Tuesday, May 22, 2007


"Civilized" murder

The Lebanese Army, worried that the world is forgetting about the massacre at Sabra and Chatila, is doing its best to provide a fresh example. But don't worry, it's all quite civilized:
Hundreds of Lebanese troops surrounded Nahr el-Bared, staying outside in accordance with a nearly 40-year-old agreement with the Palestinians. The troops pounded the camp with artillery and tank fire, and militants responded with gunfire and mortar rounds.
Do you suppose that "40-year-old agreement" said anything about "it's ok to pound the camp with artillary and tank fire, just so long as you stay outside the perimeter, hence maximizing the number of innocent civilians killed?" No, me neither.

On TV this morning, the perky anchor let us know that the Lebanese Army has been given permission to "finish off" the militants. How positively delightful. The word "civilians" didn't leave her lips.

One line in today's story is rather telling in that regard:

The fierce, two-day battle has killed nearly 50 combatants and an unknown number of civilians.
How is it, do you suppose, that they were able to come up with a fairly precise (not necessarily accurate, to put it mildly) claim about the number of "combatants" killed, but have no idea about the number of civilians killed? No, those civilians are not only uncounted now, but, if history is a guide, will remain so forever, at least in the Western media. Knowing how many civilians are killed, be it in the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, or countless other places, is something that is actively avoided (and actively denigrated when attempts are made to assess a number, as with the Johns Hopkins study), because of the effect it might have on the psyche of those doing the killing, and those paying the bills and providing the "moral" support.

Why stop here? There's more...

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