Sine Qua Non Pundit
And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good -- Need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ------ ------ ------ ------ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, April 12, 2003
The Crime That Dare Not Speak Its Name
I wonder if these people are able to get their taxes completed by April 15 each year?
An Egyptian immigrant's deadly attack on an Israeli airline ticket counter last year has been ruled a terrorist attack related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an FBI spokesman said Friday. "Given his political views and the fact that El Al is an Israeli government-owned airline, that met the criteria for a terrorist attack," said Matthew McLaughlin, a spokesman for the Los Angeles field office of the FBI. Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport's El Al ticket counter on July 4 last year, killing two people before being shot dead by an airline security guard.
Did the FBI just discover one of these facts or has it taken them this long to connect the two dots available and reach a conclusion?
Friday, April 11, 2003
That's the best headline I can think of for any story about Eason Jordan and the Collaboration News Network. After all, they were after profits based upon the suffering and death of others. What else would you call it?
6,423 and Counting
My oldest daughter turned 13 today. Even though we have only two daughters, because of their age difference it will be 6,423 days before we no longer have a teenage daughter in the house. Your prayers, admonitions, wisdom, enouragement, condolences, warnings, advice, donations, and practice ammunition (.40 S&W 180 grain Hydra-Shock jacketed hollow point, preferably) is welcome. I think I'll survive this ordeal, but I am worried about my wife and my girls.
In others news, my favorite bar band from Austin, TX, the Asylum Street Spankers, is playing at Off Broadway here in St. Louis tomorrow night. Best live band I've seen. Christina Mars has an incredible voice and they use no demon electricity of any kind whatsoever, not even for amplification of their voices -- which makes the experience rather interesting in a live bar setting. I'm sorry to see that Mysterious John is no longer with them, but I'm sure Wammo will have something to make up for his absence. If you have the chance, you'll enjoy it. I promise.
Christianne, You Ignorant War Slut
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of watching Christianne Amanpour on CNN demand an investigation for the bombing of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad that killed two journalists. I have no doubt that there will, and should be, an investigation. But Ms. Amanpour's righteous indignation rang a little hollow since she said something like (paraphrasing from memory):
When it went off, we just assumed it was an RPG fired by the Republican Guard. But when we later learned it was a US tank, we were angry and appalled.
Ok, I understand. I have become quite accustomed to having the US held to utopian standards that no one else has to meet. But given her boss' story below documenting the evils of the Iraqi regime, I am angry and appalled that after all that, Ms. Amapour had no words of condemnation for Iraqi forces firing into the hotel, but immediately leapt onto a story that it was the US that fired upon them, and that the US did so with reckless disregard for the journalists who were there.
As of this morning, apparently the US is admitting that the US fired into the Palestine Hotel but that it was justified in doing so, because, well, there's a war on.
Burnin' and a Lootin' Tonight
As I read the early stories on the looting in Iraq, I am reminded of a moment in The Killing Fields, when Sydney Schanberg is challenged in New York by a reporter about the newly revealed horrors of the Khmer Rouge, given his reporting over the years about the evil of America in Southest Asia. Sydney immediately gets defensive that his best intentions may have had unintended consequences and responds with something to the effect that, "...maybe we underestimated the madness that 8 years of bombing would produce." Isn't it fair to ask the professional progeny of Mr. Schanberg what kind of madness 30 years of Saddam Hussein might produce -- before blaming the US for every ill that still infects Iraq?
The Coalition liberates Iraq and the first thing France & Friends are worried about is how to make money off it:
The European Commission is examining contracts awarded by the US for reconstruction work in Iraq to find out whether they breach World Trade Organisation rules and discriminate unfairly against European companies.
Maybe the EU has a point. We should only discriminate fairly against EU countries. How about, "Did you support the liberation of Iraq or did you work to keep Saddam Hussein in power?" as a simple test for discrimination amongst companies and states that get to play?
Every time I read about the transnational progressive institutions such as the WTO, the EU, the UN, etc., I am reminded of George Washington's farewell address:
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.
Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
Why forgo the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?
It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world, so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs that honesty is always the best policy.
Collaboration News Network
I suppose that Eason Jordan thinks this will make me more sympathetic to CNN:
Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.
For example, in the mid-1990's one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government's ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency's Iraq station chief.
I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam Hussein was a maniac who had to be removed. One Foreign Ministry officer told me of a colleague who, finding out his brother had been executed by the regime, was forced, as a test of loyalty, to write a letter of congratulations on the act to Saddam Hussein. An aide to Uday once told me why he had no front teeth: henchmen had ripped them out with pliers and told him never to wear dentures, so he would always remember the price to be paid for upsetting his boss. Again, we could not broadcast anything these men said to us.
Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for "crimes," one of which included speaking with CNN on the phone. They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family's home.
I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely.
No, Mr. Jordan. This only makes the reporting I've seen on CNN even worse. You just admitted that you've known how bad it was there for twelve years, but still gave Baghdad Bob the time of day while automatically questioning the motives of the Bush Administration every opportunity you had. Please explain Peter Arnett and Christianne Amanpour again for me.
DOWNDATE: I've updated the title after reading Bill Hobbs. Ther moral blind spot has grown so huge that CNN should go out of business as most of its staff resigns in shame and disgust. Try and dredge up your memory of CNN's reporting since the liberation of Iraq began with the hindsight of their collaboration with Saddam Hussein all these years. Truly wretched, isn't it? I blogged this in a drowsy state at 6:15 AM. I didn't log on that early to blog anything, but I was so appalled by this story I had to write something. I'm glad to see that CNN is getting a drubbing it so richly deserves across the blogosphere today.
I thought about working up a title based upon the movie Heaven Can Wait, which was a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan. But this isn't funny, and, anyway, there's still something so not right about Warren Beatty wearing the wings of an angel.
Drudge reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said:
'I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO REGRET ABOUT MY VOTE [AGAINST] THIS WAR. THE SAME QUESTIONS REMAIN. THE COST IN HUMAN LIVES, THE COST TO OUR BUDGET, PROBABLY 100 BILLION. WE COULD HAVE PROBABLY BROUGHT DOWN THAT STATUE FOR A LOT LESS'
Does anyone know of any other instance as evidenced by her voting record, military expenditures excepted, that Nancy Pelosi ever though the government could have done something for less?
And I so look forward to her solution to North Korea on the cheap.
Thursday, April 10, 2003
The Agonist and the Ecstacy
No, I'm not claiming that Sean-Paul was on drugs. I rarely read his site before the latest brouhaha came to light. When I did, usually because I linked through from Instapundit, his infantile hatred of people like me would come blaring through, and since I'm already carrying around Richard Cohen, life is too short to spend any more of it wading through that kind of crap. As for his plagiarism and his extremely weak retorts after being caught red-handed, well, Sean Paul seem to be firmly in the camp of those who believe that some citizens are more equal than others. Nothing new there. Sean-Paul appears to be dishonest, disrespectful, and disreputable. If you want to play in the land of the adults, you have to act like an adult and follow the adult rules. Thus far, Sean-Paul hasn't, and he doesn't seem overtly inclined to start. I hope he enjoys the DU and Indymedia readership, because that's all he's going to get from now on.
Iraq Wins the 2003 NBA Championship
Well, that's what it looked like, watching the video of Saddam's statue in Firdos Square coming down and what with all the looting going on throughout Baghdad.
Is it time to draw another Baath and clean away the grime from another dirty regime? Say, isn't "regime" a French word?