Monday, October 23, 2006

"Atrocity Propaganda" Revisited....

ZAHN: The Lebanese health minister today accused Israel of putting phosphorous in its bombs, which causes extreme burns upon impact. And we are going to show our audience now a picture of a severely burned child at a hospital in Tyre.

Is Israel using phosphorous in any of its weapons?

REGEV: Unfortunately, Paula, you have this sort of atrocity propaganda. It comes up especially in Arab media. We have had all sorts of stories of Israelis giving, deliberately, out bird flu, Israelis giving out AIDS deliberately to Palestinian children, Israelis...

ZAHN: But what about this particular...

REGEV: ... using depleted uranium.

ZAHN: ... charge? Are you using...

REGEV: Well...

ZAHN: ... phosphorous or not?

REGEV: ... I'm telling you, this particular charge -- this particular charge is simply not true.


Mark Regev, Israeli Foreign Ministry, CNN 7/24/06


The Israeli army used phosphorous artillery shells against Hezbollah guerrilla targets during their war in Lebanon this summer, an Israeli Cabinet minister said Sunday, confirming Lebanese allegations for the first time.

Cabinet Minister Yaakov Edri said Israel used the weapons before an Aug. 14 cease-fire went into effect, ending its 34-day war against Hezbollah. Edri’s spokeswoman Orly Yehezkel said he was speaking on behalf of Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Israel is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions. The Israeli military said in July its use of weapons "conforms with international law" and it investigates claims of violations based on the information provided.


AP 10/22/06

20 Comments:

Anonymous The Lounsbury - Aqoul said...

Very nice.

No surprise really, the Israelis have made quite a fine tool out of using the real historical mendacity of Arab media to discredit equally real critiques against them (the Israelis).

One of the queer things I note, living in the region is how much the image of the Arab side of things is stuck in the United States in a time warp based on the 1970s. Of course, partly the Arabs' own fault really, piss poor communications in general w the West (and vice versa, as the little idiocy over Mr Fernandez illustrated, oddly having spoken in an intelligent manner).

I think that I am less annoyed by the Israelis use of phosphour and more by the nasty bit of spin their For. Ministry put out there, that nice little hint of 'can't trust the sub-humans'

10/23/2006 6:41 AM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...

There's a huge middle ground which needs to be acknowledged: the use of phosphor in weapons like tracer rounds is not in itself prohibited; it's the use of it as a weapon (which is extremely vaguely defined, falling into the "know it when you see it" category) which would be a violation of international law. The Lebanese media is ignoring the actual law to overstate the case; the Israelis are claiming "innocent until proven guilty" which would work a lot better if they didn't do such borderline stuff pretty much whenever they can get away with it; TCR is endangering his "cunning" appellation by slapping together Billmon-esque posts like this.

10/23/2006 6:49 AM  
Blogger The Cunning Realist said...

Regev was not answering a question about "huge middle ground." He was asked specifically, "Is Israel using phosphorous in any of its weapons?" He said clearly that it was not. That, we know now, was untrue.

The post stands.

10/23/2006 8:15 AM  
Anonymous wendy said...

I guess Israel considers the Geneva Conventions to be "quaint" as well.

10/23/2006 9:22 AM  
Blogger kindness said...

No one would blame anyone for using phosphorus in tracer shells or using it in illumination rounds. A bomb made with phosphorus as a weapon is a different animal altoghether.

To say the Geneva Convention is "vague" about such things is horses**t. It isn't true.

And I'm not saying the Israel is alone. It would appear that the Lebanese did us abulances as transport and hospitals as staging centers.

Honesty requires we are honest about ourselves, our allies and our adversaries, whomever they may be.

10/23/2006 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

Here we have the problem with the "You know it when you see it" morality: When Westerners (in this case including Israelis) see a crispy-fried Lebanese child in a hospital, they see the banner "Mission Accomplished (with Acceptable Levels of Collateral Damage)". When Westerners watch the TV coverage of lacerated Israeli victims carted away from a suicide bombing, they see "(Geez that could have been _me_ standing there!) This is the most horrific, cruel and viciously barbaric threat our society has ever faced." Obviously the same principle operates in reverse in the Arab countries. "We don't do barbaric beheadings, we're civilized. What we do is officially church-sanctioned revenge, we are holy men, what we see here is conformance to Scripture." Back on our side, "We don't do torture, because we'll know it when we see it, and I don't see any torture around here, only the urgent need to obtain information." And so it goes.

This is the reason violence doesn't settle issues like it used to three or four centuries ago. With the progress of philosophy, with the success of various revolutions against oppressors, and of course with the proliferation of images and information technology, people's own points of view have crystallized, become stronger, and people think of their own point of view as more legitimate, rather than blindly submitting to Authority like they used to a few centuries ago. (Not that they still don't submit to Authority, but their points of view have hardened around the Authorities they choose to accept.) In general this is a good thing, it promotes more individualism and personal growth, but one side effect is that never again in the future of the Earth will political or philosophical disputes _ever_ be completely resolved by bombing the other side. For chrissake, there are still NAZIS in half the Western countries; if violence solved anything, _they_ would have given up decades ago.

10/23/2006 12:27 PM  
Blogger Anderson said...

I can't find any articles confirming that the Israelis are admitting to *white* phosphorus shells. Anybody got one?

10/23/2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger I said...

"...never again in the future of the Earth will political or philosophical disputes _ever_ be completely resolved by bombing the other side. For chrissake, there are still NAZIS in half the Western countries; if violence solved anything, _they_ would have given up decades ago."

Amen to that.

10/23/2006 2:12 PM  
Blogger kindness said...

Follow the 10/22/06 link to the MSNBC article anderson.

10/23/2006 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

I should add to my above, that the doubtful future of bombing as a persuasion tactic also bodes very ill for the future use of torture. It may -- repeat, _MAY_, or may not have worked in the past, when people were more deferential to authorities of all kinds. From last century on, however, it seems like the more you torture people, the more convinced they become of the rightness of their own position and the wrongness of _yours_, and thus the less likely it becomes that torture will reliably produce the information you want. Like the wanton violence of bombing, it may still produce some results in the short term, but it completely sabotages your long-term prospects of victory.

10/23/2006 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone whose parents were into physical "correction" will tell you: Torture only "works" if you define that as "gives the torturer the answers s/he wants". It's not about getting information; it's about hearing what you want to hear. Think about McCain being tortured by the Vietcong -- eventually he "broke", he parroted the words they wanted him to say in front of the cameras. But he didn't give the Vietcong any useful information, largely because he didn't have any to give. The whole what-if-there-was-a-ticking-bomb meme is worthwhile only for television serials and bad novels. There are plenty of ways to obtain useful information from captives, but torture is not one of them. -- Anne Laurie

10/24/2006 4:25 AM  
Blogger Anderson said...

Follow the 10/22/06 link to the MSNBC article anderson.

Uhh .. right. I did. It says they used "phosphorous" shells, and later talks about the properties of "white phosphorous," but nowhere does it say "Israel admitted using white-phosphorous munitions."

That was my point.

10/24/2006 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

think our dear realist will be cunning when he feels it is necessary...but with the collapse in the standard of lying from washington becoming pervasive...no cunning needed on the point ...marky marky...get the story straight...has rummy's memory problem spread so far...

10/24/2006 11:22 PM  
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10/25/2006 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HJ13Ak01.html

10/31/2006 5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article1935945.ece

10/31/2006 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9959

11/03/2006 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=95806

11/18/2006 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/790417.html

11/22/2006 6:50 PM  
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