Some details on digging the dead Lebanese children from the rubble their home had become some 8 hours after the last Israeli missile landed anywhere near it.
Whatever else, the event in Qana was a human tragedy. But the photographs do not show it honestly. Rather, they have been staged for effect, exploiting the victims in an unwholesome manner. In so doing, they are no longer news photographs - they are propaganda. And, whoever said the camera cannot lie forgot that photographers can and do. Those lies have spread throughout the world by now and will be in this morning's newspapers, accepted as real by the millions who view them.
The profession of photo-journalism thereby is sadly diminished by them, and the trust in those who took them and in those who carried them is misplaced. Truly, we are dealing with loathesome creatures.
Update: even more details that point on staging.
Sorry if this is old news for someone.
The notion that civilians do not die in war is a new and absurd concept: it was not terribly long ago that they were not merely expected to, but meant to. The modern concept of civilian slaughter-as-tactic (or even strategy) was born in the minds of airpower visionaries like Giulio Douhet, and brought to fruition by the likes of "Bomber" Harris and Curtis Le May. (The premodern concept of the same was simply a feature of warfare from time immemorial.) The Second World War saw the maximum application of this concept: and if, postwar, men shrank from it, they did not therefore shrink from that cause, or their belief in the justice of the victors. Let us further note that those who did raise their voices against "area bombing" in the six decades since raised them against that per se -- the intentional slaughter of civilians as such. They did not and do not protest, for example, the appalling slaughter of French civilians from the air in the Normandy campaign. Nor should they. There is a difference between murder and manslaughter; war is war; and the Allies were forced by military necessity in a fight against a barbarous foe. Most who think about this -- and they are admittedly few -- understand this.
What a pity that this measure of sanity is abandoned where Israel is concerned.
Let us call the childrens' deaths in Qana what they are: a horrific freak of war. They were not intended; they were not actively sought; and they were not the product of criminal negligence. In weeks of war and thousands of sorties against a foe that intentionally hides amongst civilians in the active hope of just this manner of carnage, the remarkable fact is that this hasn't happened before. Contrary to founding advocates of airpower -- and unlike its battlefield foes -- Israel does not seek the death of civilians for their own sake. Pace the rationalizations extended to Allied aircrews obliterating Western European villagers unfortunate enough to live near a rail junction, Israel does not even regard acceptance of this manner of death -- unintended, incidental, and not worth especial efforts to preclude -- as acceptable within the moral parameters of war. The uninformed and the insane will react with bitter derision upon being told this, on the heels of the news from Qana: but their emotional self-indulgence does not negate the fact at hand.
Need it be said -- and it is a sign of our fallen age that it does need to be said -- Israel's enemy in this war operates under no such constraint. (One assumes that in bygone days, the difference between a Western democracy and a band of murderous savages would not need repeated explanation.) Hezbollah and the average Islamist do not shrink from direct assaults on civlians as such and as an end in itself. Indeed, it has been their sole tactic in this entire war. If they have not produced scenes of masses of dead children, it is not for lack of trying -- it is, after all, the only thing they try for. That they have not managed it is indicative of the confluence of blind luck and Israeli battlefield superiority. But give it time: give it infinite time to launch its rockets and try its luck, as the braying proponents of ceasefire would have it, and eventually we'll see Jewish children, too, incinerated in their sleep. The difference, of course, is that the perpetrators then will celebrate.
In a sane world, we would give thanks for Hezbollah's failure to murder, regret what has happened in Qana, and reaffirm the justice of the Israeli war. But this is not a sane world: in place of right and wrong, too many appear to operate in a universe of strong and weak (or, one suspects, Jew and non-Jew) -- and their sympathy goes to the weak, even if the weak is a shell of a polity married to a genocide-minded Muslim murder-front. For those of us with our sanity intact, we have but one message this morning for the IAF: keep bombing.
As my Russian-speaking compatriots would say, I sign under each word of it.