UN observer post.  Really sick.

    I just don't trust Israel, and in their role as American proxy in this current conflict, I really don't trust Israel - or the American government.  Both are more than happy to continue the suffering of the Lebanese people, and if you are okay with one baby suffering, you've all but abdicated your humanity, period.  At least, to me that's true.

    You know why the word shitfuck was invented?  To apply to 2006 Israel.

    •  Playing Devil's Advocate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bittergirl, rgdurst

      They claim to have greater morals than Hezbollah; they don't.  They should be conducting a careful, surgically perfect war; they aren't.

      Not to sound like a wiseass, but how do you conduct a surgical war against an enemy that is not above using their own civilians as meatshields?

      •  Please please please... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pletzs, Euroliberal, Arken, DSPS owl

        ...don't refer to them as using their civilians as "meatshields".

        I've campaigned long and hard to put to rest the notion that somehow the anti-Israel terrorist and guerilla groups are doing something especially evil by mixing with civilian populations.  First of all, they are doing what they have to, and as much as we all might like it if they lined up for us to kill them, that is pure fantasy.  Second, last I checked, Tel Nof Air Force base was in Rehovot, the largest Tel Aviv suburb.  Last I checked, Andrews Air Force Base isn't in the middle of nowhere either.  So what exactly are we accusing them of?

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:19:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For that matter... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anonymousredvest18

          How many US military bases are surrounded by civilians?

          Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

          by Arken on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:20:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Andrews... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Arken

            ...is a US military base.

            The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

            by Jay Elias on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:25:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But Andrews... (0+ / 0-)

              ...is not located inside of a civilian apratment complex. Nor do they launch missiles from it at their neighbors.

              The difference is that Hezbollah deliberately makes it so that if you attack one of their bases, you will hit civilians. Also, Andrews has military housing, which is a far cry from Hezbollah.

              •  Of course they do... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ahianne, mattes, anonymousredvest18

                ...what do you suppose would happen to Hezbollah if they did otherwise?  They don't have surface to air missiles, aerial radar platforms, surveillance satellites, main battle tanks, or squadrons of fighter planes.  They are playing to win with what they have.

                Sure, they are loathsome.  But they make do as best they can.  If they used tactics like the IDF or the US Army, they'd be dead in a week.  So, what do you expect them to do?

                The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                by Jay Elias on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:50:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...if they want to use those tactics, they have no right complaining about civilians dying because it is by their presense that those civilians are put in harm's way.

                  •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    jakbeau

                    ...I'm not sure that Hezbollah is complaining about civilians dying.  But, more to the point, would it shock and offend you to learn that Hezbollah are hypocrites?

                    I don't share the prevalent feeling that most posters here have about civilian casualties.  I understand that they fight us the way they have to, and that we fight them the way we have to.  As long as we're fighting, it is going to be this way.  But I'm not willing to deceive myself about it.  This is what the battlefield looks like.

                    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                    by Jay Elias on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 06:02:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Uh (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bittergirl, anonymousredvest18

                I was at the Burlington, VT, airport this morning. Waiting for my mom's plane to take off I watched three VT Air National Guard F-16s takeoff from the same runway her Northwest flight was about to use.

                So I guess what you saying is it'd be cool for someone to bomb the Northwest Airlines plane that was waiting to take off from that runway?

          •  MANY. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            anonymousredvest18

            Half a trillion dollars to elect a man in Iraq that congress won't talk with because they don't like what he thinks of Israel...

            by mattes on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 06:23:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Guerrilla warfare, nothing new. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anonymousredvest18

        Half a trillion dollars to elect a man in Iraq that congress won't talk with because they don't like what he thinks of Israel...

        by mattes on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 06:22:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  haaretz headlines say (4+ / 0-)

    "IDF confirms four UN deaths," "regrets tragic deaths," and "opens inquiry," "in the Reuters and Israel Radio headlines at haaretz.

  •  They've done it before (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ogre, SCFrog, mango, mdem

    The U.S. ship The Liberty.  June 1967.

    The Republicans. The party of fear and smear.

    by Paleo on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:14:02 PM PDT

  •  BBC World tonight reported (8+ / 0-)

    that the UN observer post was targeted over and over again by Israeli war planes, who finally "took it out" with one particularly powerful blast. The UN observers had taken shelter in the basement, where they were crushed. As of 6PM EST the IDF had not granted the UN safe passage to retrieve the bodies.

  •  Think this through, folks (5+ / 0-)
    1. This was a known UN outpost.
    1. The only thing that would justify an attack was "infiltration" by Hezbollah.
    1. While that may happen in movies, do you think in the heat of battle, some Hez. soldiers would be able to think ahead, storm a UN outpost, and assume the position - without anything visible from the air?
    1. Said UN outpost would be taken over without any communications at all... no time to call superiors elsewhere... and of course, there wouldn't have been any communications going on during this situation.
    1. No matter WHAT, this attack would have to have been ok'd by higher ups in the military. Period. No fucking combat pilot is going to attack a clearly demarked, known UN outpost on their own without orders. Please.
    1. So, the higher up would have to have considered the circumstances and possibilities that Hez. perfectly, silently infiltrated the UN outpost, with no indications from the air, no communications by the UN personel.

    Yeah, fucking right.

    Can I 'prove' it? Sigh. No. Of course not. But logic, the odds, and realism all tell me it's vanishingly unlikely this was an accident.

    •  So, then, 'why' is the next question (5+ / 0-)
      1. To prove Israel is an irrational actor and will act in any way it dictates. This is the George Bush/Nixon game theoretical strategy to scare the fuck out of any potential opponent.
      1. So, then, why 'apologize' and call it an accident? To have the best of all worlds. Moral superiority and the iron fist.

      Haven't we seen the same from right wingers here in the US?? "We would never torture anyone. America doesn't torture. Of course, we reserve the right to torture whenever we want. And while we don't torture people because we're better than that, any torture we have done was deserved by the terrorist being tortured."

      Learn the logic of the right wing, peeople.

  •  This one will never be cleared up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anonymousredvest18

    pure he said - she said...

    but gues what...perception will quickly become reality...

    even if the pure incompetence...this is a public relations disaster for Israel...

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you...then you win -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by justmy2 on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:49:07 PM PDT

  •  Wolf Blitzer: Israel's PR spokesman (5+ / 0-)

    Just saw Wolf Blitzer, formerly a reporter with the right-wing Jerusalem Post (betcha most folks don't know that) in effect being Israel's spokesman.

    The Republicans. The party of fear and smear.

    by Paleo on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:59:15 PM PDT

  •  Israel can do whatever it wants (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anonymousredvest18, mdem

    and no one can question them. did you not get the memo?/ :)

  •  Did they? (3+ / 0-)

    Entirely possible.  Seems likely.

    They attacked the USS Liberty in 1967 and made the same claim--error....

    Look at what prominent Americans, in the know, had to say about that.

           "I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. . . . Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn't believe them then, and I don't believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous "
             -- US Secretary of State Dean Rusk

           "...the board of inquiry (concluded) that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty."
             -- CIA Director Richard Helms

           "I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship."
             -- NSA Deputy Director Oliver Kirby

            "That the Liberty could have been mistaken for the Egyptian supply ship El Quseir is unbelievable"
             -- Special Assistant to the President Clark Clifford, in his report to President Lyndon Johnson

           "The highest officials of the [Johnson] administration, including the President, believed it 'inconceivable' that Israel's 'skilled' defense forces could have committed such a gross error."
           -- Lyndon Johnson's biographer Robert Dallek in Flawed Giant, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 430-31)

          "A nice whitewash for a group of ignorant, stupid and inept [expletive deleted]."
             -- Handwritten note of August 26, 1967, by NSA Deputy Director Louis W. Tordella reacting to the Israeli court decision exonerating Israelis of blame for the Liberty attack.

           "Never before in the history of the United States Navy has a Navy Board of Inquiry ignored the testimony of American military eyewitnesses and taken, on faith, the word of their attackers.
             -- Captain Richard F. Kiepfer, Medical Corps, US Navy (retired), USS Liberty Survivor

           "The evidence was clear. Both Admiral Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack...was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew.... It was our shared belief. . .that the attack. . .could not possibly have been an accident.... I am certain that the Israeli pilots [and] their superiors. . .were well aware that the ship was American."
             -- Captain Ward Boston, JAGC, US Navy (retired), senior legal counsel to the US Navy Court of Inquiry

           That the attack was deliberate "just wasn't a disputed issue" within the National Security Agency
             -- Former NSA Director retired Army Lieutenant General William Odom on 3 March 2003 in an interview for Naval Institute Proceedings

           Former NSA/CIA Director Admiral Bobby Inman "flatly rejected" the Cristol/Israeli claims that the attack was an accident
             -- 5 March 2003 interview for Naval Institute Proceedings

           Of four former NSA/CIA seniors with inside knowledge, none was aware of any agency official who dissented from the position that the attack was deliberate
             -- David Walsh, writing in Naval Institute Proceedings

           "It appears to me that it was not a pure case of mistaken identity."
           -- Captain William L. McGonagle, Commanding Officer, USS Liberty, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery, June 8, 1997

            "To suggest that they [the IDF] couldn't identify the ship is ... ridiculous. ... Anybody who could not identify the Liberty could not tell the difference between the White House and the Washington Monument."
             -- Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and later Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, quoted in The Washington Post, June 15, 1991, p. 14

    "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

    by ogre on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 06:17:47 PM PDT

  •  Hey-why don't we just wait until the (0+ / 0-)

    investigation is done?  Then we'll know.

  •  I think that we need to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    very careful here. The collective punishment on the populace of Lebanon is unmentionably criminal, but the murder of UN observers carries world-wide import.

    I think that sooner rather than later, the international community will have to restrain the US and Israel.

    Not sure how.

  •  this is my (0+ / 0-)

    speculation on what happened.  The U.N. outpost is at a highpoint.  The U.N. observers there have the capability to view deep into different areas of Lebanon with high powered scopes, viewing glasses, etc.  The U.N. observers may have been relaying across their own frequencies strikes they had seen or Israel military movements, which Israel did not like.  Either Israel warned them to stop speaking on the freq, and then escalated to closer fire, until finally they just said the hell with it if you won't shut up we'll take your ass out.  It's either that or a total breakdown in fire discipline over a prolonged period of time.  Israel value the lives of their soldiers above all else.  If you are potentially compromising that even through innocent or mistaken actions they will take you out.

    In the absence of fear, truth becomes absolute.

    by bohdi777 on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 07:53:15 PM PDT

  •  WHITE IS BLACK (0+ / 0-)

    They most likely did bomb the U.N. compound. Israels mission in this war is to draw Syria and Iran into this war by ANY means possible so that we the United Sates has a real excuse to militarily attack Syria and Iran. It has to look good in the rest of the worlds eyes before we can start a war with them. That's why I have said it before I have to give credit to Syria and Iran for taking the high road and staying out of it militarily. Israel could not coax Syria or Iran into hostilaties by just going after the Palestinians so they turned their attention on a bigger target to try to get Syria and Iran pissed off enough to make the first move to start WWIII. I could not get to your diary for some reason last night and I responded to your question on my diary site.

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