Friday, June 02, 2006

Normandy, Shnormandy

In an attempt to (defend? explain?) the massacre at Haditha, Bill O'Reilly boldly asserted that US soldiers have committed atrocities in past wars; specifically that they had killed unarmed, surrendering germans at Malmedy in WWII.

You can watch the whole exchange (with Wesley Clark, starting at about 3 1/2 minutes) where he tries to argue that "it's ok" because:
"In Malmedy, as you know" Bill O'Reilly said Tuesday night, in some indecipherable attempt to defend the events of Haditha, "U.S. forces captured S.S. forces who had their hands in the air and were unarmed and they shot them dead, you know that. That's on the record. And documented."
Not only did he get it COMPLETELY WRONG -- it was Americans (84 of them) killed by Germans in Malmedy -- how in the hell is this supposed to "excuse" the behavior in Haditha? And he repeated the same story more than once. If it was a mistake, there are still some serious issues with the whole argument:

Arguing that it's ok to commit a crime because the same crime was committed in the past? That's just wrong -- morally, ethically,and intellectually. I'm quite sickened by the thought.

Arguing that it's ok to commit a crime because the opposing side has "done worse"? Who is setting the moral bar here? Us or them? This is also just wrong -- morally, ethically, and intellectually.

Equating the deaths of innocent civilians to those of combatants is off the mark as well. Civilians are to be protected, not attacked. It's wrong to kill a solider who has surrendered, but to attack and kill non-combatants swings so far over that line that it's just ...evil.

I really can't figure out just what O'Reilly was trying to do here. I really can't. Neither can most people. I don't want to believe ill of our soldiers -- but if this incident went down as reported, trying to justify it in any way is morally repugnant.

And, in an attempt to whitewash the whole problem, the transcript from FOX news changed Malmedy to Normandy. Olbermann discusses the entire thing here.

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