- This is why I

- This is why I never go to journalism conferences and don’t even much like the word journalist, for it inspires sophomoric, out-of-touch, journalism-school discussions such as this one: At a media conference in Barcelona “journalists” complain about America’s “jingoistic” coverage of this World War III and one network exec even flogs himself for not clearly explaining to his audience after Sept. 11 why we Americans are hated: “We didn’t do such a good job in explaining to viewers what large numbers of people around the world find abhorrent in our foreign policy and culture”, he said. Bleep that! There is no legitimate connection, damnit. Evil crimes are never justified; hate is not a defense for evil; period. Pulling out the WWII card, that’s like saying that British journalists should have spent time explaining why Germans hated Jews — and to what end: to justify the holocaust? What does it serve to explain why bin Laden’s cultists hate us; it does not justify Sept. 11. It is intellectually, morally, and, yes, journalistically lazy to think that “balance” means reporting their hatred along with their crimes; it makes a connection that is illegitimate and even dangerous. So is it jingoistic to show the horror in America following Sept. 11? No, it’s reporting. Is it jingoistic to call a victory in Afghanistan good news? No, it’s what you should expect from American media — and it would be a lot more accurate than calling the war in Afghanistan a “quagmire.”

– Times of London reporter finds nuke documents in a bin Laden HQ in Kabul — also chemcial weapon material and flight manuals. More: Canadian passport applications, English language courses, bomb-making instructions using “domestic items, including Alka Seltzer tubes, condoms, wax, mousetraps and cigarettes as contact switches to initiate charges.”

– Whew: The eight aid workers are confirmed safe in Pakistan.

– Lest we forget: This war is really about protecting our freedom to drink overpriced, gritty coffee sold by an incredible egotist. Getaloada the self-lionizing by the head of Starbucks — the very same company that charged rescue workers for frigging water to treat people who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center.

– A bravo and attaboy to a gloating Christopher Hitchens [via Andrew Sullivan]: “If the silly policy of a Ramadan pause had been adopted, the citizens of Kabul would have still been under a regime of medieval cruelty, and their oppresssors would have been busily regrouping, not praying. Anyhow, what a damn-fool proposal to start with. I don’t stop insulting the Christian coalition at Eastertime. Come Yom Kippur I tend to step up my scornful remarks about Zionism. Whatever happened to the robust secularism that used to help characterise the left?… It was obvious from the very start that the United States had no alternative but to do what it has done. It was also obvious that defeat was impossible. The Taliban will soon be history. Al-Qaida will take longer. There will be other mutants to fight… There are more of us and we are both smarter and nicer, as well as surprisingly insistent that our culture demands respect, too.”

– Red Cross just announced that 100 percent of Liberty Fund money will go to families affected by the 9/11 attacks. Bravo and at last.

– The Times of India was the first source I found to report to fall of Kabul. Now they are reporting the fall of Kandahar.

– They also report that a deposed Afghan president and the deposed king are packing their bags for Kabul.

– Sun calls this V.K. Day.

– Turkish Daily News hears war drums in Iraq.

– ABC reporter Sebastian Junger in Kabul.

– Royal-minded Saudi site pushes for return of Afghan king.

– The authorities are falling over themselves too quickly to try to reassure us all that the JFK crash might not have been terrorism — but in the process, they’re only freaking me more. Yesterday, we were hearing the engines in tons of our planes (including Air Force I) are faulty — but today, we learn it wasn’t the jets. Then we heard it could be a bird, a little bird that brings down a giant jet and 260 lives — but it’s no bird. Today, we hear it could be turbulence — aka wind. This is not reassuring. Neither is the thought of the passenger in the next seat peeing or barfing on you in the last half-hour of a flight — or the thought of being shot while trying to make it to the bathroom. My next vacation plan: Discover New Jersey.

– Government used nuke defense plan on Sept. 11, says the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

– Yes, this is what the world is coming to: “Hundreds of thousands of childrenís letters to Santa Claus will be irradiated against anthrax so volunteers wonít hesitate to respond to this yearís heart-tugging requests, the U.S. Postal Service said.”