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    » The propaganda war from Harry's Place
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    » Image of the day: children send messages on missiles from Boing Boing
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    Comments

    resistor

    Did the photographers supply the shells too?

    Joanne

    As I commented on Sandmonkey's site, this seems like entrapment. Children are not very media savvy, as a rule. Interesting that the photographer did this without any Israeli adults around.

    Lisa

    Sorry, I have to step in with a correction: it was the parents who were egging the children. But again, the parents were not encouraging their kids to hate Lebanese people. They wrote the message to Nasrallah themselves, then laughingly encouraged the kids to doodle the Israeli flag and so on. Okay, not sophisticated people. But also not "haters."

    The kids had been hearing for 5 days that they were forced to stay day and night in bomb shelters because of Nasrallah, so I guess they didn't need much encouragement. Again, they were kids.

    The photographers did not actively encourage the kids - their parents did. But again, there were 12 photographers al the kids were thrilled with all the attention. As were the parents, I imagine. It's not often that foreign journalists visit a tiny peripheral town in Israel.

    David All

    I see nothing wrong in what these kids did. They were not marching through the streets wearing fake suicide bomb belts and shouting death to Lebanon. They were writing "messages" to Nasrallah dedicating the bombs to him & Hezbollah, both of whom the Israeli govt. with the overwhelming support of the Israeli people, has proclaimed their desire to dispatch them to the next world, where they will find out the truth about the promised 72 virgins! In WW II similar messages to Hitler were frequently scribbed on bombs while the press took photos.

    Bozoer Rebbe

    The idea of writing messages on ordnance is probably as old as warfare. Bombs, tanks, planes, even guns, have all been decorated with messages intended to harm enemy morale.

    Such symbolism is natural, not indicative of hate or low moral grounding. The United States names its B-2 Spirit 'Stealth' bombers after states. They are called Spirit of This or Spirit of That, With the exception of the plane dedicated to South Carolina, named Spirit of Kitty Hawk to honor the Wright Brothers.

    When the B2 squadron started off the war in Afghanistan after 9/11, the flight was led by the Spirit of New York, not a coincidence, and I'm quite sure that the JDAMs and other assorted bombs on board were marked with messages to OBL and Al-Quaeda and their supporters concerning the attack on the WTC.

    Susan

    Would Israeli's be so understanding if the situation were reversed??

    Susan

    Give me a break Bozoer - you can not
    excuse this. Pathetic.

    Josh Scholar

    It's bothered me for a long time that news from the middle east is often very poor quality.

    It isn't unusual for someone in a country that doesn't have any protections for freedom of speech to be asked a question by a western reporter that they can't possibly answer safely - so they get a dishonest answer and don't put it in context that explains that the answer probably couldn't be freely given. They seem to be playing a role indistinguishable from the local yellow press.

    Worse, stories from Palestine and other less than free areas often seem to be fully propaganda, possible staged with misinformation or at least relevant information deliberately left out.

    This has bothered me for a long time. So I decided to try and see if I could do something about it.

    I bought the domain fakednews.net and installed wiki software. That's the same sort of software that wikipedia uses, where anyone can write an article, anyone can edit an article, and nothing is ever erased (so if someone defaces an article, you can bring it back).

    It's not my idea to get people to talk about media bias - I people will never agree on what's bias. But wikipedia has been very successful by trying to keep opinion out of their wiki.

    So the purpose of this wiki will be to document any claim that a news report was staged, misrepresented a fact, or (and here is where we dip into the subjective, slightly) left out a salient fact.

    Although my aim is to make the media less biased, I think we can accomplish more by having a much more limited scope - documenting actual misrepresentations of fact and avoiding all fights about what's biased and what isn't. If our media ever gets to the point where it's so good that it never tells outright lies or covers up facts then we'll be in much better shape than we are now.

    It may be a few days before the web site is working. The wiki software requires PHP 5 and my web host says that it will take up to three days to upgrade my server from PHP 4.

    This is a wiki so it will only succeed to the extent that there are people who use it. So feel free and get the word out. It will be open to everyone just like wikipedia.

    There's a placeholder article on my blog. I may update it by adding text from this comment.

    Maybe someone already has a wiki like this and I wasted the $15 it cost to set up this wiki at godaddy. If so, let me know. Either way I'm happy.

    Judy

    David and Boezer Rebbe-- I don't think there's any comparison between combatant adults writing messages on bombs and aircraft and this situation of children being encouraged to do so.

    And I think the west has moved on since World War II. It would now be unthinkable for there to be a popular wartime song like the great British wartime hit sung by Gracie Fields, "The Biggest Aspidistra in the World", which included the line "We're going to hang old Hitler from it".

    However, I also think there is no comparison between what was happening here with the children and the Hamas/Fatah etc practice of parading children dressed as suicide bombers/terrorist fighters, and having them scream slogans of the order of "death to Jews, death to Israel", or putting them on television to trot out stuff about the Jews being sons of pigs and monkeys etc. (Susan please note)

    Nick (South Africa)

    >Why were the children allowed to get near the shells anyway? Does the IDF have some responsibility there?<

    Exactly, 155 mm artillery shells are manufactured to extremely tight tolerances. Perfect concentricity being vital for accuracy, If I was the gunner officer, Id have thrown a fit if anyone wrote on the shells.

    ami

    joshua scholar: Your project sounds very worthwhile. Presumably you are familiar with second draft, which exposed the fake Mohamed Dura film (featured on Adloyada if I remember correctly). But that of course is not a wiki.
    http://www.seconddraft.org/history_pallywood.php

    Schnitzel

    I think there's all the difference in the world between wishing death on one's military foes (hey, that's the purpose of war) and wishing death on a civilian population or an entire people.

    Death to the IDF - Fine
    Death to Olmert - Fine
    Death to Nasrallah - Fine
    Death to Hezbollah - Fine

    Death to the Jews - Not fine
    Death to Israel - Not fine
    Death to the Muslims - Not fine
    Death to Lebanon - Not Fine

    Two other points:

    1) I've seen many pictures of Western armies in recent times writing messages on shells and missiles to their enemies - everywhere from the Falklands to Iraq.

    2) I don't know what Judy means by "moving on" as if somehow those people were primitive and we are far superior. On the contrary, I think the West is generally far more cowardly and less sure of itself. The curse of relativism has destroyed the West's backbone, and the average man is unable to differentiate between good and evil. I'm pretty sure though if people were being murdered throughout the world once again by a totally wicked regime and bombs were falling nightly on London, the British people would be promising in song to hang their enemies from very high trees.

    For the record: I wish death on Nasrallah and every single member of Hezbollah. And when their end comes, I hope it is extremely painful. On the other hand, I pray that as few Lebanese citizens die as possible in this conflict. The death of just one innocent civilian is a enormous tragedy that we should all sincerely mourn without any reference whatsoever to the victim's nationality or religion.

    Rick

    town of Kiryat Shmona

    That explains much - people in this town must be shell-shocked from all the incoming rockets over the years

    Rick

    I am listening to Gerald Kaufman on BBC Radio - he is tiresome and repetitivelt pompous. What is his problem ?

    dave

    That's a pretty pathetic explanation. Not only does it rest on incomplete hearsay, it doesn't actually detract from the sickening reality that Israeli kids have so little understanding of the horror these bombs are causing in Lebanon that they are writing 'cute' little messages on them.

    Schnitzel

    "What is his problem?"

    I've thought for years that he is suffering from some form of senile dementia.

    Schnitzel

    "it doesn't actually detract from the sickening reality that Israeli kids have so little understanding of the horror these bombs are causing in Lebanon that they are writing 'cute' little messages on them."

    There's dave, in all likelihood securely ensconced in the safety of his suburban semi, informing us that children who are facing the possibility of death daily have no understanding of the realities of war. Right.

    And what about your grandparents, dave, were they fully alive to the terrible genocides which Britain collaborated in at Dresden and Hiroshima? Did you rent your garments when those brave boys from the RAF blasted countless civilians to hell in illegal wars in Serbia and Iraq when Britain wasn't even under threat?

    And have you ever been concerned that the worst genocide in history occurred because Britain and the United States didn't give two hoots about the victims? Actually much worse that that: they did everything they possibly could to prevent the victims of that genocide from reaching safety.

    There is absolutely nothing that any gentile nation can teach Israel about the morality of war.

    Joanne

    Oops. I stand corrected. Thanks, Lisa.

    Still, I can't help seeing an aspect of exploitation here. Even if the parents were also clueless. I hate to say this, but Israelis should be very, very careful in dealing with the foreign media. I don't mean that they should be hostile all the time, just careful. Did these people think this European photographer was their friend?!

    FabioC.

    "There is absolutely nothing that any gentile nation can teach Israel about the morality of war."

    Historically, in war morality has often been quickly discarded for effectivness. I don't see what is the difference between Gentiles and Jews in this regard.

    Or are you one of those thinking that the Jews are "the most moral people in the world" and can look down upon Gentiles?

    Darrell

    Why wouldn't an Israeli child hate Hezbollah? What the hell difference does it make if this photo is staged or not?

    That it is in fact staged is nothing more than yet another example of media bias against Israel. What else is new? This picture is not the issue.

    Here's the issue: Israeli children hate Hezbollah and Hamas because of the latter's acts of terrorism and cruelty. Palestinian children hate Israelis because they're force-fed hatred of Israelis from birth. It doesn't occur -- it can't occur to them not to hate Israelis.

    If these Israeli kids were writing hate messages to Hezbollah on these shells, that would be OK with me. Hezbollah has worked hard to earn the hatred of Israeli children.

    They've also earned the hatred of the Arab children whose minds they poison. If those children should grow up and somehow come to realize that fact, peaceful coexistence will be possible. Not before.

    Shrewsbury

    Maybe some morally superior person can explain to me exactly what is so outrageous about writing little billet-doux on a shell intended for a terrorist who has attacked your home without provocation. Why do you expect Westerners to be ashamed when they defend themselves against murder?

    Dee

    I find it appalling that we have seen a non-stop parade of pictures of the children of terrorists carrying guns, AK-47's, bomb-belts, banners of hate-speech crying for death to Israel and not one peep from liberals or the msm. Not one disapproving word. Nada, zed, zilch.

    Then this picture crops up and everyone is on it like a flea on a dog. Then it turns out to be a staged inflammatory photo-op.

    Our family, our church and our friends support Israel's unconditional right to defend herself. Hopefully she will finish the job this time.

    Thank you for posting this story.

    Ldd

    Foreign media are not ever to be trusted, remember the Italian media team that stood by and filmed as their terrorist friends launched a missile at an Iraqi passenger plane, getting a strike?
    The plane landed despite the murdering terrorists and media's attempts to do otherwise.

    Please they've been in the 'let's make it bleed' business far far to long.


    Hope those markers are non-toxic.

    FabioC.

    Ldd,
    it was a French media team.

    An Italian journalist, however, got himself killed while hanging around with Palestinian fighters (good riddance).

    syn

    If there's a choice I rather see children drawing on bombs rather than wearing them.

    Homocide Baby that is pathetic.

    Dan Panorama

    This is kind of weird. I'm all for what Israel's doing in Lebanon, but I saw this picture first in the NY Post, probably the most pro-Israel newspaper in America. In their twisted mind this was supposed to inspire admiration for the Israelis. It seems to me that saying that this photo was used as some left-wing hammer seems to me a reaction to the right wing shame of publicizing it as admirable in the first place.

    Rhymes With Right

    I guess I'll note a significant difference.

    Israeli kids are writing on munitions.

    Palestinian kids are strapping on munitions.

    DANEgerus

    I found the pictures to be wonderful.

    Those that the Hisbullies target sign for their father's and brothers delivery of a little payback.

    "Because HisBullies shoot rockets at children, My Daddy is shooting this 155mm shell at you."

    harry

    This is so not a big deal. I've written on tank shells that have been launched at Hizbullah before we withdrew from Lebanon. It's a common practice in all armies of the world.

    Thrush

    I've never understood what the harm was about putting sarcastic messages on bombs. Soldiers putting graffiti on bombs is nothing new.

    What's new is the Politically Correct reaction to it all. The person you're firing this ordinance at won't see the message (unless it doesn't detonate). Clearly, if you're firing it at them, you're not wishing them well. But oh no, we're better than that. It might hurt their feelings if they see it. Can't have that, can we.

    john

    Geez, 200+ Lebonaese people are dead, and 12 Israeli's are dead. And everyone here is worried about whether some stupid kids are signing a missle? get a life. there may be more important issues - like how to get the israel's and hizbolla's to stop attacking civilians???

    Lorin

    I find it hard to believe the IDF just let these kids walk right up to LIVE ammunition and start writing on it! Propaganda or not, very unsafe.

    And I find it disheartening that some of posters poo-poo this as nothing when they would say horrible things if Palestinian children did the same. I sense I am not wrong on this one.

    Richard G. Combs

    "I find it hard to believe the IDF just let these kids walk right up to LIVE ammunition and start writing on it! Propaganda or not, very unsafe."
    -- Since you know nothing whatsoever about ordnance, perhaps you should just refrain from venturing an opinion.

    "...they would say horrible things if Palestinian children did the same."
    -- As countless others have pointed out, Islamists' kids routinely *wear* explosives instead of writing messages on them. You're either attempting to deceive or you're remarkably ignorant.

    "I sense I am not wrong on this one."
    -- I sense you're a hopeless idiotarian who's always scrupulously non-judgmental toward the Islamofascists (or anyone who's anti-Western), but aggressively critical of everything Israeli and American.

    Rick

    Soldiers putting graffiti on bombs is nothing new.

    True but free-fall bombs are different from howitzer shells in the way they are delivered and accuracy requires closer tolerances.

    Rick

    And what about your grandparents, dave, were they fully alive to the terrible genocides which Britain collaborated in at Dresden and Hiroshima?

    Very funny Schnitzel. It was obviously only a temporary "genocide" since Dresden is a fully functioning city - btw 30.000 died.......and Hiroshima seems tro be quite a busy commercial centre...............unlike say Carthage or Polish shtetl............

    Funnily enough, Hiroshima allowed Japan to avoid being partitioned like Germany with Stalin having his zone as in Korea. Dresden was not really so much worse than Hamburg or Cologne..............but it was not Britain that coined the phrase "Baedeker-Blitz" nor did it ask for den Totalkrieg as announced at the Sportpalast in Berlin.

    So if you could reeduce hyperbole you would look less ridiculous.

    fiacha

    I found the photos of the girls scribbling on the shells very emotional. The practice of writing on the bombs is old and does a number of things for the people doing it. It makes things a little less stressfull. That alone would be worth it to me a as a parent with children. The intent of the children was play, for good or bad they where playing with these bombs and making them less scary to them.

    The reporters are going to go for the strongest story they can and they and their editors are going to spin the story for their interests. I expect if there is enough of a stink about the pics they will get awards.

    Bomb handlers write on their bombs all the time ,not just air bombs but missles and shells. Thats why they are given wax chalk and markers. It allows the crews to put important info on timers, altitude detonation, load etc, on those bombs so a few cartoons and "love you" messages wont hurt the delivery of said shell. I have been there done that.

    For safety, the shells are as dangerous as any 25 or 50 pound chunk of metal, unless you want to spin the nose cone on some types, that could be messy. the soldiers where probably doing their jobs and didnt have time to hold hands with the reporters and the parents of the kids. The armoured vehicles and the press cars where more dangerous to the kids. Unless an incoming missle where to hit in the area, again things would get messy. Wars are dangerous, get over it.

    The power of the photos is in the viewer, I see a people getting on qith their lives. Others will see it as a symbol of hate, others will only see a child being put at risk.

    If it was me I would of been putting prayers of safety for the innocents in Lebonon that are being used as shields by hezbollah.
    "May this bomb strike true and only fell those who wish harm"
    or
    "If you can read this run"
    or
    "As G-d wills"

    Peace to those caught in the violence and death to those that preach hate.

    Fiacha

    Behemoth101

    I'm inclined to agree with Rick on this. Children behaving this way, even if instructed to do so by parents, constitutes a moral failure on the part of Israel.

    Behemoth101

    "Geez, 200+ Lebonaese people are dead, and 12 Israeli's are dead. And everyone here is worried about whether some stupid kids are signing a missle? get a life. there may be more important issues - like how to get the israel's and hizbolla's to stop attacking civilians???"

    -yeah, or get Israel to stop attacking civilians.

    Ted Sbardella

    As a parent and someone who hates rockets falling on my house I would alow my daughters and sons to doodle on high explosives while being photographed for psychological warfare purposes.

    Judy

    Behemoth101, it's astonishing that you can see this incident as constituting "a moral failure on the part of Israel".

    Israel isn't a totalitarian state.

    It does not instruct parents or organize children to do things like this. It does not lay claims to control the actions of individuals and families.

    What the children did here are no more reflective on the moral state of Israel than how your emails are reflective of the moral state of whatever country you live in.

    amortiser

    Behmoth01 said:

    "-yeah, or get Israel to stop attacking civilians".

    If the Israelis were deliberately targeting civilians, which Hezbollah do as a matter of course, there would be a far greater loss of life that the 200 ascribed. If the Israelis were intent on attacking the Lebonese civilian population the number of deaths would be astronomical given the fact that the Israelis have air superiority and the quality of their munitions.

    So why do you make the nonsensical claim that the Israelis should stop attacking civilians when it is patently obvious that they are not doing so?

    Hezbollah are secreting themselves amongst the civilian population as a matter of tactics, thus clearly putting civilians in peril. Are you suggesting that because they adopt this tactic that they become immune from attack from the Israelis while they continue to rain rockets on Israeli civilian populations?

    Your behavourial standards appear a little warped to say the least.

    Clyde

    I have no problem with this whatsoever. If that makes me a bloodthirsty warmonger, sue me.

    Mine would say, "Enjoy your 72 raisins, Nasrallah!"

    :-)

    Sulayman

    I guess neither side can claim they don't teach their children to hate.

    Karla

    I appreciate this post illustrating that old adage "believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see". Just the other day, my husband and I were watching FoxNews here in America reporting that the Iranian civilians were in support of something (the war against Israel? I can't remember the specifics.) and to "prove" their point they aired video of the black-garbed women placing a piece of paper in a 'voting-type of box' where an armed man stood. In the two videos I saw, there was only one woman placing the paper. There was not a crowd of people. And I couldn't help but comment to my husband "Now how do I know that that woman wasn't TOLD to do that... to walk up to this box and slip a "vote" in it? And why did I only see two women, each one at a separate voting box, supposedly? Where is the video showing the Iranian men who are in support?" Now I'm not saying that Iranians don't support the battle against Israel and would venture to think that they do considering their history. My point is in believing a picture as it is being interpretted for you. I believe very little of what I SEE in the news. One has to "read between the lines" often and not believe everything that is being FED to them.

    Thank you for this post and the story behind the picture.

    Christine

    I wonder if they were pictures of palestinian or lebanese children writing on rockets, would people be so quick to defend and justify their actions.

    Patryck

    Theres no proof without the photographers actual quote. "but asked me not to quote him"

    So I spoke with Shelly Paz, a Yedioth Ahronoth reporter who was also at the scene and agreed immediately to go on record. She was quite shocked to learn how badly the photo had been misinterpreted and misrepresented; and she told me the same story Sebastian did, but with more details and nuance.

    That is something that can only be confirmed by the Photographer who took the pictures. Evidence to back this up would be nice.

    Line

    "the kids are low class, not educated, have never met a
    Lebanese, just want to live their lives, don't understand why Lebanon
    attacked their home, etc."

    How is the above an excuse? How does it remove guilt from the supposedly not educated parents? Are the members of Hamas and/or Hizbollah, whose children paraded clad in suicide-bombers outfits well educated people? Have their lives been disrupted by bombs? Are they terrified of the war? I doubt very much that either side of the conflict is thrilled with the prospect of war - with the obvius exceptions of the actual aggressors.

    Tom

    This is really about militarisation of societies. Israel is a heavily militarised society where organised and lethal violence is a systematic part of its culture.

    The US has many remnants of a militarised culture (what's the most respected public institution in the US?), whereas the Europeans have turned away from their military histories, mainly because of the two world wars.

    One is not necessarily better than the other (there are bad wars and bad times to avoid wars) but it does help explain the different reactions to situations.

    Slippy

    Tom,

    "Israel is a heavily militarised society where organised and lethal violence is a systematic part of its culture."

    Yes - what Nazis they are. Surely its neighbours' attempts and threats to wipe it off the map have contributed in some way to this "militarism"?

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