The new US National Security Advisor, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, has made a second polemical public statement in recent days – this time about the tragedy off the coast of Hawaii in which nine Japanese from a school-ship died after their vessel was rammed by a nuclear submarine, the USS Greenville. The Japanese school-ship was so badly damaged by the surfacing submarine that it sank in ten minutes. However, in a statement which is as callous as it is cold and inhuman, Dr. Condoleeza Rice states that there is no proof that the submarine acted illegally in its surfacing operation, the act which provoked the collision. She stated that an investigation is under way to determine what happened. We can tell her what happened, for free. The US nuclear submarine surfaced and unintentionally had an accident with a Japanese school-ship, as it happens a fishing vessel which was training students. Let us be honest, the US armed forces are more than slightly accident-prone. Reading the history of US armed intervention is a tragedy. For example, in the training exercises before the Gulf War broke out, around a hundred US armed forces personnel died in accidents, according to documentation released at the time and reported by Portuguese National Television, RTP. When the war did break out, nine British soldiers were killed when their military vehicle was bombed by an American plane. Since ten British servicemen died in this war, the record states that ninety per cent of them were killed by their allies. The list is long and tiresome and stretches back through every conflict in which the US Armed Forces have been involved. The US Armed Forces have money and arrogance, both in overdose at this point in time but one does not expect the same of politicians, especially in moments such as these. What Dr. Condoleeza Rice needs to learn is that when people are killed, one expresses condolences, one expresses human compassion, one expresses regret…or at least, in our part of the world, we do.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON