The Israelis and US/UK armed forces have often said it’s the insurgents’ fault if civilians die in air strikes. The argument is that the insurgents deliberately put their headquarters/rocket launcher sites/whatever in civilian areas, effectively using the innocents as human shields. The Brits/Yanks/Israelis see such civilian deaths as acceptable collateral damage.
And now the British government have decided to adopt similar tactics. Surface-to-air missile launchers have been installed on the roof of Fred Wigg Tower, a block of council flats in London, to help defend the Olympics from possible terrorist attack. Now, missile launchers are seen as legitimate military targets. So it’s not beyond the bounds of belief to suppose that someone might want to attack the launchers – which would probably result in the deaths of the civvies who live in the block. The concerned residents went to court to try and get a judicial review on this matter: but Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said that although the residents had expressed “shock, anxiety and worry” on the matter, they had no legal recourse to get the weapons repositioned.
The defence secretary was under no statutory duty to consult the residents, although an impact assessment had been carried out and the tenants’ human rights taken into consideration. Residents had no legitimate expectation that they would be consulted on issues involving the defence of the realm and national security. [The Guardian, Tuesday 10 July]
So I would recommend that the residents of Fred Wigg Tower stay with friends for the duration of the Games. Have a nice summer! 😉