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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Who avoids civilian casualties... and who doesn't?

The picture above is from an attack on civilians in Aleppo, Syria, by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is indifferent to attacks on civilians. Compare that to Israel, which uses its drone technology to minimize civilian casualties.
‘Major G,' the chief instructing officer of the Israeli UAV (Drone) School, spoke exclusively to Foxnews.com on condition of anonymity about Israel’s hi-tech drone capabilities, his military’s terms of engaging the enemy, and aspects of his direct role in the recent Gaza conflict in which Israel strongly contends most non-combatant deaths were as a result of Palestinian civilians being routinely used as human shields by Hamas.
“Drones (UAVs – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), play a very important and essential role in the protection of the State of Israel,” ‘Major G’ explained. “The great advantage of the drone is the ability to stay in the air for up to 40 hours at a time above the relevant area to perform ISR missions - Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.”
Once a drone identifies a target, its operator is then responsible for setting in motion a sometimes dizzyingly fast chain of events that may result in a missile strike taking place.
“Using commercial apertures and video cameras, we have the ability to work with both daytime and night time infrared images. My Heron1 drone does only ISR, but I have the ability to designate a target to another aircraft. This capability is very important because I am able to stay above and investigate the target for a long time, clear it of uninvolved civilians, and only when there is a clear path of fire do I call for the F16 or Apache helicopter,” said ‘Major G.’
Critics of Israel’s actions invariably suggest a lack of concern about collateral damage when air strikes are used, but ‘Major G’ revealed  in detail how a drone operator sitting somewhere in Israel can clear a target on the ground in Gaza of innocent civilians.
“In a lot of cases we have regular houses where in the basement there is a lot of ammunition, bombs and missiles. The house is populated sometimes with the families having willingly cooperated with the Hamas, and in other cases they don’t have any choice; Hamas forces this on them. In cases where there are people inside a house or building we never strike the target without prior warning. We make phone calls, send leaflet flier warnings, and sometimes use a technique called ‘Knock On the Roof,’ where we fire very, very small, very precise tiny bombs onto the edge of the roof and then they (the family) know that the attack is about to begin and everybody can go outside.”

...

“Since the Second Lebanon War, we have developed a new technique called TCT; Time Critical Targets, targets that have a very short lifespan, 'Major G' said. "We (drones) find them, gather enough intelligence to confirm that this is actually a terrorist, then call for another aircraft to perform the attack.”
The Jabari case was one example of the TCT policy, and ‘Major G’ gave a very rare insight into another. “As another example from the latest Pillar of Defense operation in Gaza, we had intelligence that told us that Hamas terrorists were about to launch missiles. We scanned the area and then saw two people running away right after the launch. A basement (trap) door had closed behind them and nothing was left to be seen (of the missile launch site). This was very complicated because I didn’t know if the people running away actually performed the launch, so we turned immediately to other people who were able to check this out with verified intelligence to confirm that these were indeed the suspects. We called the helicopter and he performed the attack. All this process took less than a minute.”
Compare that with the manner in which President Obama's Best Friend Forever - Recep Tayyip Erdogan - avoids civilian casualties targets civilians (Hat Tip: MFS - The Other News).
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the Air Force to strike 34 people in Uludere last year based on intelligence that there was a high-profile militant among the group, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said today.
“It was said that there was a high-profile PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] member among [the group], but information about other civilians was also given to the prime minister,” Demirtaş said during protests in the southeastern district on the incident’s first anniversary, daily Radikal has reported.
Demirtaş also said then-District Gov. Naif Yavuz had claimed the evidence pointing to those responsible seemed fairly obvious in the matter but that the official was banished to western Turkey after the incident.
The Chief of General Staff was also informed about the raid, the BDP co-chair added.
Some 34 civilian Kurdish villagers were killed in the air strike on Dec. 28, 2011, when they were allegedly mistaken for PKK militants as they were smuggling oil from northern Iraq into Turkey.
Israel would never have gone after one target - even if the target had been there - if there were 33 civilians around. It would particularly never have done so without giving any warnings.
An official says thousands are protesting the government on the first anniversary of a botched Turkish military air strike aimed at suspected members of outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party that instead killed 34 civilians, The Associated Press reported.

Protesters are denouncing the government’s failure to keep a promise to investigate the incident and hold those responsible to account for the attack that struck a group of smugglers - most of them youngsters - who were crossing the border into Turkey from Iraq with mules.
And that, my friends, is the difference between a civilized nation and Islamist terrorists. 

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