By popular demand (lots of emails): Reuters has pulled a photo of Beirut doctored by one of its "photojournalists" to make damage from Israeli air strikes look worse than it was. This photographer was one of the photographers who took somne of the most dramatic of what appear to be staged photos in Qana. Kudos to Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs for discovering the fraud. And remember how the various news agencies, including Reuters, were shocked at the very suggestion that some photos in Qana might have been staged? Certainly, photographers willing to doctor photos would be willing to stage them.
Meanwhile, according to the IDF, it has destroyed missile launchers that launched the missile that collapsed a building today in Haifa. The launchers were based, according to the IDF, in Qana. One of the sillier, and oddly popular (even among those you would expect to know better), attacks on the IDF I've seen regarding Qana, is that the IDF apparently has acknowledged that no missiles were launched from Qana on the day that the IDF bombed what it believed to be Party of God positions there; as if there is some rule of war that if your enemy fires from a position on Saturnday, you are only allowed to strike back on Saturday.
Finally, I've been checking Informed Comment here and there, and while, as long time readers know, I've never been a Juan Cole fan, he seems to have really lost it lately. Just for example:
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Saturday rejected European criticism of Israel's massive bombing of Lebanon and its killing of hundreds of innocent civilians. He pointed to Kosovo as precedent for what he was doing.
Olmert also said he thought he might just murder Hasan Nasrallah.
Uh, Ehud, you're supposed to be playing NATO in this interview, remember? Not Milosevic. You're getting your precedents for murder, mass or otherwise, mixed up.
Besides, the whole analogy is wrong. Milosevic's forces were ethnically cleansing the Kosovars. NATO was protecting the latter (and the Israeli government of the time supported this effort, given its alliance with Turkey). Who was Hizbullah ethnically cleansing in early July? In fact, it is the Israelis who have behaved in the past two weeks like Milosevic's Serbian troops, who systematically attempted to displace the Kosovars during the war. And then the NATO estimate is that their campaign killed 5000 Serbian military personnel and at most 1500 civilians. Israel's war has killed nearly 700 (maybe 900) civilians and many fewer Hizbullah fighters. So, the argument fails on all counts.
First off, "murder" is Cole's word, not Olmert's, who apparently said that Israeli forces might assassinate Nasrallah. Does Cole really think that targeting the head of a terrorist organiztion that has killed many of one's countries civilians would be "murder?" In the midst of a war against that organization? Bizarre.
Let's assume that Cole's casualty counts are correct (he's still exaggerating the death toll from Qana on his site--claiming without a stitch of evidence that 13 "missing" in Qana, are "almost certainly dead", even though local officials say the opposite--o I don't see any reason to trust him on the other figures.) NATO killed up to 1,500 civilians, and over 6,000 Serbs total. And that was because Serbia was threatening to wipe NATO off the face of the earth. No wait, that was Nasrallah making such threats against Israel, who is allied with Iran, which very much promises to do this to Israel. And as I recall, tens(hundreds?) of thousands of Serbs ultimately had to permanently flee from areas held by the Bosnians, despite NATO "protection," so it's not like NATO didn't exact a far worse price than Israel among "innocent" civilians. Apparently, Israel's big crime in Cole's mind was not to wait until Iran and the Party of God actually began to make significantly more progress on their threat to commit genocide.
UPDATE: I could go on about Cole, but will leave it with one more thought: Cole is trafficking in a conspiracy theory that takes the obvious fact that Iran is an oil-producing country of strategic interest to the U.S. and spins it into an elaborate, economically illiterate theory explaining U.S. and Israeli policy in Lebanon by reference to something called "peak oil." Why care? Last I heard, he was the most popular Mideast policy blogger on the Left.
FURTHER UPDATE: The New York Times online headline this morning blared that Israel killed 40 civilians in Lebanon in an air strike, sourced to Lebanon's Prime Minister. A few hours later, the headline changes to "Death Toll Was Incorrect, Lebanon's leader says." But we don't find out what the death toll actually was until the ninth paragraph of the article. The answer is, allegedly, one.
Related Posts (on one page):
- Those Resolute, Incorruptable Journalists?:
- More Lebanon Media Notes:
- More Media news from the Israel-Party of God War:
- More on the Media and Lebanon:
- Some More Details About Qana:
- Revealing CNN Transcript:
- Mystery Deepens--Who is "Green Helmet'?:
- That Was Quick:
- More on Qana and the Question of Staged Photos: