Ladies and gentlemen, our UN ambassador John Bolton:

US Ambassador John Bolton said there was no moral equivalence between the civilian casualties from the Israeli raids in Lebanon and those killed in Israel from "malicious terrorist acts".

…"I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts," he added, while defending as "self-defense" Israel's military action, which has had "the tragic and unfortunate consequence of civilian deaths".

…"It's simply not the same thing to say that it's the same act to deliberately target innocent civilians, to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive devices or kidnapping versus the sad and highly unfortunate consequences of self-defense," Bolton noted.
Rationally, I understand that Bolton is trying to draw a distinction between the motivations that caused civilian deaths and thusly claiming there can be no moral equivalence when doling out accountability for these deaths. In other words, he’s basically saying Israel is the Good Guy and Hezbollah is the Bad Guy, so Israel gets a pass.

But irrespective of whether one agrees or disagrees with that black-and-white assessment, or finds themselves (along with most reasonable people) somewhere amidst the grays, surely we can all agree that “I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die” is just all kinds of fucked up, no matter what follows. It’s not about ascribing moral equivalence to civilians who die, but to the people who killed them.

His statement comes perilously close to suggesting that some civilian deaths are worse than others—and in the middle of an escalating conflagration about which the US is expected to provide some literate commentary, providing instead an idea that is both unacceptable and inflammatory is totally idiotic. Though the specific role of an ambassador is to do precisely the bloody opposite, I’m quite certain that such a grievous misstatement will not result in any criticism from the administration, but be chalked up to a simple blunder, just a little careless language, blah blah blah, the usual bullshit—that is, if the media even takes more than passing notice of it.

Considering the AFP then saw fit to mention that there have been 12 civilian deaths in Israel versus 183 in Lebanon, it seems they just might.

(Thanks to SAP for passing that along.)

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