Hezbollah Deliberately Causing Civilian Casualties
Hezbollah wants Lebanese civilians to die. It wants them to die by the scores, by the hundreds if possible. That's the only conclusion I can come to after reading the accounts of the Israeli counterfire strike in Qana.
I saw a report yesterday on Fox that Hezbollah primarily fires their rockets during the day, when the background heat from the ground and buildings helps to hide them from Israeli thermal sensors. (Thermal sights/sensors work by detecting differences in radiated heat, like that radiated by people and vehicles. In a desert environment like that in south Lebanon, the ground heats up during the day and can very effectively mask the heat signatures of troops and vehicles.) The strike that destroyed the building the Qana happened sometime between midnight and 1 a.m.-when the ground and buildings have cooled, and thermal sensors work much better. The IDF has observed rockets being fired from behind and adjacent to large civilian buildings in Qana for several days, as shown in this video. (HT: LGF) (Note: the video is not the immediate pre-strike video from the attack in question, and the building seen may or may not be the one that was destroyed.) You can also see photos, smuggled out by an Australian reporter, of Hezbo rocket and anti-aircraft gun strucks firing from civilian areas.
If survivability says it's better to operate in daylight, why fire at night? The only logical reason is to induce collateral damage, especially in the form of dead civilians, which become magnets for the press, and weapons in the only part of the war Hezbollah can actually win-the opinion fight.
And, as the current media feeding frenzy and political outcry over the incident show, the weapon is very effective indeed.
And the global mass media are quite willing accomplices in this. Every report I've seen so far states that the the civilian deaths were caused by an Israeli airstrike, not by Hezbollah launching rockets from near the building. No mention is made of the fact that, under the laws of war, the civilian deaths are indeed the responsibility of Hezbollah, because Hezbollah is deliberately launching attacks from areas full of civilians.
The reportage also illustrates the immensely frustrating lack of military knowledge in the press corps. Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin, in a report I watched just a few minutes ago, said that the rocket truck the Israelis were targeting was "some distance...50 meters, a half a block away" from the destroyed building. Ms. Griffin, I've got news for you. When it comes to things like artillery, and especially aircraft bombs, 50 meters is pretty much insignificant. The lethal burst radius of a 98 lb 155mm HE artillery shell is 50 meters. A 1,000 aircraft bomb is 10 times as heavy, and has a correspondinly large lethal radius (the ratio of size to lethal radius is 1 to 1-explosives don't behave that way. But it's much larger.) Reporters also fail to understand the workings of counter-battery fires. Targets like the Hezbo truck launchers move quickly once they fire, meaning that in order to kill them, you need to hit them very quickly. This means you generally use whatever strike assets are closest-and those assets don't always have precision munitions. A 1,000 or 2,000 lb aircraft bomb, placed within 50m, will destroy a soft-skinned target like a rocket-carrying truck, and kill or wound it's crew, with little trouble. But reporters like Ms Griffin don't understand this, and so serve as able accomplices in Hezbollah's public opinion campaign against Israel.
If the media really wants to bring peace to the area quickly, and make it a long lasting peace, the best thing they can do is to shut up, leave the area, and let the Israelis get on with the business of killing terrorists without having to worry about how the look while they do it.