Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Blame Game - where everyone comes out a loser

Babble on.

The horrors let loose in School No. 1 in Beslan this past week make any sort of rational analysis of the broader Chechen problem difficult for me. The Last Amazon's thoughts on the overwhelming, debilitating fear and revulsion brought on by this profound tragedy echo my own. Internal emotional firewalls keep me from imagining on more than the most superficial level the pain of those who lost loved-ones to these despicable terrorists. The closest I can come is to allow myself to feel the aching, throbbing grief and fear of the Russian populace.

It is at times like these that I wonder if the moniker 'ambulance-chaser' would be better applied to journalists than to lawyers. For the pundits have already shelved whatever grief their barren, desolate souls permitted and have begun to apportion blame.

Predictably, Chechen separatists such as Ahmed Zakaev have equated the Beslan tragedy with Russian atrocities in the region. From the beginning and the end of his recent article in The Guardian:

The bloody denouement to the Beslan tragedy was barbaric: no other word will suffice.
Our aim is to strive for a peaceful resolution to an end to the barbaric injustice that is being dealt out to the Chechens by Russia's government.

Many in the West agree with him, and blame Vladimir Putin, the face and the will of Russian policy in Chechnya. Putin, predictably, will have none of it:

"Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace? You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers?"

All the barking, rabid moonbats of the world have also come out of the woodwork. Those who would defend Putin have an unlikely ally: John Laughland of The Guardian, who seems to think Chechen terror is sponsored by U.S. neo-cons. And Omar Bakri Mohammed, an Islamic cleric in Britain, who actually supports hostage-taking at British schools. Please tell me this man can be silenced - a call to Hereford might yield favourable results.

The most balanced and reasonable writing I've seen so far in the mainstream press is this piece by Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post. The Chechen people have a right to self-determination. Chechen terrorists like the scum who brutalized and murdered little children in Beslan have only the right to be dispatched from the land of the living by whatever means are at hand (fifty-calibre bullets, dispensed judiciously from an accurate rifle, seem particularly well-suited to this task). It does not take a graduate degree in international politics to see that these two points are not mutually contradictory.

As far as seeking where to place blame for the massacre, I part ways with the telegenic talking heads on the news shows, the no-responsibility pontificators populating the newspaper editorial boards, and the bien-pensants who see 'nuance' in every wave across a sea of moral relativism.

In the final analysis, I blame the individual who pulls the trigger and shoots a naked, terrified, fleeing child in the back.

Babble off.


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