Sean's Blog

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Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Wow. I've heard accusations about reporters being involved with terrorism, but this is most damning charge I've heard yet. Powerline features an email from a reader that says:
The Fallujah case is particularly interesting, because it involves one of the same organisations (AP). Apparently the reporters were tipped to go to a specific location. They were not told exactly what would take place, but they knew it was going to be a terrorist action of some type. For security reasons, the terrorists give the reporters very little notice -- just enough to get there, if everything goes right.

They were told exactly what street corner to be on, where they would be expected by and under the protection of the terrorists. ("If you're anywhere else, we can't guarantee your safety.") The AFP writer and photographer got to the scene "in time" to get photos of the tag end of the fight. The AP van, held up by the TV crew, was late to the scene and had trouble finding it at first. When AP arrived, the fighting was over, the Americans were dead and their vehicles were being set afire.

After the contractors were dead and their bodies looted, the reporters stayed and encouraged the mob that had gathered to mutilate the bodies. I am told by our Arabic speakers that they can be heard egging the youths on during the video of the mutilations. "Go ahead, cut him up. What are you afraid of?" I don't believe that they are motivated by anti-American animus -- after all, there were plenty of Americans like Kos that took delight in those murders -- but by professional considerations. They need shocking video to win the daily news cycle. If they can't get it, they'll manufacture it.
It sounds like to me that these reporters for the Associated Press and Agence-France Presse were local reporters with little concern for humanity and great concern for their wallets. However, that doesn't excuse what the MSM has done and are doing vis a vis Iraq. They are clearly trying to influence the outcome for financial and ideological reasons.

You can almost understand while local reporters have participated and encouraged terrorism. Almost. What is unforgivable is when some ideologically motivated reporter intentionally lies and distorts the facts in a straight news story and then tries to persuade his audience that he is completely unbiased and that any accusation of such is outrageous and insulting.

Hugh Hewitt in The Weekly Standard provides an example of a straight news reporter attempting to influence opinion:
EVEN BEFORE THE DOCTORS had completed their evacuation of the wounded to Germany in the aftermath of the attack on the Mosul dining hall, and certainly before all the next of kin of the dead had been notified, New York Times reporter Richard Stevenson had sat down at his word processor to manufacture a story on how the attack would cripple George W. Bush's second term domestic agenda.
A quote from the article in question:
"The deadly attack on a United States military base in northern Iraq on Tuesday scrambled the Bush administration's hopes of showing progress toward stability there, while making clear that the war is creating a nasty array of problems for President Bush as he gears up for an ambitious second term. Despite weathering criticism of his Iraq policy during the presidential campaign, Mr. Bush is heading into his next four years in the White House facing a public that appears increasingly worried about the course of events in Iraq and wondering where the exit is."
"Scrambled......" Huh? Scrambled? What evidence does he provide that President Bush's hopes of showing progress in Iraq has been "scrambled?" As Hugh Hewitt points out, it's a quote from former Senator Warren Rudman:
"The big risk for the president is that if this continues to escalate, it could overtake much of what he wants to do. . . . If this is in some way a precursor of an escalation into a more sophisticated attack by the guerilla insurgents, it would make members of Congress very uneasy and the American people very uneasy."
Ah. I see. Yes, it's clear. The president's agenda has been scrambled. It's all over now. We may as well just surrender now. Good grief.

The most delightful thing in Hewitt's entire piece is the revelation (to me at least) that this is repeat of an earlier piece Stevenson wrote back in June.

Yes, the media is biased. That's okay though as long as we know up front which way they tilt. I understand completely that Fox News does lean to the right. I know that. But what makes me most angry is when Dan Rather and CBS or The New York Times tries to convince me that they are completely unbiased and that they present "just the facts." That's insulting. Richard Stevenson's work is a prime example of what people mean when they accuse the media of being biased. Stevenson clearly has an agenda here. His editorializing on page A-6 and the Times' blind eye to his editorializing is clearly an example of bias in the MSM.

The good news is that the blogosphere is here. They can't get away with it any longer.

Via Instapundit.

Secretary Rumsfeld visited Iraq the other day. The following is a first person account, via email, of the Secretary's visit to an army hospital in Tikrit:
I am Brian Mattson, and Cpt. Dan is my brother. I was emailing them through my father's email account (Richard) which is how they made the mistake. But at any rate, thanks for stopping in! Without further ado...

The below-referenced Captain Dan Mattson reports:

It made my day, and I'm pretty certain it made theirs too. It's Christmas Eve, though it didn't feel like it. There are some good decorations in the hospital, but we had no Christmas music in the OR today, and no snow on the ground. No nativity scenes or festive cheer in this part of the world. Then, after a routine for here but hardly routine day in the OR, my day was made. I'm referring to the interaction I witnessed and helped facilitate between a young injured soldier and a high ranking official. Here is how it happened:

I was reading at around noon when I told the anesthesiologist that "the Donald" was in town on a surprise visit. No, not Donald Trump, but Donald Rumsfeld. He laughed cynically and said no way would he come here. Well, at around 1600 I was in the OR and I was told that Rumsfeld was downstairs, and we could go down there if we wanted to. I was not in a position to leave, obviously.

Well, the timing worked out well, because I was taking my patient to the recovery room when we wheeled the stretcher through a mob of dignitaries, to include 3 and 4 star generals. I knew the Secretary was nearby, and it turns out he was in the ICU. The patient drew enough attention because of his bruised, banged up face that the 4 star came over to get his story from the surgeon. I was doing some charting by the bedside when Mr. Rumsfeld came over and heard the kid's story from the 4-star. Rumsfeld looked concerned and kind of kept his distance from the gruesome site. He said something like "bless his heart", as if talking around him.

That is when I, without any thought, piped in with "Sir, you can talk to him, he's awake." He told the soldier, named Rob, how proud he was of his service. The soldier was in a bit of disbelief, because he couldn't see with one eye patched and the other swollen shut. He said he wanted to talk to Rumsfeld. That's when I said "He's standing right to your left, Rob, that's his voice you hear. You can talk to him." The kid was nervous at that point, but sputtered out how honored he was to talk to him. Mr. Rumsfeld replied, "No, it's an honor for me to talk to you."

Then remarkably, the young soldier, who had just lost his left hand and right eye from an explosion, came to the defense of the Secretary of Defense, stating "Mr. Rumsfeld, I want you to know, that you are doing a fantastic job. I know that you are taking a lot of heat for the problems with getting armor for vehicles. I want you to know that things are vastly improved. Our vehicles are great, and I have never searched through junk piles for scrap metal."

At this point, Rumsfeld looked choked up, and I had a lump in my throat and and watery eyes. It was moving. What makes a man who has been so close to death, and maimed for life, come to the defense of the Army's highest ranking official? Loyalty, I dare say. Did Rob think Mr. Rumsfeld was having a self-esteem problem? In his greatest hour of need, his thoughts went to the emotional needs of another. I found it quite amazing, and moving. The Secretary took out a coin and gave it to a bystander for him, as if he didn't know he could touch him. Finally, the soldier said, "Man, Donald Rumsfeld, I wish I could shake his hand."

Even at that, I felt Mr. Rumsfeld needed some prompting, so I picked up the kid's arm and looked at the Secretary, and he reached out and took the kid's hand. After the entourage left, I took the coin and placed it in the soldiers hand, for him to feel and hold. I said, "that's not one you'll get every day." He was happy. I told the person caring for him to make certain that coin went with him to his room. I was assured that he would. I told Rob it was an honor to care for him, and then went on to do my next case. I'd like to see him tomorrow, but I heard he is flying out tonight.

I am grateful that I was placed in a position to help what could have been a mediocre interaction, fantastic. Judging by people's facial expressions, it was truly unique. Someone took a picture as this was happening, so once I get a hold of it, I'll send it along.

I don't really approve of plays that make fun of or attack a religion, but I do believe in the concept of free speech to the point where if someone wants to write and present a play that does both then I believe that that person has the right.

In England, Sikhs were offended to the point of violence over a dark comedy called Behzti by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti.

The Sikhs probably were deeply offended and I can understand that, but by no means was violence an acceptable form of protest. More than anything else, this needs to be the one lesson that needs to be repeated ad nauseum to British and European audiences. That civil, peaceful protests are perfectly reasonable responses to this outrage, but violence will not be tolerated.

I believe that Great Britain's response will be to charge the author and owner of the theatre with a crime and that the "victims" will once again have the idea reinforced by government that violence is a proper response to having their feelings hurt. This will ensure that it happens each and every time someone feels that they have been insulted. That the aggrieved are within their rights to go on a rampage because government keeps telling people that if you get your feelings hurt you have the right to bash someone bloody and to destroy property. Instead of attempting to safeguard the right to free speech and to attempt to create a society where violence is punished consistently, my guess is that violence will once again win.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The New York Times explains the history of Festivus.

Hehehe. I love it.

Ann Coulter is in rare form. A must read for her fans:
As president, Clinton sold burial plots in Arlington Cemetery and liberals shrugged it off. What really gets their goat is the autopen. Evidently, the important thing was that every one of those pardons Clinton sold for cash on his last day in office was signed by Bill Clinton personally.
Oh my. That woman is wickedly funny.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Tim Blair is going through 2004's year in quotes. For gloating nostalgic types such as myself it's a must read.

The Telegraph features yet another example of European vacuity:
Lack of European experts has held up the excavation of mass graves in Iraq, according to an American human rights lawyer working on the investigation.

Greg Kehoe said the experts were not joining in because evidence might be used to sentence Saddam Hussein to death.
If I'm reading this right, it would appear that if Europeans were the only witnesses to Saddam's mass graves they would prefer to let the man go free before they would be allow their testimony to be used to put the evil man to death. Unbelievable. But then again, I've come to expect this sort of post modern moral equivalence from European sophisticates.

It appears that the European objection is because they would morally equate sentencing Saddam to death to the mass murder of innocent men, women and children. As if they were one in the same. As if there was no difference between putting a monster to death and the death of millions at his hands.

Europe does not maintain some morally superior position. They are completely and, perhaps, hopelessly morally bankrupt.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The very mention of a site called "Right Wing News" is sure to turn off many people. They'll automatically discount anything that is reported as pure propaganda. Perhaps that's true, but Right Wing News has an annual opinion piece that is called, "The Twenty Most Annoying Liberals in America."

I loved it because it takes me back to this past year to remind me why Democrats lost the election and why the MSM can accurately be accused of being biased in favor of liberals. The quotes are priceless. What a delightful reminder of just who we defeated at the polls.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Holland is the canary in the mine for European multiculturalists.

Christopher Caldwell has an article in The Weekly Standard about the situation of radical, unassimilated Muslims in Dutch society.

It would do Europe well to consider that the extreme naivete of thought crime laws in defense multiculturalism has created a climate where death sentences by offended Muslims is seen as a sort of "Well, what to do you expect when you speak against Islam?"

These thought crime laws that Europeans have adopted have created a society where open discussion of the intolerance of Islam is against the law. And now that this discussion has been officially and legally outlawed in many countries then the next natural step is for Muslims to be morally outraged any time they perceive anyone has criticized Islam. They feel victimized and that idea is based on law. They begin to feel they have a right, based on law, to punish the offender. See, they're victims in the classic leftwing sense. Just as the Palestinians are victims and have the right to slaughter innocent civilians, the European Islamists feel that they too are victims and have the right to murder those who have hurt their feelings.

This is what Europe has done. It's called appeasement. They created a climate where "victims" feel they have the moral and legitimate right to murder infidels who dare to question their religion. Europe set this precedent with it's outright support for Yasser Arafat and his band of mass murdering thugs. Europe has all but declared that "freedom fighters" such as Hamas are worthy of sympathy. That they have the right to kill innocent women and children since they are fighting for their cause. This precedent is not lost on Muslim immigrants. They too are fighting for their cause and they believe they too have the right to murder in the name of their cause.

This is the same attitude Europeans believe the U.S. should have adopted in the wake of 9/11. That we should have "understood" the grievances of Arab society and forgave the mass murder of 3,000 people on our soil because Arabs are "victims." That is the gulf between Europe and the U.S. to this very day. We said, "Bullshit!" and Europe has been tsk-tsking us ever since. We weren't tolerant or understanding enough for European sensibilities. How could we not understand that the Arabs were victims of the West and that they needed to be appeased, soothed, and catered to?

Well, the European continent is now realizing what happens when you appease Muslims. My guess is that Europe will eventually realize that America was right all along. That the threat of Islamofacism is the real threat to world peace and that the U.S. has done the world a great favor by overthrowing Saddam Hussein and gone about creating a much more tolerant and liberal Middle East.

9/11 taught America that it was time to try to bring liberal democracy to the Middle East. That the status quo was no longer tenable in that region and if we did nothing the problem would only grow and fester until some Arab madman set off a nuke in a major western city.

Then again, many world leftists would probably say that would be a good thing. Especially if that major western city was an American city. The thinking among those leftists goes that the Arab victims (or other regional victim of American hegemony) would certainly be within their rights to commit mass murder in the name of their cause.

As I read yet another of Arthur Chrenkoff's voluminous "Good News From Iraq" pieces (number 17 in the series btw) in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal I am reminded of Senator Patty Murray's (D-WA) words to those school children in Vancouver, Washington in 2002:
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Patty Murray intended to be provocative when she told a group of high school students terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is popular in poor countries because he helped pay for schools, roads and even day care centers.

"We haven't done that," Murray said. "How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"
I wonder if Murray has since acknowledged all the money and human treasure we have expended to help the Iraq and Afghan people. When is she going to credit the U.S. for the wonderful things we are doing in Iraq for the Iraqi people?

I know. I won't hold my breath.