Good reading, especially on a slow news day. The crux of HRW’s argument is that certain types of low-yield missiles could have caused the damage seen in photos of the ambulances; the crux of the rebuttal is that no, in fact, they couldn’t. A non-explosive projectile could have, perhaps, but if that’s what happened here then what caused the smaller, shrapnel-esque holes in the ambulances’ roofs?
Lots more at the link, including analysis of the blast damage to the pavement and injuries to the workers. Plus this point towards the end:
One thing everyone can agree on: Human Rights Watch is to be commended for revisting the scene and attempting to verify some of the evidence, however successful they were in doing so. Their resulting report has had an interesting if unintended side effect: it contradicts many of the details reported by the world’s leading media outlets. If one is to accept the HRW report at face value, then one is forced to concede how egregiously erroneous, incomplete and deceptive most previous media reports were. Refer to the summary of media reports at the beginning of my original ambulance essay to see how the Associated Press, Time Magazine, the Guardian, the Boston Globe, ITV News and many others got the facts of the case wrong.
This incident was a preview of Jamilgate, wasn’t it? The media asserted that an atrocity occurred; bloggers demanded better evidence; new evidence was offered (HRW’s report, the AP’s second story on the burning six); bloggers found logical inconsistencies in the new evidence. I’ve reached the point where, when one of these blogstorms kicks up, I half-hope the media will produce the smoking gun that proves them right, just so we can have a little faith that they’re covering sensational incidents with due diligence.
Which isn’t to say that conditions in Iraq aren’t awful or that they’re the media’s fault. I know you all know that, but Boehlert might be reading and he has trouble with these very fine distinctions. I like to help him along when I can.
Anyway, one last point about the alleged ambulance attack. Zombie makes the shrewd point that if Israel really had crossed the moral rubicon and decided to bomb two ambulances just for the murderous fun of it, why would they use a low-yield, non-explosive missile? Why not just torch that sucker? (Possible answer: because low-yield, non-explosive missiles were the only munitions the drone was armed with, assuming that it was a drone that attacked.) But that logic applies if the incident was staged, too. If the Lebanese paramedics or Hezbollah or whoever had made up their mind to fake an attack on the Red Cross at Qana, of all places, why not torch one or both of the ambulances and make it really spectacular? Hezbollah would have paid for a new one. There’s no shortage of dirty mullah money to be had.