The UN’s humanitarian chief, one Jan Egeland, is apparently both a general and a pope. He not only, as an expert on humanitarian affairs, knows good war strategy from bad, but also moral war strategies from immoral ones:
The United Nations on Wednesday described as “shocking and immoral” the fact that Israel dropped well over 90 per cent of its cluster munitions in Lebanon during the last three days of the conflict – when it was already clear there would be a cessation of hostilities.
Jan Egeland, UN humanitarian chief, made his comments just hours after Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, left Israel after talks with Ehud Olmert, prime minister, and other government members. The UN said Mr Annan had asked Israel to provide a map of where cluster weapons were used but did not raise Mr Egeland’s concerns because he was unaware of the details during his Jerusalem visit.
I did a word search on the article quoting Egeland. “Iran”–not there. “Syria”–not there. “Terrorist”–not there. “Katyusha”–not there. The article only mentions “Hizbullah” one time. Didn’t they start the war in the first place?
Now, it’s possible that Egeland mentioned all those things, but it seems reasonable that they would have shown up somewhere in the article if he had. Nevertheless, before and after the cease-fire the UN hasn’t had word one to say about Iran’s sponsorship of the terrorists who attacked Israel or the fact that Hezbollah’s entire strategy was predicated on attacking civilians with untargetable, unguided rockets raining down on cities and towns. Or the kidnappings that triggered the war in the first place.
What Egeland, speaking for the UN, does condemn is Israel’s effort to inflict as much damage as possible as the war wound down. Which, if you spend two nanoseconds thinking about it, makes perfect sense from an Israeli point of view. The Israelis had no doubt identified many targets during the course of the fighting that they had not known of before. Once pressure built for the cease-fire and it was clear that even the US was caving, the IDF had to get to as many targets as possible before the blue helmets made them harder to strike, if not impossible. Ultimately, the Israelis knew that the cease-fire would help Hezbollah survive. So it was best to hit it as hard as possible before the clock ran out. Cluster munitions are one way to ensure that you do a lot of damage, at a high rate of speed.
Or has Mr. Egeland never watched a sports game in his entire, useless life? It’s called the hurry-up offense. Roger Staubach and John Elway are names Egeland might want to become familiar with.
It seems that in Egeland’s obviously brilliant mind, Israel’s sensible hurry-up attack as the ceasefire loomed was itself a crime, while true terrorism sponsored by Iran isn’t. And that should tell you all you need to know about the mental and moral wattage operating the UN these days.