Thursday, March 19, 2009

War is Hell

Some disturbing news from Israel today. In public discussions about Israel's operation in Gaza several veterans have come forward alleging that they and their comrades did not behave morally and killed civilians. Ha'aretz reported the story here and some more detail was provided here in the New York Times.

Naturally, this news raises questions. Firstly, how widespread was this type of behavior? There are two separate incidents discussed in these articles and it is said that there will be more testimonies published in the coming days. Were these incidents the result of a policy or the actions of only a few? Some Israeli soldiers who were in Gaza are already coming forward appalled at the stories in these reports and offering their own anecdotal evidence of complete opposite types of behavior. So the question again, is there a rot in the IDF or are these reports isolated horror stories?

The IDF is pledging an investigation, as they should. One can only hope that it will be complete, and thorough. Those found responsible for breaking the rules and deliberately or maliciously killing civilians or damaging property deserve severe punishment. If the problem is endemic, then the punishment must be meted out higher-up along the chain of command and, if need be, the whole system should get a good shaking up--no democracy should tolerate this sort of behavior from its armed forces.

No comments: