Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Biased, as usual

It is truly a pity that Amnesty Interantional and Human Rights Watch have come to represent the positions of the international far Left, often abandoning any objectivity and therefore significantly damaging their effectiveness (and usefulness).
According to the Financial Times:
Amnesty International says attacks on civilian targets by Israeli military forces during the recently ended fighting in Lebanon look like deliberate war crimes.
In a report released on Wednesday, the London-based human rights organisation argues that the destruction of Lebanese homes and basic infrastructure "was an integral part of the military strategy".
Noting violations by both sides, Amnesty says it has asked the United Nations to open a "comprehensive, independent and impartial inquiry" about the 34-day war between Israel and the Lebanese-based Hizbollah militia.
David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy (via Instapundit) illustrates the absurdities of the report and also of the positions of HRW’s director, Kenneth Roth:
The idea that a country at war can't attack the enemy's resupply routes (at least until it has direct evidence that there is a particular military shipment arriving) has nothing to do with human rights or war crimes, and a lot to do with a pacifist attitude that seeks to make war, regardless of the justification for it or the restraint in prosecuting it [at least if it's a Western country doing it], an international "crime."
I also have to question the "high number of civilian casualties" that Amnesty is reportedly relying on. Any innocent civilian death are tragic, but 1,000 or so (alleged, we don't really know) civilians in a month of urban warfare against an enemy that based itself in the middle of cities and villages hardly seems excessive by any objective standard. The idea that Israel deliberately targeted civilians should be self-refuting to anyone with common sense, given the low level of casualties relative to the destructive power of the Israeli air force.
According to Roth's logic, Israel can only retaliate if it's retaliation will cost no more civilian lives in Gaza or Lebanon than would be caused by the terrorists if Israel didn't try to stop them. This is a formula that would paralyze not only Israel, but the U.S., Russian, India, and any other country that feels the need to pursue a military response to terrorism. Surely, the Allied forces inadvertantly killed more Afghan civilians than the number of Westerners likely at immediate risk from Al Qaeda and the Taliban! The type of "international law" and "human rights" activism that Roth and co. represent is scrupulously amoral in failing to consider that the aggressor should be held responsible for the deaths on both sides, as you can't expect any nation to allow its civilians to be attacked and not retaliate militarily.
Do read the whole thing, which mentions some other interesting points. One of the commenters mentions a short article in Capitalism Magazine (whose brashness I often find deliciously refreshing), which puts things in a, er, slightly different perspective from AI and HRW:
The primary purpose and moral obligation of any legitimate government is to protect the lives and rights of its own citizens. Hezbollah, a military wing of the Islamic dictatorship of Iran, had been explicit in its desire to destroy Israel and had been preparing to do so for the last several years from inside Lebanon, but Israel’s government did virtually nothing to pre-empt the recent attack.
When Hezbollah attacked, Israel significantly dampened its response in order to minimize the killing of "Lebanese civilians," thereby allowing many Hezbollah terrorists to live and kill Israelis. It was immoral for Israel's government to sacrifice a single Israeli soldier or civilian to save the lives of those Lebanese civilians who chose to remain in a region occupied years earlier by a terrorist organization.
Also see here, where this subject is expanded on. I had to almost laugh out loud as I was contemplating what the general reaction would be if this were the kind of strong condemnation of the Israeli government Amnesty and HRW felt impelled to make...

Post Scriptum:
I see that Instapundit has linked to an excellent Steven Den Beste post from 2003 which takes a more in-depth look at the faults and biases of Amnesty International and HRW. Do read the whole thing.

Post Scriptum II:
And the hits keep on coming!

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