Obama: The flotilla deaths were unnecessary, but let's wait for all the facts

We’ll have to wait a few hours for the full transcript, but I sure hope this isn’t “the police acted stupidly” part two.

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was “tragic”, but he stopped short of condemning the actions of Israeli forces.

While Obama said the deaths of nine people were unnecessary, he said the U.S. wants to wait for “an investigation of international standards” to determine the facts. Israel, he said, should agree to such an investigation.

“They recognize that this can’t be good for Israel’s long-term security,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King airing Thursday night.

As far as the “tragic” part goes, remember that an American citizen of Turkish descent is among the dead — reportedly with four bullets in his head and one in his chest fired at close range. In circumstances that suspicious, and absent any video showing what the guy was doing at the moment of truth or who fired the shots, “tragic” is the politically safe way to go. As for the deaths being “unnecessary,” there’s nothing in the blockquote to suggest that he’s blaming Israel for that. Remember, the UN resolution that passed earlier this week condemned the “acts” that led to the killings without specifically condemning any of the parties, a deliberate ambiguity engineered by the U.S. to avoid laying culpability at Israel’s feet. The One might be after the same thing here, lamenting that anyone had to die without specifically saying that it was Israel rather than Turkey that bears most of the responsibility for their deaths. Just a theory; we’ll have to watch “Larry King” to tell for sure.

Here’s a short sneak preview from the same segment, in which Obama once again entertains the folly that a Palestinian culture built upon irredentism will ever tolerate two states side by side. I like his suggestion too that Turkey might have a “positive” role to play. If my post earlier this afternoon didn’t address that to your satisfaction, check out the national scene of mourning for the “martyrs” aboard the flotilla. Ataturk himself couldn’t have asked for more. Exit quotation from Israel’s foreign minister: “We didn’t start this provocation, we did not send bullies with knives and metal rods to Turkey. In this case, the entire blame, all of it, from beginning to end, is that of Turkey. We have nothing to apologise for. On the contrary.”