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Friday, April 08, 2011

Media cuts NATO slack for killing wrong people

For the third time, NATO bombed the wrong side in Libya yesterday, killing rebels.

Yet the media is bending over backwards to minimize NATO's blame. We are seeing stories that would never be printed when Israel makes much less deadly mistakes, under much more difficult circumstances, against an enemy that is aiming at them.

From the Washington Post last Saturday:

The strike, which killed 13 rebels and injured seven, illustrated the hazards of conducting an aerial bombing campaign against a fluid and fast moving front line. Several cars and an ambulance were also incinerated, and opposition leaders said rebels may have been responsible for the bombing because they had fired their guns into the air in celebration.
Does that explain why an ambulance was destroyed?

From The Daily Mail, today:
Libyan rebels turned their fury on Nato yesterday after at least 13 fighters were killed and dozens wounded in an airstrike.

Rebel commanders said tanks and military hardware captured from Colonel Gaddafi’s forces had been attacked in daylight with missiles despite being marked on the top in yellow as requested by Nato.

Four missiles hit the 30-vehicle convoy, which included a bus packed with fighters, on the outskirts of the eastern oil port of Brega, according to one rebel commander.
An ambulance was one of the vehicles hit and three volunteer medical students were among the dead. Doctors said many rebels suffered terrible burns in the attack.

Why is Nato dropping bombs east of Brega when Gaddafi’s forces are to the west?’ asked Omar Mohammed.

Despite the presence of forward air controllers guiding missiles to their targets with lasers and pinpoint technology, the apparent blunder illustrated the difficulties Nato forces face.
Again, clearly marked vehicles - including ambulances - yet the media says that this merely illustrates how difficult war is. But when Israel is doing the shooting - immediately after rocket fire on Israeli civilians, towards enemies who are mere meters away from civliians - no one cuts them any slack.

Even worse:

The deputy commander of NATO operations in Libya acknowledged Friday that NATO warplanes may have mistakenly bombed rebel forces Thursday near Brega, killing at least five people and generating angry complaints from rebel leaders.

But Rear Adm. Russell Harding, in a briefing from his Naples headquarters, declined to apologize for the lethal mistake. Instead, he sought to shift the blame to rebel commanders, who he said had deployed captured Libyan army tanks for the first time, unbeknown to NATO pilots flying bombing raids high over the area.

“I’m not apologizing,” Harding said in remarks streamed over the Internet by NATO. “The situation on the ground, as I said, was very confused and remains very confused. And up to yesterday, we had no information that the [rebel] forces were using tanks.”
NATO is not even apologizing - and they are blaming the victims?

War is difficult. I am not blaming NATO for mistakes made (well, not too much - I still don't understand the ambulances and yellow-topped vehicles.) However, I am pointing out that these mistakes are being soft-pedaled by the same media that will never do the same for Israel. Nor will the media point out that the IDF's job is far, far more difficult than NATO's.

HRW's and Amnesty's reports should be interesting. So far, nothing from them, not even on Amnesty's blog.

One other story in the Palestinian Arabic press is worth citing, although I don't know how accurate it is:

According to Palestinian sources, on Thursday evening, a Palestinian and his wife were killed in bombing by coalition forces on the international area of ​​Benghazi in Libya.

The Jarghoun family in Khan Younis said that that a family member named Issam Moussa Jarghoun (26) and his wife, Rim (25) were killed following the bombing by the international coalition forces of convoys of Arab citizens who are trying to leave Libya towards Egypt to return to their places of origin.
The Western media is not mentioning any civilian casualties in the convoys. But now that a Palestinian Arab is killed, surely the Arab world will show their anger.

Or is that only when they are killed by a very specific group?