Tuesday, April 18, 2006

No excuse or justification is possible

Secretary of War Rumsfeld told Rush Limbaugh today that if we’d listened “every time there were critics and opponents to war... our country would be a totally different place,” adding, “for example, if we hadn’t started the Spanish-American War, we wouldn’t have that nice base in Guantanamo to torture prisoners in.”

The White House issued a statement about the bombing in Tel Aviv, in which 9 people died. They’re against it. Indeed, “no excuse or justification is possible.” And the Pentagon issued a statement about the killing of 7 Afghan civilians by American troops. In that case, evidently some excuse or justification was possible. But not apologies, and I stress this because some news reports said that the military apologized for killing innocent bystanders. In fact, it said that it “regretted” the deaths, but blamed them on “terrorists” for “expos[ing] innocent civilians” to the “grave risk” that Americans would shoot them.

A nice piece of reporting from the Times (London) Monday about those brave men walking a beat in Baghdad: postmen. They have to take different routes to avoid being kidnapped, figure out where people have disappeared to, and sort out mail sent to addresses that no longer exist.

You’ll remember I linked to this Sunday Times story about plans for a “second liberation of Baghdad,” described this way by a Pentagon adviser: “If you cut up the city into pieces neighbourhood by neighbourhood, you can prevent it from becoming a major urban fight.” And we see in the NYT that troops have already “sealed off” a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad. If these tactics sound at all familiar, well, today’s Ha’aretz says that one response to the suicide bombing (besides the shelling of Gaza, which has killed at least 25 this month) will be “Stricter implementation of the policy of separating the West Bank into sections, in an effort to prevent Palestinians from moving from one section to another”. Great minds think alike, or something.

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