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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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March 16, 2005

Blaming the Bulldozer

The crushing of Rachel Corrie by an Israeli army bulldozer on March 16, 2003, is sad, but surely it is not the fault of the U.S. company that manufactured the bulldozer.

The young woman's parents have filed a lawsuit—you can read the complaint here--against Caterpillar. The complaint asserts a number of things, including that the woman was “intentionally killed” by the soldier driving the bulldozer, making the incident an example of “extrajudicial killing as defined by customary international law and the Torture Victim Protection Act.” Further, it asserts that Caterpillar was guilty of the killing because protesters had notified the company that they considered it responsible for what the Israeli government did with Cat bulldozers.

I’m no lawyer, but that argument does not pass the smell test with me. It is not a matter of who’s side you’re on in the Middle East, because I consider myself mainly on the Palestinian side. But let’s be realistic. Here’s a 23-year-old student from Evergreen State College who goes to a part of the world where she is a foreigner, and where there has been fighting for more than 50 years, and attempts to block an army bulldozer with her body. She steps in front of it, daring the driver to stop. He is a solider under military command. He doesn’t stop. After the fact comes an argument about whether he intended to run her over. All of which seems academic. They’re playing chicken here. That’s what can happen when you protest that way in that place. Whether you blame it on the soldier or the girl will depend on your politics. But to blame it on Caterpillar? Ridiculous.

Respond to Bruce.


 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at March 16, 2005 02:42 PM



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