Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Armies Behaving Badly

I've been looking into reports such as this one that the IDF is using chemical weapons in Lebanon. One suspicion I have is that Israel is deploying white phosphorus, much like the United States did in Fallujah. These are designed as screening devices, but as you can see from the pdf links on the sites above, the U.S. military in its own publications talked about experimenting with it as a combat weapon. Although not technically banned as a chemical weapon, its effects include melting human skin, and therefore it might as well be. Wikipedia, in an unsourced citation, mentions someone interviewed on Australian television who claims Israel is dropping flares to confuse heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles. If the effects of such flares do parallel WP, then it's just as bad. If either is true, then Israel has forfeited the moral high ground they gained when Hizbullah threatened a de facto chemical weapons attack in bombing chemical plants in Haifa.

Meanwhile, Allison Kaplan Sommer is trying to get the straight of reports that Hizbullah may be preventing civilians from fleeing the bombardment areas. The United Nations is in the best position to confirm this, but I tentatively believe it, as I don't think the IDF would invoke the UN unless they were pretty sure of themselves. Of course, it could still be psy ops, as well. I don't think Hizbullah is above using human shields.

Meanwhile, Israel has also begun labelling financial institutions as Hizbullah targets.

UPDATE: Some commenters think I might be interpreting some of this material. Who was it that said, "All wars are crimes"?


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