Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bombs make no moral distinctions where they fall

By Robert Fisk

"To Mannheim for its annual film festival and I am gripped by Armadillo, a documentary on a Danish NATO unit in Afghanistan, real bullets whizzing past one of the bravest directors of photography in the world, real soldiers falling wounded, one with a Wilfred Owen pallour of death on his face.

But he survives. Others don't. After storming a Taliban position, the Danes find at least three Afghans, apparently still alive. There is a crack of gunfire and they are dead. "We eliminated them in the most humane way possible," one of the Danes says afterwards, right there on the soundtrack.

I am stunned. The words "war crimes" are in my mind.....

Were some of the other Mannheimers "just like us", decent men and women who risked life for freedom, who responded to daily bombing in a way remarkably similar to that of Londoners in the 1940-41 Blitz, who wrote "Business as usual" on their shops?.....

Some of these men were war criminals in a most deliberate way, decimating entire peoples. But they also killed wounded soldiers, just as we did in Normandy. And in Afghanistan. And we knew, of course, when we bombed Mannheim, that we would kill a Heinz, a Ruth, a Berta and an Anna amid the destruction of the city's factories.

War crimes? Of course, we can all make moral assessments. Eliminated in the most humane way... The Taliban are not as bad as the Nazis. But they are much worse than the Danes. Isn't that right? What is this life?"

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