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Ethos Exposed

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
August 3, 2006

Qana II has provided the world the opportunity to see that the emperor "does not have clothes on." What no longer amazes this writer is the major media, with one or two notable exceptions, would have you believe that the victim in this latest conflict is not Israel, rather it is the Hezbollah. You are saying, no, the media is clearly demonstrating that the citizens of Lebanon are the victims of Israel's disproportionate response. After all, what you see on television day after day is bombed out buildings; dead "civilians," grieving individuals and most of these visual displays come to your living room from Lebanon. Yes, there is the occasional story on the damage to Israelis but have you noticed these are always followed with a piece on the difficulties the Lebanese people are now facing? Note Tom Gross' comments in an article appearing in the Jerusalem Post:1

Large sections of the international media are not only misreporting the current conflict in Lebanon. They are also actively fanning the flames.

The BBC World Service has a strong claim to be the number-one villain. It has come to sound like a virtual propaganda tool for Hizbullah. And as it desperately attempts to prove that Israel is guilty of committing "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity," it has introduced a new charge - one that I have heard several times on air in recent days.

The newscaster reads out carefully selected "audience comments." Among these are invariably contained some version of the claim that "Israel's attack on Lebanon" will serve as a "recruitment" drive for al-Qaeda.

It is also safe to apply the preceding comments to Sky News and CNN International. If these were the only news resources available to the general population then you would think that Hezbollah is being unfairly punished, as are the Lebanese civilians. However, thanks to independent news sources and a couple of media services we are able to confirm what Hezbollah is all about-its actions are not congruent with the media's representation of them. Furthermore, it is imperative that the Western international community engage in two actions immediately: one, confront your local news group and demand fair coverage; two, share the truth about Hezbollah with friends, family and colleagues and ask them to in turn do the same.

The current situation is about more than Israel, Hezbollah and Lebanon. It transcends the perceived local conflict. As General Ya'alon writes, "It is clear to any objective observer that Hezbollah is using Lebanese civilians as human shields. It builds its headquarters in densely populated areas, embeds its fighters in towns and villages, and deliberately places missiles in private homes, even constructing additions to existing structures specifically to house missile launchers."2

Furthermore, we now know that Hezbollah's so-called schools have as a major educational goal the recruitment of future members. It does this by indoctrinating the children, beginning in what would be comparable to a kindergarten and first grade in the USA. They are required to learn songs that encourage homicide bombing as well as hatred for Israel and the "great Satan-America". The textbooks are right out of the Palestinian playbook-they use revisionist history, intentionally misrepresent history and geography and add to the disinformation regarding Israel, America and the West. It is true that Hezbollah funds schools and this is promoted by the media as an example supporting the notion that it is not "just a terrorist" organization-along with its hospitals and other public programs Hzzbollah really is a social activist that is Lebanon's partner and friend. You are led to believe that Hezbollah cares about its people.

If this is true do you really believe that a caring organization would use its citizens as human shields? Would a caring group build storage bunkers under public buildings containing rockets, munitions, armaments that kill and then force civilians, at gun point, to remain in these buildings as Israel attacks? As General Ya'alon says, "They try to exploit the respect for innocent human life that is the hallmark of any civilized society to place that society in a no-win situation. If it fails to respond to terror attacks, it endangers its own citizens. If it responds, it runs the risk of killing innocents, earning world opprobrium and inviting diplomatic pressure to stand down."2

This group places disabled individuals inside a building housing armaments, rockets and munitions-it is a target for Israel and they know it. They fire rockets from the area and then take cover in this building drawing the attention of Israel-they intentionally keep civilians in a building knowing they will be killed. In their deaths, Hezbollah counts on the media to pleads its case to the world and unwittingly or I believe with complicity the media obliges them. Seems to me that world is also to blame for reinforcing this behavior by not taking a defiant stand against Hzzbollah's behavior. Why is there no outrage similar to the world outrage when captured combatants in Iraq were "ridiculed' by prison guards? I can only conclude that the use of civilians as human shields, an international law transgression of the utmost degree, is valued less than some taunting and does not deserve the world's condemnation. Are you beginning "to see that the Emperor does not have clothes on?"

Hezbollah's ethos is exposed for the anti-democratic, pro-death group that it really is. The media identified "social and political" components are cleverly disguised support agencies for Hezbollah's primary target: the destruction of Israel and then the Satan called America. The assumption not stated is that the rest of the West will then crumble and Hezbollah's interpretation of Islam will prevail. An international force, signed agreements, declarations of peace, swapping of prisoners, will not stop this tragedy playing out here in our yard. Until the following occurs, all we can do is protect ourselves and do so without regard to a world's distorted opinion of us:

Terrorists are fanatics, but they are not idiots. If the terrorist tactic of using human shields helps them achieve their goals, they will utilize it. If it undermines their goals, they will abandon it.

If we want to live in a world where civilians are never used as human shields, then we must create a world in which employing such measures results in the unequivocal condemnation of terrorists and in forceful action against them by the civilized world.

If the world were now blaming Hezbollah, Syria and Iran for the innocent Lebanese killed, hurt or displaced in this conflict, then it would be sending a powerful message to every terrorist group on the planet: We will not tolerate the use of human shields. Period.2

The evidence is clear, it is not hidden, all is out in the open. It does take courage to stand tall in truth while others bury their heads, look away or feign innocence. We have the power to change perception and thus reality. I can only hope that our grand children will be able to think that we, too, were a great generation.

End Notes

1.Tom Gross, "The Media Aims its Missiles," Jerusalem Post, August 3, 2006
2.Bogie Ya'alon, "The Rules of War," Washington Post, August 3, 2006



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