Monday, October 31, 2005

NYT: Somebody get Scott the big mop

Somebody get Scott the big mop.

Today's clean up? "Doubts Cast on Vietnam Incident, but Secret Study Stays Classified" which attempts to clean up not only Gulf of Tonkin but the paper's coverage of it in real time. Translation, Shane's got a really big mess to clean up:

The National Security Agency has kept secret since 2001 a finding by an agency historian that during the Tonkin Gulf episode that helped precipitate the Vietnam War, N.S.A. officers deliberately distroted critical intelligence to cover up their mistakes, according to two people familiar with the historian's work.

The closest the New York Times may ever come to righting their coverage of the Vietnam conflict. (Yes, by the late sixties and early seventies, the Times was doing a better job -- after public opinion had turned against the conflict.) Maybe in forty years, someone else can grab the mop and beging to clean up some of the mess related to the lies that got us into Iraq? Scott Shane, in the words of Graham Nash, "Teach Your Children Well." The paper may need them.

(I'm assuming, possibly wrongly, that members are aware of the Gulf of Tonkin since it's only news to the Times. If that assumption is mistaken, e-mail to the private address and if it's a few, I'll go over it in e-mails; if it's a lot, we'll do an entry here.)

Lynda e-mails to note Katharine Q. Seelye's "At 2,000, Iraq's Military Deaths Got the Media's Full Attention" which she feels is a strong article (and she worries Zeller's piece will be the one note online due to the topic -- naval gazing). I haven't read all of Seelye's piece but here's an excerpt:

When the death toll of Americans in Iraq reached 1,000 back in September 2004, The Omaha World-Herald ran a respectful article in a signle column down the right side of its front page. "A grisly milestone reached in Iraq," read the headline.
Last week, by contrast, when the roster of American dead reached 2,000, The World-Herald displayed that stark number in larger type at the center of its front page, above an article and three photographs showing the war's human toll, including a bank of tombstones.

Already, I'm sure some will note that the death toll is larger due to the fact that Seelye hasn't clarified that she's focusing solely on the toll for American military.

Ryan e-mails to note Carlotta Gall's "2 U.S. Soldiers Are Charged With Assaulting Afghan Prisoners:"

Two American soldiers have been charged with assaulting two Afghan detainees and could face court-martial in Afghanistan, the chief United States military spokesman here, Col. Jim Yonts, said Sunday.
The announcement, 10 days after details emerged about an episode earlier this month in which two American soldiers burned the bodies of Taliban fighters who had been killed in a firefight, heightened fears that the Afghan people will turn on the American forces in Afghanistan.
The two soldiers, members of the 926th Engineers, an Alabama National Guard unit, are accused of striking the detainees and punching them in the chest, shoulders and stomach, Colonel Yonts said. Neither of the detainees required medical treatment as a result of the assault, he said. "They are charged with maltreatment, assault and dereliction of duty," he said. "All three of these charges could go to court-martial," he said. Since the soldiers involved and their unit are still in Afghanistan, the case could go to a court-martial in Afghanistan at Bagram air base, the main American military base in the country.

The BBC is reporting that Samuel A. Alito Jr. is the new nominee for the Supreme Court.

There were no Sunday entries last night. I was sick before I got on the plane home. When I got home, I thought I was taking a nap. (The nap ended up being many, many hours.) We'll try to pick up items in entries throughout the week. (But a number of items sent in were covered in the news review The Third Estate Sunday Review did.)

I'm still sick so don't expect much today. (And thank you to Cedric who I asked to call me and scream into the phone this morning to wake me up or I'd still be in bed asleep.)

Remember to catch Democracy Now! today (if you listen, if you watch or if you read the transcripts).

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