Thursday, April 27, 2006

Is Killing Civilians OK?

In my opinion killing civilians is wrong, regardless of if the LTTE does it or the Army does it.

But I think it's more wrong for the Army to kill civilians than it is for the LTTE to kill civilians.


The LTTE


The LTTE are terrorists who have stated that they are the sole representatives of the Tamil people. And their goal is a Tamil homeland they plan on calling Eelam. They will work to that end and they will kill civilians because they are terrorists. No stupid blogger complaining about it is going to make the LTTE see what's wrong with killing a few civilians. As long as they continue to be a terrorist outfit with a political wing controlled by a military wing, they will do whatever they have to do to get to their goals. As the Sri Lankan military has at great cost demonstrated that it is incapable of defeating the LTTE in the battlefield, the only remaining option is to push forward with the peace process and force the LTTE to mutate into a political organisation, with military support.

Statistically, the attack on the Bandaranayake International Airport in 2001 showed a change in LTTE policy towards indiscriminately killing civilians. Sinhala Racist websites have the number of civilians killed by the LTTE. Study them. The BIA attack, while being the most damaging to the country overall, did not result in the death of a single civilian. While they have not gone out of their way to keep civilians from being in killed in crossfires in the North and East, they have changed their image. They have consistently attacked military, political and economic targets, and kept civilian deaths to a figure much lower previously. Even in the attack on the Army Commander, this is visible. The most heinous attack on civilians by the LTTE since this shift was the killing of six farmers in Gomarankadawala last week.

So... Sittingnut, Indi, Janapathi, and other bloggers (and attachments like Sophist) who complain about the LTTE killing civilians really need to stop just bitching, and start offering solutions. It's easy to bitch and the call the LTTE cold blooded civilian-killers. It's a lot harder to really apply your mind to it and think of what can be done (I would not suggest this for Janapathi, as 'thinking' may overload his single lonely braincell).


The Sri Lankan military

Quite a few people are amazed by how they Army is showing restraint in the face of LTTE provocation. Am I missing something? Isn't that what they're supposed to do?

Or wait... we're so used to the Army going on rampage and killing civilians and setting fire to houses and shops at the slightest provocation, that when they don't do that, we're amazed and feel a need to congratulate them. When random violence on the part of the becomes the norm, as it has in Sri Lanka over the past decade, then I guess they really do need to be congratulated for the present 'restraint'.

But the Army, (later joined by their proxy the Karuna Faction), have been carrying out strikes against the LTTE for the entire duration of the ceasefire agreement too. From the assassination of Kaushalyan, to the cold blooded murder of Joeseph Pararajasngham, the Army has been dishing out to the LTTE as much as it's been getting. Nimalarajan and Sivaram and the other journalists killed by the government forces were civilians. The refugees burnt to death in the camps by the Navy were civilians. The SLA in Jaffna killed several civiliand who the 'suspected' were LTTE messengers. And now they have been bombing known civilian targets in Trinco. These are just recent examples.

Now some people think the murder of civilians by the Army is equal to the killing of civilians by the LTTE. Wrong! The killing of civilians by the Army is much much more of a terrorist act. The Army is called the Sri Lanka Army for a reason. It is supposed to protect Sri Lanka. But it no longer protects Sri Lanka, it protects the Government, frequently at the expense of the people. When the Army begins killing the very people that it is pledged to protect, and calls it collateral damage, then there has to be a serious flaw in the system.

To say that the military doesn't kill civilians is plain stupid, and indicates ignorance. Just because you donh't read about it in the newspapers in Colombo or see it on the TV, that doesn't mean the military hasn't been killing civilians in the North and East.

And a little bit of history...

There's a lot of info on the number of civilians killed by the LTTE on any one of the racist Sinhala websites. For someone who wants to count, and weigh one figure against the other, I suggest you also include the number of Sinhala civilians killed by the Army in 88-89. As you may realise when digging into the Army's role in quelling the JVP insurrection, it has no qualms about killing civilians.


And my point is...

Killing civilians is wrong, and it must end. Using your enemies disregard for civilian lives as a license to kill civilians is not only dangerous but also moronic. The LTTE kills civilians because they are an terrorist unit. When the Sri Lankn military also kills civilians it becomes a terrorist unit, protecting a terrorist state.

Comments:
 
By your reasoning then the Allied army in WWII was a terrorist army. Fire bombing Dresden was a sure way to kill civilians, yet they did it out of neccessity. Civilians die in war, it is unavoidable. The truth about it should never be hidden.

And I personally value human life so think it is equally wrong for the LTTE or the Army to kill civilians.
 
well said mr morquendi. thank you!
 
I've had German friends since I was born (yep their parents were in WW2) - you have no idea what happened in Dresden, just as you have no idea what happened in Jaffna, Trinco or anywhere beyond the front of your nose.

Civilans do die in war - but the Army & the Police, the so called PROTECTOR of CITZENS - AIN'T supposed to be the ARSEHOLES doing the KILLING

Grow up child of 25 -

All sides comitt atrocities in war, it does NOT justify it.

Why are you all so stupid? Actually I know you're not stupid, you're justifying these acts because you don't care if the people killed are Tamil.

Simple - sorry - I'm the stupid one here.
 
Quite a few people are amazed by how they Army is showing restraint in the face of LTTE provocation. Am I missing something? Isn't that what they're supposed to do?

-An army is not supposed to show restraint when attacked by an enemy, they're supposed to retaliate against the enemy. But this is not a classical wartime situation, at least technically. The usual terms of a ceasefire are that both sides cease fire, not we cease you fire. The LTTE however seems to have mis-read this agreement and have continually attacked the army using landmines etc. The army is NOT supposed to exercise restraint when attacked like this, but they have done so in an attempt to honour the agreement that they are part of. This has gone on for several months, and i'm sure it is quite testing on the patience when random buggers start shooting at you and blowing things up under your feet.

You might say hey it's they're job, they're paid 17grand a month to do this, be professional! Well, it's difficult to compare a job in the army with our jobs (assuming you're not in the army, and I suspect that you are not), the levels of stress are significantly different, and I also suspect the training they receive is more physical than psychological. And a good part of the infantry is made up of rural youth who are struggling to find employment, rather than super-patriotic die for ze mozerland types.

Under these circumstances it takes a very special effort to tolerate this sort of nonsense. The fact that the military has not conducted significant operations against LTTE positions since December is very commendable in this light. This entire comment has been about military vs military confrontation, civillian killings for the sake of it are inexcusable regardless of the party committing it. But as childof25 said, during war civillian deaths are inevitable due to crossfire, that again is not justifiable but is simply a reality.

That was a lot of dribble. My apologies.
 
This is a highly asymmetrical war, not because the army made it so.

It is because the other side decided that targetting civilians to scare the hell out everyone is the way to get their demands. It is very easy to say that army should not be full of it, but armies like you point out are people too. They get scared and loose it as much as the other side.

You can't keep pushing an army to do what it is not designed to do, respond to non specific threats. Army is designed to follow orders and distinguish between civilians and enemy.

Terrorists screw that up intentionally by blurring that boundary. Terrorists use civilians to protect themselves. This is the reality. If there are any losses because civilians are deliberately caught in the fight, fault is as much of the type of war as much as the army itself. To pretend to be naive about that is not acceptable.

To hear you take the high ground against the civiian losses is to hear hypocracy refined and packaged to fit an agenda. I hope you know it.

If you want to blame the state for doing its duty then you should at least make the effort understand that is exactly what the terrorists are banking on to pressure their enemy when they overtly and covertly use civilians.

Of course you can label this as chauvinism, but what you are doing is no less irresponsible.
 
Great post. you hit the nail on the head. We certainly expect better discipline and behaviour from the army. SLA hardly makes an effort to distinguish itself from terrorists.
 
Tamil Suicide Bomber Was Pregnant

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Apr. 28, 2006

(AP) The Tamil suicide bomber who targeted Sri Lanka's top general used her pregnancy to meticulously plan the attack, an investigator said. Officials previously said the bomber had only pretended to be pregnant, but the investigator said hospital records showed she actually was.

Her attack Tuesday killed 11 people and wounded army commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka and 25 others. It unleashed fighting between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels that has posed the most serious threat yet to a four-year cease fire.

The military launched two days of air strikes against the rebels on Tuesday and Wednesday in apparent retaliation for the suicide bombing. The rebels say the strikes killed 12 and sent thousands fleeing their homes.

The bomber identified as 21-year-old Anoja Kugenthirasah used her pregnancy to conceal explosives and get inside a maternity clinic in the army's heavily fortified headquarters where she attacked the commander, said the investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The woman is believed to have been a member of the dreaded Black Tigers suicide squad.

Fonseka, a battle-hardened soldier with 35 years in the infantry, was appointed to the military's top post after President Mahinda Rajapakse took office in November. He became a formidable enemy of the Tamil Tigers.

The investigator said Kugenthirasah had fake identification showing she was the wife of a clerk working for the Sri Lankan army and indicating she was pregnant.

Every Tuesday, the military hospital inside army headquarters in the capital Colombo holds a maternity clinic, and Kugenthirasah had visited three times, getting to know the guards and learning Fonseka's routine, the investigator said. The general went home for lunch around 1:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, Kugenthirasah arrived a half-hour ahead of the clinic opening and stood in front of the hospital, which is beside the road that Fonseka took when he left the headquarters.

As the general's car approached, she moved closer. One of Fonseka's motorcycle escorts shouted at her to get away, but she detonated the bomb shortly afterward. Five of Fonseka's escorts were among those killed in the blast.

Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said he was aware of the initial findings of the bombing investigation but declined to comment until it was over.

The Black Tigers are renowned for their skill at suicide bombings against military, government and civilian targets. Victims have included former Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The Tiger rebels have fought the government since 1983 to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese-dominated state of discrimination.

On Dec. 4, the Tigers carried out the first major attack since the 2002 cease-fire, killing 12 navy sailors. Dozens of rebel attacks followed.

Sri Lanka's military at first exercised restraint, but Fonseka urged retaliation and the military began to return fire when attacked.

In a sign that tensions may be easing, however, the military said Thursday it would halt airstrikes if the insurgents stopped their attacks. On Friday, the government reopened roads linking rebel-held territory with government-controlled areas.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said between 7,000 and 8,000 people were displaced in the recent air force bombing of rebel bases. The agency asked for immediate access to affected villages.

"The loss of life, the new displacement of families, the destruction to businesses and property, as well as threats to humanitarian workers, are creating a climate of fear and tension for civilians," Jan Egeland, the U.N.'s Emergency Relief Coordinator, said in a statement, calling on both sides to "to ensure full protection of civilians."

Norwegian mediators said Friday the Sri Lanka government and Tamil rebels have agreed to meet for peace talks in Geneva, but no date has been set. The two sides had been set to meet in the Swiss city earlier this week, but the rebels backed out, citing attacks on Tamil civilians and other disputes.

"Both parties have in principle agreed to a Geneva meeting" as soon as possible, Norway's International Development Minister Erik Solheim said.

The European Union, the United States, Norway and Japan are co-chairs of the peace process.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?