Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Human Rights Watch Produces Dubious Report, Part One

Human Rights Watch, an organization known for their "objective" investigations into human rights violations (yeah right), has released a 50-page paper on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict that will be sure to provide Israel-haters worldwide with enough slop to fill their troughs for weeks.

In a purely one-sided "investigation" into human rights violations, HRW levels a charge of war crimes against Israel based purely on hearsay, while stating directly that it gave almost no attention to Hezbollah's outrages during the data collection process, yet used exclusively anecdotal evidence to condemn Israel.

Read along with the Summary section of the paper as you read this critical review.

Paragraph 2: "Since the start of the conflict, Israeli forces have consistently launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military gain but excessive civilian cost." How the hell would HRW know whether or not the IDF's military gains were dubious? In a report that claims to be authoritative, they are certainly injecting a lot of unqualified and biased speculation right out of the gate.

"In some cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target, as well as return strikes on rescuers, suggest that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians." Again, this is idle speculation based solely on hearsay collected from Lebanese "witnesses." And as far as the "absence of a military target" is concerned, HRW investigators were not even in the area at any time before, during and immediately after the strikes, as the reader will discover in the "Methodology" section. So how would they know if a military target was there or not? Again, by whose testimony? The testimony of select Lebanese "witnesses".

Paragraph 3: "Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers, which are serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. However, those cases do not justify the IDF's extensive use of indiscriminate force which has cost so many civilian lives." Again, HRW downplays Hezbollah's violations and glosses over the UN's apparent willingness to let their troops act as a shield for Hezbollah. Who here has not seen the pictures of Hezbollah terrorists hitching rides in UN vehicles? HRW jumps right to the accusation that Israel is the bad guy here, not Hezbollah- and yet again, based solely on anecdotal data.

"In none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in this report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah forces or weapons were in or near the area that the IDF targeted during or just prior to the attack." Well, what do you think the selected "witnesses" would say?

The report goes on to list instances where IAF airstrikes targeted relief vehicles and such. Again, has anyone not seen the pictures of Hezbollah fighters riding in UN vehicles and ambulances? This is comical. Of all the papers I have ever read, this is arguably of the most appalling examples of writer bias and malicious intent to deceive the public that I have ever laid eyes on. And the Summary section is only a microcosm of the whole.

Already the evidence is clear that the HRW paper is a spectacular assembly of willful deception and fantasy. Human Rights Watch should be embarrassed with the utter intellectual sloppiness of this pathetic excuse for a "research paper." If I had tried to pass work as crappy as HRW's through my nursing instructors, I would have been laughed out the door.

Read the rest of the summary yourself. Ask yourself, "how reliable is this?" Then consider HRW's methods of data collection, which will be discussed in my next installment. For more on Rather's Delirium, read my post on the subject in preparation for the next episode.