US intelligence reveals alarming use of imprecise ‘dumb bombs’ by Israel in Gaza conflict

    Unguided munitions in Gaza: A critical examination of civilian risk and international response.


    NationofChange remains a vital, ad-free source of progressive news and activism, all thanks to donations from readers like you. Support our transparent, reader-funded journalism with your generous donation.

    The recent conflict in Gaza has garnered global attention, not just for the escalating violence but also for the nature of weaponry used. A U.S. intelligence report has shed light on Israel’s use of unguided bombs, commonly referred to as “dumb bombs”, raising serious concerns about the increased risk to civilian lives. This article delves into the implications of such military tactics amidst a volatile and densely populated region.

    The use of unguided munitions in warfare is a contentious issue, particularly in areas like Gaza where civilian populations are dense. The recent U.S. intelligence assessment indicates a significant use of these munitions by Israel, prompting a need for a closer examination of their impact and the broader ethical and legal implications.

    The report from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence paints a worrying picture. It states that approximately 40 to 45 percent of the 29,000 air-to-ground munitions deployed by Israel in Gaza have been unguided. This high percentage is alarming, given the inherent lack of precision associated with these bombs.

    The data suggests a shift in the Israeli military’s approach to its offensive in Gaza. While precision-guided munitions are known for their accuracy, the significant use of unguided bombs raises questions about the intent and consideration for civilian areas.

    Unguided munitions lack the advanced guidance systems found in their guided counterparts. This absence of GPS or laser-guidance technology means their impact points are less predictable and can vary greatly. In a region like Gaza, where civilian areas are closely intertwined with potential military targets, this unpredictability is a major concern.

    The contrast with guided munitions is stark. Guided bombs, equipped with advanced targeting systems, can strike with much greater accuracy, significantly reducing the risk to nearby civilians. The choice to use unguided munitions in such a context is, therefore, a critical aspect of this conflict’s analysis.

    The use of unguided munitions in densely populated areas raises profound ethical and legal questions. Under international humanitarian law, particularly the principles of proportionality and distinction, parties in conflict are required to minimize harm to civilians. The deployment of such imprecise weapons in Gaza could be viewed as contravening these principles.

    Experts in warfare ethics argue that while all military actions carry inherent risks, the use of less precise weapons in urban environments escalates the potential for unintended civilian casualties. This not only has immediate humanitarian impacts but also broader implications for international law and military conduct.

    Brian Castner, an arms and military operations adviser at Amnesty International, expressed his concern, noting the significant civilian harm problem posed by unguided munitions. Marc Garlasco, a former war crimes investigator, echoed these sentiments, criticizing the choice of weaponry given the dense population of Gaza.

    In response to these concerns, Israeli military spokespersons have maintained their commitment to international law and a moral code of conduct. They assert that their strikes are based on high-quality intelligence and are directed at military targets, with concerted efforts to minimize civilian harm.

    However, this stance is increasingly challenged by the growing evidence of unguided munitions usage. The claims of precision and care in targeting are juxtaposed against the reality of the weapons used, creating a complex narrative that demands deeper investigation.

    The United States, a key ally of Israel, finds itself in a delicate position. Despite the Biden administration’s claims of support for Israel’s right to self-defense, there is growing international criticism regarding the nature of military aid provided, including the transfer of munitions.

    This diplomatic tightrope is further strained by calls for a more nuanced approach to the conflict. The U.S. insistence on Israel’s need to be more precise and deliberate in targeting, while continuing to provide military aid, reflects the complexities of foreign policy and international relations in conflict zones.

    The humanitarian impact of the conflict in Gaza is stark. Reports from the region indicate a high number of civilian casualties, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation. International humanitarian organizations have raised alarms over the escalating crisis, emphasizing the need for immediate ceasefires and protection of civilians.

    Historically, the Israel-Gaza conflict has seen various phases of military tactics and weaponry usage. The current situation, with its significant reliance on unguided munitions, marks a notable shift in warfare within this protracted conflict.

    The issue of unguided munitions in the Gaza conflict is multi-faceted, intertwining military tactics, legal ethics, and humanitarian concerns. As the international community grapples with these complex dynamics, the need for a balanced and informed approach to conflict resolution becomes increasingly apparent. The debate over the use of such weaponry is not just about military strategy but also about the broader implications for international law, human rights, and the pursuit of peace in a region long plagued by conflict.

    Ending on a poignant note, Marc Garlasco, reflecting on the situation, stated, “The challenge of modern warfare is not just in achieving military objectives but in doing so while upholding the principles of humanity and international law.”


    If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.