Civilians are a weapon to terrorists

Civilians are a weapon to terrorists

As pundits argue over proportionality in the Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah, it’s important to keep in mind some realities as enumerated by Ralph Kinney Bennett, namely that Islamic extremists view civilians as tool of war. Since propaganda and public outrage are one of the terrorist’s most effective weapons, his goal is to maximize civilian casualties despite the best efforts of his opponents to minimize them. His hope is to paralyze the enemy into inaction because of the “weakness” of compassion that the terrorist doesn’t share.

Guerrillas like to hide behind civilians. Muslim guerrillas take it a step further: “Civilians” are a weapon to them—as much a part of the fight as the AK-47 or RPG they carry.

Those who have visited any Hezbollah installation in Lebanon over the years always remark on the fact that there are families, women and children, in and around the place. “Secret” bases are usually hidden in plain site. Houses or apartment buildings become weapons storage or even operations centers. An innocent shed or garage may contain a Toyota or a missile launcher.

Seldom, if ever, has a guerrilla movement been able to so openly and exquisitely weave itself into the fabric of a society as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon. If the civilians in and around what are in effect operational bases happen to be of Hezbollah’s own brand of Islam they automatically become a part of the “sacrificial,” suicidal equation. Often without choice or foreknowledge, they die an “honorable” death in the battle against infidels or apostates.

Bennett also discusses Israel’s unprecedented efforts to avoid civilian casualties through surgical strikes, even placing its own pilots at risk or calling off bombing runs if there are any doubts.

Anyone who thinks that war can be conducted without civilian casualties is kidding themselves. There has never been a modern war without casualties, even wars we would say fit the definition of a just war. The aim is unavoidable casualties. The Catechism says we are never to directly target civilians. But if the enemy places those civilians in harm’s way, they bear the responsibility for the deaths.

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1 comment
  • But if the enemy places those civilians in harm’s way, they bear the responsibility for the deaths.

    Exactly.  Israel is not only defending herself and her civilians, she is making the sacrifice to save Lebanon’s civilians that Hezbollah is willing to intentionally kill or risk being killed for it’s evil goals.  Terrorists have no regard for human life except as it serves their political designs and goals.

    Thanks for the article.