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Civilian Deaths Not A Consideration In Chickenhawk Gingrich’s World War III Plans

Reported by Ellen - August 4, 2006 -

“We report, you decide” FOX News’ prime time debate show, Hannity & Colmes, completely ignored the Human Rights Watch report accusing Israeli forces of war crimes for “systematically failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians in their military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon.” Instead, Newt “World War III” Gingrich banged his warmongering drum against Iran, the UN, Europe, etc. without any opposing guests for balance. When Alan Colmes asked whether there was a limit to how much collateral damage should be allowed, Gingrich, who avoided military service for himself, made it clear that civilian deaths were simply not his problem.

Chickenhawk Gingrich began his appearance on last night's (8/3/06) Hannity & Colmes by complaining about those who have been calling for a cease fire. “I think there’s always been a large group of people, starting with the United Nations and the Europeans, who do not want to see this war go on if it means that Hezbollah is defeated.” Temporarily forgetting Syria in his world war plans, Gingrich added, “If, by the way, Hezbollah does fire a missile at Tel Aviv, that will be an Iranian missile, given by the Iranian government, which the Iranian dictatorship has said, as you point out, they want to destroy Israel, they want to eliminate Israel and I think at some level we should be holding the Iranians accountable for supplying these weapons of terrorism.”

In his zeal for more war (with other people doing the fighting), Gingrich conveniently ignored Hezbollah’s promise to stop its rocket attacks if Israel stopped bombing what Hezbollah’s leader called civilian areas in Lebanon. Nor did anyone discuss the Lebanese Prime Minister’s proposal for what he called “a lasting solution,” As the BBC reports, in return for Israel withdrawing from the disputed border territory known as the Shebaa Farms, which the United Nations says is part of Syria, returning detainees and providing maps of landmines planted by the Israelis, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told the BBC, "we will arrange that they will get back the abducted soldiers" and ensure that "there won't be any weapons in Lebanon other than those of the Lebanese authorities."

Colmes, perhaps with the Human Rights Watch report in mind, asked about the devastation to the civilian population of Lebanon. “More than a million people, a quarter of Lebanon’s population has been displaced, the country ravaged, the economy shattered. Under what conditions would you say there is too much collateral damage at this point? Is that something you would ever utter?”

Short answer: No. What Gingrich actually said was, “In the first place, why isn’t the world demanding that Iran and Syria pay for all the damages? Why isn’t the world insisting that Iran and Syria compensate all the dispossessed people? None of this would have happened if Iran and Syria were not in a terrorist alliance with Hezbollah. Why is it that the world community doesn’t take these two dictatorships and say to them, ‘You owe $50,000 per Lebanese for the damage you’ve done?’”

Colmes tried again. “Punishing civilian populations with the hope that they’re gonna blame Hamas or Hezbollah is not working. Cause the world is not blaming Hamas or Hezbollah when they see this happening.”

Rather than indicate an iota of concern for the Lebanese population, Gingrich expanded his war mongering to attack Democrats. “First of all, nobody’s punishing civilian populations. The Israelis have consistently leafleted villages, urged civilians to get out of them, done a great deal to avoid killing civilians. The people who have been consistently killing civilians are the terrorists. That is a terribly distorted view among the elites (as if Gingrich isn’t an elite!) that somehow says the terrorist who systematically goes out to kill the civilian can be excused but the civilized democracy that tries to minimize civilian damage has to be condemned. I saw a Democratic congressman two days ago on television said that he couldn’t tell the difference between Hezbollah and Israel, and I thought this is an example of a moral double standard that’s breathtaking.”

What's really breathtaking is how out of touch with reality Gingrich's scenario is. You can read the Human Rights Watch report here.

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