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Tom Odom
12-07-2006, 01:42 PM
While acknowledging that the word "apartheid" refers to the system of legal racial separation once used in South Africa, Carter says in his book that it is an appropriate term for Israeli policies devoted to "the acquisition of land" in Palestinian territories through Jewish settlements and Israel's incorporation of Palestinian land on its side of a separating wall it is erecting.

He criticizes suicide bombers and those who "consider the killing of Israelis as victories" but also notes that "some Israelis believe they have the right to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land and try to justify the sustained subjugation and persecution of increasingly hopeless and aggravated Palestinians."


Apparently former President Carter's book is causing a dust up according to the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/06/AR2006120602171.html?referrer=email).

It is one of the strengths of the ISG report that they resurfaced this issue as a core element in US foreign policy on the Middle East.

Best
Tom

Steve Blair
12-07-2006, 01:54 PM
It's also interesting to note that one of Carter's longtime associates quit working for him after this book came out. I first saw mention of that at Cox & Forkum, and then checked the story here (http://www.ajc.com/services/content/metro/stories/2006/12/06/1206natcarter.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=13).


A longtime adviser to former President Jimmy Carter has resigned his position as a Carter Center fellow for Middle East Affairs in response to Carter's new book.

"Being president doesn't give one the prerogative to bend the facts to reach a prescribed reality," said Kenneth Stein, the first executive director of the Carter Center. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution article.

Tom Odom
12-07-2006, 02:21 PM
Roger that, Steve. The WP article hits the same point.

Uboat509
12-07-2006, 03:38 PM
Why won't Jimmy Carter go away?

SFCW

Tom Odom
12-07-2006, 04:22 PM
Having dealt with a Carter visit in Rwanda and seen the effects of a visit to Cairo, I fully agree that he can be a challenge.

That said, I am glad that he used the words that he did because they are quite accurate and seldom heard from the lips of any American statesman or politician. In this case, Carter enjoys the additional and substantial legitimacy of being the architect of the Camp David accords. Although I believe those accords are more than 10 years past their useful (and costly) shelf life, Carter did play a key role in bringing 2 very hostile sides into an agreement.

Aside from a flurry of brief reality in the early Reagan years, no US president has done that on the Palestinian issue. Clinto sailed that way; Sharon dismasted the ship and set off the 2nd intifadah. Since then and especially after 9-11, we have allowed the Israelis to call the shots on issues that directly affect our national interests. Gratefully, the ISG report despite all the bashing raised that issue as central to our interests in the region.

Best
Tom

carl
12-07-2006, 05:49 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with Tom. How we got into the position of considering our national interests to be precisely consonant with those of Israel is a puzzlement. Incidents over the past 40 years ranging from the U.S.S. Liberty to the South African a-bomb program to the latest Chinese fighter looking exactly like the Lavi project to the spectacle of the I.A.F. using American equipment and money to blast apart Lebanon's infrastruture to no good purpose should have taught us otherwise.

It is in our national interest to lean on Israel rather harder than we have been doing.

As an aside, I think we have little if anything to learn from the Israelis on the strategic prosecution of a small war. They have had decades to make life under their authority preferable to life in an Arab police state (the only alternative in the neighborhood), and they haven't been able to do it.

Merv Benson
12-07-2006, 06:29 PM
So how many Jews serve in the Palestinian equivalent of the Knesset? How many Jews can live in the Palestinian areas outside of a protected compound? The real apartheid comes from the Palestinian death cults that want the destruction of Israel and the export of all Jews that they don't kill. That is what makes Carter's embrace of their propaganda and spin so repugnant. It has to be just a little ironic that death cults made up of religious bigots who openly embrace their ethnic hatred of the Jews complain about apartheid, while Israeli Arabs openly serve in the Knesset and do not have to live in guarded compounds within Israel. The disputed territories are still disputed because the Palestinians having nothing to offer in any negotiation with Israel. Illusory promises of peace while factions continue to plot destruction are not a good faith bargain.

Uboat509
12-07-2006, 07:05 PM
So how many Jews serve in the Palestinian equivalent of the Knesset? How many Jews can live in the Palestinian areas outside of a protected compound? The real apartheid comes from the Palestinian death cults that want the destruction of Israel and the export of all Jews that they don't kill. That is what makes Carter's embrace of their propaganda and spin so repugnant. It has to be just a little ironic that death cults made up of religious bigots who openly embrace their ethnic hatred of the Jews complain about apartheid, while Israeli Arabs openly serve in the Knesset and do not have to live in guarded compounds within Israel. The disputed territories are still disputed because the Palestinians having nothing to offer in any negotiation with Israel. Illusory promises of peace while factions continue to plot destruction are not a good faith bargain.

+1

SFC W

Tom Odom
12-07-2006, 07:27 PM
hmmmm

How many Palestinians are allowed to seize Israeli lands under state sanction, establish government supported housing, and do so in the face of international law and by the way against their principle supporter's foreign policy even as they benefit from continuous funding from that supporter? Answer: none.

Recent disclosures via Israeli organzations that support working toward an agreement showed that as much as 30% of occupied lands are in fact privately owned by Palestinians--a fact the Israeli government does not willingly admit to.

It works two ways. Arab members in the Knesset are at best marginalized. Arabs inside Israel carry ID cards that identify them as such--as do the license plates on their cars. As for Israeli settlements needing guards because they are inside occupied territories, give me a break.

I have been to both South Africa and Israel and lived in the latter country.

Carter is correct

Tom

Steve Blair
12-07-2006, 08:00 PM
There's more than enough blame and bad conduct to go around in the Middle East, IMO. I don't think the major players on EITHER side want to reach a settlement, so there won't be one.

That said, I'm also a firm believer in a Middle East policy that doesn't support Israel no matter what. War guilt only carries them so far, and as far as I'm concerned they have passed that point.

Carter might have been on better ground if he had used the "A" word to include the entire Middle East, since that sort of segmentation based on both religion and race seems pervasive there.

Bill Moore
12-08-2006, 01:59 AM
Israeli policies have been harmful to U.S. interests for years, and like Tom and SWJED I'm more than a little tired of our death do we part marriage with Israel. Their completely incompentent attack against Lebanon, instead of a semi-surgical attack against the Hezbollah has set the conditions to make Hezbollah much more powerful politically in the region. Of course the same administration that created the fiasco in Iraq quietly cheered them on, once again in a state of denial of the consequences.

Israel obviously has the right to, and must take harsh actions to protect its people against lunatic killers that not only threaten innocent Israeli civilians, but also have killed any hope of allowing the Palestinian people to live in peace. However, the Israelis need to get their own extremists under control. Using U.S. purchased warplanes to conduct a pre-emptive attack against Iranian nuclear facilities while perhaps not helpful (maybe it is) is understandable. To use those planes to attack Beirut in an attempt to pressure the government of Lebanon to do something they couldn't do if they wanted to was borderline criminal, or more correctly, simply stupid.

120mm
12-08-2006, 09:58 AM
Carter - It IS true that a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Strickland
12-08-2006, 12:15 PM
What would happen to the US-Israeli relationship if we held firm to a "one man - one vote" solution to continued Israeli-Palestinian problems? What if we asserted that all voters in Israel and the occupied territories (which is another story) were entitled to vote in the same election, in which all votes would be counted/weighed equally? How about that for democracy?

BTW - Israel needs to give back the Golan Heights. What would that do for US-Syrian relations? And yes, I understand why they took it in the first place; however, I see it as akin to the US taking a huge chunk of Mexico, and explaining it in a national security framework.

Tom Odom
12-08-2006, 01:31 PM
Adam,

The one man one vote issue was exactly what drove South African policies for years under apartheid. I would not recommend that as a pressure point for internal Israeli policies. The key focus has to be the territories and those related issues--property and WATER. The latter is critical obviously in the region; Israeli control of the West Bank has control of water as one of its main pillars.

Golan is another issue and you are correct to hit on it; some would say the attack on the USS Liberty was to allow Israel to take the heights after a UN ceasefire. For that discussion look at the USS Liberty Memorial page (http://www.ussliberty.org/)

Again my issue is balance, we cannot put US policy forward in this arena and the greater region while sitting on one end of the seesaw.

best

Tom

Stu-6
12-08-2006, 03:18 PM
"Being president doesn't give one the prerogative to bend the facts to reach a prescribed reality," said Kenneth Stein, the first executive director of the Carter Center.

Then he proceeded to offer no examples of what he was talking about or evidence to support his opinion, jut pure charter assassination. Carter maybe right or wrong but this guy has nothing.

I havenít read Carterís book but I think it is worth taking a look at Israeli responsibility for the current situation in Palestine. All to often serious efforts to discuses the subject are meet with list of the evils of the Palestinians or worse allegations of anti-Semitism. Not to say that this is all the fault of Israel but as my mother always told me and my brother it takes two to fight. It is about time we seriously look at both sides if not we will probably see perpetual war.

aktarian
12-09-2006, 08:29 AM
I wonder how long will it take for people to call him anti-semite.

120mm
12-11-2006, 09:00 AM
I just don't see how the Arabs will allow a solution to happen. It is in their best interests to keep the Palestinians in their camps. Without the Palestinians, they would have nothing to distract the "Arab street" with.

BTW - Isn't a bunch of supposedly "Palestinian land" in Arab nations? Would an agreement with Israel include that land? Or is it just the "Yids" land we are interested in, here?

Being seen as wanting to addressing the problem would have important IO ramifications, that could be exploited, but I have to believe that giving an inch to the Palestinians would result in them taking the proverbial mile, resulting in Israeli over-reaction, etc..

In the end, I think that if they could kill all the Jews, they'd complain that the Jewish bodies were contaminating the ground.

Tom Odom
12-11-2006, 02:06 PM
I just don't see how the Arabs will allow a solution to happen. It is in their best interests to keep the Palestinians in their camps. Without the Palestinians, they would have nothing to distract the "Arab street" with.

On the contrary, the Arab states surrounding Israel the issues of Palestinian camps, rights, and poiltical/military activism are NOT factors that promote stability or in your terms divert the attention of the "Arab street." Begin with Lebanon as a case study and work south.

Secondly I would love to have you define "Arab street"; is that a linguistic definition or a quasi-ethnic definition? The "street" in Damascus is not the same as the "street" in Amman or anywhere else. There are common threads however and the issue of the Palestinians is one of them.

On the issue of Palestinian land in Arab states, depending on the state picked and how you define Palestine, you could make that case--the most common areas would be Jordan (especially the West Bank) and to a lesser degree Gaza. And that goes back to your theory about the Arab states wanting to keep the Palestinian issue bubbling. In the case of Jordan, look at September 1970.

Best

Tom

Steve Blair
12-11-2006, 02:21 PM
I suspect one could argue that there ARE Arab interests who do like to see the Palestinian issue keep smoldering along, so long as it isn't in their backyards (Jordan being a good example). One could also argue that their fellow Arab governments have not done enough for the Palestinians on the whole (aside from funding suicide bombers' families and having discount sales on weapons), but I must admit that my knowledge in this area is somewhat restricted to the earlier days of Palestinian terrorism and doesn't have tons of depth when it comes to more current affairs.

And Tom, I agree about the "Arab street" thing. I get so tired of the MSM carrying on like there is some sort of mass "Arab street" out there that has the same opinions and needs to be catered to.

Tom Odom
12-11-2006, 03:17 PM
Steve,

If you use Jordan as a test of Arab interests in sustaining the Palestinian issue, then the defintion of interests becomes critical.

In 1970, King Hussein after seeing the PLO morph into a state within a state, drove the Palestinian organizations from Jordan--that would be the origin of the phrase "Black September" and later the association of the name with Munich massacre stemmed from that. Hussein took action after the Palestinians blew up several hijacked airliners on the tarmac in Amman. And ultimately, the move of the Palestinians into Lebanon would unhinge that country's confessional political system. It was however in the immediate interest of Hussein to take the step and it was one with large risks for his kingdom.

In a larger sense and one argued from the Israeli side, that a Palestinian state already exists: Trans-Jordan and now modern day Jordan. It was that pressure point that (I believe) drove Hussein to push the Palestinians out (the organized groups, not all Palestinians). So in the larger sense, sustaining a hope for a Palestinian state is both boon and danger to Jordan. As a boon, it serves as a valve to bleed off tensions toward the kingdom. As a danger, there is the risk that a Palestinian state could undermine the Hashemite kingdom, another creation of the post-WWI era.

Jordan's actions in the 67 war ultimately are best explained in that light. As the Hashemite kingdom and protector of Jerusalem, Jordan was caught between the bombast of Nasser and the strong likelihhod that Amman had the most to lose in a war with Israel measured against the legitimacy off the throne inside Jordan. Simply stated it was a lose, lose scenario; ultimately Nasser lost Sinai and most of the Egyptian military machine. Sinai itself was largely symbolic to Cairo and the Egyptian military that emerged from the 67 war was far better thanks to the Soviets and Anwar Sadat--plus much smug complacency on the part of the Israelis. Jorsdan lost its hold on Jerusalem and the West Bank. The first was a symbolic loss, one critical to the kingdom and the larger Muslim world. The loss of the West Bank was more practical in its effects: larger Palestinian refugee issue inside Jordan's borders, an absolute radicalization of the Palestinian movement (the Arab governments had failed; the PLO turned to terror), and very serious issues regarding control of water in the Jordan river valley.

The point of all of this is that the conflicting pressures on Jordan place the Palestinian issue in the kingdom's front yard if not its living room.

120mm
12-12-2006, 09:29 AM
On the contrary, the Arab states surrounding Israel the issues of Palestinian camps, rights, and poiltical/military activism are NOT factors that promote stability or in your terms divert the attention of the "Arab street." Begin with Lebanon as a case study and work south.

So, would you say the idea that Arab national leaders do not use the "plight of the Palestinians" as a unification tool for their populations? And as a distractor from their own corruption and abuses? I would think that Arab states are not upset with <some> instability in the ME, as long as it's bad for the Israelis

Secondly I would love to have you define "Arab street"; is that a linguistic definition or a quasi-ethnic definition? The "street" in Damascus is not the same as the "street" in Amman or anywhere else. There are common threads however and the issue of the Palestinians is one of them.

Perhaps a better phrase would be public opinion?

On the issue of Palestinian land in Arab states, depending on the state picked and how you define Palestine, you could make that case--the most common areas would be Jordan (especially the West Bank) and to a lesser degree Gaza. And that goes back to your theory about the Arab states wanting to keep the Palestinian issue bubbling. In the case of Jordan, look at September 1970.

Best

Tom

For some reason I can't post unless I type something down here.

Steve Blair
12-12-2006, 02:17 PM
Tom,

My fault for bad wording. You said regarding Jordan more or less what I meant (in terms of them kicking the Palestinians out and starting lots of stuff as a result).

Tom Odom
12-12-2006, 02:30 PM
Reference Arab nation's use of the Palestinian issue as a distractor/unifier:

This was the trend in the 1950s through 1967 in the height of the Pan Arab movement and the creation and sustainment of secular parties in the Arab world--the Baath Party in Syria and Iraq and at one stage the long distance unification of Egypt with Syria (a short term Vegas marriage) if there ever was one. 1967 was a watershed event in the Middle East because itr exposed the Arab regimes in Syria and Egypt as paper tigers and set lose radical Palestinian militancy and terrorism.

1975 was the next watershed year with the eruption of the Lebanese civil war; it was the most serious sectarian and civil struggle the region had seen. The spark that ignited this war was the Palestinian issue; as I said earlier Sep 1970 in Jordan was a precursor event. And although the palestinian issue was in 1975 largely non-sectarian within Arab circles, it set off what became a sectarian conflict and a larger infiltration/conquest/alignment of radical forces in the Middle East. The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and occupation set the stage for the development of Hizballah--a religious based Shia militia--in competition with Amal--a political based Shia militia (yes that is a contradiction) more aligned with Syria and the Syrian Baath party. Amal ultimately lost and we have the current tinder box in Lebanon as a result.

After the sectarian violence on Lebanon, the spread of radical Islam into the Palestinian struggle with Hamas as a Sunni clone of Shia Hizballah drew strength from the lack of results of the 1st Intifahda. The 2nd Intifadah was and is much more radicallly Islamic and the surrounding Arab states and their leaders all know it. What could be used in your terms as a distractor in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and the early 1980s got very dangerous in the 1990s and leaders in those states see it as such.

On the other hand reverse your analysis. It has long been the policy of Israel to export unrest among its enemies. Israeli missions with the Kurds in the 1960s, Israeli support to southern Sudanese rebels in the 1960s, and their once close relations with Idi Amin in Uganda all supported that goal. The creation and sustainment of the South Lebanese Army during the occupation of Lebanon was perhaps the most blatant expression of this policy.

As for corruption of Arab regimes etc etc., that is quite true in that all have shall we say "integrity issues". Name me a region that is corruption free.

On Arab street versus population--what I was getting at is the issue of who is an Arab and who is not. Modern defintions limit Arab to Arabic-speakers rather than try and identify "ethnic Arabs". On commonalities between such populations' opinions regional differences certainly play a role; proximity to an issue like the Palestinian issue tends to increase intensity of those opinions. And in lesser educated or uneducated people those opinions become tied to what their respective governments say. Unless of course and that is the shift I tried to lay out above the issue is reframed in a purely religious sense; then those same lesser or uneducated populations inflamed through religious zealots make such issues as the Palestiinians very dangerous for Arab leaders to manipulate.


Best

Tom

120mm
12-13-2006, 11:45 AM
That makes incredible sense. If the Palestinian issue can be used to threaten Israel, why isn't it in Israel's best interest to resolve it.

Thanks for the enlightenment.

Tom Odom
12-13-2006, 01:05 PM
The short answer is that it is and it has been in Israel's interest to resolve or at least lessen the issue.

The longer answer is complex involving political. military, economic, and ultimately psychological issues that press key nerves. Internal Israeli politics are whirlwind and cuthroat; Israeli culture has morphed over the years. And it is not a monolith; there are significant voices for change inside the country and outside in the greater Jewish community.

But basic social and physical laws apply here and we the US are a factor; by that I mean when our position in the equation is carved in stone, that same stone works against any movement on this issue.

Good discussion

Best
Tom

Merv Benson
12-13-2006, 03:45 PM
The main reason there is not peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians is that the Palestinians have nothing of value to offer the Israelis. The Palestinian Authority does not control all the various death cults bent on a genocidal war with Israel and thus cannot stop attacks even if it agreed to do so. The passions of the death cults is based more on Israel's existence than its conduct or its negotiating posture. Existence is not a subject of negotiation.

SSG Rock
12-13-2006, 09:08 PM
That two peoples have been tossed into this situation through no real fault of their own demands concentrated and genuine international assistance in bringing involved parties to the negotiating table. We'll never get anywhere if either side claims the moral high ground and digs in. There is plenty of blame to go around, this is true, all the way around the world that is. While Israel has been heavy handed of late, I for the life of me can't understand why anyone would actually demand that Israel participate in anymore land for peace deals. Someone from the Palestinian side always manages to sabatoge the treaty and vice versa. And, so the world must get involved, there is simply no way these two entities will come to terms unless they are forced to. I can't place all the blame on one side or the other, so much has transpired that it is moot now anyway. All that is important is finding a way for them to live with each other equitably, that will never happen without strong intervention. And in that endeavour, Carter's book doesn't help the situation at all.

I am also very concerned that this talk eminating from Ahmadinejad casting doubt as to the historical facts of the holacaust is incredibly starting to gain traction. With the recent conference over the last couple of days on that exact topic, I'm beginning to get concerned that a wave of anitsemitism might actually resurface. Let that happen and then see what follows. I tell you, it's shaping up to be a real throw down over there all things considerd.

Bill Moore
12-13-2006, 10:46 PM
Rock I couldn't agree with you more. This clown Ahmadinejad, to the dismay of most us, knows how to sell used cars in the Middle East. I don't know if we'll ever truly understand how hateful messages like this, completely based on falsehoods, gains traction in the region. I can think of two contributing reasons. First, he represents religious zealots, and regardless of which religion the zealots disregard cause and effect reasoning, because in their view everything happens because God directs it. We can't wage a war of ideas based on reason against zealots. Second, Israel has taken several heavy handed actions over the years, not just recently, so there is plenty of propaganda material that can be employed against them. I don't think there is a ready solution waiting to be pulled of the shelf, since the conflict seems to benefit to many players on the side line. The West could go in with a large peace enforcement force and force both sides to comply, and then park there long enough (years) to establish a lasting peace, but the political will to undertake such a venture is simply not there. We can't even get peace enforcement forces for Sudan, so how will we get forces for the even tougher problem with Israel? This is why I caution tying ourselves too closely to Israel if it doesn't support our national interests. However, if it ever comes down to religion zealots attacking Israel with the purpose of wiping Israel off the map (instead of perhaps a limited goal of regaining the Golan Heights), then we would be definitely obligated to respond. What a mess. Maybe if we close our eyes and click our heels three times we could wish it away?

Tom Odom
12-14-2006, 02:15 PM
Bill and Rock,

I would simply say that if you are seeing the complexity of this issue, you are seeing it with greater clarity than most.

Best

Tom

jcustis
12-15-2006, 06:07 PM
Are Hamas and Fatah going to duke it out (reference an alleged assasination attempt on Haniya yesterday) ?

Tom Odom
12-15-2006, 06:35 PM
JC

It is looking that way at least locally in Gaza as a strong possibility. And I have serious doubts that Fatah would win while Hamas must simply not lose.

Coupled with the same struggle in Lebanon between Hizballah and the others, the region as a sectarian tinder box is certainly smoking.

Tom

SWJED
12-16-2006, 02:13 PM
16 December Boston Globe editorial - Jimmy Carter vs. Jimmy Carter (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2006/12/16/jimmy_carter_vs_jimmy_carter/).


Harry Truman famously said that if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. By refusing Brandeis's invitation to take part in a debate about his new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," former president Jimmy Carter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter) is saying that he can't take the heat -- after giving his book a controversial title and boasting of a desire to be provocative.

Some of the fury Carter has provoked is so overwrought that it appears to confirm his own overstated contention that any criticism of Israel is treated like heresy by the mainstream media. But it is precisely because of the hyperbole of his critics, and the seriousness of the issues he wants to raise, that Carter should agree to debate that inveterate defender of Israel, Alan Dershowitz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dershowitz).

At the least, Carter should welcome a chance to defend his deliberate choice of the emotionally charged word, "apartheid," in his title. In one of the text's three references to apartheid, Carter quotes an unnamed "prominent Israeli" saying, "I am afraid that we are moving toward a government like that of South Africa, with a dual society of Jewish rulers and Arab subjects with few rights of citizenship. The West Bank is not worth it."...

If he were to accept a genuine debate about his use of the word "apartheid," Carter would probably have to admit he was being irresponsibly provocative. The rest of his brief for Mideast peace hardly differs from the consensus of rational Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans. Carter is an orthodox peacenik posing as a heretic. Maybe that's the real reason he has declined to debate.

tequila
12-20-2006, 01:31 PM
The Palestinians look like they are really trending toward civil war. Interestingly many in the region now look at Fatah as an American puppet due to items like this:

U.S. Training Fatah in Anti-Terror (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/14/MNGIPMV3N61.DTL)Tactics.

U.S. preparing Abbas guard to take on Hamas (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/781482.html).

So is the U.S. now taking sides in a Palestinian civil war? Should it?

Slightly off topic of this, but Israeli spying on the U.S. still goes on, according to Jeff Stein of Congressional Quarterly (http://public.cq.com/public/20061117_homeland.html). I wonder why this is still necessary given that we provide so much of their defense budget.

jcustis
12-20-2006, 03:38 PM
Perhaps it is because they have a fear that we are always one breath away from breaking our ties with the state.

tequila
12-20-2006, 05:02 PM
Perhaps it is because they have a fear that we are always one breath away from breaking our ties with the state.

I doubt the Israelis view the relationship as that precarious. I think it's much more likely that they feel the relationship is so strong that they can get away with things like this with impunity. Indeed, I'd say that they were 100&#37; right about that.

Steve Blair
12-20-2006, 05:39 PM
I would say it's more like a national paranoia, but that doesn't make it excusable.