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Archive for March 2nd, 2010

Secretary of War Calls European De-Militarization “Threat to Peace”

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Is he serious?

“The demilitarization of Europe — where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it — has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st,” he told NATO officers and officials in a speech at the National Defense University, the Defense Department-financed graduate school for military officers and diplomats.

So the reduction of arms and a general aversion to war is a threat to “security”. War, in other words, is peace – but not only that: in the twisted mind of Secretary Gates, peace is somehow war.

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Written by pavanvan

March 2, 2010 at 11:05 pm

“Looters” in Chile

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The rubble from Chile’s horrific earthquake has just barely settled, and already the US media is howling over “looters” and their dastardly attempts to salvage some sustenance and supplies from Chile’s ruined supermarkets.

The Washington Post has the charming headline: “Massive quake brings looters and heroes“, while ABC gives the ominous “Looters Descend Upon Chile“, and The Daily Beast informs us that “Chile Sends Troops To Battle Looters“.

Now, place yourself in the shoes of a Chilean citizen who has just survived the massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake. It’s demolished every structure around you, the shopkeepers have all fled, and you’re literally standing in rubble. You’re hungry, thirsty, and scared. You see, out of the corner of your eye, a bit of canned food peeking out amid the devastation. You’ve got kids, of course, and they’re all clamoring for food. So you pick up the can and begin to dig around for a can opener.

Then clickety-clack go the keyboards of those safe, secure journalists in America and elsewhere, instantly branding you a “looter”. I mean, what would these people have the Chileans do? Go to the nearest ATM, withdraw some cash, somehow find the shopkeeper (who’s house has been destroyed and who has likely fled) and hand him the money? How do they expect them to feed their families if not by “looting”?

This calls to mind the grimly hilarious photo juxtaposition that came out of Hurricane Katrina back in aught-five. I’ve reproduced it here for your viewing pleasure:

Our media learned their lesson well from Katrina: black people loot; white people find.

Written by pavanvan

March 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Bribery in Iraq Elections and NYT Approval

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Well, The Times finally picked up on the story about widespread bribery going on in Iraq’s upcoming elections, and surprise! The article’s thesis is that it’s “no big deal” and “just the way they do things there.” The Times hardly mentions the word “bribe”, preferring instead the far more acceptable phrase “gift”. As you read their “report”, I’d like you to imagine what their reaction would be if, say, Iran had engaged in the same practices:

Across the country, voters are reaping a windfall as candidates in Sunday’s parliamentary elections offer gifts like heating oil and rice. When a candidate recently showed up in a poor village outside Baquba to distribute frozen chickens — in a literal homage to the political slogan “a chicken in every pot” — so many people rushed to get the free birds that many left disappointed after the supply ran out.

You may remember in yesterday’s Guardian a full article describing US darling Al-Maliki’s tactic to win re-election, which was handing out American-made arms to various “tribal leaders”. Now, most people would consider this a serious misuse of American aid, and an extremely dubious election strategy. However, the New York Times is not most people. They bury that story in the middle of the article and select a quote that basically signals their approval of the practice.

When Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki was asked about allegations that he gave tribal leaders pistols, emblazoned with a personal stamp, he openly defended the action.

“Some people criticize me for giving people pistols,” he said during a meeting with security officials broadcast on television. “Honestly, I wish I could give a pistol and a rifle to each one who stood beside the government against the gangs to express our appreciation.”

That’s it. That’s all they have to say on the matter. Again, I invite you to imagine what their reaction would be if, say, Hugo Chavez had been accused of buying votes with guns (US-made guns, no less). I think they’d have more to say.

With colorful language and delectable descriptions of “election feasts”, it’s clear the Times wants us to believe that the elections are going A-OK: everyone is campaigning peacefully, and “Democracy” is taking root in Iraq.

Of course, it wouldn’t do to mention the 352 killed in sectarian violence during the month of February – that would go against their narrative of a happy, peaceful election – so they don’t. Similarly, no one at the Times wants to mention the Kurdish activist who was injured in pre-election violence a few days ago.

Now, I’m sure many Iraqis are thrilled with the prospect of “gifts” in exchange for votes, and I’m equally sure that those “tribal leaders” were ecstatic with their free American guns. But for the New York Times to take these as the hallmarks of a successful election,  and especially for them not to mention the very real violence occurring behind the scenes demonstrates, I’m afraid, how debauched our own democracy has become.

Written by pavanvan

March 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Quote of the Day

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We are not hated for who we are. We are hated for what we do. It is not our principles that have spawned pandemic hatred of America in the Islamic world. It is our policies.

– Pat Buchanan

Written by pavanvan

March 2, 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized