Overkill in Overtime

Wolcott links to this FT story on Israel’s last-minute bombing frenzy:

The United Nations on Wednesday described as ‘shocking and immoral’ the fact that Israel dropped well over 90 per cent of its cluster munitions in Lebanon during the last three days of the conflict – when it was already clear there would be a cessation of hostilities.


Israel intensified its military offensive in southern Lebanon in the 72 hours between Security Resolution 1701 being signed in New York and the ceasefire on August 14.

Cluster weapons contain dozens of small explosives which spread over a wide area and are either air-dropped or ground launched.

The UN said it had identified 359 cluster bomb-strike locations, and that 102,000 unexploded small bombs continued to maim and kill people every day.

‘Civilians will die disproportionately again, after the war,’ [Jan Egeland, UN humanitarian chief] said. ‘This should not have happened. It’s an outrage.’

Wolcott notes that it was done for spite. I agree, but also it was done just because they could do it; for the fun of it or for the hell of it. Little brother (Israel) was merely putting to practice the example it learned from big brother (America)… which reminds me of one particularly flagrant instance:

What interests me, very much, is the butcher’s bill presented to Iraq after its acceptance of UN Resolution 660 and its offer to withdrawl from Kuwait under international supervision. That offer was made through Soviet mediation on 21 February. On 26 February the following dispatch was filed from the deck of the USS Ranger, under the byline of Randall Richard of the Providence Journal:

Airstrikes against Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait were being launched so feverishly from the carrier today that pilots said they took whatever bombs happened to be closest to the flight deck.

…Describing the scene on the jammed roads out of Kuwait, pilot Brian Kasperhauser exulted: ‘This was the road to Daytona Beach at Spring Break; just bumper to bumper. Spring Break’s over.’ Others spoke of the massacre in a predetermined vernacular, calling it a ‘turkey shoot’ and referring to ‘fish in a barrel.’

-Christopher Hitchens, the Nation, March 1991

Hitchens refers to the “Highway of Death“, pictures of which can be seen here and, especially, here, if you can stomach looking at them — the images are straight out of Charles Johnson’s most gleeful, warporngasmic reveries.

But you know what’s really funny? Our war criminal government affects shock and disgust that Israel used American-made cluster bombs in having a little American-style fun, though to be fair, when we mass-murdered the Iraqis in Gulf War I in the most gruesome way, the targets were soldiers retreating under a white flag and accepted truce, where Israel decided to forego even that little bit of discrimination by pouring the fire directly on civies. Progress compared to Iraq I, if only evidence of parity to Iraq II. Just as we grow into a full-fledged geopolitical psychopath, so too does little bro; but both of us like to really get rowdy in those last few minutes of playtime after the parents have called us back indoors, to civilization. Kids these days.

[More on the Highway of Death here and here.]


Comments: 11


It’s what puts the ‘porn’ into war porn. The LGF crowd really does want nukes dropped on the Middle East (with some magic Left Behind shield around Israel, natch) and not getting them will give them a stonking case of blue-balls.

Israel is ‘little brother’, too: it’s an adolescent country that still has childish hissy-fits, aided by large amounts of US-made and US-paid munitions. Fratboy justice.



Israel good. Israel always good.Israel never bad.

You anti-semite!


War does not bring out the best in people, my friends. You hear about large horrors. Millions of small person-level horrors happen every day in war. Just keep the pictures in your mind – never buy the pretty stories.

Hiway of death. Know what that always reminds me of? In a kind of a soul-shivering mind-recoiling way, because to imagine what the horror of death visited upon you on an industrial scale and dying with the agony of helplesness. The smell of terror. And the sound of begging for another minute. That would be the story of LZ Albany. If you don’t know the story, look it up.

C’mon, you guys. War is never gonna get gentle or clean. Stand against war, and try to prevent your government from using it’s terrifying capability from starting more wars. I won’t say it’s the moral path, but I will ask how a thoughtful, moral person could be “Pro war”?



Jesus God, Mikey

I googled LZ Albany, about two hours ago. I’d heard of Ia Drang before, but only in the most general of terms. Right now I’m thinking that the lack of specifics was yet another example of how sheltered I’ve been.

I know I can be brave when I need to be (like, for someone else’s sake) but sitting here, just me and the computer, I’m not. I’m shaking; I’m crying a little.

I’m just going to go lie down now, and stare at the ceiling feeling inadequate.
Talk to ya tomorrow. Oh, and thank you.


“Israel is ‘little brother’, too: it’s an adolescent country that still has childish hissy-fits”

Hell, America always struck me as an ‘adolescent’ country. I used to think that if you upscaled the behaviour of a selfish sulky preteen that had yet to get used to sharing the world with other people to the size of half a continent, it would look like that. Israel is like a kid that suffered child abuse and grew up to become an abuser.

i’m British, but I don’t have an appropriate analogy for my country, because I’m not so hot on my own politics. Maybe a dead horse?


Whenever I read Johnson and his ilk defending Israeli military policy to the hilt, I always like to shower off by having a read through the Ha’aretz. It’s amazing how seldom the opinions of western far-right bloggers and actual Israelis match.


And let’s not forget the thousands of Iraqi troops buied in their trenches, many of whom were waving flags of surrender, at the end of the First Gulf War. Colin Powell, the war criminal responsible, was never called to account for this, but instead became a national hero and eventual Secretary of State.

And some people wonder why I’m an anarchist….


Sigh… Where’s tebbitt when you need him? Gary? Gary, you out there?


when we mass-murdered the Iraqis in Gulf War I in the most gruesome way, the targets were soldiers retreating under a white flag and accepted truce,

Sadly, No!

According to the BBC –
Iraqi army starts retreat from Kuwait – February 26, 1991.
Air attacks on the Basra Road – night of February 26/7, 1991.
Unilateral ceasefire declared by coalition – February 27, 1991.
Coalition ceasefire comes into effect – 0400 GMT, February 28, 1991.
Final ceasefire agreement signed – April 6, 1991.


Hal confirms what Ratardo wrote. When the withdrawal was “informally” agreed upon, “coalition” (that is, USA) enjoyed two days of pointless slaughter before it stopped the attack, killing tens of thousands of unresisting soldiers, many of them using illegal incineration weapons. Whether incineration weapons are illegal or not (it seems that they are), burning people alive is kind of mediaeval.

It is a bit academic to discuss if it was criminal. Nobody will make a trial of Colin Powell or either of the Bushes. But somehow people in Iraq are in vehement disagreement whether to hate us or to detest us. A few professed no hard feeling and tried to con us (like Chalabi). Nobody likes us. Who knows, perhaps an honorable conduct during wars could help…

A revolutionary idea: conquer moral high ground by moral conduct — astonished adversaries would be stunned.


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