Bombs, bullets and drinking water

A reminder it's not just bombs and bullets in Lebanon:

BEIRUT. July 29 (Interfax) - The World Health Organization (WHO) fears an eminent humanitarian disaster in Lebanon, and the quality of drinking water is among its greatest concerns in the current situation, a WHO official in Beirut told Interfax Saturday.

"There is also the threat of epidemics, as there could be people under the ruins," the WHO official said.

"All this, as well as the terrible sanitary conditions in the refugee camps, could further provoke outbreaks of various epidemics," he said.

The WHO is conducting seminars in refugee camps to train local doctors and the staff of humanitarian organizations to counteract any eventual epidemics, an Interfax reporter reported from the scene.

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"A reminder it's not just bombs and bullets in Lebanon"

And Israel, of course.

By Joe in Australia (not verified) on 31 Jul 2006 #permalink

Joe: Is there a drinking water problem in Israel caused by Hezbollah attacks?

Even Chuck Hagel sez it's "time for the madness to stop" while Mad Max checks in for some rehab of his alcoholic fundy mouth.

Now if we could just get the dry drunk in the White House to dispatch the former Big House Momma from her Foggy Bottom front porch to the scene for some real Middle East birthin' work ("I don' know nothin' about birthpangs Miss Scarlett") and stop playing to those hankering for the Rapture...

By tympanachus (not verified) on 31 Jul 2006 #permalink

Hey Revere! Where's my second post in "Substance Abuse?" I know, you've a real work life and other things to do besides moderate SciencBlogs's lame ass comments policy.

By tympanachus (not verified) on 31 Jul 2006 #permalink

tymp: that's weird. I was sure I looked before I went out with Mrs. R. and didn't see any unpublished comments, much less from 7 hours ago. thanks for letting me know and sorry about the stupid system. It's driving me nuts, too. I also don't know what it decides to hold and what it doesn't. It has a mind of its own.

I wholly agree with the premise that war causes suffering beyond the immediate injuries and deaths, however "bodies under the ruins" do not cause epidemics. It's a common misconceptions surrounding natural disasters, but people who died from injuries are not a likely source of disease. I would bet money the reporter misquoted that WHO official.

annodeus: You are quite correct. Numerous public health officials have tried to make this point each time there is a disaster and it keeps coming back, this time from a WHO official no less. On the other hand, the problem of epidemic disease is real when you destroy the public drinking water supply, which is the main point I think.

The sidelines unfortunately are where we are here. Those UN observers were of course following orders and reporting on Israeli movements. Well oh dangit they were transmitting it on open frequencies. Conveniently. Kind of seems the UN might have a credibility gap here on that one. Are they stupid or just FRENCH? I would have tagged them too.

This is a war folks, pure and simple. Water I agree in 100 degree heat is a necessity, but so is border security. The Hez didnt HAVE to snag soldiers and it provided an excuse to the Israeli's who have watched a billion dollars of equipment and men to operate it on their borders. There are going to be thousands of Lebanese casualties, not of war but of disease, lack of water.

Preventable! They signed and adopted the UN resolution that REQUIRED them to DISARM the Hez but didnt. Collusion might be strong a word as the Hez was as strong as the army. But allowing an armed terrorist group to operate in your country makes you a terrorist state too and a target.

The Palestinians did the same thing in Jordan as guests of the government. They were about to overthrow King Hussein when he rode in with his army and kicked the shit out of them and sent them packing. Here we are again 25 years later. Hamas and Hez are Palestinians. They have their own country. Go to it. Surrounded on all sides by hostile states, the Israeli's are dismantling this yet again and with a terrible cost in suffering. Might be time for those governments to act under the UN resolutions they signed and arrest them as enemies of the state.

By M.Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 31 Jul 2006 #permalink

All you epidemiologists better get your asses over there to Lebanon and you better get there too, pronto.

In 48 hours, the last of the fuel supply will be consumed. Lebanon is about to drop into the medieval time window where the Hizbollah lives, with Israel greasing the skids so the oh so very much in need South Lebanon sympathizers may if they are staying join into the Hizb' lifestyle more completely.

I tried to be flip and aggressive about this about a week ago on this blog in a posting but it got booted. Now, it's seriously time to wake up and smell the coffee and quit being a bleeding heart and arrange for the infrastructure that will be essential to keep the civilian population alive and barely functioning in the 19th century.

I don't give a hoot (not your epidemilogical asses as you'll need them to ride around and survey and serve the populace) about the So. Lebanese.

When you lobby for the Lebanese gov't to get a spine, and its ambassador in the UK to quit saying its the Hizb that's protecting the country, while the "army" hides out; when you stop focusing on the misery of the people and focus on the consequences of people unable to shake the fear of death brought to them courtesy of the mullahs and Hizb' crazies, and Hamas and etc crazies, when you do that...then maybe someone will listen to you and see that we humans, all together, need to lend shoulder to the plough as this is a serious mess in which many first worlder's in Lebanon are about to be extremely discomforted if not die.

GR or Gaudia Ray: Same tired tirades. Just meaningless. I get so sick of hearing cowardly pompous armchair a-holes talking about blowing up this or that. And to disparage those who feel true compassion, caring and mercy as "bleeding hearts". If you are an example of the human species I am as ashamed of my genetics as I am of my nationality. Your bigotry shines through in your untrue depiction of Hezbollah as "medieval": do you watch news or read at all, or simply spew out whatever is inside your head without the slightest concern for truth? The issue is not that Hezbollah grabbed a couple of Israeli soldiers, the issue is that Israel by it's own declaration decided to use that act as an excuse to send Lebanon's infrastructure back 30 years, and they proceeded to do so in a cold, bloodthirsty and ruthless manner with absolutely no regard whatsoever for the civilians they killed. You state proudly that you don't give a hoot for the "So. Lebanese", a usual trick of dehumanizing one's victims so one doesn't have to feel guilt. Fine, don't care about them, don't accept that they feel love and joy and pain and grief, that they have dreams and goals, that many are very well educated, intelligent, urbane. But then, have you forgotten that the Israeli helicopter gunships also deliberately shot missiles into two international red cross trucks - clearly marked with big red X's on their roofs? Or are you naive enough to believe that their bombing of the UN bunker - which had been there for decades and from which the UN Peacekeepers inside had made a dozen calls to Israel to tell them their missiles were getting too close before Israel blew them up - was an accident? Of course Randy who always has the inside dope says it was not an accident after all, but he also intimates the UN peacekeepers deserved it as they were giving out some kind of information on Israeli movements. Really Randy, from where they were sitting in the bunker they were relaying vital data on Israel to Hezbollah? Where were they getting this information: do they have secret non-peacekeeping peacekeeper spies in the field? I'm sorry, guys, but this is just all so bizarre, so unnecessarily complex, so ugly. I keep trying to make sense of it, but it's like trying to understand the chattering of monkeys. Maybe its a testosterone thing, or the part of the X chromosome you fellows are missing. But I simply cannot see any rationale whatsoever for blowing up women and children - as a matter of fact for killing anything you are not planning on eating - as an act that is pro-survival for the race or species. My son suggests that perhaps it is because we are top predators, the only way we have of culling our numbers is war. But I say if you find you are running out of room, have less babies, stop keeping the terminally ill alive, stop insisting that every embryo ever conceived be carried to term and put upon this earth when we are already well over the carrying capacity. A little proactive culling, huh? And Gaudia, you might think about starting with yourself.

By mary in hawaii (not verified) on 31 Jul 2006 #permalink

Oh Kruger..Hezbollah aren't Palestinians.. Just a mistake Krugers make...Same as Kruger in South Africa having a wildlife park named after him...He thought all Blacks were Bantus.
A bit like thinking all Americans are Hispanic..

There will be a winner out of this but it may take 50 years.
Demographics show a decline in the Israeli birth rate while their "opponents" are doing what...well what rabbits do.
They are in the ascendancy from Indonesia to France, From Germany to Somali.
They can't be stopped. And unfortunately they are going to grow up with large chips on their shoulders.
It's a worry which the "Armchair heroes" won't face. They will be gone thank god but their grandchildren will be there.
Almost too late for dialogue.
Multiply the horror now by ten and it might be about right. And if an pandemic arrives as well, multiply it a hundredfold.

MiH: "~stop keeping the terminally ill alive~"

Uh huh. I guess that means me (us all really; no one gets out alive). I just happen to know my exit will be in the next 18 mo or so. I'm still working the problem but will check out quietly before I'm too much of a problem, when the moment comes.

We had a Gov here in Colorado (Lamm) that thought like you and I found agreeable. Doubt he'd be quite as careless as you in discussing it now. You don't make GR and Kruger look good but you're out there on the thin side of the pond.

Population control? Do something about it. You know Qana, the place where the two families, with 28 people total plus those who survived, were hiding?

Address that, and get your ass out there as I'm telling you and you ignore this, the situation is now a nightmare waiting for a few more days. There's no fuel and no possibility of fuel, unless a tanker shows up in the harbor with a long hose to get into that power plant in Beiruit.

You're so foolish to be bleeding heart blind. It's one thing to be an epidemiologist, and another to miss the fact that epidemiologists serve at the leisure of the politically empowered.

A major strategy in reaction to and accepting the devastation by the warring parties is what's needed, not yet again another cry over dead babies.

BTW, you saw the article on the fact that those two dead kids were used as props for about 2 to 5 hours for the media, with that same turkey posing with them in multiple shots? Did you get that? And you react to those images just the way Pavlov expected from dogs incapable of proactive rational thinking.

If there's no plan proferred up here, immediately, and I can't do that as I ain't an epidemiologist, the onus will be on the bleeding hearts who clouded and obfuscated innocently, ignorantly, incompetently the situation as was obvious would develop.

Your criticism of me is so incorrect that it's not worth another word. You've missed the target, and based on your prior posts, expectedly due to your emotional line.

Hopefully, those who have political power who are epi's will post a plan or twenty here immediately. This is already a catastrophe. Passage of time will prove it to be so. But nobody is addressing this but for bandaid here and bandaid there.

By GaudiaRay aka GR (not verified) on 01 Aug 2006 #permalink

Glenn 50. The UN designates them as stateless people of Palestinian decent. I am a direct descendant of Oom Paul and its all about the information now isnt it? Just like the flu. You hear and read a lot of shit but it takes time to get down to whats really happening. The Boers were just uneducated to what the breakup was. Not like they cared either. So what do you label Hezbollah as? How about terrorist organization holding Lebanese government as shield group?

Mary..Transmitting movements by any "peacekeeping" force uncoded and in the clear as we used to call it puts them into combatant status and the bloody UN knows it. Whether it is directly transmitted to the Hez or not, it is a violation and they paid for it with their lives. Notice though they didnt publish the nationality of the killed? I repeat what I said, I would have tagged them myself. You cant go out and put up a tent with a blue flag on it and just assume you are safe. Ask the UN delegation in Baghdad that was blown up with a car bomb. Didnt see anyone doing a Koffi on that.

I do not sort my enemies by race. Nor do I sort them by anything other than military capabilities and race if its applicable to the capability. You want peace? GREAT! Pack your bags for Lebanon and make sure you let them know you are an American when you get there. It will be a warm reception. Carry that UN flag too.

As for the women and children and arm chairing as you put it I have said this before. It aint a goddamn football game. You have likely never fired a weapon in anger, defense or under orders. The Lebanese government was to disarm Hezbollah as part of the withdrawal agreement under the vaunted UN resolution. Didnt happen and now those people and the Hez are paying the price for it. Justifiable? Thats a political debate. It is being debated now in human lives. As military guy, if I knew only a few years ago that women and children were being used as shields then I tried to talk them out and offered a safe passage. IF that didnt work and being in command I did every thing to try to minimize the collaterals. If it came down to may people and them and I failed in all of the above I did everything in my power to inflict the most massive of casualties on my enemy. This is where I diverge with most here who havent been in combat before. The age of chivalry is over and the age of terrorism is here. Might JUST have to kill them all to achieve peace. I dont think that we are going to cull many if someone nukes NYC or LA. Put me in charge of that armchair targeting list.
This is unacceptable to many Mary. Might change your tune if they went after an airliner taking off from the big island.

By the way, those Red Cross trucks were running guns and ammo back to the front having discharged their wounded. The UAV tapes proved that as they did the necessity of bombing of the area where the cvilian casualties were. You can see the rocket launches. Thats all I needed to see. I respect your opinion Mary. We are not off the mark too far on either side. We just have a little war to stop and until the political and military goals are met of the Israelis this is going to continue. I remind you that the Israelis have suffered 280 wounded or killed since it began and only about 20 are soldiers.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 01 Aug 2006 #permalink


Mary..Transmitting movements by any "peacekeeping" force uncoded and in the clear as we used to call it puts them into combatant status and the bloody UN knows it. Whether it is directly transmitted to the Hez or not, it is a violation and they paid for it with their lives.

Interesting. Got any source on that?

By Roman Werpachowski (not verified) on 01 Aug 2006 #permalink

Tympanachus: I deeply and sincerely apologize. I was thinking of people for whom there is no hope of recovery, kept alive for years on machines, their spirits trapped into bodies, and all at enormous emotional and financial expense to their families (and profit to Doctors and hospitals.) Or people who are kept suffering from the ravages of an excrutiatingly painful and debilitating disease, not allowed to choose their own time to end their suffering; or like the fifteen year old cancer patient on the news recently who a judge threatened to put in jail if he refused his chemotherapy. I think everything that can be done should be done to save and prolong a life that has still some viability. But I watched my sister, my sister in law and my mother all die of metastisized breast cancer, and I would not have prolonged that horror one more second for any of them.

Randy: again, you floor all debate with these pockets of "inside knowledge" that none of us are privvy to. I'm a news junkie, I watch CNN, then I dive around to all the news sources on the internet from Israel, the Middle East countries,Indonesia, Europe, Ehina, Canada. No, I don't have time to check all of them every day. None-the-less, I never heard a word or hint on any of them about the open broadcasting by the UN peacekeepers you assure us went on, nor a breath about the Red Cross trucks running ammo back to the front. When we ask - as Roman is above - I am sure you will tell us that it is all classified, that you have some kind of access to top secret military data. But if that's so, you couldn't and wouldn't be posting that data here on line, would you? Now maybe I overlooked some news about this online, I am only as good as my information. If so, please then cite the references so I can find verify that the Red Cross trucks were running guns to Hezbollah, and the UN peacekeepers were broadcasting sensitive data that compromised the security of the Israeli forces.

GR: Why do you presume everyone is an "epidemiologist" and by what stretch of your convoluted imagination have you decided that is a disparaging term? Do you even know what an epidemiologist is or does?

By mary in hawaii (not verified) on 01 Aug 2006 #permalink

As I've pointed out, the damage being done will shovel those folks back about 50 years.

Mary, your refusal to recognize the compassion of Israel in this situation is monumental and blinded by a bias. This news article states clearly that Israel is permitting two fuel tankers to land. Without that fuel, Lebanese would die by the scores and scores and be removed from the 20th and 21st Centuries by a collapse of their energy grid. Israel did not bomb the power plants, it appears, unlike in Palestine.

For one second, do you think that the great compassion of the opponents, any of them, would include this expression of mercy? If so, which country, which element? Please do share.

Finally, as to epidemiologists, that's what this blog is about...It's about caring about societal health. The owner is compassionate, and I feel it's rarely, but sometimes, indiscriminate. At those points, I comment when I think they're irrational. My posts via the reference to the "ass" are to drive home the point that politics overrides societal health concerns and in fact dictates the ability of those in that profession to dispense their services. The oil tanker arrivals are a case in point. Sometimes, like now, compassion is a reflection of the values of a nation-state.

I honestly don't believe that Hizb' or Iran or Syria or Iraq or any of the few others with clout, including Egypt, would if they were given the power position, include in their political agenda the safety of the Israeli population, or were they with boot on your neck in HI, just like the Japanese in WW2, would then extend a caring gesture.

Hence, epidemiological services offered to callous populations in the time of conflect are to me aiding and abetting. Thus my comments in a prior post by revere.

The article from

M in H. One of the few things that I retained when I left the military was my security clearance because of what I did and still do as a sometimes contractor. I think thought hat you should get your satellite dish and turn it to the west and light up the Israeli stations. UNCLASSIFIED you can get it on 50 bucks. Of course you likely dont speak Arabic, Farsi, or Hebrew but they do have the english hours too. If you have a C band satellite dish you can get the actual uplinks and downlinks of news. With a tweak or two you can pick up certain not for public use broadcasts too. Getting the idea here?

Do I have other sources? Yes. They are good for the straight skinny on whats going on pretty much all over the world. You can get them also by making application for a secret level State Department clearance. The DOD would likely give them to you if you are near a military installation(s) or you would have to move to their secure location to receive them. You are afforded that right under US law. You have a right to know. On the other hand you wouldnt likely get any DOD secret briefings and if you spilled specifics before the news people found something out or you outed information then you would be waving farewell to the big island for Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Of this I can assure you.

You will always note that I am being broad in what I am saying for this specific reason. It will be out there somewhere in the news on this planet as public information before I comment on it here specifically. I have given information to Revere for instance and it still isnt being reported by CNN, NBC, or ABC and even he would say its pretty warm stuff. But what I gave him was noted in the logs of three different ships in their uplinked reports to their various offices. As for our media, they only report that which will pull the ratings in. They also make news when its slow. Immigration issue, where did it go? Some of this stuff is very important. So as with the UN people getting hit, why did they use Muslims of a yet undisclosed country to relay information? They could have been dumb or just had an oversight but I dont think so. The UN has been taking sideds and its not for world peace. Explained enough Mary? Read a little between the lines here.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 03 Aug 2006 #permalink

There is no argument I could possibly raise that would change your viewpoint, Randy. You advise me of ways I could get hold of the information you have, but I really don't have the capability to do that. I can't read between the lines as you say to, because they are too obscure. But I do read international papers on line, not just watch american TV. And Israel itself did not say that the attacks on the UN peacekeepers were justified actions of war due to these peacekeepers sending information that would have compromised Israeli's security...rather Israel claimed it was an accident. Why would they lie, if what you say is true? But like I said, I can't argue because I have no way of proving or disproving what you say. and I don't really feel that I need to, I don't feel the issue is obscure at all. You say the UN has been taking sides and it's not for world peace> Yet you seem to believe the Bush administration's line - not shared by any other country in the world, except perhaps for Tony Blair (and he's not a country, just a very unpopular head of state) that somehow allowing this devastation to continue will bring peace.
How? Peace at the point of a gun? That's not peace, that's waiting for the person holding the gun to fall asleep.

There will never be peace in the middle east now. I actually seriously doubt that any of the parties involved want it anymore; they want armageddon and that's what they will get in the long or short run. So however you want to justify the attacks and counter attacks, the bottom line is it's all a crock. Your basic viewpoint - that somehow war will make peace - is 180 degrees opposite of mine, which is that war will only make more war. You think the enemy must be beaten into submission before negotiations can occur. That's only true if you plan to be unfair in your negotiations. If you were planning on being fair in settling the problems at the root of the Middle East conflicts, you'd never need to kill a single person or blow up a single building. We demonize the enemy so that we have the excuse to never trust them, never to negotiate with them except at the point of a gun. We say they are "evil doers". So it's okay to kill them. And they say the same thing about us. Are we both right? Maybe. I think there are some really evil beings among us, particularly those running things. But most of us, on both sides, are if not good, at least trying to be. We also dehumanize the victims so when we blow them up by the scores in their minivans or in their beds, it isn't really mass murder, it's just "defense", even if most of those we've killed (I use the we to include United States as the puppetmaster of Israel in this) have been defenseless women and children. I'm allowed to defend myself if someone comes to my door and tries to assault me, but after I shoot him dead am I allowed to run outside and shoot his wife and 4 kids that are waiting in the car? Yet we justify doing exactly this, blowing up apartment buildings near where rockets were fired several days before, and then saying it's "Hezbollah's fault" for operating out of these towns and launching rockets from areas where there are civilians nearby. (Hezbollah being a bunch of paramilitary guerrillas who no doubt live, work and have homes and families in those neighborhoods, since they are not a regular army with barracks and other facilities)

By mary in hawaii (not verified) on 03 Aug 2006 #permalink

M in H. Basic education in this world is that you dont go and kick the sleeping giant. He will stomp you. Why would Israel lie you ask? Shit, its a government. Besides it was a Lebanese Red Cross van that got hit not the IRC, the other was damaged.

Mary, Apache helicopters carry telescopic FLIR and other surveillance equipment that can see very easily if someone is putting a grenade into a pocket. Israel isnt stupid and neither are their pilots. Do you actually thing they are DUMB enough to go out and blast ambulances off the road in the middle of a very televised contentious war?

C'mon Mary get the picture. They were doing something illegal and I dont care if there are 20 wounded in the back. If one guy gets in with an AK-47 or a pistol its a legitmate target. Just as this started the media was standing 40 feet back from a guy launching a missile. How long do you think they are going to be allowed in if they report bad press for the Hez?

Your whole bent is all this killing. Well they have been doing that on this planet for 50,000 years or so. If you are so ashamed of being an American then go to a Dixie Chicks concert in London. See if it makes you feel better. The war is joined on this planet. Its not WWIII either, its WWIV as the Cold War likely ended on 9/11. You can get pissed off all you want and go French. They are happily selling bombs and guns to Cuba and Venezuela, who in turn sell them for a tidy profit to Hez, Hamas, N. Korea AND Israel. This has been happening for about 5,000 years. So your analogy about killing the wife and kids is true. In an unrestricted war, defense in this case may mean the killing of every man, woman and child that is a member of Hezbollah. Genocide? YUP! But he who is left standing gets to write the history books now dont they? Incoming message from the SS. Kill all Jews and end a perceived problem. Right idea, but founded on a flawed concept. End result...dead people.

The reason that the French, Germans, China, and indirectly the US are pissed is that the Israelis are killing their customers. They dont give one big rats ass about those people. If they did they would ride in with troops to stop it. No they simply dont want to stop it. Wars are fought with supplies and they could end it in a day by not delivering the weapons. Hell they can always call Koffi's son for a load or two.

Militarily speaking-If Hezbollah was in S. Lebanon and I warned the civ's to get out and they stayed, I personally would use continuous B52 attacks and kill them all. Does that make it right? Would I be guilty of defending my country or genocide? History and not courts generally decide that.

"Mr. President, there is no such thing as limited war."

General Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis 1861.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 04 Aug 2006 #permalink