THE MARKUP, VIDEOS
Engel: Where Were the Men? [Stephen Spruiell]
NBC's Richard Engel deserves credit for getting some answers to a question that most reporters covering the Qana tragedy have ignored: Where were the men?
ENGEL: According to U.S. intelligence, Israel is getting more effective in confronting these Hezbollah rocket launchers, the batteries of rockets. But to answer your question, are they able to do that with the kind of precision and accuracy and not kill civilians, that is the whole issue at hand right now — this tremendous loss of civilian life yesterday.
We were trying to figure out today where all the men were in this village. If you noticed, all the people in the basement of this three-story building that was hit yesterday by two Israeli airstrikes were women and children, a lot of them young boys. So we went house to house in trying to figure out where all the young men were.
It seems that some of them were fighters, some of them were Hezbollah members that were out — this according to Hezbollah people who didn't want to be interviewed but we convinced them to talk to us.
Others were in another house that was nearby. I'm not sure if that was the initial target, but there was a separate apartment where young men were living that was not hit yesterday.
That's some amazing reporting. Engel went house to house trying to get the answer to an essential question that a lot of his colleagues are not bothering to ask.
Meanwhile, blogging about Qana over at Soccer Dad, Dave Gerstman remembers a 1999 Washington Post editorial about air war accidents that reporters and commentators should re-read:
If the law isn't enough for you, I'd like to point you to a Washington Post editorial from April 1999 called Air War Accidents. Here's the synopsis
A STARK DIFFERENCE divides the atrocities deliberately committed, and still being committed, by the Serbs against the Kosovars from the accidents of NATO air power that have taken additional Kosovar lives. It is a difference of scale: the Serbs have taken thousands of lives and have either deported or uprooted and harassed more than a million Kosovars, practically all of them, while the NATO-inflicted toll is measured in the hundreds. It is also a moral difference: The Serb depredations are vile and unjustified, a violation of fundamental human rights, while NATO's airstrikes are necessary and justified to defend a people under continuing merciless attack. People who ignore these fundamental distinctions are lending themselves wittingly or not to Serbian propaganda and to a general moral obtuseness.
While the scope argument doesn't hold here, the moral one does. (Especially since Hezbollah sets up near civilian buildings, something that didn't apply in the NATO case.)
Words to keep in mind as we continue to learn more details about the Qana strike.
Video of Engel here.
07/31 05:33 PMShare