Saturday, October 27, 2007

Intelligence not a requirement for NYT op-ed pages

Canada's only literary current affairs program returns for its seventh season, its shelves overflowing with tales of horror, desertion, and redemption. The new season of "The Word This Week" begins October 28th on BookTelevision.
Rachel Harry takes on full-time hosting duties and Lars-Peter Bjornson is joined by fellow videographer Elizabeth Mitkos. Tune in for another exciting year full of news, views, and interviews coloured by the word – written, spoken, and wired.
Episode highlights for the first three episodes of "The Word This Week" include:
Sunday, October 28th at 9:00pm ET / 7:00pm MTArmy deserters and bounty hunters headline as "The Word This Week" talks with Joshua Key, author of The Deserter's Tale, the vivid story of Key's experience as a member of the American Army fighting in war-torn Iraq, the events that led to his doubts about the mission, and his decision to seek asylum in Canada.

Vince noted the above, it's from "Call Your Book Club: “The Word This Week” Returns to BookTelevision October 28th" and you can refer to that for more. I did alter the above in that it is "Joshua Key" and not "Joshua Keys." Turning to the topic of Turkey and northern Iraq which, on Friday, seemed to be a holding pattern with Erdogan signaling any potential action would wait until after his November 5th meeting in DC with the Bully Boy. Thomas Groves (Reuters) reports:

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Saturday to order an incursion into northern Iraq against Kurdish guerrillas after the failure of talks with Iraq aimed at averting a cross-border raid.
"The moment an operation is needed, we will take that step," Erdogan told a large flag-waving crowd in Izmit. "We don't need to ask anyone's permission."
The talks collapsed late on Friday after Ankara rejected proposals by Iraqi Defense Minister General Abdel Qader Jassim for tackling guerrillas based in northern Iraq as insufficient and because they would not yield results quickly enough.

Turning to the New York Timid. On the op-ed pages Richard A. Shweder shows up (A31) late to the party and with his fly open. No one wants to see that. Zip up your fly, keep your hands above your waist and welcome to the party, Dumb Ass. David Rohde's "Army Enlists Anthropology in War Zones" New York Times ran October 5th. Those learning of it for the first time today from Dumb Ass will need all the luck in the world to track it down since Shweder fails to name the author of the report, the title or when it ran ("a few weeks ago"). The paper's online version contains no link to the article thereby managing to cheat print readers and online users. Shweder mentions The Diane Rehm Show (he leaves out the article "The") and apparently thinks readers don't need to catch that broadcast since he fails to provide the date the show explored the topic. Rohde was a guest on it, there were many guests, but Shweder doesn't appear to have listened since he bills the roundtable as "an interview with" Monty. The broadcast was October 10th. We dealt with all of the above (and included links) in the October 11th snapshot. Along with no link, no author and no date for the Rohde article, along with no link for Rehm's show (USA Today's Susan Page was the guest host that day), Network of Concerned Anthropologists also fails to get a link (or a web address printed in the paper -- though, remember, they were happy to steer readers to the Blackwater website this week). Shweder is a dumb ass, will die a dumb ass and should reconcile himself to writing those bad books on the cultural 'significance' of b-b-quing in the United States. He embarrassed himself and his profession on the op-ed pages of the same paper in November of last year proclaiming "The West is the best" and, no, he wasn't attempting a Jim Morrison imitation, he was just announcing to the world that xenophobia can exist in a field that is supposed to value other cultures. Along with (again) sporting his xenophobia, he provides no indication to the informed that he knows anything he's writing about.

What is happening is that anthropologists are being enlisted (ones foolish and idiotic enough to betray their own profession) by the US military to devise counter-insurgency strategies to be used against Iraqis (and it's also taking place in Afghanistan, but our focus is Iraq). Elaine wrote about this topic last night in "Thoughts for Friday." Dead tired, she managed to say more of value on the topic then the Dumb Ass does today on the pages of the New York Times. No link, we don't link to trash. The title of the garbage is "A True Culture War" and may the trash merchant next bore us with a topic worthy of him, such as the 'deeper meaning' behind the wrappers around Big Macs. While no doubt a stretch for him, it would continue to keep him away from important topics so far beyond his knowledge base though he would (again) disgusise that flaw by attempting to dress up an insignificant topic with allusions to other cultures. Betrayal of a science is not a pretty thing and Dumb Ass is a very, very ugly man -- "karmic consequences" should bite him on his uniformed ass before he decides to be 'helpful' again by justifying female gential mutilation.

For those not getting it, if you want to be published on the op-ed pages of paper, it's not only necessary to applaud the worst of the US government, it also helps to be a misogynist.

In the world of reality, an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers blogs "Definition of Democracy" (Inside Iraq):

Again we return to what called Democracy and its definition in language and on the ground. At least I wonder about its meaning in country like Iraq what it is mean for Iraqi people and for the Iraqi government!
Every day we heard about the tragedy stories that happen here and there in Iraq under the tent of Democracy. Four years passed and Iraqi people suffering all kinds of tragedies that became part of their new Democratic life ... four years and Iraqi people lose their beloved for nothing or sorry for emocracy’s sake.
We got rid of Saddam … yes, but we still live with same kind of tragedy that reminded us of former regime’s crushing forces. The tragedy of today is committed by policemen who killed their brother in cold blood.... May be I use this phrase a lot in my blogs... . Sorry but we are forced to use it because it has good relationship with the tragedies that we are living in Iraq.... ..tragedy of blood.

The excerpt is from a powerful post. There is one other paragraphs and you really need to read those. The above, as important as it is, ends up just being the set up. The equivalent of a stunning close up follows. So if you use links, please read in full. And possibly wonder why McClatchy and only McClatchy has created a blog for their Iraqi correspondents? (Lelia Fadel also blogs at McClatchy's Baghdad Observer but I'm referring to the Iraqis who became correspondents for the paper, not to journalists sent to Iraq.) Judging by the e-mails over the years, the New York Times couldn't do such a thing because they've alienated so many of their stringers; however, it is shocking that no other paper (while repeating the mantra of "NEW CONTENT!") has yet to offer something similar.

On the subject of McClatchy, they have posted the speech given by Sahar Issa accepting for herself and the other five female correspondents (Shatha al Awsy, Zaineb Obeid, Huda Ahmed, Ban Adil Sarhan and Alaa Majeed) the International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award:

Every morning, as I leave my home, I look back with a heavy heart, for I may not see it again – today may be the day that the eyes of an enemy will see me for what I am, a journalist, rather than the appropriately bewildered elderly lady who goes to look after ailing parents, across the river every day. Not for a moment can I let down my guard.
I smile as I give my children hugs and send them off to school; it's only after they turn their backs to me that my eyes fill to overflowing with the knowledge that they are just as much at risk as I am.
So why continue? Why not put down my proverbial pen and sit back?
It's because I'm tired of being branded a terrorist: tired that a human life lost in my country is no loss at all. This is not the future I envision for my children. They are not terrorists, and their lives are not valueless.
I have pledged my life -- and much, much more, in an effort to open a window through which the good people in the international community may look in and see us for what we are, ordinary human beings with ordinary aspirations, and not what we have been portrayed to be.
Allow me, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to reach out. Help us to build bridges of understanding and acceptance. Even though the war has cast a dark shadow upon your nation and mine -- it is never too late.

I meant to work that into a snapshot earlier this week (we quoted the New York Times' editorial citing of the speech in one snapshot this week) but it ended up one of those things that there just wasn't time for.

A8 of the Times contains a Reuters article entitled "State Dept. To Order 250 To Iraq Posts" which tells you that with State Dept employees not volunteering to work in Iraq, the department has decided to order 250 employees that they will be working in Iraq. Sebnem Arsu and Andrew E. Kramer cover what Thomas Grove (Reuters) does but Grove is more up to date. The paper's article is entitled "Iraq Plan to Add U.S. Troops at Kurdish Border Is Rejected by Turkey" (and the quote from a general is only 'newsworthy' if you build it to be -- the reporters do not).

Kendrick was the first this week to note Margaret Kimberley's "Christian/Jewish Fascism Awareness Week" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):

The biggest perpetrators of terrorist acts are and always have been governments, not individuals of any religion. When the United States refers to "state sponsored" terror, it must be looking in the mirror. War is the very worst act of terror that can be practiced, giving governments permission to kill and commit brutal atrocities that would be loudly condemned if committed by individuals.
If the world's major religions are compared in terms of body count, it is clear that Islam should not be seen as the enemy. The two nations now in the fifth year of a plan to commit wars of aggression in the Middle East are Israel and the United States. If there should be warnings about particular religions and allegations of fascist connections, the perpetrators are Christianity and Judaism, not Islam.
It is manifestly unfair to label entire groups based on the behavior of a few. The Israeli lobby actively promotes war, but it can't be said that all American Jews are themselves pro-war. Around the world Bush is seen as the bogeyman representative of American Christianity. Many Christians may resent the verdict of guilt by association, but they would do well to remember that Muslims are also entitled to make their own pleas of individual innocence.
Instead Muslims are called upon to denounce any act of brutality committed by another Muslim, and to defend their religion from slanderous attacks.

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