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Bad terrorists. No dessert for you.

While surfing, I happened to run across this, from last November, illustrating precisely why it's hard to take humanitarian NGOs seriously. This one's a Human Rights Watch press release: Iraq: Targeting of Civilians by Insurgents Must Stop. Er, yes. Scolding terrorists -- via press release, no less -- generally works quite well.

I know, I know: on the scale of things to complain about, this one's pretty low down on the list. It just struck me as absurd when I saw this.


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During the Iraq war, many were complaining about NGOs being one-sided, since they regularly issued press releases scolding the US for not going to extreme enough lengths to avoid civilian casualties, while ignoring Iraq's flagrant and deliberate misuse of civilians for military ends. I think this press release is important and welcome not because it will influence the terrorists, but because it provides context for their countless press releases about relatively trivial (by comparison) first-world "human-rights abuses". I doubt HRW intended it that way, though.

I should point out that I obviously agree with HRW on this issue. I have no problem with them condemning Iraqi rebels; it does make them more evenhanded than when they only condemn Western violations. It was just the way that HRW actually directed their comments at the rebels, as if these people were listening, that struck me as so absurd.


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