A Caption Too Small

August 17th, 2006 9:19 AM

pic Yes, I'm getting just as tired of this kind of stuff as you are (my bold):

Lebanese civil defense volunteers unload a coffin from a refrigerator outside the Hakoomy hospital in port city of Tyre, southern Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006. At least 842 people were killed in Lebanon during the 34-day campaign, most of them civilians. Israel suffered 157 dead _ including 118 soldiers.(AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

According to the Associated Press "most" (by definition more than half; at least 421) of those who died were civilians. Considering AP's recent track record in Lebanon, I'm disinclined to believe their claim. Their vague figures run in opposition to what we see here from Strategy Page:

On the ground, Hizbollah lost nearly 600 of its own personnel, and billions of dollars worth of assets and weapons.

Ynet News, citing the IDF as a source three days ago, states that 530 Hezbollah members have been killed.

If the Hezbollah deaths cited by StrategyPage and Ynet are correct and the AP's overall casualty count is close to accurate, then more than 60% of those killed were Hezbollah fighters, even as Hezbollah attempted to hide behind old women and children.

However, when looking at the figures provided by the Associated Press, one would be tempted to infer that Hezbollah's attacks were more precisely targeted at Israeli military forces, as the AP points out that the majority of the Israelis killed by Hezbollah--118 of 157--were soldiers, while "most" of those killed by Israel were civilians.

But the AP conveniently leaves out the fact that half of the Israeli civilians killed were the result of 4,000 indiscriminately targeted Hezbollah rockets purposefully aimed at civilian areas. It also leaves out the glaring fact that Lebanese civilian casualties were so high precisely because Hezbollah chose to fight a war using Lebanese civilians as shields.

Israel specifically targeted precision weapons and artillery fire on infrastructure and Hezbollah targets, while Hezbollah aimed their rockets almost exclusively at Israeli population centers.

In the media war against Israel, somehow the captions are never quite big enough to fit that most basic truth.

Update: An IDF First Sergeant clarifies the situation with first-hand knowledge in the comments at my personal blog:

CY, this is a great post you have written here, though I feel I have to eluminate a few things.

I'm an IDF first sergeant and recently returned from Lebanon. And the way things are develping I might return there sooner then I've hoped.

Hizb'Allah casualties. The numbers you have presented are quite close to accurate, but they don't show the whole picture. It's not classified, but I dought you'll ever see these figures in the MSM. According to our statistics we (the IDF) have scored OVER 600 CONFIRMED enemy kills (photgrphed, documented, claimed and added to the killboard, I personally scored 2 kills to add to my record) and another 800-1200 unconfirmed/unclaimed kills (this estimation includes kills form airstrikes/artillary shelling). The Hizb'Allah losses aren't counted, on the most part, against the official number of Lebanease casualties. Hizb'Allah admits to loosing only 58 of it's own men and 21 more from their ally - the Amal terrorist organisation.
How much troops Hizb'Allah has really lost we'll probably never know since they're quite unlickly to release this information.

Hizb'Allah also lost a lot of weapons and equipment, and quite large amounts of equipment were captured by us.

But the operation wasn't deemed as successful since we didn't get our boys back. Also we (the soldiers) feel that some high ranking officers in the Northern Command had little idea what they where doing. Our political leadership could've should've done more - like sending us in early on/buying us more time to finish the job.

At any rate, Olmert chose to succumb to the will of Kofi Anan and his Useless Nations with their Hizb'Allah backed Associated Propaganda and al-Reuters spitting lies all over the world about disproportionate response and us indiscriminately
killing civilians.

But this isn't over by any means, this "cease fire" is just a temporary respite before all hell will break loose once again. And then we'll finish what we've started.

Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.