I don't know the whole story behind these images, but they say a lot on their own. Here, some Israeli girls have apparently been told to "sign" bombs directed at Lebanon, writing messages like "from Israel with love."
Link (via lawrenceofcyberia and thismodernworld) Update: That link keeps crashing my browser. Here are better links, to the source of these photos: one, two, and another. Caption, via AP, "Israeli girls write messages on a shell at a heavy artillery position near Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel, next to the Lebanese border, Monday, July 17, 2006." AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner.
Reader comment: Chris Maytag says,
In your boingboing post "Image of the day: children send messages on missiles", the objects in the picture are alternately referred to as "missiles", "bombs" and "shells". These are three very different terms, and it's worth keeping things straight.Amy M. says,
A "missile" is a projectile, powered during flight by either solid of liquid-fueled engines, with a weaponized payload of some kind (example: SCUDs, 'Katyushas'). A "bomb" is a weapon dropped from an aircraft or other airborne platform and guided by ballistics alone or a combination of ballistics and fin-based guidance (example: JDAMs, unguided 500lb mk82 bomb).
A "shell" is essentially a bullet. It is fired from a tube (cannon, howitzer or mortar) il it either hits a target or explodes due to to one of a variety of triggers (flight time, position, etc). Contents of shells range from pure metal (as in an early, simple cannonball) to explosives (as in the high explosive and shaped-charge shells generaly used by tanks) to advanced anti-personnel munitions, which explode and release smaller objects (much like a shotgun shell releases 'shot').
Why is this worth paying attention to? Because there's enough misinformation in the MSM already. By the way, the objects being signed by the Israeli girls appear to be 155mm howitzer or tank shells.
The Getty caption I have seen for an image similar to this (ie of the same girls) reads: "Israeli girls write messages in Hebrew on shells ready to be fire by mobile artillery unit toward Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon 17 July 2006"Aryeh Abramovitz says,
I assume this means they are tank shells. I disagree with Chris Maytag: I don't think it matters what sort of weapon these are. The fact is, they are deadly weapons intended to kill and maim, and they are being signed by children. I fail to see how anyone can justify this, even if they support the right of the Israeli state to carry out these attacks.
This is no different to the images of Palestinian toddlers dressed as pretend suicide bombers.
This unfortunate 'photo op' has taken on a life of its own, with the meme that bloodthirsty Israeli children are sending a message of destruction to their Lebanese neighbors. Neither the hebrew or english says anything like "From Israel with Love". I can make out "Nazrala with.. from Israel", which I assume might be "[To] Nazrala with [love] from Israel". From the little I can make out, all the messages in hebrew are similarly addressed to Nasrala.[Ed. note: Hassan Nasrallah is the leader of Hezbollah.] Adrian Midgley says,
Perhaps a bit pedantic, but a missile is of course anything which pursues a trajectory - as in being thrown, fired etc, so journalists or subs who pick that one word to describe gun projectiles, freefall bombs and ballistic rockets with warheads are not being unreasonable in their use of English...Update: Lisa Goldman of Global Voices has more on the background behind these photographs: Link.
And of course the one thing that a shell is not is pure metal. The distinction was between a cannonball, and a projectile made to be fired from a gun which was merely a shell containing something - gunpowder to start with.
One effect of removal of foreign nationals from the Lebanon is that there will be less hindrance on random bombardment of it with whatever anyone chooses to project, not that I'm not pleased to see HMS Gloucester hauling our citizens out of Beirut or that I wouldn't have discovered an appointment elsewhere if I'd been in the target zone myself.
Update 2: Here's a related post at The Guardian, with more background on the circumstances under which the images were taken. (thanks, Dave)