For our papers of record, many lessons learned, though none that save lives

Posted on January 8, 2009


Our paper’s of record both have analysis this week  running down the many lessons Israel learned (or should have learned) from their horrifying invasion of Lebanon in 2006. None, however, include saving of human life. The Washington Post’s “In Gaza, Israel tries to excise Lebanon” , notes that Israel now relies less heavily on air power, since that quickly eliminates useful targets. Israel now has limited and unambiguous objectives, like stopping rocket fire.  Soldiers have better training. And of course, no cell phones or media access. That was a big mistake the Times noted as well, in its “For Israel, 2006 Lessons but Old Pitfalls”–Israel failed to “control the message”. Thankfully, the media now receive briefings, more like “talking points”.  And those pesky cell phones have been done away with. Raw conscripts now take to the field; also an improvement according to the Post.

One improvement not mentioned, of course, limiting loss of life and injury. Israel killed over a thousand Lebanese during one month in 2006, and rained millions of unexploded ordinance from cluster-bombings that continued till the last moment before the ceasefire. Israel is set to break its record having slaughtered nearly seven hundred in just one week. Neither article mentions the staggering loss of life. The Times mentions the deaths of some forty Palestinians that had taken refuge in a UN school facility–but only on the way to explain that one of the crucial lessons Israel must learn is how to manage the news of such deaths so that they don’t “turn stomachs” which could increase pressure for an “early cease-fire”. The Washington Post mentioned no Palestinian or Lebanese casualties.

One of the lesssons one must not learn after killing a thousand people, apparently,  is how to avoid doing it in the future. And the Times and Post seem fine with that.

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