Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaza - Proportionality & hypocrisy

Israel is judged by different standards than NATO - why?


"There is always a cost to defeat an evil. It never comes free, unfortunately. But the cost of failure to defeat a great evil is far higher."

Jamie Shea, NATO spokesman, BBC News, May 31, 1999

It was in these words that the official NATO representative chose to respond to criticism regarding the numerous civilian casualties incurred by the alliance's frequent air attacks during the war in Kosovo between March and June of 1999. He insisted NATO planes bombed only "legitimate designated military targets" and if civilians had died it was because NATO had been forced into military action. Adamant that "we try to do our utmost to ensure that if there are civilians around we do not attack," Shea emphasized that "NATO does not target civilians...let's be perfectly clear about that."

However, hundreds of civilians were killed by a NATO air campaign, code named "Operation Allied Force" - which hit residential neighborhoods, old-aged sanatoriums, hospitals, open markets, columns of fleeing refugees, civilian buses and trains on bridges, and even a foreign embassy.

Exact figures are difficult to come by, but the undisputed minimum is almost 500 civilians deaths (with some estimates putting the toll as high as 1500) - including women, children and the elderly, killed about in 90 documented attacks by an alliance that included the air forces of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Spain, the UK, and the US. Up to 150 civilians deaths were reportedly caused by the use of cluster-bombs dropped on, or adjacent to, known civilian areas.

By contrast, the military losses inflicted by NATO on the Serbian forces during almost 80 days of aerial bombardment, unchallenged by any opposing air power, were remarkably low - with most estimates putting the figure at less than 170 killed.

Meanwhile, NATO forces suffered… no combat fatalities! This was mainly due to the decision to conduct high altitude aerial attacks which greatly reduced the danger to NATO military personnel in the air, but dramatically increased it for the Serbian (and Kosovar) civilians on the ground. Moreover, the civilian populations of the countriesparticipating on Operation Allied Force were never attacked or - even threatened - in any way by Serbian forces.

The significance of all this for Israel, beset as it is by a maelstrom criticism and censure regarding its military campaign in Gaza, should be starkly apparent. It raises three trenchant issues which it would fail to address to its great detriment:
  1. The irrelevance of proportionality in military engagements
  2. The unlimited hypocrisy of international politics
  3. The disastrous incompetence of Israeli international diplomacy [...]


  1. There was a HUGE amount of criticism of NATO internationally.

    Israeli's schizophrenic self image of the ever suffering morally superior victim is absurd. Israel is a nationalist entity just like any other country in the world. Nations un-apologetically do what will forward the goals of their leadership and do not worry so much about popularity contests in the world media.

    For example:

    TONY BLAIR yesterday dismissed as "absurd" suggestions that Serbian atrocities against Kosovo Albanians had started as a result of the Nato air strikes on Yugoslavia.

    And there was no lack of criticism internationally:

    Human Rights Watch reported between 489 and 528 civilians were killed in the ninety separate incidents in Operation Allied Force. Albanian refugees were among the victims. Almost two thirds (303 to 352) of the total registered civilian deaths occurred in twelve incidents where ten or more civilian deaths were confirmed. Almost half of the incidents resulted from attacks during daylight hours, when civilians could have been expected to be on the roads and bridges or in public buildings.

    Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign - The Crisis in Kosovo, HRW

    Greek Judges Convict NATO of War Crimes

    Here is a website devoted to graphic presentation of NATO war crimes

    Amnesty International Accuses NATO of War Crimes

    Pravda accuses NATO of war crimes - well documented

    And from the BBC:

  2. Here is more:

    President Clinton criticized on Nato bombing

    Criticism from Republican leaders within the US

    UN Criticizes NATO for acting apart from UN

    September 9, 1999

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has "made known his strong reservations" about NATO attacks on Yugoslavia and US and UK bombings of Iraq, which were carried out without UN approval. In his annual report to UN members, Annan "deplores the failures of preventive diplomacy in such cases," the Financial Times reports. Annan: "As a consequence, the international community today confronts unprecedented humanitarian challenges." Annan also noted that attention to Kosovo has meant that "equally or more serious crises in other parts of the world have been largely ignored," including "the more protracted and deadly war between Eritrea and Ethiopia and the resumption of Angola's savage civil war" (Michael Littlejohns, Financial Times, 9 Sep).

    More criticism from Russia

    The Serbs Criticize NATO

    Here is a summary roundup of statements from religious leaders around the world who criticized NATO's bombings of Kosovo:

    The Muslim Brotherhood Criticized NATO calling the conflict in the Balkans a "dangerous international conspiracy."

    Hammas criticized the NATO air bombardments against Yugoslavia as a Western enforcement "of controlling the Balkans under the pretext of protecting human rights and fighting so-called terrorism."

    President Mohammed Khatami of Iran has offered vocal criticism of NATO bombings.

    Leaders of the Orthodox Church condemned NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia and have appealed for an end to the conflict in Kosovo.

    The Holy Synod, the Greek Orthodox Church's ruling body, said in a statement it will appeal to the United Nations, NATO and the European Union for an immediate end to the airstrikes.

    The Holy Synod, Russia has passed an address to NATO's leadership, saying that....a "sin before God and a crime against humanity"


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.