The Prime Minister of Lebanon has announced that over 900 Lebanese civilians have been killed by Israel's invasion of that poor country. Yesterday, Juan Cole reported a number closer to 500. Whatever the actual number, it is far too many, and an utterly inexcusable response to the killing of 8 soldiers and the kidnapping of two.
The right has done its utmost to muddle the facts on this issue, using strategies that could have been lifted directly from the play book of those who deny the Holocaust. It is as if Hutton Gibson, Dad of Mel and Holocaust denier, was issuing marching orders to Michelle Malkin, Allan Dershowitz, et al.
One of the best ways to sow confusion is to sew doubt. You start by making up facts. Lies. Sites like Little Green Footballs pointed out that in most Islamic terror attacks "the death toll increase[s] over several days" and asks why in Lebanon, "the trend is exactly the opposite." Although stated as if it were fact, it is not. For example, initial reports of 9/11 spoke of deaths in the tens of thousands. The number that actually died in that attack was thankfully much lower than initially expected. First estimates are always wrong, that's one reason that they are called estimates. But, like holocaust-deniers, those who want to trivialize death in Lebanon must create confusion about the number of dead.
Elaborate, 'conspiracy' type theories are essential in rewriting history. Michelle Malkin and Jonah Goldberg are great at implying events in Qana were "staged." Goldberg quotes unamed, unsourced reports that "refrigerated trucks were reportedly
brought in before the media could visit the site, perhaps delivering
corpses." As if Israel would not know if refrigerated trucks were on the road to Qana. Free and Justice made use of the time honored deceipt: "Reports that Hizbullah staged it [Qana] could not be confirmed nor denied." Of course, as of this writing, reports that Michelle Malkin has been arrested on numerous occassions on charges of spousal abuse, could not be confirmed nor denied either. Wing Nuts like the Confederate Yankee are so obsessed by the supposed time lapse between the bomb hitting the house in Qana and the collapse of the building, that one wonders what they made of the shorter, but actual, time between the plane hitting the WTC and its collapse.
It is true that the reported number of civilians killed in Qana has been lowered to 28 dead and 13 missing. When gatewaypundit reports this he justifies the deaths by writing that "Leaflets were dropped on the town weeks before the attacks warning people of the likelihood of violence." This is of a piece with Alan Dershowitz's despicable argument that some cvilians are more like civilians than others.
I mean if Israel tells you to leave your home, failure to comply with their instructions justifies your death. But as that radical Voice of America reported long before the Qana attacks," People who want to leave are also having trouble finding fuel for the journey." Israel had blown up the gas stations. They also blew up bridges and roads. As the BBC wrote on the 22 of July
"Israel has ordered the civilians of southern Lebanon to leave their homes and thousands of families are heeding that advice - at least they are trying to.
But the Israeli military onslaught around the southern city of Tyre is so fierce, the trip is too daunting for many inhabitants.
Even if it were physically easy to leave, it is not easy for a farmer to lose his livestock, and probably his harvest. The Lebanese also fear that Israel will decide to occupy the lannex their land as a part of Israel (as it has done in Jerusalem), give their homes and farms to Israeli citizens (as in the West Bank), and because they fled during an uprising, deny them the right of return to their homes and villages (as you can see in Palestine refugee camps). And of course Israel has "accidentally" bombed a convoy of civilian cars leaving the south.
Despite all of this, we all saw that: All over the ruined streets of southern Lebanon, families from border villages that have been cut off by 20 days of Israeli bombardment are desperately trying to flee, using the respite offered by a 48-hour halt to most air strikes.
Strapping white sheets to their cars in an attempt to stave off Israeli strikes, tens of thousands of Lebanese have fled the south, taking side roads to avoid ruined bridges, driving around bomb craters and leaving many villages deserted.
This attempt to distort the reality of the deaths of innocents in Lebanon is morally unconscionable. Blaming the victim also serves to dehumanize the victim, a trick of which the actual perpetrators of the holocaust were also fond.
Please know that I consider myself a friend of Israel, and I know that the situation today in Lebanon is nothing like the Holocaust. But I also know that when any actions of Israel are defended using the same kinds of twisted tricks that were used to both justify and deny the holocaust, the country has completely lost its way.