Bits and pieces -- 04/19/03

During the years that I've had this website, I've probably posted two or three times as many words on other sites than I have here... discussion groups, forums, and now, blog comments.

I recently suggested to myself that perhaps I should, from time to time, post here some of the comments I've made other places. That, I replied to myself, sounded like a good idea. So here's a sampling...

John Scalzi used to maintain an online journal on his site but recently has turned The Whatever into a blog, complete with blog-type comments from readers. On April 17th he cited a Boston Globe article ("Trading Truth for Access") about the recent revelations by Eason Jordan (of CNN) about how for the past decade CNN had not broadcast information that would have revealed the truth about Saddam's rule in Iraq in order to protect the safety of its employees and to avoid being kicked out of the country. I commented

The failure of journalist ethics (and yes, that probably is to ethicsas mililtary music is to music, etc.) here is that they covered up for Saddamand that they presented Iraqi propaganda and lies to us as if they were factswhile knowing full well just how false these things were and yet agressivelyimpugning every statement made by the U.S. to flaunt their journalistic independenceand integrity.

They lied to us. They flat out lied and distorted.

There is always this great debate about the media -- liberal whine andwail about conservative talk radio while conservatives carry on about liberalbias in newspapers and television -- but CNN has flat out lied to us forthe past decade!

And yes, I think other news organizations may be equally guilty -- certainlyothers presented stories out of Iraq that were similar to the b.s. that CNNwas serving up.

Earlier this week Michael Jennings had a posting that discussed the museum looting in Bagdad -- Michael made reference to comments by Jay Manifold (who was, in turn, commenting on an apparent lack of distress displayed by Glenn Reynolds) and I posted the following (it was long enough that I had to post it as two comments, but I've pasted it together here)

Regarding the museum looting and your note to Jay Manifold:

I think Jay is quite right regarding the anti-war movement (which reallyseemed to divide into the anti-everything-American movement and the anti-Bushmovement -- i.e., many domestic critics would have favored the war if ithad happened under Clinton or Gore) -- These people were so blantantly biased,so noisily wrong in their predictions of bloodshed and quagmire, and continueto be ceaselessly negative, that much of the population has just tuned outeverything they say. I must confess that I have become so tired of theirknee-jerk anti-U.S. diatribes that I would not credit anything that theymight say.

Thus, my immediate reaction to cries about the museum looting was "sowhat" -- I think that this psychological hearing loss caused by the endlessbleating of the anti-war sheep may explain some of Glenn Reynolds' reaction-- but, attempting to set that reaction aside, I have to agree with you thatit is, indeed, a terrible loss to humanity's heritage. (And I must confessto having always had a fascination with the history of ancient Ur and Sumer,etc.)

Maybe it would have been more politically correct for Rumsfeld to havefeigned concern over this; however, he is Sec. of Defense, not Sec. of CulturalArtifacts, sensitivity to such things is not in his job description.

Reynolds is correct in his comment that "There's just no pleasing somepeople." If we had put troops around the museums, the usual suspects wouldhave been whining that that just proved the U.S. cares more about elitistcultural toys than about starving Iraqi babies, etc. And just imagine ifthey actually had to fight off looters -- as Jay Manifold noted "Shootingcivilians in the street would have produced just as much criticism as thisevent will."

You suggested non-lethal weapons -- see the headlines about how Americanswere shooting peaceful demonstrators with harmful rubber bullets just likethose Israelis mistreated those poor sweet Palestinian mobs. So maybe theycould use teargas or one of the newer crowd control gasses -- Oops, violationof Geneva convention -- bad, bad, nasty American gangsters. And what aboutwhen those Americans defending the museum with non-lethal weapons are gunneddown by an Iraqi with an AK47?

The looting of the museum was terrible -- although I find the tortureand killing under Saddam that the anti-war crowd wants to ignore to be farmore terrible.

Yeah, I guess it might have been a good thing if the U.S. military,in the midst of figuring out how to take control of a city of five millionpeople filled with some unknown number of enemy combatants with a minimumof harm to civilians and attempting to avoid damage to mosques and museumsand civic infrastructure.

Even if some unknown amount of the contents had already been lootedby elements of the ruling regime, there apparently are eyewitness descripionsof mobs of Iraqis looting the museum. Note, however, that the looters wereIraqis, not Americans. As far as I'm concerned, although I deplore the lootingand wish we had been able to prevent it, the fault lies with the Iraqis whodid the looting.

Hmmm, I had planned on putting several such comments here but this is becoming a long entry, so I think I'll stop right here.

By the way, my default font size is just that, the default size, but I notice more and more sites seem to be using smaller fonts -- some of them getting (to my eyes) ridiculously small. In this entry I made my copied comments one size smaller than I usually use. How does that work with your eyes? I don't think I would make a habit of it -- I prefer the default size -- but I was looking for a visual way of setting off comments I'd made elsewhere. By the way (in case you hadn't guessed), these are unedited comments, cut and pasted just the way they were made, spelling errors, typographical errors, poor phrasings, missing words, etc.

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