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August 28, 2006

NYTimes Watch: It's Not Easy Being Blind

Another manic Monday. Before we even finished our first cup of coffee, the flexible urban sensibility of the NY Times had us ready to turn our miniature dachshund into an airborne missile:

Bashing the United Nations is fine sport and one that doesn’t demand accuracy. But let’s be clear about the real dangers. The No. 1 risk going into Lebanon — whether the peacekeepers wear blue helmets or green — is thinking that a military solution is even possible.

What a U.N. force can do — with a credible show of weapons and a mandate to shoot — is make it harder for Hezbollah to attack Israel or restock its arsenal. That should give Israel less of a reason to hit back. But there’s no chance this will work unless it is accompanied by an even more robust civilian effort to build up Beirut’s central government to a point that it can co-opt or marginalize Hezbollah.

You have to love the Times. In a mere two paragraphs the editorial staff had managed to demote Hezbollah's genocidal mania to the status of a minor playground tiff between kindergarteners. Perhaps the UN security council could place Hezbollah in time out until they felt better about themselves? Surely that would motivate them to play nicely. After all, sophisticated people understand that the vast majority of unprovoked shelling incidents stem from unresolved self-esteem issues.

But isn't this the same outfit which gleefully informed us, just recently, that Israel was guilty of war crimes? Citing a "variety of sources", none of which bothered to provide much-needed perspective on the objectivity of Amnesty International, an August 23rd article in the NY Times rushed to heap blame on the heads of the Israelis. But never fear, the Associated Press hastens to tell us, Hezbollah's attacks on Israel will be addressed later.

But who watches the watchers? For that matter, do NY Times reporters even bother looking in their own archives? The Times' August 23rd article referencing "indiscriminate attacks on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and population" might have benefited from a good look at any number of recent Times articles indirectly documenting Hezbollah's coopting of civilian homes and buildings for military purposes. For instances, they might have started with this August 16th article in the Times counting the dead from one of Israel's "indiscriminate attacks":

"Mr. Kamaleldin, the Sreifa [same as Srifa] official, estimated that up to two-thirds of the town's homes and buildings were demolished, leaving more than 43 people buried in the rubble. A majority of them were fighters belonging to Hezbollah and the allied Amal Party, residents said."

But wait! Human Rights Watch has been carefully monitoring Hezbollah, and it found no evidence of Hezbolloh presence in the areas it surveyed:

At the sites visited by Human Rights Watch—Qana, Srifa, Tyre, and the southern suburbs of Beirut—on-site investigations did not identify any signs of military activity in the area attacked, such as trenches, destroyed rocket launchers, other military equipment, or dead or wounded fighters."

Clearly this is proof that Hezbollah were not hiding among civilians! Those Lebanese mentioned above must have been mistaken. So must all these newspaper accounts - they must be lies - all lies:

"Hezbollah came to Ain Ebel to shoot its rockets," said Fayad Hanna Amar, a young Christian man, referring to his village. "They are shooting from between our houses." "Please,'' he added, "write that in your newspaper." Many Christians from Ramesh and Ain Ebel considered Hezbollah's fighting methods as much of an outrage as the Israeli strikes. Mr. Amar said Hezbollah fighters in groups of two and three had come into Ain Ebel, less than a mile from Bint Jbail, where most of the fighting has occurred. They were using it as a base to shoot rockets, he said, and the Israelis fired back.

One woman, who would not give her name because she had a government job and feared retribution, said Hezbollah fighters had killed a man who was trying to leave Bint Jbail.

"This is what's happening, but no one wants to say it" for fear of Hezbollah, she said.- Sabrina Tavernise, "Christians Fleeing Lebanon Denounce Hezbollah," The New York Times, July 28, 2006

But surely Human Rights Watch would not lie. Surely:

After The New York Sun ran an editorial and two op-ed pieces taking Human Rights Watch to task for anti-Israel bias, the organization's executive director, Kenneth Roth, has finally found it in himself to denounce Hezbollah for placing troops and weapons near Lebanese civilians. And to acknowledge, for the first time, that the use of ambulances by Palestinian groups to transport weapons or suicide bombers is "a clear humanitarian violation." We're tempted to congratulate Mr. Roth. Too bad it had to be wrung out of him.

And as the editorial staff of the Times reminds us certainly civilized people understand that military force is never the answer. Israel's only hope is to lower its defenses and hope that a robust UN peacekeeping force will "make it harder for Hezbollah to attack Israel or restock its arsenal":

I'm getting the feeling - with the announcement that the UN peacekeeping force won't be attempting to stop weapons resupply shipments from reaching Hezbollah from Syria (and Iran) - that they won't be much more effective than the last time. As I said earlier, the same UNIFIL only larger.
IDF forces from the Golani Brigade blasted open a Hizbullah bunker overnight Saturday some 400 meters from the security fence near Rosh Hanikra, it was reported on Sunday. The bunker was discovered a mere stone's throw from a UN post.

According to Lt.-Col. Jassem Elian, a senior officer in the Golani Brigade, "Hizbullah dug a 40-meter by two-kilometer pit, in which they built dozens of outposts."

As the Times editorial staff observes, it's not easy being blind.... err... blue.

Posted by Cassandra at August 28, 2006 05:22 PM


OH, those poor misunderstood terrorists...er, I mean "insurgents".
(Yeah, sure, that's what I meant...)

Posted by: camojack at August 29, 2006 01:26 AM

Ah, the old Leftie shibboleth that "violence never solves anything". Tell that to the Confederate States of America, or Nazi Germany.

Posted by: a former european at August 29, 2006 04:44 AM

"Villainous Company", indeed...:P

Posted by: David at August 13, 2007 05:46 PM

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