15 thoughts on “Haaretz Article on Drone Assassinations, Based on Publicly-Accessible Report, Censored by IDF – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Quite ironic, all the more so given that the censor and military press office are staffed with the same people (there is quite a bit of back and forth between the two units – esp. at the top – there are, after all, only a limited amount of positions suitable for a press flunky in the military).

  2. That drones are used for assassinations is about as big a revelation as hearing that Lincoln was killed. The censorship is stupid. Its really hard to understand why they try to censor this information, these are not actually dumb people.
    I guess it’s like the Israeli nuke denial, which has really just become a joke
    Not only corrupt regimes use drones for this purpose. As you know, this has been a huge part of the the Obama doctrine in Pakistan, Afghanistan and ISIS.
    So now that you’ve told the world, the sky hasn’t fallen…

  3. I have no problem with Israel using drones to kill terrorists. If used properly a drone attack should cause far less collateral damage than say, targeted bombings, not to mention launching rockets.

    What I do have a problem with is cold-blooded murder. As bad as the killing of that Arab kid in Hebron was, what’s worse is that 2/3 of Israelis are angry at the IDF for prosecuting this Kahanist killer. My father served in the JAG at the end of and immediately after the end of WWII and prosecuted US soldiers who committed war crimes. There weren’t many but there were some, and my dad, who wasn’t yet my father, helped send them to long terms in the brig or stockade.

    We don’t always agree, but I admire your beitzim in exposing unnecessary censorship. I’m glad you’re doing it.

    1. @ Dan Silagi: This is false. Drones cause just as much collateral damage as any other form of aerial slaughter. 3,000 civilians having nothing to do with terror have been murdered by U.S. drones. We don’t know how many civilians Israeli drones have killed because of this blasted censorship regime.

  4. It fits into the heroical self description of the Israeli army that its periodical slaughter in Gaza is described as “war” – a word that suggests the struggle of equivalent forces exposing themselves to equal risks rather than the colonial exploitation of superior armament and technology (“Whatever happens, we have got, the Maxim gun, and they have not” wrote Hilaire Belloc at the end of the nineteenth century).

    A fact that doesn’t fit into that description is the wiping out of whole batches of people through pushing a button somewhere at a safe distance. I can only surmise that at the bottom of this censor’s activity in this case is a hasbarist attempt to prevent this quite unheroic fact from getting more widely known.It has of course little to do with a militarily vital secret because, as Richard points out, all the relevant parties are already well aware of it.

    Yet it is good that it has been put on record here again. We can refer to it if alluding to it incurs the accusation of “blood libel”, a term that Oren recently saw fit to use when he condemned Bernie Sanders’ comments on what happened in Gaza. Incidentally, the choice of that particular word and his further claims on this occasion have confirmed my long standing impression that he is a partisan fool occasionally posing as a historian.

    1. @ Arie Brand: Those on the Israeli far right who abuse terms like “blood libel” not only are ignramuses when it comes to Jewish history (do you want to know what a real blood libel was & led to???) but they abuse our suffering and history for partisan political advantage. This is no different than those who abuse the Holocaust (often the same people) for the benefit of their own organizational (take that, ADL!) or political interests.

  5. Every innocent who is killed is a tragedy,
    However, without arguing specific numbers for different conflicts, the civilian casualty ratio has been in a consistent decline where drone strikes provide a relatively favorable outcome in comparison to most other methods.


    Ala the work of Pinker and others who have shown, that violence in general has declined over time.
    Israel’s outcomes in this regard fall somewhere in the average range by western standards, The exact numbers depend on how you count.
    Not exactly something to brag about, but its a reality of armed conflict.

    1. @ Yehuda:

      Every innocent who is killed is a tragedy,

      This is straight out of the Frank Luntz hasbara handbook: always begin with a sentence that acknowledges you feel your opponent’s pain. That way your condesenscion will be more acceptable when you launch into your attack on their logic.

      I don’t trust Wikipedia as an authority on a subject as complicated as the relative number of civilian deaths from drone strikes. I just went to read the article you cited and now I now why I don’t trust it regarding this particular subject. First, the article is marked as “Disputed.” You didn’t bother to mention that. I wonder why. And it’s disputed for good reason. It only covers three recent Israel wars and does not incorporate the entire period from when Israel began regular attacks on Palestinian targets. Second, the article cites four “sources” on the subject. Two write for Jerusalem Post and the others are Richard Kemp & Alan Dershowitz: all far-right pro-Israel sources. Nor does the article say anywhere that Israel’s level of killing civilians is “about average.” You made that up.

      Nor does the article specifically deal with drone killings, which was the subject of my post. So once again, you’re rambling off topic.

      I, on the other hand, read the major study on this subject published last year saying that 3,000 civilians have been killed by U.S. drones. That is a credible source.

      Ala the work of Pinker and others

      When you quote an alleged authority don’t just quote a name. A name means nothing. Offer a link to a source, and a credible one only. I have no idea what “violence has declined over time means.” Israeli violence? Drone violence? I think you mean that the level of murder of civilians has lessened over time. Which is true. But do you really want to argue that Israel’s useless war against Gaza in which the murder ratio was 700 alleged militants to 1,500 civilians is something commendable?? I actually call it something else: a war crime. So your argument is only tenable if you concede that Israel’s attacks on Palestine are legitimate, and they aren’t. At all.

      As for Israel’s “outcome” (by outcome you mean how many civilians Israel has murdered?) being “average” (again I have no idea what this means & how you prove it)…no western nation has been fighting a 60 year war with any neighbor so saying the violence is average is ridiculous.

      Not exactly something to brag about

      The only thing true in your entire comment.

      I warn you that I find your comment and argument thoroughly distasteful, not to mention that it was off-topic. I strongly urge you to move on. I promise if you continue along this line in further comments here my patience will grown even thinner.

  6. @Richard “read the major study on this subject published last year saying that 3,000 civilians have been killed by U.S. drones”

    Assuming the number is correct, do you know what ratio that represents, and across how many attacks? An absolute number says nothing. Like saying 1000 people died of the flu. Over what time, as a proportion of how many people at risk, and as a ratio to combatants.

    I didn’t specify about Steve Pinker because the book is a tome, (I read it in its entirety.)
    “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined ”
    Here is a video lecture, of the book by the same name

    Basically on average across the world, a person is far less likely to die at the hands of another human than in the past, and its continuing to decline. You can’t use absolute numbers, only proportions. And drones are part of that trend.

  7. @Elizabeth– Well, do you hate?
    Your disgust aside, would you prefer than American (I won’t even ask about Israeli) soldiers would be having their own legs blown off in the course of combat with militants? I understand that the description of blood and gore, and the possibility of innocent casualties, makes you and some other people queasy,, but, fortunately, the officials appointed to make such decisions don’t share your weak stomach and disgust for fighting America’s enemies.
    Besides, drones DECREASE collateral damage, and military casualties, in comparison to other methods.

    I hope that this comment area isn’t a self-declared “safe space” in which open discussion of such uncomfortable topics is censored. Even if you are “disgusted” by Israel, or me, or my opinions, or , god forbid, if somebody is offended.

    1. @ Yehuda: Frankly yes, I would prefer the U.S. not have drones in its military arsenal. That would force us to make the hard decision to invest our own soldiers’ lives in a conflict. It would also drastically reduce the number of conflicts we would enter. That’s a good thing considering the extraordinary level of hate drone murders generate among targeted nations.

      Drones kill thousands of innocent civilians. A strike last week in Afghanistan killed 17 civilians, including a local leader who was anti-Taliban. Please tell the surviving family numbers how “clean” and tidy drone kills are. Oh that’s right, you don’t five a crap about victims who aren’t your ethnicity, religion or color (take your pick). You only want to spare Israeli Jewish & American blood. Quite racist of you, methinks.

  8. “Oh that’s right, you don’t five a crap about victims who aren’t your ethnicity, religion or color”

    I assume you are being rhetorical, otherwise I would take offense at your false accusation.

    “Quite racist of you, methinks.”

    No, Richard, there is something called national loyalty. There’s a huge difference between discriminating against somebody for no reason other than his race, as opposed to valuing the lives or liberties of your own nationality (whatever their race!!) over others, with whom you are involved in conflict. Isn’t that why wars are fought in the first place? Isn’t that why different countries even exist?

    Regarding your claim about drones, since I don’t really have the hard facts to give you, I will make only a modest claim. Humans have been fighting wars since the beginning of history. Past wars as you know have been as bloody or far more than current US or Israeli wars. Combat drones have only been around for about 30 years. Their absence prior to that did not stop bloody wars from happening, including the killing of many civilians, using “low-tech” warfare. .

    1. You value the lives or liberties of your own nationality (whatever their race, blahblah) over others, with whom you are in conflict without taking into account whether your ‘nationality’ is right in what they are doing.
      Without taking into account whether what your ‘nationality’ is doing to others is actually the cause of the conflict.
      You have no morality whatsoever and you just keep yapping, endlessily trying to pander your tribal filth here.

      If these are the values that should make people rally to the cause of your ‘nationality’, your only allies will soon be the drags of humanity. Keep up the good work tribesman!

      1. @Elizabeth- what about American nationalism? Richard and I were discussing the principle of using drones. Your hateful disgust for me or my nation is not the topic here, although it is probably good that you exposed yourself. I can only imagine how quickly Richard would ban me for using your disrespectful and insulting language. But it’s too bad that you don’t seem to be able to tolerate a civil conversation without devolving into emotions and name calling.

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