March 25, 2004

ANGER

OK, today is the first and last day I go read news on MSNBC. I am positively seething right now after reading articles about Clarke and Iraq One Year Later. And this article was the icing on my furious cake: ‘Old Europe’ unrepentant.

My main thought while reading this article was a black-and-white "whose side are you on?" Yep, call me a cowboy, but I believe you're either with us or with the terrorists, and the tone of this article infuriated me. The entire thing is written from the European's perspective, which is fine except the article is written by an NBC reporter.

The stings from U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s verbal attacks against Germany last year are still fresh. Derisively labeling Germany part of “Old Europe” and putting the country in line with rogue nations such as Libya and Cuba — as examples of other countries that were not supportive of the war — did not buy much American goodwill in Germany.

For the past year, Europeans have been waiting for an apology, but they have not gotten one yet.

When Rumsfeld was recently asked about the current state of U.S.-European relations and his “old Europe” remarks, he said the relationships were now “fairly normal.” Rumsfeld added that "he was too old to regret things he has said in the past.”

Germans have moved on and are hoping to start mending fences. "At present, bilateral talks between the two governments are mainly about reconciliation," said Klaus Proempers, a correspondent for German television ZDF.

You want an apology, Europe? I'm sure many of these people would be willing to give you one, but don't hold your breath for the government or the majority of Americans to let bygones be bygones.

Moving on:

An opinion poll by the German Marshall Fund reflected that a clear majority of Europeans want the European Union to become a superpower like the United States.

Ah ha ha ha ha. A clear majority of human beings want to be millionaires without lifting a finger and merely sitting around all day watching Becker, but that don't mean it's gon happen.

Chancellor Schroeder has rejected sending military support to Iraq, but he is hoping his announcement that German police will begin training their Iraqi counterparts this month will be seen as a gesture of goodwill.

And despite the fact that France and Germany have repeatedly rejected committing any NATO troops to Iraq in even a peacekeeping role, Germany has sent troops in Afghanistan and cites that as an example of how it is a reliable and dedicated NATO member.

Germany actually plans to increase its contingent of 220 German soldiers, stationed in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, as part of a so-called Provincial Reconstruction Team.

I'm sorry, I must have something crazy in my ear. Did you say two-hundred twenty? There are more than 220 soldiers from my husband's battalion alone in Iraq right now, and we're supposed to give Germany a gold star for effort and participation? Whew, thank god you pointed out Germany is "a reliable and dedicated NATO member"; I almost forgot, given the fact that their chancellor ran on a platform of Screw Bush. But at least some NATO piece of paper still says they're our ally, regardless of what they do or say.

Look, Europe has a right to their own positions. Journalists have a right to report them, though I wish that American journalists wouldn't play the Europe=innocent USA=naughty game. But if Europe wants to maintain their own positions and not work with us in the war on terror, then they can take care of themselves when the Paris suburbs erupt.

Or maybe we can send 220 soldiers to help them.

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March 24, 2004

PANDORA

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -- if all records told the same tale -- then the lie pased into history and became truth. "Who controls the past," ran the Party slogan, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple.

I put a pencil mark next to this 1984 passage the other day because of it's frightening impact on me. And today Amritas points me in the direction of a post entitled Pandora's Box. A.E. Brain found out that the Library of Congress keeps certain blog entries about the Iraq war for posterity. His curiosity piqued, Brain checked out the Australian equivalent.

So I did a search on "Iraq & Saddam". The results, frankly, astonished me. A result worthy of the Ministry of Truth.

Of the 4638 hits, I reviewed the first 1000. Of these, approximately 300+ were political anyalysis and commentary. Of that 300+, I found 2 that were neutral, neither pro- nor anti- war, but dispassionate analysis of alternatives. The rest were all anti-Bush, anti-War, anti-American.

I'm willing to admit that there are plausible arguments against the Iraq War. But if future Historians primary sources are so selectively filtered, leaving the inescapable impression that there was absolutely no pro-War support whatsoever... then that's re-writing history by omission. Whether the war was right or wrong is arguable. Or arguably arguable. That editorial articles exist in support of it is not a matter of opinion, but of fact.

We're twenty years late but we're well on our way, Orwell.

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March 19, 2004

FISK

OK, I'm not normally a fisker, but the bias in this Reuters article really ticked me off.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush sought on Thursday to paint Democratic White House candidate John Kerry as indecisive, in a new television advertisement that features a clip of the Massachusetts senator talking about Iraq just two days earlier.

"Sought...to paint" him this way. Wasn't successful though. But poor Dubya tried really hard.

In a new example of the early rhetorical brawling that has marked this year's campaign, the Bush camp pounced on Kerry's explanation of a vote against Bush's request last year for $87 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The commercial is slated to run on cable stations across the country. It includes a clip of Kerry telling an audience on Tuesday, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it."

The ad closes with the words: "John Kerry: Wrong on Defense."

Cowboy Bush has "pounced" on poor little Kerry. All this shameful "brawling" over something so minor as voting for something and then opposing it. Why should this matter to the public? It's not like anyone pays attention to voting records anyway, right?

The broader context of Kerry's remark -- made in response to an earlier Bush ad -- was his explanation that he supported a version of the $87 billion funding proposal for Iraq that would have paid for it by repealing of Bush's tax cuts on the wealthy. But when that amendment failed, Kerry voted against the bill.

The Republican president has been hammering Kerry for opposing that money, despite his 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, in an effort to portray him as dangerously weak and inconsistent on security issues.

Reuters jumps to Kerry's defense to explain the context of his ridiculous quote, and then says Bush is "hammering" him, trying to make him look weak. Not succeeding, though. Poor Dubya.

Both candidates are trying to tout their credentials on national security and defense, amid the continuing U.S. war on global terrorism and instability in post-war Iraq.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, campaigned this week among fellow veterans and Bush on Thursday visited troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Ooo, look! A chance to throw in that he's "a decorated Vietnam veteran"!

"John Kerry opposed a red-inked, blank check on Bush's failed Iraq policy," Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan said in a statement responding to the ad, which he called "misleading."

Kerry has said that one of his concerns about the funding bill was that the Bush administration had not done enough to enlist international help with the Iraq operation.

The Kerry quotation is the same one ridiculed by Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) Wednesday in aggressively attacking the four-term Massachusetts senator's voting record.

Mean old Cheney is picking on Kerry. Those measly voting records. Who cares about those anyway? It's not like it's on the importance level of, say, National Guard sign-in sheets.

With the exception of the new quote, the rest of the nationwide advertisement is the similar (sic) to one released in West Virginia this week in which a narrator listed such things as body armor and health care for soldiers and suggested Kerry had voted against those when he opposed the $87 billion.

"The same misleading ads that the Bush/Cheney campaign dumped on the people of West Virginia, they are now dumping on the Nation," Meehan said. "The three weeks in a row of Bush misleading TV ads, and millions in cash, can't hide George Bush's record of broken promises and misleading America."

Couldn't find anyone from the White House to interview? Bush has nothing to say in defense of his commercials?

Can you not feel this dripping with bias? It's really disgusting. I know this isn't even the worst of these articles; I've seen much worse in the handling of Israel. But for whatever reason, this one ticked me off today.

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March 13, 2004

NOT WATCHING

I've given up completely on the media, so I don't even bother to turn on our one news channel here. Ever. So when I got a phone call this morning from our FRG saying that there was nothing to worry about, that the two soldiers who were killed were not from our Brigade, I wanted to say Huh? Because I'm not following the death toll. That phone call this morning confirmed my theory that if anything happened that I needed to know about, I would hear firsthand from our chain of command and not from the news. I can't sit by the TV or AP feed and wait for that kind of news; I've chosen instead to live on a need-to-know basis.

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March 12, 2004

APPROPRIATE

I read this entire thread from last week over at Smash's last night, and something didn't sit right with me, but I couldn't place it until this morning when I watched the ads again.

Many of the commenters said that they approve of President Bush's ads, except for one part. They approve of using footage of the WTC, but they didn't like the two-second clip of firefighters carrying a flag-draped coffin. That was crossing the line to them.

Didn't we have a big debate in our country back in October and November about how President Bush was being sneaky for not letting journalists photograph flag-draped coffins coming home from Iraq? People were outraged that he was "candy-coating" the war and not showing the human price that we've paid. But in his ad, when he shows the human price we paid on the morning of September 11, people say that it's in bad taste?

I don't grok.

I think it's the exact opposite. Intentionally shooting footage of servicemembers' coffins coming home to sway opinion on the war -- and that is indeed what certain journalists wanted to do -- is manipulative. Using footage that's "public domain" from September 11 to represent what happened that day is, in my opinion, appropriate.

And, by the way, when do we get to see Kerry's ads? I wonder if he's cookin' up a good one with flapping Bush and Cheney heads farting on each other and laughing à la Terrance and Phillip. Or a flag-draped coffin from Vietnam. Or one with lots of bleeped-out swear words.

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March 09, 2004

FLYING PIG

I freaking hate the New York Times, but I have to give them credit today for doing an entire story on our Brigade. (Ugh, login required. Did I mention I freaking hate them?) It includes quotes from our Colonel, who is not only the most motivated guy you'll meet, but also has the highest PT score of anyone on our post. There's also a quote from our Lieutenant Colonel, who's an all-around great guy. It's nice not to read about 1-77 for a change (wink).

I'm stealing Charles Johnson's flying pig photo to capture the moment I was grateful to the NYT.

flying-pig.jpg

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March 03, 2004

CREEPY

Lileks imagines a startlingly creepy scene of how we'd react today to a jumper from the Empire State Building. Would we really do that? Sadly I think many of us would.

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March 01, 2004

JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY

Just yesterday I was talking to Amritas about the Stars and Stripes seven-day series entitled Ground Truth: Conditions, Contrast, and Morale. I think it was the best example of balanced journalism I've seen since I started blogging. I wrote about each day back on Blogspot: one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. In addition I wrote a rant about how the Washington Post took Stars and Stripes' findings and slanted them horribly.

Considering that I was just talking about these articles yesterday, I was surprised to find an article today written by the ombudsman of the Stars and Stripes about the series. He talks about the good and bad points of the series, quoting both hate- and fan-mail. He talks about the limitations of such a study and brings up an important question:

And in some cases, after giving positive marks on morale on the questionnaire, the responder would write negative comments on the back of the questionnaire or voice them to the reporters.

These circumstances raise an important journalistic issue: How much weight should the reporters and editors give the comments as compared to the data and how much weight should be given to the difference between what military personnel said was their morale and their view of the morale of their unit?

How refreshing to see a publication take a hindsight look at its journalism and evaluate whether they've been fair in their reporting.

My respect for Stars and Stripes grows with every passing day.

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