Tuesday, October 29, 2002

U.S. Says Russia Could Have Saved More Lives.

Y'know, for seven years now I've wanted the U.S. to speak up more vigorously about Chechnya. But of all the times to start, we pick the one where:
a) It wasn't the Russians committing a crime. Potentially gross incompetence and negligence to human life; but this time the Chechens really were terrorists and the Russians really weren't committing a war crime.
b) There's nothing to be done. I've wanted us to speak up on Chechnya in the hopes of changing something in the future-- like, say, convincing Russia to change its behavior in Chechnya. This just seems like carping and Monday-morning quarterbacking.
and c) There's an imminent Security Council vote that we care about a lot more than the Russians do, one for which we at least need Russia to refrain from vetoing.

So now we decide to make an issue? This one time, we might've just endorsed the call by the Russian liberals for an investigation and declined to push the issue further.

Question-- a sincere question. Did any diplomats from other states issue official comments on the events at Waco? If so, how did the U.S. respond to them? I don't remember any such; and the storming of the Branch Davidian compound lacked all of the justifications for gassing the Moscow theater. (No one inside was in imminent danger, for example.) My hunch is that any such diplomat would have gotten a very frosty reaction in Washington.

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