Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Geneva Conventions as Tactical Manual

Alan M. Dershowitz on hiding behind civilians:

By hiding behind their own civilians, the Islamic radicals issue a challenge to democracies: Either violate your own morality by coming after us and inevitably killing some innocent civilians, or maintain your morality and leave us with a free hand to target your innocent civilians. This challenge presents democracies such as Israel with a lose-lose option and terrorists with a win-win option.

There is one variable that could change this dynamic and present democracies with a viable option that could make terrorism less attractive as a tactic: The international community, the anti-Israel segment of the media, and human rights organizations should stop falling for this gambit and acknowledge that they are being used to promote the terrorist agenda. ... they play into the hands of the terrorists and cause more terrorism and more civilian casualties on both sides.

It should be obvious by now that Hezbollah and Hamas actually want the Israeli military to kill as many Lebanese and Palestinian civilians as possible. That is why they store their rockets underneath the beds of civilians. That is why they launch their missiles from crowded civilian neighborhoods and hide among civilians. ... They regard these human shields as ``Shahids," or martyrs, even if they did not volunteer for the lethal jobs. Under the law, criminals who use human shields are responsible for the deaths of their shields, even if the bullets that kill them come from policemen's guns.

The world must come to recognize the cynical way in which terrorists exploit civilian casualties. They launch antipersonnel rockets designed to maximize enemy civilian deaths, then they cry ``human rights" when their own civilians -- behind whom they are hiding -- are killed by the democracies while trying to prevent further terrorism. The idea that terrorists who use women and children as suicide bombers against other women and children shed crocodile tears over the deaths of civilians whom they deliberately put in harm's way gives new meaning to hypocrisy. We all know that hypocrisy is a terrorist tactic, but it is shocking that others fall for it and become complicit with the terrorists. Let the blame fall where it belongs: on the terrorists who seek to kill enemy civilians and give democratic enemies little choice but to kill some civilians behind whom the terrorists hide.

This exact situation plays out in Iraq, too, between terrorists and the Iraqi government. Organizations like IraqBodyCount.net are complicit in deliberately obscuring this.

HT: PJM

Update 7/26: Nick Anderson gives us the archetypical example. No mention of the terrorists' morality hiding behind civilians.


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