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8,000 Israeli Troops into Lebanon August 2, 2006

Posted by earthlingconcerned in United Nations.
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After waking up this morning to the news that 8,000 Israeli troops have entered Lebanon in a massive new ground attack, I realized things were definitely going to get a lot worse long before they get better. This was followed by Hezbollah responding by firing 190 rockets into Northern Israel (including their furthest strike yet, hitting the southern Israeli town of Belt Shean). Is this a sign of the end of the world as predicted by evangelical Christians and, well, extremists on all sides? The answer to this question is no. However, there will be several new casualties within the region based on these new developments. Israeli officials have stated that they will take this force as far as Litani (18 km into Lebanon) and that they will hold the ground until a thoroughly complex international community comes in as a force of intervention. It looks like Israel is finally doing the right thing and opening the doors to diplomacy right? Possibly, it may also be a means to displace blame to the international community that is rather hesitant of sending troops in considering recent UN casualties. I would like to quote yet another passage from Shake Hands with the Devil in regards to his impassioned opinion on how some use the UN:

Member nations do not want a large, reputable, strong and independent United Nations, no matter their hypocritical pronouncements otherwise. What they want is a weak, beholden, indebted scapegoat of an organization, which they can blame for their failures or steal victories from. -Shake Hands with the Devil (Romeo Dallaire)

Israel and Lebanon can barely be compared to his situation in Rwanda in most cases but I would still say that a death is a death, wherever it is. Regardless of the economic importance of the region. Your life is just a important as the 52-year-old Israeli-American who was killed at the entrance to his home in Kibbutz Sa’ar near the town of Naharia during the rocket barrage into Israel earlier today. I’ve done a quick search of casualties in some major conflicts in the last hundred years and come up with these numbers:

(if no source provided, source is Wikipedia)

2006 Israel-Lebanese Conflict: (Source)

  • 540 Lebanese (468 civilians, 26 Lebanese soldiers, 46 Hezbollah guerillas) (Lebanese Health minister says the civilian casualties is probably upwards around 750)
  • 55 Israeli (36 soldiers, 20 civilians)

1982 Lebanon War:

  • 9800 Amal/Hezbollah/PLO/Syrian killed
  • 675 Israeli killed

Current Iraqi Conflict:

  • 30,000 Iraqi military during Saddam-era (U.S. General Tommy Franks Estimate)
  • 6837 Insurgents (post Saddam-era)
  • 2810 Coalition
  • 39702 – 44191 Civilians

First Gulf War:

  • UN Coaltion: 345 killed
  • Iraqi: 25,000 – 100,000 killed

United States invasion of Afghanistan (2001):

  • 412 Coalition forces
  • Alqaeda, Taliban, civilian: unknown (Wikipedia)

Indo-Pakistani War (1971):

  • 1426 Indian killed
  • 20,000 Pakistani killed

Vietnam War:

  • 23,000 South Vietnamese soldiers killed
  • 58,209 US killed, 500 Australian, 5000 South Korean
  • 1,000,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, 1,100 Chinese
  • 2,000,000 to 4,000,000 total Vietnamese civilians

World War II:

Allies:

  • Military: 17,000,000
  • Civillian: 33,000,000
  • Total: 50,000,000

Axis

  • Military: 8,000,000
  • Civilian: 4,000,000
  • Total: 12,000,000

World War I:

  • 5,000,000 Allied
  • 4,000,000 Central Powers

What does all of this mean? How do these compare? How do they relate? I’m not totally sure. It may mean that nothing ever changes, the current middle eastern conflicts (all of them) are relatively minor compared to some that have taken place, and there is no definite relation to all of them. Although, the book Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World would argue otherwise (and I would tend to agree, but don’t feel like getting that involved in this current entry). Is ignorance bliss?

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