Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dan Gordon: 'How does it feel to know you're killing innocent women and children?'

by Dan Gordon

That was the question that the major network correspondent of a major network morning show popped as her first query out of the box, to a soldier in a 155 MM howitzer artillery battery, during the opening days of the Second Lebanon War, against Hezb’allah terrorists in 2006.

I was the reporter in question’s military escort officer. It was her first day in the war zone, in the first days of the war. Mind you there would indeed be incidents, later in the war, of inadvertent deaths of innocent civilians by Israeli artillery fire. Collateral damage, a euphemism for deaths of innocents, is a tragic part of every war that has ever, or will ever be fought. Anyone who tells you any different has never fought in a war. Indeed, friendly fire incidents, or the deaths of one’s own troops at the hands of one’s own artillery or aerial bombardment, occurs not only in actual war, but in training exercises as well.

As a young reservist, in an armored infantry unit my company came under fire from our own artillery during a live fire exercise, even though we had “rehearsed” the attack in non-live fire form twice before the incident occurred, and even though our artillery, supposedly, knew our exact position at all times. Thankfully we quickly radioed in a ceasefire order and casualties were avoided. But I can tell you it was a terrifying experience to know that your own guys were shooting at you.

Once during a live fire exercise, as a young squad leader, I had a soldier under my command, experience a malfunction with a 30 caliber Mag machine gun. He pulled the trigger and the weapon wouldn’t stop shooting.

He panicked and started spraying bullets everywhere.

I pointed my weapon at him and threatened to kill him if he did not put his weapon down, facing away from me and my fellow soldiers.

Had he not done so, I would, tragically, have made good on my threat and shot to kill him, in order to save myself and the soldiers under my command.

There’s a reason they say war is hell.

It is chaos with deadly weapons.

And yet in this particular instance, when the reporter asked how it felt to know one was killing innocent women and children, there had been no claim of any such incident.

The soldier was understandably shocked by her question. His country was under attack. The war had been started by Hezb’allah, when they ambushed an Israeli patrol, killed eight soldiers without provocation, and kidnapped the bodies of two of the soldiers who were either already dead or died in their custody. That had been followed up by a massive barrage of Katyusha rockets fired at Israel by Hezb’allah and an attack on a civilian community by Hezb’allah terrorists in which they attempted to kidnap and take hostage, innocent Israeli civilians, in an act that foreshadowed what Hamas attempted to pull off on a much wider scale during this last war.

The soldier in the artillery unit, whom she had basically accused of murder, was in shock. He was defending his country from what was clearly an unprovoked attack by a known terrorist organization, and here was a reporter for a major American television network, branding him as a war criminal.

In Hebrew he asked me, “Is she crazy, or does she just hate Jews?”

“I have no idea,” I said.

I turned to the reporter who shall remain nameless (She has since been fired by that same network) and asked if she had heard any report, had any evidence whatsoever that any Israeli artillery unit had caused the deaths of any innocent people at this early stage of the war.

“Well, no” she said,” but that’s what always happens , isn’t it?”

“But to my knowledge it HASN'T happened.” I said. “ Do you know of anything to indicate that it has?”

“No…but …I mean…well… it probably will.” her voice trailed off.

“I think you owe this soldier an apology. And I expect you not to air that question, until, and unless you have some reliable report that some such incident has, in fact, happened.”

“Yeah, “ she said, good naturally,” You’re right. Hey. I was out of line and I’m sorry,” she said.  “Look, “ she said, by way of explanation, “ I’m just the hair spray talent…"

Now let me just note, for the record, that she was a perfectly nice woman, honestly likable.

She was just stupid. Perhaps that’s too harsh. Perhaps she was just painfully uninformed.

The point was, however, that she already had her narrative before she even got to Israel; “Israelis shoot big guns, and innocent Palestinian babies are killed.”

When I pointed out that the people north of the Lebanese border were Lebanese, and not Palestinian, she looked at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. It was as if any person Israelis shoot at, are, by definition, both Palestinian and dead.

“Right,” she said” Lebanese Palestinians.”

That’s a quote.

Like I say, she is no longer with that network. But the narrative is still there, strong as ever, as witnessed by the fetish-like coverage of dead babies by many of the major news outlets, including the one that fired her. As if that were the only story. No context, no reason for the war, no examination of who started it (Hamas), who perpetuated it by turning down or violating eleven cease fires, all of which were presented by a Moslem Arab State and endorsed by the Arab league (Hamas), and who deliberately fired from dense civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, mosques and UN buildings, thereby turning their own civilians into unwilling human shields (Hamas).

Nope none of that mattered to the narrative; Israelis shoot big guns and innocent Palestinian babies are killed.

That’s pretty much all you need to know.

Except for one thing.

Ask yourself this question, and since it’s just the two of us, and no one is listening, be intellectually honest with yourself when you answer.

Don’t say, yeah, but. Don’t try to mitigate or apologize or explain away anyone’s actions, especially not your own.

Just read the question and give an honest answer, if only to yourself.

We know, beyond any doubt, that Hamas fired their rockets from dense civilian population centers, next to homes, hotels, schools, sometimes from within school yards, mosques and hospitals and UN buildings where refugees had taken shelter. We know this not because any Israeli said so, but because the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission said so. He called Hamas’s actions, in fact, war crimes.

We also have testimony from multiple reporters, who, once they were out of Gaza, and free of Hamas intimidation, verified that Hamas fired  rockets in effect, behind Palestinian human shields.

We have footage of same, both Israeli footage and footage of independent journalists.  

So there’s no question about that.

We even have a captured Hamas manual instructing their troops to do just that.

The question, then is, “Why does Hamas fire its weapons from school yards and densely populated civilian neighborhoods, from hospitals and mosques and UN buildings ?”

Let me put a finer point on that question. “Why does Hamas consciously endanger their own civilians, by turning them into unwitting human shields, guaranteeing their injury or deaths, should Israel return fire to the source of fire?”

One answer might be, because they believe that Israel will not return fire, if fired upon from civilian areas.

But that answer is almost by definition false.

We know that Israel has publicly stated that it will not endanger its own civilians lives by not returning fire to its source, even if that might endanger Palestinian civilians.

Israel has made it clear that it takes every possible precaution before firing on areas in which civilians are found.
It drops leaflets.

It calls people’s cell phones, sends SMS messages and even does what is called “knocking” which is dropping a nonlethal charge on the roof of a building it intends to take out, to give a final warning to people to evacuate before dropping lethal ordinance five minutes later.

But Israel makes no bones, nor offers any apologies for the fact that it will protect its own civilians by returning fire to the source of fire.

If a rocket is launched or about to be launched against our people, and we can take that rocket launcher out, we will do it.

Indeed it would be a violation of any army’s first responsibility, to deliberately endanger its own civilians by not returning fire to the source of fire.

What’s the answer then?

Does Hamas not know it is placing its rocket launchers next to its own civilians?
That is absurd on the face of it.

Of course it knows where it is placing its rocket launchers.

Why then does it endanger its own people and insure their injury, or death by firing in close proximity to them?

Is it because they hate their own people and wish them harm?

Well, in at least a hundred and fifty cases, we know they simply marched their own people out into public squares and gunned them down, blew their brains out, for supposedly violating curfew (120 Palestinians) or supposed collaboration with Israel( 30 Palestinians).

But that only counts for 150 dead Palestinians, and we know there were at least a thousand more dead Palestinian civilians.

So why do they knowingly consign their own people to certain injury or death?

Remember, we’re being intellectually honest here.

No cheating.

Come on, you know why they do it.

They do it because they know that the networks will do just what they, in fact, did, focus on dead Palestinians, on corpses of dead children, to the exclusion of all else.

They do it because they know that naive people, just like the hair spray talent, will automatically buy the narrative; Israelis shoot big guns and innocent Palestinian babies are killed.

They do it because they know gullible, well-intentioned people will see those pictures and blame Israel as a war criminal.

They do it because their doctrine says that even if they start a war, and then lose it militarily, that if there are enough pictures of dead babies, Israel will automatically be delegitimized and branded as an international pariah.

They do it because then, they can commit acts of absolute terrorism, like building terrorist attack tunnels that come up in Israeli dining halls and kindergartens, and an unquestioning public will still say that they are the victims of Israeli war crimes, and not the genocidal, theocratic, imperialistic, fascist , terrorists they, in fact , are.

They do it because they know that blind condemnation of Israel will hand them the PR victory they couldn’t win on the battlefield.

They do it because they know that all they have to do is cause the deaths of more of their own people, and the world will pour billions into their coffers to “rebuild” Gaza, and they’ll just use that money to build more terrorist attack tunnels, and buy more rocket launchers, for the next war.

They do it because every dead baby for them is a victory.

They do it because they know they can play you, and you’ll fall for it every time.

And thus they will consign ever more of their own people to certain death.

They do it because it works.

So my final question is, how does it feel to know you’re helping to cause the deaths of innocent women and children?

And when will you stop?

Dan Gordon


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No comments:

Post a Comment