Saturday, April 13, 2002

DARN THOSE ISRAELIS AND THEIR "US-SUPPLIED GUNSHIPS": A couple of days ago I complained about the journalistic convention of describing Israeli weapons used to attack Palestinians as "U.S.-supplied." Here's another example:
When a sniper round tore through the window and hit her son-in-law in a room above her, she and other family members sobbed helplessly as he bled and pleaded, "Rescue me, rescue me." Fifteen minutes later, she recounted, new barrages from the U.S.-supplied gunships entombed him alive in the rubble. Soon she could no longer hear his cries.
There isn't a legitimate reason for applying the adjective "U.S.-supplied" in this circumstance. Sure, it's true, but it'd also be true to say the "sniper round" was "Israeli--manufactured," that the "window" came from Abdullah's Hardware Store, and that the rubble was "Palestinian-made concrete." The point of the article is that the fighting in Jenin was brutal and destructive. The only purpose served by noting that one of the main Israeli weapons used in the battle was "U.S.-supplied" is to imply that the U.S. is culpable in the Palestinian suffering caused by the battle. That's stupid, of course, since the Israelis would still be attacking the Palestinians even if they only had "Israeli-supplied" weapons. But if reporters must make stupid arguments, can't they be even-handed and note when "Iranian-" or "Syrian-" supplied weapons and explosives purchased with "Saudi-supplied dollars" kill Israelis? Does this annoy anyone else?

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