Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cyniskt eller infantilt? Eller bådadera?

Från eller Thomas Paine's Corner

During its many bombings from Vietnam to Iraq, Washington has repeatedly told the world that the resulting civilian deaths were accidental and very much “regretted”. But if you go out and drop powerful bombs over a populated area, and then learn that there have been a number of “unintended” casualties, and then the next day drop more bombs and learn again that there were “unintended” casualties, and then the next day you bomb again … at what point do you lose the right to say that the deaths were “unintended”?

During the US/NATO 78-day bombing of Serbia in 1999, which killed many civilians, a Belgrade office building — which housed political parties, TV and radio stations, 100 private companies, and more — was bombed. But before the missiles were fired into this building, NATO planners spelled out the risks: “Casualty Estimate 50-100 Government/Party employees. Unintended Civ Casualty Est: 250 — Apts in expected blast radius.”[11] The planners were saying that about 250 civilians living in nearby apartment buildings might be killed in the bombing, in addition to 50 to 100 government and political party employees, likewise innocent of any crime calling for execution. So what do we have here? We have grown men telling each other: We’ll do A, and we think that B may well be the result. But even if B does in fact result, we’re saying beforehand — as we’ll insist afterward — that it was unintended.

It was actually worse than this. As I’ve detailed elsewhere, the main purpose of the Serbian bombings — admitted to by NATO officials — was to make life so difficult for the public that support of the government of Slobodan Milosevic would be undermined.[12] This, in fact, is the classic definition of “terrorism”, as used by the FBI and the United Nations: The use or threat of violence against a civilian population to induce the government to change certain policies.

Another example of how “the enemy” can’t be trusted to act as nice as god-fearing regular Americans … “Defense officials said they believe at least 22 — and possibly as many as 50 — former Guantánamo detainees have returned to the battlefield to fight against the United States and its allies.”[13] The Defense Department has at times used the possibility of this happening as an argument against releasing detainees or closing Guantánamo.

But is it imaginable, not to mention likely, that after three, four or five years in the hell on earth known as Guantánamo, even detainees not disposed to terrorist violence — and many of them were picked up for reasons having nothing to do with terrorist violence — left with a deep-seated hatred of their jailors and a desire for revenge?

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