On the shelling of a hospital in Sri Lanka — and the death of 45 civilians — the Sri Lankan government had this to say:

“Giving credence and acceptance to this LTTE-inspired piece of ‘news’, would wittingly or unwittingly aid the terrorist organisation to save itself at the hour of its impending demise,” a government statement said.

Expressing concern about the inadvertent bombing of a civilian hospital in no way provides succor for Tamil Tiger rebels. The torturous logic of claiming that even investigating this “news” would amount to terrorist sympathies encapsulates exactly what is most problematic with the Sri Lankan government’s last-ditch offensive against the Tigers. It’s not only that the military has not been taking civilian presence sufficiently into account (yes, inexcusable rebel tactics notwithstanding); it’s that it isn’t even willing to let the press report that civilian casualties might be happening under its watch.

Satellites may be able to tell the truth about bombings, but this makes China’s and Russia’s continued unwillingness to raise this “internal matter” at the Security Council even more frustrating.

(image of displaced Sri Lankans, from flickr user trokilinochchi under a Creative Commons license)

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