Friday, February 01, 2008


The Winograd Commission has released its findings into Israel's conduct of the Second Lebanon War and appears to have caught some commentators in the media by surprise given the confusion of some like Melbourne Age reporter Ed O'Loughlin in his efforts over the past two days at explaining what the inquiry was all about - Israel report finds Lebanon war a 'serious failure', Lebanon report steps up tension (31/1) and Israeli army blamed for Lebanon war failure (1/2)*.

That's quite a barrage of misinformation and confusion on the subject but standard fare so far as this correspondent is concerned. Robin Shepherd of the Times explains why such commentaries are so far off the mark - A barrage against Israel.

But beyond his confusion, O'Loughlin does inadvertently raise a point -

"The commission did not examine accusations by international rights groups that Israeli forces committed war crimes by indiscriminately attacking Lebanese civilians, around 1000 of whom were killed by Israeli air strikes and bombardments.

"We did not find it appropriate to deal with issues that are part of a political and propaganda war against the state," the report said.

Such a pity too because here was a perfect opportunity to expose the political and propaganda war fought at the time and since by the likes of O'Loughlin himself against the Jewish State. It's a propaganda war fought by way of spreading misinformation like the statistics of the casualties. In an asymmetric war fought by civilian armies like Hizbullah and Hamas whose members operate from positions embedded inside populated areas how is it possible to discern whether the casualties are combatants or not? Yet O'Loughlin consistently painted these figures with the added words "mostly civilians" without having any regard to this fact.

O'Loughlin is thoroughly confused even about the statistics. In the first article of 31 January he tells us that during the was the Israelis killed "1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians ..." but in the second published the same day, the numbers have changed drastically - "Israel's own bombardment of Lebanon killed around 1000 civilians, while between 250 and 500 Hezbollah members died in the fighting ..."

How many?

And from where has he suddenly plucked out the number of up to 500 "Hezbollah members" who died in the fighting? O'Loughlin who was conveniently moved directly into Lebanon at the start of the war never reported this information at the time (others say the number could be significantly higher). Perhaps this inconsistency is understandable given the nature of his sources?

But what O'Loughlin really missed was the substance of the report which ruled that Israel generally complied with war directives laws, which are part of international law, both with regard to the justification for initiating the war and with regard to combat operations themselves. That and the fact that such an inquiry was carried out in the first place because there's nothing of similar ilk on the other side.

Actually, there is no reporting from O'Loughlin of the failures, the crimes and the misdemeanours of the other side at all. Last week, when Hizbullah leader Nasrallah went into a barbaric foam at the mouth rant about holding the body parts of missing Israeli soldiers, the journalist went completely schtumm. And that's the other role that the media propagandists play against the Jewish State - they conveniently omit to tell their readers many of the important facts, thereby painting a totally distorted picture of the events.

It's a pity that Winograd saw fit not to expose this facet of the Second Lebanon War. It was such a missed opportunity!

* As an aside I must say I'm confused as to why the Age saw fit to accompany this article on the Winograd Commission with a photograph of a hook nosed Orthodox Jew with tooth missing throwing snow in the Old City of Jerusalem that resembles the typical racist caricatures of the first half of the last century. It had no connection with the story whatsoever. Perhaps, O'Loughlin's stories are now syndicated in Der Sturmer.

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