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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

 
Just as Long as There Was a Good Reason

American soldiers have been cleared of wrongdoing in the killing of Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana on August 17.

Anybody could have mistaken a video camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.



 
Ah, Democracy!

Let's hear it for Liberation and Democracy! In Iraq these days, we're repeatedly told by the likes of Tom Friedman and others, Iraqis now have freedom of speech, the freedom to criticize, freedom of the press. Ain't it grand?

Oops. Except.
Iraq's Governing Council has banned the Arab satellite television stations Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya from covering official activities in Baghdad for two weeks, a statement said.

It said the ban was a warning to the stations and other broadcasters for inciting anti-United States violence.

"Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya will temporarily be excluded from any coverage of Governing Council activities or official press conferences, and correspondents of the two channels will not be allowed to enter ministries or government offices for two weeks," the statement said.

... US officials have accused the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya of giving too much prominence to anti-US attacks, and of providing a forum for backers of ousted president Saddam Hussein.
Well, as long as the decision has been made by Iraqis.

Yeah, right.




 
Not that any of us is surprised ...

... but here's how our pResident keeps himself informed:
Bush said he insulates himself from the "opinions" that seep into news coverage by getting his news from his own aides. He said he scans headlines, but rarely reads news stories.

"I appreciate people's opinions, but I'm more interested in news," the president said. "And the best way to get the news is from objective sources, and the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world."
This certainly explains his UN speech, among a zillion other things. Apparently he doesn't find any irony in the following:
Events during the past two years have set before us the clearest of divides: between those who seek order and those who spread chaos; between those who work for peaceful change and those who adopt the methods of gangsters; between those who honor the rights of man and those who deliberately take the lives of men and women and children without mercy or shame.
Well, how would he know that millions of people place him in the second group? He's got Condi and Rummy and Dick whispering in his ear, confirming his delusions of grandeur and encouraging the belief that God whispers to him as well.

And this is good for a laugh:
The old regime built palaces while letting schools decay ... The old regime starved hospitals of resources ... The old regime built up armies and weapons while allowing the nation's infrastructure to crumble ...
Sound familiar? For good reason does the saying go, "Regime change begins at home."

Most of the speech is a pretty tired reiteration of the administration's justifications for war along with a rosy picture of how well things are going in Iraq. However, all of a sudden--evidently one of his minions provided him with objective news on this recently--Dubya has become aware of sexual slavery. Why he brought it up in a UN speech asking for money to rebuild Iraq is a mystery.

I have to chalk it up to the speech's being aimed at his hard-core Republican base, those folks that get in a lather when things sexual are brought up. Of course feminists and other people of conscience have been trying to get some attention to this matter for years now, so I'm glad to see it given some limelight, but I don't for a minute believe that Bush gives a rat's ass about anyone or anything but himself. No, it's more likely got something to do with those weirdos like Santorum who fixate on such things as man on dog sex--all, of course, in the service of eradicating it. Bush used the occasion to talk about his PROTECT Act, which makes it a crime for US travelers abroad to engage in sex tourism involving children. That's gotta play well with the wingnuts, which is what it was doing in the speech.

That Bush has the gall to talk about eliminating poverty and modern slavery when his policies, from agriculture to trade to protecting the right of corporations to exploit already impoverished workers worldwide, pretty much guarantee such poverty and slavery isn't really surprising. But then again--maybe he just doesn't know about it.

After all, who in the administration would rain on his parade that way? And if they don't tell him ...

Then there was his plea for the international community to adopt tougher measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Oh, the irony! This from the man who abandoned both the ABM Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty!

There most likely won't be a Security Council veto of whatever form of a resolution eventually makes its way forward, but I doubt very much whether much will be coming in the way of material assistance from countries like France and Germany. A little police training here, some humanitarian aid there, perhaps. But in the long run, whether Bush wants to hear it or not, it's US soldiers who will be bearing the brunt of the administration's ill-conceived and badly bungled invasion and occupation. And the citizenry isn't going to be happy about that.







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