Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Hate The War

Gina and Krista asked me to note that tomorrow's gina & krista round-robin is almost exclusively about military sexual trauma and the class action lawsuit. That's the roundtable, that's their pieces, that's 3 Cool Old Guys' column, that's everything (including my column that I only just finished) except Beth's ombudsperson column. Gina and Krista think it's an important issue (and it is) but say if they'd thought ahead last week, they would have made an announcement. Since they haven't, they wanted a heads up here before the round-robin hits inboxes tomorrow morning.

I am on autopilot right now (and Hershey's kisses, I need to stop eating those) and am going for something easy for this entry: Public e-mail account. Issues/questions arising from today's "Iraq snapshot."

One man wants me to know he knew I was "one of those Born Again Bible thumpers." You really don't know me at all. He's based that upon the section of the snapshot where I'm referring to a college moot court and how I argued for school prayer. If he'd read closer, he would have seen that I was on a team of three, it was me and two guys and how the position was decided: "Our case was to argue about school prayer. The men on my team decided we would be in favor of it. (Ask them why. They were the laziest bums I've ever met -- as the story will demonstrate.) "

I could have (and maybe should have) added that I went with research because I didn't want to be associated with the position publicly. If you haven't read the snapshot, we split it up into research, writing and arguing the case. Then the other two proved to be weaklings and bailed or froze leaving me with all three of the functions.

Another e-mail wants to know of that why I was reading carbon. That's my mistake and I'm very sorry. As I noted, I was in college years and years and years and years ago. As I explained, this was pre-laptop, pre-word processor, et al. So typewriters were used. Typewriters aren't used now and it was stupid of me to have put in "carbons" without an explanation of what I was referring to. Back in the days when we used typewriters, if you wanted a copy, you would put two or three blank sheets into the typewriter at the same time. Between the blank (white sheets) you would put a thin piece of carbon paper. That way, while you typed you had a copy. It was far from great, the carbon, but it was a way of keeping a copy.

Weakling 1 had turned in the paper he'd badly typed. I hadn't seen it. (I'd written it, I hadn't seen his typed version.) I hadn't planned to argue the case. That was Weakling 2's job. I had done the research, I had written the paper. I'd done more than my share and was just going to have to sit there at the table with them. But then Weakling 1 announces he's turned in our paperwork (late) and that he's dropped the class. Weakling 2 is in a panic about public speaking. (I think in part because Weakling 1 had been the driving force on the position we would take -- Weakling 1 was a conservative Republican, Weakling 2 was non-political, I, of course, was -- and remain -- the raving liberal -- that should have been the title of this site -- I'm on a major chocolate high, if you can't tell.) I have brought no notes with me. I was just supposed to sit there, not to argue the case. So I'm reading over the carbon copy to try to refresh my mind on research I'd done over three weeks before for this paper I've written over two weeks prior.

And whatever the point I was going for escapes me as I put away the chocolate before I eat more of it. But the position was chosen by the two men, I didn't choose it. Weakling 1 believed in the position. Weakling 2 may have just gone along and part of his freezing may have been that he was going to have to argue a position he didn't agree with. (I can argue any position.)

Let's move over to Israel. This section of the snapshot resulted in several e-mails to the public account:

And, Lobe, what are you doing linking to Peter Beinart in the same post? The War Hawk leading the charge for illegal war from the 'left'? Clearly all anyone has to do for Lobe to consider worth highlighting is attack Israel. And if you can do so with a level of craziness, all the better. (The government of Israel can be criticized and has certainly done enough to be criticized for. But some of these people are confusing governments with people and it's getting really ugly and really old. As we've noted many times when the wide-eyed crazy surfaces -- and you can find it all over the web, go to Information Clearing House -- one example -- and see the most extreme attacks on the Jewish people in comments left -- not just the Jews in Israel even. Jews all over the world get attacked with this sort of crazy most of us hoped had vanished. It's past time the left learned that wasn't acceptable. And as we've often noted, when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House he may have been the US government but he was not the US people. Do not confuse people with governments.)

Two people e-mail the public account swearing I'm an apologist for Israel with one of the two also swearing they had figured "long ago that you were a Jew." I do not practice Judaism and neither of my parents was Jewish. So, no, you don't know me. In the world some may be living in, a significant section of the left has always bashed Israel (and confused a people with a government). That's not how it always was. And my position back then was that I would not trash the Palestinians or any Arab neighbors or confuse their governments with them. I don't confuse people with their governments. I don't feel governments are at all responsive to the people -- look at the US where opposition to the Iraq War remains high while US forces remain in Iraq and opposition to the Afghanistan War is at an all time high and US forces remain in that country as well -- or reflective of their people.

In terms of Israeal, I use the term "occupied terrortories" when I type here myself. That's not a typo when I do. Palestinians are terrorized. Therefore it's occupied terrortories, not occupied territories. I've done that for many years -- Rebecca also does it. I've also been to Palestine because that's Rebecca's big issue and she and a boyfriend were going to go years ago (70s) and he bailed. I do speak Arabic and I did have the time and I told her I'd gladly go with her. We were both appalled by the living conditions in the occupied terrortories and those conditions have only gotten worse -- not better -- in all the years since. Once upon a time, to be left was to be pro-Israeal. I can remember a woman being blackballed in some classes because she let rip about what was being done to the Palestinians. She was correct about what was being done. But back then few spoke of things like that. (Rebecca always spoke of it. She was never blackballed because she's so beautiful that if you were a detractor of her's, you would dismiss what she said based on her looks.)

Also I brought this up to begin with because Peter Beinart was persona non grata on the left for his War Hawk support of the oncoming Iraq War and for his support of it after it started. However, in 2010, you'll see elements of the left suddenly embrace him because he's attacking Israel (Justin Elliott, for example, wrote a rave on Petey for Salon as a result of that shift).

Nora Barrows-Friedman is not a raving lunatic. She's a qualified reporter who delivers important reports. I'm not speaking of her -- in reply to a third e-mail. I'm referring to those who see a sinister Jewish conspiracy enveloping the world.

What type of comments am I referring to? From Information Clearing House, this appears: "To deny that Zionists are running this country and thereby the world is pretty much delusion." I don't believe that Zionists are running the US or the entire world. I am aware that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a hateful fantasy that's been passed off as fact for over a hundred years and puts forward the assertion that Jews are taking over the world. I'm aware that the Nazis, among others, used those lies to justify their attacks on Jews. As a general rule of thumb, when you making a sweeping charge against anyone, you're going to be off base.

Another comment from Information Clearing House, "Quite obviously to garnish support for the ZIONIST talmudic GOALS. The simplest of all logic puzzles is there. Just connect the dots and observe the reserves;the new kids on the blocks, ready to take over, such as the Chompskys and the Ami goodmans of their double slim talks,." I don't care for Amy Goodman at all. That's a known. I would never call her a Zionist. As for Noam Chomsky, I find it very sad that he's being attacked for his position -- which is not Zionism. Again, a lot has changed for the American left in the last decades. Noam Chomsky has been attacked widely in earlier times for not being seen as sympathetic enough to Israel (therefore not seen as sympathetic enough to Jews). Now there are some on the left who accuse him of being a Zionist or a Zionist tool. He's been consistent throughout. You may wish he had your position. As a general rule, Noam Chomsky is a quiet man. He does not swing wildly before the public from one extreme to another. He has supported self-rule when it wasn't popular and he continues to support it. Some on the left who are new or newer to the issue come at it with the zeal of the newly converted (and sometimes without any historical framework) and with a desire to reduce all issues down to the level of a Tom & Jerry cartoon. At that level, you can attack Noam or Amy Goodman as a tool of Israel or whatever. But that's not really an adult level or, for that matter, a functioning one.

Again, a lot of hatred is bred on the left and people on the left would be wise to remember Bully Boy Bush did not represent them when he was occupying the White House. They'd do well to remember that and realize that other people are just like them, with the same basic desires and wants and while you can certainly call out a government and government leaders, you need to be careful when you tar and feather a group of people who are not in the positions of leadership.

"Do you hate Information Clearing House?" No. Information Clearing House is on our list of links and it has a wide range of comments, representing a wide range of readers. Some of those readers preach intolerance and hate towards Jews. Some do not. Information Clearing House is not its most hateful readers.

This section of today's snapshot inspired many, many e-mails:

The reactionary Nouri made more speechifying today. Michael S. Schmidt and Jack Healy (New York Times) report on his call for no protests tomorrow and quote him declaring, "They are attempting to crack down on everything you have achieved, all the democratic gains, the free elections, the peace exchange of power and freedom." What?
What peaceful exchange of power and freedom? Before the March 7, 2010 elections, Nouri was prime minister, Jalal Talabani was president. Tariq al-Hashimi was a vice president before the 2010 elections and will continue when the Parliament does their voting. Adil Abdul-Mahdi was a vice president before the election and will continue . . . In addition, a third vice president will join them (and Talabani's pushing for a fourth). On this subject, I'd mentioned in a previous snapshot that the White House went with Nouri because he agreed to keep US forces on the ground in Iraq and noted that they ignored the oil lobby and the CIA who each had other candidates. Allawi was and is the choice of the American CIA. Abdul-Mahdi is the choice of big oil.

One e-mailer said he'd heard Patrick Cockburn make the same observation about who was backing whom. I'm not surprised. And that was true in 2005 in Iraq as well and I believe I remember Cockburn making the point then. But if he made it again recently (which wouldn't surprise me), send a link, especially if you "heard" it, so he can get his full credit and not just me saying "I'm not surprised."

The rest of the e-mails were about the Times. With some hoping I was going to be ripping apart the Times again.

As a general rule, I would like to be done criticizing the Times. I disagree with much of the reporting from the paper from Iraq. But when I've gone off on them in the last eight months or so, it's been when they've misrepresented the Iraqi people -- especially if they mocked them or distorted them. I do believe that the two writers did so this week and I base that on the Arab media and what has been reporting over and over in one publication after another versus the 'ho-ho, they call this a protest' nonsense that the paper published online at their blog this week.

The rest asked why we even note the Times and don't just stick to the Arab media? Because the Times is in English, among other reasons. I hate saying, "Al Mada reports" or whatever because the e-mails come in: "I can't read Arabic and how am I supposed to know you're telling the truth." How do you reply to that? (And I don't reply to that. But I do hear about it from people who read the e-mails.) "Because I said so it's true." I don't know what to tell you. If you think it's intentionally wrong, then don't visit this site. Because if it's intentionally wrong, then I'm lying and you shouldn't come here. I can misread and I can be confused. There was a really great article this week that we ignored because I couldn't figure one section. And it was too early for me to call anyone. But I was confused by two terms in one paragraph. One of the terms I was completely unfamiliar with (not a surprise). The other was obviously being used with a different defintion than I was used to.

Also true, for all of its faults (and sometimes, many of its pluses), the Times is still in Iraq and you can't say that about most outlets. So that's why we link and that's why I would prefer not to criticze their coverage -- but if they disrespect -- in my opinion -- the Iraqi people, I will rip into them over and over.

Jane Arraf's strong and seasoned reporting on Iraq is noted in the snapshot. Ben Wright e-mailed the public account and asked if his comments could be noted (and said to use his name): "If we valued reporters in the United States and not just pundits who repeat what we want to hear, Jane Arraf would have the sort of following Robert Fisk does in Europe. She brings years and years of experience into the story and conveys it in understandable terms. I wish every paper and every TV network had a Jane Arraf."

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4439. Tonight it is [PDF format warning] 4442.

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