24 July 2014

The Doctrine of Proportionality... oh, and unsportsmanlike behavior

This article, The Doctrine of Proportionality, while not bringing any essentially new information, places the dots nicely over some undotted letters. It bears repeating:
Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.

"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.

"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.
Not being a lawyer, I dare say that even I could figure out the quoted text. Moreover, I believe that even an idiot could.

Speaking about idiots, the article mentioned a special case, that of one Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz, already referred to on these here pages. The mention sent me scrambling for his article The Gazan in a bunker trying to kill me. Indeed, as it happens, Mr Pfeffer has some original things to say about the Iron Dome:
There is something so unsportsmanlike about the Iron Dome missile shield. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a technological marvel.
Yes, marvel, but and unsportsmanlike one, and here is why:
Just imagine, at the World Cup final in Estadio Maracana on Sunday, if Germany, with its superior economy and industry, were to replace Manuel Neuer with a bionic goalkeeper: infrared sensors for eyes and a supercomputer for a brain, capable of calculating where each Argentine ball will come from, the exact position to stand in and amount of force needed to block it. I doubt even the corrupt grandees of FIFA would allow Germany’s uber-goalie to take the field.
And the ending of the passage is especially poignant:
But while Israel remains crap at soccer and can only dream of ever reaching the World Cup, on the modern battlefield it is a bionic Germany.
Yes, you might say, it was a tongue-in-cheek text - somewhat. But, with all due respect, and I don't have any respect remaining for Haaretz, the "Paper for Thinking People", this stinks.

So, if I happen to meet dear Anshel,who is much younger and stronger than I am, I am going to tell him about all my maladies and infirmities, to let him understand the real balance of power between us. And then I am gonna lay into him...

See how sportsmanlike he behaves in such a situation.