Knesset Speaker to the US: Do More to Prevent Civilian Casualties in Iraq

It didn’t really happen this way. But perhaps it should. A reader who must remain anonymous for professional reasons contributed this analysis:

Yesterday, US State department spokesperson, Jan Psaki expressed concern over the high civilian death toll in Gaza during the latest round of hostilities. She said that Israel can do far more to protect civilians than it has done to date. There were no specific suggestions offered, although Israel would certainly welcome any advice on how to further reduce civilian casualties. In addition to warning civilians to evacuate before targeting a specific area, Israel has called off bombing missions with targets already locked in sights, out of fear of harming civilians who at times were deliberately led there by Hamas.

Now, let’s see how the US measures up to Ms. Psaki’s expectations. According to Palestinian sources, 80% of the 248 people killed during the first 10 days of fighting were civilians. That would mean – even if true, which was never the case in the past – 198 civilians were killed in 10 days. While estimates of civilian casualties in Iraq vary greatly depending on the source, the official Iraq War Logs of the US Army put the number at 66,081 in 6 years of war That breaks down to 30.17 civilian deaths per day or 302 in 10 days. Iraq’s population density is 160 per sq. mile, vs. 9,713 for Gaza. That makes it 60.7 times more likely for a civilian in Gaza to be unintentionally killed in warfare than in Iraq. Extrapolating from the American experience in Iraq, we would have expected 18,331 civilian unintentional civilian deaths in Gaza in the ten days of operations.

We are not sure whether Jan Psaki needs a bit of help better understanding the parameters of the Hamas War, or just some help with arithmetic. It is important that she not continue to misrepresent the more sensible views of the American public, which supports Israel by a large margin in a poll of just a few days ago.

If it is understanding numbers that is the problem, we can recommend some excellent remedial help, in both Iraq and Gaza. She can choose where she will feel safest.

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7 Responses

  1. Raymond says:

    It is completely irrelevant just how careful Israel is in avoiding civilian casualties when targeting terrorists, because that is not really what upsets the world. What does upset the world, is that we Jews now have the means by which to defend ourselves. This interferes with the goal that the world has, to eliminate us Jews off the face of the Earth.

    Now, as for how we Jews should respond to all this, I say, let us do all we can to live despite the wish of the world for all of us Jews to die. And as for us minimizing civilian casualties when our side needs to target the islamofascist terrorists who, after all, deliberately fire their missiles from hospitals and schoolyards, I would think that normative Jewish law has a thing or two to say about this. I would leave it up to such halachic authorities to provide the necessary guidance to the Israeli military. My admittedly uneducated guess is that Israel is behaving in a far, far more cautious manner than Jewish law requires. If that is the case, then the Israeli military is behaving in an irresponsible manner, in the sense that their caution about whom they kill, makes life that much more dangerous for our Jewish people.

  2. Cvmay says:

    The battle for Israel’s survival is not only a ground & air offense. It is a media & information battle. Everyone must become an ambassador of truth & accuracy depicting “real events, numbers, behaviors” until the fog of Israel hatred & discrimination begins to clear.

    Learn the facts and proudly tell the truth.

  3. Reb Yid says:

    Of course, large sections of Iraq are desert (where no-one lives) so the square mile comparison simply doesn’t work.

    And we will never really know all of the damage, casualties and costs caused by George and Dick’s ill-advised invasion. But thank you for illustrating just how ill-advised it was.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Ms. Psaki ignores the fact expressed by General Sherman that “war is hell” and that wars are won by destroying an enemy’s ability to fight-as in Sheridan destroying the Shenandoah Valley, Sherman’s march through Georgia, the naval blockade of the south, Anerican submarine warfare in the Pacific, the bombing of German cities and industrial targets and the use of nuclear weapons to avoid horrendous casualties in conventional military operations such as a planned invasion of Japan. If we fought any of the above conflicts with our hands tied behind our backs by “international law” there would R”L still be slaves in the US and the concentration camps and fascism functioning today.Wars , and great military victories and leadership, like any competitive sport, are not won or nurtured with one’s hands tied behind one’s backs by academic notions of international law. The notion that Israel must maintain the power grid for a population that aids and abetts Hamas strikes me as the wrong way to fight a war.

  5. Baruch B. says:

    It seems that this article and all others like it, are based on two unspoken assumptions.
    1: We must show the world that there is a double standard, where Israel is held accountable to a level not held by any other army in the world including those of the detractors themselves.
    2: If we can do that successfully the double standard will stop being imposed or everyone will recognize Israel’s moral superiority etc.

    The problem is that for some reason no one is willing to be convinced. We see again and again, that although the facts seem to be able to speak for themselves everyone says the same old tired lines again and again.

    I think that the problem is if they would agree that there is a double standard they would need to ask themselves “why?” and that is too difficult a question to contemplate.

    We need a fresh approach. Instead of fighting the double standard and trying to prevent it, we should try something new.
    What would be if we embraced it. What would the conversation look like if we wouldn’t debate if it exists but rather presume its existence and everyone’s acknowledgement of it. Than put a positive spin that “yes, we’re the Jewish state and yes, we are more accountable and we should be more accountable”. When something happens that shouldn’t, we come forward and apologize because we the Jewish people are on a higher standard.

    There would be many that would be willing to acknowledge the reality of the double standard if we took the debate out of it and if we ourselves gave the reason as to why the double standard existed. Most would disagree as to the reason for the double standard but we’ve effectively moved the debate from “is there a double standard?” to “Why is there a double standard?”
    Besides I have a feeling that there would be many that wouldn’t be so fast to hold us to a higher standard if we took pride in that.

    I believe this idea can make a difference. Is there anyone that can weigh in on this or take this idea and present it to those that can use it?
    Is there someone that can modify the idea to make it more effective?

  6. Abbe says:

    Yes, the war in Iraq is a great example of US hypocrisy.
    I use to get infuriated when Ari Fleisher, as spokesman for President Bush, urged “restraint” from all parties, when Israel was battling the second intifada; even after the US experienced the terrorism of 9/11 and went after the Taliban. Yet no one in the media challenged him with the question “Is it the US policy to act with restraint in the face of terrorism?”
    Later, during the war in Iraq, Fleisher’s words would painfully ring in my ears, as the US (led at the time by the same President Bush) would carpet bomb civilian neighborhoods in its search for Saddam Hussein.

  7. shaul shapira says:

    I doubt that Jan Psaki actually expects Israel to do very much of anything. She’s essentially saying what any diplomat would say about any conflict anywhere-
    “I urge all sides to exercise restraint”
    “The killing of innocents is regrettable”
    “It’s clear that senseless violence solve nothing”

    It’s about as meaningful as a president’s prayer
    -and May G-d bless America…

    What else is she going to say?

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