Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Diplomacy and the Hounds of Hell, Part XXII

Reuters still can't get this story straight. They're still reporting that more than 40 people were killed at Houla despite the fact that the Prime Minister reversed himself later in the day to say that only one person was killed. I know that Reuters reported the correction (and also noted by Dinocrat), so why aren't they fixing all their stories to reflect the most current information? So much for tight editorial controls. Wizbang has more.

The NYT comes out calling for a truce in Lebanon. Well, truces sound nice and all, but is anyone going to not only enforce this truce on Hizbullah, but ensure that Hizbullah will not use the time to rearm, reequip, and move its terror infrastructure out of Israel's immediate firing range? I didn't think so.

Lebanon claims that they can put 15,000 of its soldiers on the border, but here's a couple of questions for the Lebanese Prime Minister:
1) Where were these 15,000 troops for the past six years while Hizbullah was busy turning South Lebanon into Hizbullahland?
2) Do these troops actually exist or are you simply going to reflag Hizbullah terrorists as Lebanese soldiers so as to take care of the twofer - disarming Hizbullah without actually disarming them?
3) Would the Lebanese troops have the capacity and willpower to disarm Hizbullah or eliminate Hizbullah if they fail to comply with disarmament?

It's nice that Lebanon finally acknowledges that it has to comply with UN SCR 1559, but considering its actions over the past 20+ years, I'd say that full compliance isn't going to happen anytime soon. Therefore, Lebanon's best chance of eliminating Hizbullah's military presence in South Lebanon is to let Israel complete its objectives of destroying Hizbullah's infrastructure, arms caches, and terror minions. Don Surber has more.

Martin Kramer shows just how off the wall the Arab reports of Hizbullah's progress against Israel has become. The reports are so wildly exaggerated, one gets the sense that facts, logic, and reality don't matter. It's all about perceptions, and that's why Israel must do more to counter these reports - to get the reality of the situation presented as quickly as possible not only to the Western observers, but to the Arab world. If it means showing the world video of missions where Hizbullah fires its rockets from residential buildings, then it must do so. This war is being fought not only with bullets and bombs, but editors, photos, and videos.

And these completely false perceptions fan the flames of Islamists, jihadis, and regular citizens, who aren't being told the truth by their own media and who think that if they add their own efforts to the current Hizbullah efforts that Israel's destruction will soon be at hand, are only adding to the tally of jihadis who are going off to be killed by the mad mullahs at the hands of the Israelis because the Iranian government is hiding the truth from its citizens.

Michelle Malkin, meanwhile, wants to know where's the outrage for Hizbullah targeting UNIFIL observers and wounding three? Where are the calls for investigations, calls that the actions are war crimes, or other such blather? Do they only do so when Israel is responsible? Is there a double standard at play? Absolutely.

Bloggers to check in with for daily updates are Blue Crab Boulevard, Carl in Jerusalem, Israellycool, Dave Bender, Meryl Yourish, Euphoric Reality, Pajamas Media, Hot Air, Jameel at the Muqata, Greetings from the French Hill, R'Lazer, and Live from an Israeli Bunker. Check back with them regularly for updates.

The Washington Post jumps on the bandwagon and notes that Hizbullah is proving to be a tenacious foe with modern weapons. Well, look back at its patrons and you'll get the answer: Iran and Syria. Here's the more difficult question that hasn't really been addressed til now. Where's Iran getting its weapons from. They don't exactly have a native weapons development program that can produce many of the high-tech anti-tank and other ground to ground missiles and rockets. Might I adjust your viewfinder to China, who is busy buying influence in the international arms market. The Russians and North Koreans are also involved, but China's actions bear closer scrutiny.

Also, some of the soldiers interviewed were comparing the fight this time to the one in 1982, when Israel made it to Beirut within 2 days. Sorry, but there's a different mission this time against a different foe - Hizbullah - which has had six years to prep for this war.

Indeed, the Israelis actually had pretty good intel on what they were facing, but underestimated Hizbullah's capabilities in some areas.
After the outbreak of hostilities, IDF officers realized all assessments regarding Hizbullah arms were accurate, while some findings even exceeded predictions. Equipment recovered by Israeli troops includes night-vision equipment, gas masks, cutting-edge radio equipment, dozens of rifles, various types of handguns, silencers, helmets, and protective vests.

Soldiers also found computer parts attesting to the fact Hizbullah was acting in an orderly manner and documenting its operations.

"Suddenly, during battle, we saw a bush moving up and seconds later turn into a terrorist firing at our troops, " one IDF soldier told Ynet. "If we thought we knew everything about Hizbullah, we cannot hide the fact some things surprised us, at least among the group's elite units, whose surprise capabilities are not unlike elite IDF units."

Troops also uncovered a special command system that allows terrorists to observe developments outside their bunkers while they're hiding inside. The electronic system was installed inside the bunker, while a special camera was installed outside.
Fred Fry wonders about some more photos of Hizbullah rocket launches. Never mind the fact that the captions can't quite get the facts straight - those are Hizbullah's outgoing katuysha rocket launches into Israel, not Israeli counterbattery fire. What we appear to see are cropping and other enhancements to portions of an original image. Those are AFP photos.

As for knowing where to point the camera in these rocket launches, I'd suggest that after the first rocket is launched, your eyes and ears will point you towards the source, and since we're talking about katuyshas, where there's one launch, there's bound to be more. So you could simply point at the origin of the vapor trails, set your camera to the sports setting (multiple shots per second, and off you go). In no time, you could end up with a couple of usuable shots.

Today alone, more than 100 rockets were launched into Israel.

Israel also says that there will be no ceasefire without the release of the Israeli soldiers being held by Hizbullah. Israeli troops are also poised to head to the Litani, despite statements saying that Israel wasn't considering that move. Again, I'd note that these statements are all designed to misdirect Hizbullah.

Israeli forces continue to engage in heavy fighting with Hizbullah near Bint Jbeil, and two Israeli soldiers were killed.

Iran continues to play cheerleader to Hizbullah, even as an August 22 deadline approaches that might bring quite ominous news for the West.

And in a move of epic stupidity, the anti-Israel anti-US group ISM is sending some of its members into South Lebanon. They're willing to be human shields for terrorists. Lovely. Simply lovely.

What are Hamas' latest demands that Israel must meet in order to secure the release of Gilad Shalit? Oh, about a dozen Palestinian terrorists, including Marwan Barghouti and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader
Ahmad Saadat
. That's a nonstarter, or it should be a nonstarter. Indeed, it appears that Hamas is no closer to seeing the folly of its actions than it was when Shalit was first taken from Israel.

Israel captured two Hizbullah terrorists who were setting up SAM missiles. That comes in the same story that details the air raid on the home of Hizbullah religious leader Sheikh Mustafa Khalifa in Ghaziya. No word on his condition or whereabouts, but six people were apparently killed in the airstrike.

The LA Times op-ed by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen has a very depressing thought about the situation with Hizbullah. The current situation is intolerable, and the alternatives are even worse. That's not a good place to be in, and yet the solution lies in how to deal with Iran, whose nuclear ambitions are at the heart of the matter.

Meanwhile, the photo war continues as James Taranto appears to have found that the dead rise to die another day (or not sa his update shows). Then, there's the Passion of the Toys. And has the New York Times also partaken in the photo fraud? Gateway Pundit has the juicy details.

The war between the Islamists and the West isn't just being fought on the battlefield. It's being fought with cameras, words, and video. Some instances have been caught because of blatant photo editing. Other, more subtle changes have slipped through. Still others are out there waiting to be discovered. The more people eyeball these photos and videos, the more likely someone will uncover frauds, exaggerations, or trumped up scenes.

Zombie has an excellent recap of the whole Reutersgate timeline. Hot Air has more.

Israeli Foreign Minister Lipni basically tells Lebanese Prime Minister to man up and stop crying about the situation and do something about Hizbullah, who's turned his country into a warzone. Cliff May wonders where are those Arabs calling on Hizbullah to stop firing its rockets as a humanitarian gesture.

Israel continues to send mixed signals over what it intends to do. North or South of the Litani, they're not saying. I still think they're headed to the Syrian border with Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. That's what I'd do.

Speaking of signals, the IDF has taken over al Manar tv.
Like everything in the IDF, there was a three-part explanation supporting the take-over of Hizbullah media:

1. Use of the organization's own platforms to broadcast Israel 's messages

2. Creating the sense that the organization is "penetrable" and that Israel has powerful capabilities

3. Damaging the organization's abilities for set periods of time, and using the media as part of the war on to access the consciousness of the Lebanese community.

The propaganda videos expose Nasrallah's lies regarding the number of casualties the organization has suffered in fighting against Israel.

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