It’s a good rule of thumb never to let the military conduct its own misconduct investigations. If you don’t follow that advice, you’ll end up with results like this one:
The Israeli army on Monday said it will not press charges against officers who ordered the use of cluster bombs during last year’s war in Lebanon, brushing off international criticism that the weapons unnecessarily put Lebanese civilians at risk.
Announcing the results of a more than year-long probe, the army said investigators determined Israel’s use of cluster bombs was a “concrete military necessity” and did not violate international humanitarian law.
That’s one heck of a conclusion. By almost every account, even the limited use of cluster bombs is a serious violation of international law. There’s a reason for this: there is little accuracy involved in the dropping of cluster bombs, making civilian casualties nearly inevitable. With munitions that release an array of smaller submunitions, the bombs are highly indiscriminate and often remain unexploded until children or other non-military targets come into contact with them.
And, according to UN sources, Israel dropped 4 million cluster bombs, of which 1 million are assumed to be still unexploded. It’s no surprise then that on a regular basis in southern Lebanon there are heartbreaking reports of little kids having their arms or legs blown off by still-active submunitions.