Saturday, September 04, 2004

We demonstrated our weakness

The print NYT has a somewhat unfortunate jump. Quoting Hillary Clinton: “‘My husband is doing very well,’ she said, noting that he had beaten her” (continued on page A13)

at cards.

By the way, did you know that Bill Clinton is younger than George Bush?

The people who took over the school in Beslan, North Ossetia, loaded with explosives, depriving little children of food and water and threatened them with 15 people being killed if they moved or cried, have obviously reached an unimaginable level of inhumanity. But... Bush said--I can’t find the exact quote, but it was on the BBC World News--something about the lengths “they” will go to attack civilization. A Chechen might ask, what civilization? Stalin forcibly removed the entire Chechen population, Yeltsin and Putin have waged wars of extermination and atrocity.

Putin, of course, takes from this incident the lesson that Russia has been too civilized towards Chechnya: “we failed to react to them adequately. We demonstrated our weakness, and the weak are beaten.” And he will go after those who “foment interethnic hatred.” Have you heard the way Russians speak about Chechens as a group? A combination of the way Hitler spoke about the Jews and Europeans still speak about the Roma.

In this incident, Russia exhibited an impressive level of incompetence, failing to do things as simple and obvious as securing the area and making sure there were ambulances. None of which is what Putin means by failing to react adequately.

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