First, the lead-in:
Dirty bandages hid the worst of 8-year-old Zainab Jawad’s swollen, bloodied nose Monday. Her arm, fractured in two places, was strapped to her chest.
Stretched out on a bed at Najem Hospital, Zainab squeezed her brown eyes shut as memories of the attack flooded back, some of her words muffled as she fought sobs.
A day earlier, Israeli bombs destroyed her family’s home in the southern village of Ayta Chaeb. Then rockets slammed into the family’s car as they fled.
“I don’t want to remember, but I can’t help it. What I remember most is the sound, the sound of the planes, and I was scared because I thought there were so many. I fell asleep last night, but all I could hear in my sleep were planes.”
Zainab’s aunt was in the next bed. Her mother, Usra Jawad, and 4-year-old brother, Mohammed, were across the hall. Mohammed’s eyes fluttered as he slipped in and out of consciousness; his leg was in a cast to his hip. His mother’s leg was in traction, with steel pins in several places.
The week before, Usra Jawad’s three sisters visited her village to see the new family home. When the bombing started, the four sisters fled in a car with the two children, hoping to reach their parents’ home north of Tyre.
But rockets hit their car. Two of the sisters, both teachers, were killed.
“Now I have no house. My sisters are dead,” Usra Jawad said. “I can’t do anything.”
So far, so good. And then we read:
Jawad Najem, a surgeon at the hospital, said patients admitted Sunday had burns from phosphorous incendiary weapons used by Israel. The Geneva Conventions ban using white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas. Israel said its weapons comply with international law.
Note that fascinating non-denial denial. Not "We don't use phosphorus weapons," rather, "We comply with international law." Which brings us back to a piece I wrote a few days back in which I suggested it might be interesting to have the residents of Wankerville ahead of time take a position on what they would consider non-measured or over-the-top military action by Israel. One imagines that, if the topic of phosphorus incendiary weapons had come up then, a few people might have drawn the line.
As it is, though, now that it appears to have happened, one guesses that those same wankers suddenly don't have a problem with it. I'm just speculating of course since, as we all know, it would be irresponsible not to.
THE JOY OF SEMANTICS. Given Israel's curiously-worded denial, one might wonder if they're taking a page from their American mentors in playing some clever word games:
During and immediately after the invasion, US officials denied claims that napalm weapons were being deployed. However, as military personnel and journalists in Iraq quickly presented evidence of their use, by August 2003 Pentagon spokesmen were forced to admit that MK-77 firebombs had been dropped. Past denials were justified on the grounds that questioners had used the term 'napalm' instead of 'firebombs' or 'MK-77s'. The US claims to have destroyed all its stocks of 'napalm' and argues that the MK-77 cannot be included in this term. However, the Pentagon admits that the MK-77 is an incendiary with a function 'remarkably similar' to that of napalm.
See? It wasn't napalm after all. And international law breathes a huge sigh of relief.
AFTERSNARK: Apparently, whatever you might think of incendiary devices that are illegal under international law and that violate the Geneva Conventions, one is still entitled to be outraged by ball bearings.
So conservatives are still capable of outrage; they just prefer to ration it carefully.