samedi 26 juillet 2008

Blame the victims

British soldiers liquidated four Afghan citizens in their continuing quest to win 'hearts and minds'. They shot and killed four and wounded three others. The civilians drove through a checkpoint, a line of confrontation where communication lines are not always clear - hand signals are not universal. So, these incidents should be treated with regret by the occupying forces. But of course not.

"The Nato mission in the country issued a statement saying the incident – which it blamed on the "reckless actions" of the driver - took place earlier today in the Sangin district of Helmand province. "The vehicle approached the checkpoint and was directed to stop but it drove on … Soldiers fired warning shots in a safe direction away from the vehicle but were eventually forced to fire at it when it refused to stop, fearing an insurgent attack," the statement said."

It was reckless to fire on it. Shoot first ask not many questions later is a miserable way to handle homicides like this.

Moreover, the way the Guardian article is written shows the priorities of the embedded consciousness that spun/wrote it. Tagged on at the end is the story of a British troop who was killed in a firefight, a story already reported a few days before. There is a description of how brave he was and so on. No mention of any of the characteristics of the Afghans, evidently. The effect is to downplay the army killings, of course, and to beef up the reader's sense of patriotic sentiment at the end. Crude stuff.