"How to Screw Up A War Story: The New York Times At Work"

LobsterMobster wrote:

If I knew tanks were going to roll through my neighborhood and airstrikes were going to flatten my home, and I lacked a car or other passage, I'd start walking.

Where to?

I'd like to see your sources for these claims, sihonage. I suspect they're probably Israel.
Israel is about as truthworthy as the Bush Administration; they lie even when they don't have to.

I'd like to see your sources for these claims, malor. I suspect they are probably Hamas.

Funkenpants wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

If I knew tanks were going to roll through my neighborhood and airstrikes were going to flatten my home, and I lacked a car or other passage, I'd start walking.

Where to?

Dude, if the alternative is getting beaned by a bomb, I'll walk whichever direction works. If it stops working, I'll swim. It beats getting blown to little pieces.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

If I knew tanks were going to roll through my neighborhood and airstrikes were going to flatten my home, and I lacked a car or other passage, I'd start walking.

Where to?

Dude, if the alternative is getting beaned by a bomb, I'll walk whichever direction works. If it stops working, I'll swim. It beats getting blown to little pieces.

I like the cut of your jib, sir. On behalf of certain individuals I represent, I would like to offer you an exciting management position... in Jihad.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Dude, if the alternative is getting beaned by a bomb, I'll walk whichever direction works. If it stops working, I'll swim. It beats getting blown to little pieces.

Drowning beats getting blown to little pieces? I think I'd prefer exploding.

Funkenpants wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Dude, if the alternative is getting beaned by a bomb, I'll walk whichever direction works. If it stops working, I'll swim. It beats getting blown to little pieces.

Drowning beats getting blown to little pieces? I think I'd prefer exploding.

Well I wouldn't.

The areas surgically targeted get warnings to evacuate to nearby areas.

Israeli mobile artillery is surgically pwning targets in Gaza, eh:

IMAGE(http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/6462/mobartbq0.jpg)

Whatever they tried to do before to mitigate the collateral damage (or claimed to be trying), the gloves are completely off this time. There are howitzers and heavy mortars, as well as massive air strikes -- in first day, 64 F-16s made 2 sorties.

Gorilla, to be totally fair (I'm doing a lot of that today), that could be a very precision weapon. Could be.

There's an artillery round called the BONUS. Looks about the same shape as a normal artillery shell. In mid-air it flings out these little tuna cans with wings. They spin around and scan the ground looking for heat sources. If they find one hot enough (like a tank engine), they tilt toward that target and explode, mid-air. The bottom of the can is forged into an armor piercing projectile that penetrates the top-side armor and takes out the target. Normal looking artillery shell, looks much like the picture above when you shoot it, but no massive leveling of buildings. Don't assume that big muzzle flare always means a big explosion on the other end of the arc.

Lobby, I just don't think that they're using the munitions you're describing to take out the typical "terrorist" targets -- mortar squads on rickety pickup.

On the other hand, they might.

Or, for all it could be, they entirely might be firing blanks, or lobbing dumb shells into the sea, and the whole activity is a shock-n-awe demonstration of their mighty resolve to use "any means necessary". And the scores of civilian casualties are being caused by far means less spectacular.

shihonage wrote:
The Israeli army said its soldiers came under fire from militants hiding in the school and responded. It accused Gaza's Hamas rulers of "cynically" using civilians as human shields.

The question is whether you believe them. I do, because there are records of Hamas pushing this approach. It gives Israel bad PR, and the public eats it up.

So I'm guessing you also believe that every Iraqi we killed was really one of them thar 'terrists'? After all, we also claimed that we only killed insurgents, terrorists, or militants, never civilians.

LobsterMobster wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

I could make the same argument that Israel doesn't care about the sanctity of life for non-Jews since they are killing Palestinians at the rate of 60:1, most of which have been civilians.

It's a war. If you're a pacifist that's totally fine but the fact is that they are fighting and people die in wars. People who win wars don't slow or stop killing just the situation seems unfair.

Technically, only Hamas has declared war. Israel has not. Under those terms Hamas is perfectly OK in lobbing missiles at Israel since just about all of their population is an either an active or reserve component of the Israeli military.

I'm not a pacifist, but I also don't believe in anything short of total war. If you feel strong enough about whatever issue that you think you have to resort to arms, don't pull any punches. Be that crazy bitch from Pulp Fiction and let your enemy know that you're going to execute every last one of them. Given the extreme nature of total war, you should rarely, if ever, go there.

Short burning Gaza to the ground and driving the Palestinians into the sea, the Israeli military is never going to 'solve' the conflict. All they are doing is providing the justification for the next cycle of retaliation (which they'll turn around and cite as the reason for more bombings and missile strikes).

So that leaves two options: Israel can come up with their 'final solution' for the Palestinians or they solve this conflict politically. Since they either lack the balls or don't want to lose their international victim status, they won't do option one. They can't do option two because their government is held hostage by religious wing nuts who refuse to compromise.

That leaves us with the current tit-for-tat which basically boils down to people dieing for nothing.

OG_slinger wrote:

So I'm guessing you also believe that every Iraqi we killed was really one of them thar 'terrists'? After all, we also claimed that we only killed insurgents, terrorists, or militants, never civilians.

I don't know, I've not researched this. However the use of human shields to maximize casualties is admitted to be a Hamas tactic on numerous occasions.

By their own operatives and sympathizers.

"We call upon all the fighters to reject evacuating their houses and we urge our people to rush into the threatened houses and make human shields," said a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, quoted by Reuters.

It's also called asymmetrical warfare. When the other side has GPS bombs and night vision, you have to do things a bit differently. Kinda like when the Continental Army didn't dress in bright colors and line up in neat rows to be shot by the British.

OG_slinger wrote:

It's also called asymmetrical warfare. When the other side has GPS bombs and night vision, you have to do things a bit differently. Kinda like when the Continental Army didn't dress in bright colors and line up in neat rows to be shot by the British.

I understand your feelings but don't defend Hamas. They were wrong as much as the IRA were wrong. That doesn't change the fact that I have an equally low opinion of the IDF or the Stormont Goverment and its paramilitary lackeys but you have to stand for something.

By all means denouce the IDF for its actions. Just be sure to denounce Hamas as well. Just like the IRA, they know full well what they are doing.

shihonage wrote:

I don't know, I've not researched this. However the use of human shields to maximize casualties is admitted to be a Hamas tactic on numerous occasions.

By their own operatives and sympathizers.

You know, the IDF do the same thing and by all accounts pretty liberally.

As for the UN school and the Isreali excuse, lets examine the IDF's form here. Qana 1996, while high profile, is not the only one by a long shot and useful is examining that form. They claimed it was an accident. However as this BBC article points out

BBC wrote:

The UN report, by Maj-Gen Franklin van Kappen of the Netherlands, cited a shift in the fire patterns and the repeated use of shells with so-called proximity fuses over the small UN compound as evidence of an intent to kill people there.

The report also noted the presence of two Israeli helicopters and a drone in the skies over Qana, "contrary to repeated [Israeli] denials", which must have witnessed the bloodbath.

Just to make that clear. They had three air units in the which could see the site and the artillery, using anti-proximity air burst shells, shifted fire to hit the compound repeatedly. I'll think I'll wait for the official line and after tonight's Newsnight its not looking good. Again.

I have met several people who have served for UNIFIL and their opinion of the IDF is similar to that of the African Armies they have come across in other tours on that continent. That doesn't mean they or I have any love for Hezbollah, Hamas, the PLO or Fatah. They are guilty of their crimes. However that does not automatically forgive the IDF of its crimes and elevate their status to that of angels.

Your logic is basically that the Black and Tans (British Army in Ireland circa 1920) were the good guys and the IRA were the evil ones or vice versa. History has taught us its just not that convenient. I appreciate you have your sympathies and I nothing I can say will change that but you cannot claim one side has the moral high ground. That is long gone in this conflict.

Oh and Lobster, Gaza access to the sea is restricted. Even if they wanted to swim for it they would be risking their lives that way as well.

Hamas covers their targets with bodies, sentencing their own civilians to certain death.

Israel soldiers use potentially hostile population to open doors for them and help them avoid traps. And, in that Jeep video, they allegedly use Palestinian kids to ensure temporary safety. They don't tie them to the hood and drive them into heavy fire.

If those two cases are morally equal then I am Patrick Stewart.

One simple truth remains - if Palestinians stop fighting, there will be no war. If Israel stops fighting, there will be no Israel.

shihonage wrote:

Hamas covers their targets with bodies, sentencing their own civilians to certain death.

Israel soldiers use potentially hostile population to open doors for them and help them avoid traps. And, in that Jeep video, they allegedly use Palestinian kids to ensure temporary safety. They don't tie them to the hood and drive them into heavy fire.

If those two cases are morally equal then I am Patrick Stewart.

Ah I see. One sides uses human shields and they are evil. The other side does but they do it in a good way and really don't mean to hurt anybody because we all know the world works exactly like that.

shihonage wrote:

One simple truth remains - if Palestinians stop fighting, there will be no war. If Israel stops fighting, there will be no Israel.

Ah yes, the famous Loyalists in Northern Ireland defence. That got proven to be bull as well. Their state, Northern Ireland that is, still exists today and its not thanks to increased military or paramilitary use. They had to compromise but the IRA suddenly seemed very flexible on their united Ireland stance once they did. I suspect the same in Israel-Palestine.

Its also impossible to suggest Hamas could destroy Israel just as impossible for the IRA to topple the British in Northern Ireland so defence of actions for an imaginary scenario is no defence at all.

Axon wrote:

Ah I see. One sides uses human shields and they are evil. The other side does but they do it in a good way and really don't mean to hurt anybody because we all know the world works exactly like that.

World War II had a clear good and a clear evil. So yes, among other possibilities, the world does work like that. It is always common for contemporaries to cynically assume gray viewpoints and reject reality as it presents itself. Many were in denial back then, too, despite events unfolding in front of their eyes.

Ah yes, the famous Loyalists in Northern Ireland defence. That got proven to be bull as well.

Your drawing parallels to Black and Tans is evidence of your perspective on the conflict in the Middle East. I, on the other hand, have trouble seeing the same parallel.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

Lobby, I just don't think that they're using the munitions you're describing to take out the typical "terrorist" targets -- mortar squads on rickety pickup.

On the other hand, they might.

Or, for all it could be, they entirely might be firing blanks, or lobbing dumb shells into the sea, and the whole activity is a shock-n-awe demonstration of their mighty resolve to use "any means necessary". And the scores of civilian casualties are being caused by far means less spectacular.

My point is that artillery is far more advanced than people give it credit for. Basically anything they can do with a guided bomb, they can do with an artillery round. A picture of a howitzer going off is very impressive but otherwise as significant as footage of jets taking off. That is to say, not.

Axon wrote:

World War II had a clear good and a clear evil.

Did it? Were you alive at the time? If Hitler had won, people today would agree with you, there was a clear good and a clear evil: Hitler was trying to purify and strengthen the master race, and the evil lesser races were trying to corrupt it. It's easy to recognize the horrors of that war in retrospect but in the 30s and 40s, there were American politicians who agreed with Hitler, openly.

LobsterMobster wrote:
shihonage wrote:

World War II had a clear good and a clear evil.

Did it? Were you alive at the time? If Hitler had won, people today would agree with you, there was a clear good and a clear evil: Hitler was trying to purify and strengthen the master race, and the evil lesser races were trying to corrupt it.

I'm not sure what your point is. Did we shift into moral relativism just now ? Let's fastforward to the conclusion, then. Nothing is good or bad, everything is finite, nothing really matters, all conversations are pointless, let's all go kill ourselves and then drink beer.

shihonage wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
shihonage wrote:

World War II had a clear good and a clear evil.

Did it? Were you alive at the time? If Hitler had won, people today would agree with you, there was a clear good and a clear evil: Hitler was trying to purify and strengthen the master race, and the evil lesser races were trying to corrupt it.

I'm not sure what your point is. Did we shift into moral relativism just now ? Here's the final line then. Nothing matters, nothing is good or bad, all conversations are pointless, let's all go kill ourselves and then drink beer.

You wanted to Godwin the argument. Don't get pissed when I don't buy it. If you're suddenly so morally subjective, why don't you go over there, pick up an UZI and join in the good fight? Otherwise, yeah, moral relativism for the win because all we can do is talk about it and I happen to think that morality is relative. If you're going to sarcastically reduce that to self-destructive nihilism then that's fine by me, but I happen to believe that there's more to life than knowing with absolute certainly what's pure good and trying to be that.

If you're going to act in such a manner, we have nothing to discuss.

You're attributing to me both false attitude and false intent. I'm excited to see what else you'll accuse me of now. (rubs hands together)

EDIT: As long as we're in editing mood, I see you started off with the staple moral relativism, to run the exchange into the wall, and then continue with the staple "if you care so much why don't you go and do it", to run it through some length inside the wall.

While I do not go out and fight, I do participate in pro-Israel protests and donate money to equip Israeli soldiers. Think of it as providing support - both material and moral. Much like America sent aid to Russia in World War II.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Y'know, I don't really know what the hell I'm saying. Only that this is more complicated than the good, the bad, and the innocent.

I think I've failed to make my point in this thread, but Lobster nailed it for me. I'm not saying Israel is evil and Palestine is innocent. I AM saying that both sides have made use of terrorism in their war campaigns against the other.

shihonage wrote:

World War II had a clear good and a clear evil.

Woot for Godwin!

In retrospect, we didn't go to war with Germany to save the Jews. But we DID use the Hamas tactic of using (often unwitting) civilians as body shields. Or have you already forgotten the Lusitania?

I do have a bad habit of hitting the edit button and it's something I'm working on. I still see no reason to discuss this with you further, if all you are going to do is sarcastically invalidate my point of view.

Lobster, just to point out I didn't bring up WWII. You have me quoting it up there.

Shiho, the Allies were happy to use Stalin to defeat Hitler. A man far worse than Hitler by any scale. The Allies even covered up his slaughter of the Polish Officer core in the forest of Katyn. In the end the Allies were happy to leave vast swathes of Europe under Stalins control even after they fought for their freedom. The best squadron during the Battle of Britain was a Polish one with the greatest pilot going to a Czech.

The post-war hand wringing from the colonial powers was frankly quite hallow to many, not least us here in Ireland after centuries of abuse which included concentration camps and forced migration among others. Churchill himself viewed Irish independence as a little quaint and threatened to invade if we didn't join the war. Pearl Harbour saved us that fate. And lets not forget the French happily tortured swaths of people in Algeria and Indochina only a few years later.

In the end, WWII was only ever about survival and the rhetoric of fighting fascism was tacked on after the fact. The Allies even knew of the death camps by 1942. A Polish solicitor killed himself in front of 10 Downing Street due to the Allies inaction on that issue. All along the Allies were happy to bomb the crap out of Germany cities with little or no effect on the war machine. This of course doesn't cover the pretty lousy record the major powers had at helping Jews to migrate from Germany in the run up to the war.

Good and evil is easy if you choose the narrowest viewpoint but, like I said, the world ain't that simple.

Edit: Bugger. I see the conversation has moved on.

Every issue has an infinite amount of detail you can "zoom" into. While it shows your impressive knowledge, it doesn't change the bottom line. Germany was the aggressor. They were doing, by far, the largest wrong in that war.

There's a difference between seeing things in binary, and summarizing the global picture. You could say "Israel is 0.75 right, and Hamas is 0.25 right, it's not a 1 and 0", and it may be very well true. But that's not how humans talk. That's not how humans live. I don't go to a pro-Israel protest for 75 minutes and pro-Palestine protest for 25 minutes.

If Germany had 0.5% of a valid argument in WWII I wouldn't go to a Nazi support demonstration for 30 seconds, should it exist, and then support Allies for 99.5 minutes.

I choose the side which I perceive to be overwhelmingly RIGHT. That is what dictates real-life choices. Always.

Don't mistake it for oversimplification.

shihonage wrote:

One simple truth remains - if Palestinians stop fighting, there will be no war. If Israel stops fighting, there will be no Israel.

Palestine couldn't possibly destroy Israel. What are they gonna do, beat them to death with sticks?

Oh, and if folks hadn't figured it out, fleeing is not an option. Gaza is the largest prison camp in the world. The Palestinians can't leave, even if they want to.

The place bears an uncanny resemblance to the Warsaw Ghetto.

Your assuming that it has to be binary. You don't have to choose a side. Just because I don't support the IRA doesn't mean I supported the British in Northern Ireland. Just because I have a low opinion of Churchill doesn't mean I sided with Hitler. Same for this latest conflict, I back neither side. The common line running through all this for me is I just was too see a lack of bloodshed. The only people I support are the innocents caught in the middle both, Israeli and Palestinian.

Look at Northern Ireland. Who was right and who was wrong? Who cares, its over. Sure they are generations away from normalcy but the situation is far better. In fact, some people in Ireland will tell you that being right is the worst thing in the world.

To put it more simply, what if the entire world agreed with you that the IDF (I don't like saying Israel no more than equating Hamas with the Palestinians) are in the right. Then what? What does it achieve? You are still left with Palestinians very upset at continued blockade of their land and Israeli settlements still being built on their territory.

Side note: Just noticed the UN Director of Operations in Gaza is an Irishman, John Ging. Never heard of him which makes me think he is a former Irish Officer. I wonder if he served in UNIFIL during the 80's. Time for some google-fu.

Edit: Indeed he did among many other stuff.

Settle down, fellas. This isn't a discussion about who is being the bigger jerk. Stick to the topic or bow out, save the indignation and finger pointing for the playground.