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Monday, July 17, 2006

France's disproportionate response in 2004

This happened less than two years ago:
Ivory Coast’s latest crisis began when Gbagbo’s military broke a more than year-old cease-fire in the country’s 2-year-old civil war with airstrikes on the rebel-held north.

Warplanes bombed a French peacekeeping post in the north on Nov. 6, killing nine French peacekeepers and an American aid worker and plunging the country into chaos.

France wiped out Ivory Coast’s newly built-up small air force on the tarmac. The retaliation unleashed a violent loyalist uprising, with Gbagbo-allied Young Patriots popular militia leading looting, burning and attacks that targeted the French.

No deaths have been reported among French or other non-African foreigners targeted by the militia. France says attackers raped several expatriates.

The Associated Press and hospitals confirmed at least 17 deaths in the rioting, all or most among Ivorians.

Gbagbo’s government claims 62 of its supporters were killed, many of them when French forces opened fire on anti-French demonstrations in Abidjan.

France initially denied shooting protesters, but admitted it a couple of weeks later:
France has acknowledged that its troops in Ivory Coast killed about 20 people in early November during clashes with supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo.

A French defence ministry spokesman said the victims included both civilians and Ivorian soldiers.

The Ivory Coast government has put the number of Ivorians killed at 60 and condemned the French actions.
I don't know enough about the situation then to say whether the French actions were justified, but killing 20-60 people and destroying an entire air force in response to the killings of 9 sounds disproportionate to me! Why, it is a ratio of up to 6-1! And innocent civilians lost their lives!

Amazingly, the UN didn't condemn the French then.

Today, Chirac went beyond the "disproportionate" tripe and called Israeli actions "aberrant."