May 6, 2009

Obamic Apology Tour Crawls to Kabul

Hatched by Dafydd

In a burst of enthusiastic self-abasement, the One the World Has Been Waiting For has dispatched his Clintonian emissary to (once again) apologize profusely -- "deeply, deeply" -- for American military actions... this time in Afghanistan; and this time knowingly without knowing what really happened (a "known unknown!"), whether anything happened, and if so, who was at fault:

Meeting with Afghanistan President Harmid Karzai and Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari in a prelude to their talks with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington "deeply, deeply" regrets the loss of life, apparently as a result of a bombing there on Monday.

"Any loss of innocent life is particularly painful," Clinton said. Karzai responded before the cameras that he appreciated Clinton "showing concern and regret." The visiting leader also said he hoped Washington and Kabul could "work together to completely reduce civilian casualties in the struggle against terrorism."

State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said later that Clinton's remarks were offered as a gesture, before all the facts of the incident are known, because "any time there is a loss of innocent life we are going to be concerned about it, and we wanted to make that very clear."

The Telegraph offers a more complete version of Secretary of State Clinton's apology:

"I wish to express my personal regret and certainly the sympathy of our administration on the loss of civilian life in Afghanistan," Mrs Clinton said at a joint meeting with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president.

"We deeply regret it. We don't know all of the circumstances or causes. And there will be a joint investigation by your government and ours," Mrs Clinton said.

"But any loss of life, any loss of innocent life, is particularly painful."

Of course, the Telegraph also accepts the word of "Afghan officials" from "a Taliban-controlled district," that our military is to blame -- in fact, the British newspaper claims a much higher toll of "innocent life":

Afghan officials said up to 120 non-combatants were killed when US warplanes dropped bombs on two villages in Bala Baluk, a Taliban-controlled district in the western province of Farah.

Is it just I? Doesn't the very fact that "all the facts of the incident" are not known mean that we have no idea whether the lives lost were, in fact, "innocent?" We are told that women and children were slaughtered; according to the AP article:

The bombing issue arose earlier Wednesday, when Karzai ordered a probe into allegations by local officials that more than 30 civilians were killed by U.S.-led troops battling militants in western Afghanistan. The International Committee of the Red Cross said a team it had sent to the area saw "dozens of bodies in each of the two locations," including women and children.

Karzai's office said he was going to raise the issue with Obama. And the U.S. has sent a brigadier general to investigate.

One presumes that most children would indeed be innocent; but does "children" include 15, 16, and 17 year olds? If so, they could very well be Taliban killers or al-Qaeda terrorists and every bit as guilty as their compadres a few years older.

But in any event, the mere existence of "dozens of bodies"... "including women and children" does not actually prove that they were killed by any action of the United States military forces -- or indeed by any direct action of anybody -- even if we were to accept the Red Cross' assertions at face value, which I'm not prepared to do. Nor does it prove that we were in any way culpable. Even the generally less forgiving Telegraph article admits the possibility that it is the Taliban, not NATO, that is directly responsible for the deaths:

Abdul Ghafar Watandar, the provincial police chief, said Taliban militants used villagers as human shields by herding them into houses during the US air attacks.

We cannot yet even say how many people, innocent or guilty, were killed. We know from the Pallywood revelations that anti-American, anti-West Moslem activists -- would the Taliban qualify? -- see nothing wrong in faking deaths (e.g., the Mohammed al-Dura case), raiding morgues for long-dead corpses, or even toting the bodies of dead children from site to site, in full view of the elite news media, yet passing them off as different victims each time (à la Green Helmet Guy).

The press is typically complicit in such lies, of course. Reporters often hire local "stringers" with suspect loyalties, if any; such stringers, familiar with the location and culture, cannot possibly fail to notice the fakery and stagecraft in these sick melodramas.

Nor can the Western and even American "journalistic" bosses fail to be aware of the opportunism and ideology-based deception their stringers routinely practice... any more than the top reporters and news readers could ever have been unaware that what Iraqis said in the Hussein era -- when accompanied by "minders" just outside camera range -- was worth less than zero.

Evidently, in both cases, many putative reporters considered the end (damaging America or the Bush administration) sufficiently vital to justify the means: degrading and slandering the United States and our military and jeopardizing American national security.

But let's suppose that many innocents really did die in Bala Baluk. The collapsing prosecutions of a number of Marine Corps officers and enlisted men for the supposed "Haditha massacre" demonstrate the terrible risk of humiliation and blowback run by those who go off half-cocked and conclude that if innocents are killed, Americans (or NATO) must be to blame. I refer here to accusers such as Rep. John Murtha (D-PA, 85%), to pick the most egregious example.

Murtha, congressman and poster-boy for the Democratic culture of corruption, so despised the American victories in Iraq and Afghanistan that he flatly announced that the Marines (his own branch of the service!) were guilty of wartime atrocities. (In this, he only mimicked Sen. John F. Kerry, D-MA, 100%, in a previous war.) On May 17th, 2006, speaking at a press conference, Murtha thus demonstrated his committment to a fair and impartial trial for the Marines accused in the Haditha case:

Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said at a news conference Wednesday that sources [secret sources!] within the military have told him that an internal investigation [hidden evidence!] will show [precognition!] that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood." [Marines are bloodthirsty monsters!]

On December 21 of that year, eight Marines were charged with murder, negligent homicide, conspiracy, filing false reports and failure to investigate, and other UCMJ crimes; in the last two plus years, however, charges against seven of them were dropped, leaving only SSGT Frank Wuterich's case (seven counts of negligent homicide) still pending. But even if he is convicted -- which seems increasingly unlikely, as more evidence exonerating the Marines surfaces -- there is no way in which negligent homicide can honestly be described as having "killed innocent civilians in cold blood"; that is practically the definition of premeditated murder.

This cautionary tale directly applies to Hillary Clinton's crawlfest in Afghanistan. Here is what we do not yet know about the supposed American massacre in western Afghanistan:

  • Whether the "local officials" were telling the truth or lying, accurate or mistaken about 30 to 120 civilians killed in a bombing; who are these officials anyway? What is their general attitude towards the American presence? That they are "officials" in "a Taliban-controlled district" immediately makes me skeptical of their claims.
  • What, exactly, did the International Committee of the Red Cross see? And who showed it to them? Did they actually examine the bodies to ensure (a) that they had wounds consistent with the airstrike claim (as opposed to having been shot in the head at close range, a favorite tactic of militant Islamists holding human shields); and (b) whether they were actually dead? Or was the Red Cross simply shown shrouded lumps and told that they were bodies? Or were they shown anything at all, as opposed to being told about it by local Red Crescent affilliates? I'm not necessarily inclined to give the Red Cross the benefit of the doubt here, as they have lied, for political reasons, about American "massacres" in the past. Show us the bodies!
  • Assuming those twin hurdles are overcome, how do we know it was American munitions that killed them? Perhaps the Taliban holding them in the buildings either decided to blow themselves up or else detonated their own explosives by accident.
  • How many of those "dozens" or 30 or 120 were actually "innocent?" It's hardly uncommon for "local [Taliban-supporting] officials" to claim that all persons killed by NATO forces in Afghanistan have been innocent -- even if they are later identified as al-Qaeda or Taliban members or leaders.
  • How do we know they were killed deliberately? They could have been caught in crossfire, they could have been "human shields," they could have died by a tragic accident (such as trying to salvage an unexploded bomb and accidentally triggering it).

If the answer to any of these questions falls out on the side of the American or NATO military, then Secretary Clinton's premature apology is a grotesque insult to our own armed forces: We should not apologize for fighting against the murderous evil of others, even if innocents die; those deaths are on the heads of the terrorists who precipitated the bloodshed -- in this case, by assassinating three government workers in Bala Baluk -- not on our heads for trying to stop them.

By "regretting," Clinton and Obama encourage the spread of the despicable meme that we are no better than the Taliban, that we massacre innocent people, that there is a moral equivalency between a mass murderer and the cops who try to stop him: Hey, they both have guns -- they both engage in violence -- they both kill... therefore, they're two sides of the very same coin, no?

A final point that I shouldn't even have to debunk: Some on the Left will surely point out -- rather gleefully, as if this is a rhetorical capper that completely clears the administration of any wrongdoing -- that Hillary Clinton did not actually say she "apologized" for the deaths, only that she "deeply, deeply regretted" them. But this is classic Clintonian deconstructionism, hair splitting, word parsing. Nobody in the Moslem world is going to care that she regretted rather than apologized; everyone will see it as an apology and an admission of guilt. Instead of regretting or apologizing, she should have said something along these lines:

It's tragic when innocent lives are lost; while we do not yet know all the facts, we must focus our anger and grief where it truly belongs: On the butchers who deliberately murder innocents by the thousands for political gain, and who deliberately put women and children into deadly peril as human shields: the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

That would have commemorated all deaths of innocents at the hands of terrorists without drawing moral equivalency between our military and our country, which has done more than any other nation in history to fight the horror of the Islamist holocaust, and refocused blame on those committing human sacrifice themselves. Evidently, that was too much to ask of Hillary Clinton and her Capo di Tutti Capi.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 6, 2009, at the time of 6:10 PM

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