July 31, 2006

Qana : So Far, More Questions Than Answers

Everyone seems to be condemning the carnage at Qana, but no one seems to have succeeded in putting together a full explanation for exactly what happened. Viewed with only a few facts in mind, the story makes a certain amount of sense. The IDF hit a building with a bomb. After the bomb hit the building, the building collapsed. After the building collpsed, dead bodies were found in the rubble. Given the above facts, one might presume that the bomb caused the building to collapse and the collapse of the building killed the people. As we learn more facts, however, it appears that the story may not be quite so cut-and-dried.

From the facts as they presently appear, the building in Qana was hit by an IAF air strike sometime between midnight and 1:00 am, and collapsed sometime between midnight and 8:00 am. Hizb'Allah claims the building collapsed immediately after it was hit. The IDF claims they have evidence the building didn't collapse until approximately 8:00 am. The IDF's reputation for veracity is about 1,000 time higher than Hizb'Allah's, so I'm going to give the IDF the benefit of the doubt on this one.

The building's collapse resulted at least partly from combination of the air strike and the passage of time. There's a possibility that something else happened to the building eight hours later. If the building collapsed as a result of only the air strike and the passage of time, we can expect the building would've shown visible signs of significant structural damage after the air strike and before its collapse. If this is true, it's hard to believe anyone could consider the building a safe place to be hanging out after receiving a bomb hit sufficient to bring it down. Perhaps a structural engineer could address whether a building on the verge of total collapse might appear sound to the untrained eye.

Apparently, it's generally agreed that approximately 50 dead women and children were found in the rubble of the building sometime after its collapse. Either they were killed by the airstrike at midnight, killed by the collapse of the building eight hours later or killed by something other than the air strike or the building collapse.

If the women and children were killed by the airstrike, it seems very strange that the corpses would be left in the building for eight hours, unless no one in the village knew the building had been hit, which seems unlikely. Assuming it was known that the building had been hit, how could the people of the village know that all the "corpses" were dead? Wouldn't there normally be an evacuation of the survivors and the corpses? If the women and children were killed by the collapse of the building, it seems very strange that living women and children would be placed in a building which had been hit by an air strike and was showing signs of structural damage.

Hizb'Allah has definitely been milking the Qana event for every ounce of propaganda value. We haven't yet seen any conclusive evidence that the building collapse itself was a staged event, but there may be more here than first meets the eye.

By Ragnar Danneskjold, Typical Bitter Gun-Clinger at 03:14 PM | Comments |