Posts from March 2003

Dosvidanya

Dosvidanya
: I love seeing myself translated into Russian (even if it is to disagree with me). This web, it’s worldwide, damnit.

Remember France?

Remember France?
: I see that NewsMax is not only spamming us with Boycott France popunder ads, they’re now placing Boycott France ads in at least the New York Times.

That fight is so old already it’s out.

France is so… so… pre-war.

Citizen on the street

Citizen on the street
: Amy Langfield and Jim Lowney do some person-on-the-street interviews about the war.

The International Association to Protect Tyrant’s Flacks

The International Association to Protect Tyrant’s Flacks
: The International Federal of Journalists (don’t ask me, I sure don’t belong) just issued a statement condemning the U.S. taking out Iraqi TV:

The head of the world’s biggest journalists’ organisation says a U.S. bomb and missile attack on Iraqi television was an attempt at censorship and may have breached the Geneva Conventions.

“I think there should be a clear international investigation into whether or not this bombing violates the Geneva Conventions,” Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We have every reason to believe this is an act of censorship against media that U.S. politicians and military strategists don’t like,” he said.

Now that’s absurd — as if Iraqi TV remotely resembles anything journalistic or has the slightest thing to do with free speech. [via Lost Remote]

: Now Amnesty International is name-dropping “Geneva Convention” in this context.

Amnesty International said that the bombing could be a breach of the Geneva Conventions. “The bombing of a television station, simply because it is being used for the purposes of propaganda, cannot be condoned. It is a civilian object, and thus protected under international humanitarian law,” it said.

“To justify such an attack, coalition forces would have to show that the TV station was being used for military purposes, and that the attack properly balanced the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated with the incidental risk to civilian life”, Claudio Cordone, Amnesty’s director for international law, added.

It’s just too easy, a softball, not even worth the effort….

Reuters watch

Reuters watch
: I hadn’t seen any questionable Reuters wording as we have seen since 9/11 (“terrorist” or “freedom fighter,” we’ll decide).

I just saw my first of this war: a headline on the site:

Confusion, Fear in First ‘Liberated’ Iraqi Town

Note the quotes around “liberated.”

Yes, now they shall live under the yoke of democracy.

Respect

Respect
: Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus were on NPR this morning. What I find notable is that — at least in what I heard — they didn’t make a big deal of these guys being creatures of some strange new breed of beast called the blogger. They just referred to them as popular Internet columnists.

Yup, it’s just content, folks.

Civilian casualties

Civilian casualties
: Denton has his dander up over Arab press “hysteria” over 15 reported civilian casualties in a Baghdad market (though it’s still not clear whether those deaths came from a U.S. missile or Iraqi anti-aircraft what-goes-up-must-come-down incidents):

Hell, 15 dead: that’s a quiet day in the Arab world. Even imagining the United States was targeting civilians, its efforts are laughable compared with Saddam — 5,000 dead in the chemical attack on Halabja in one day — or Assad — 30,000 shelled to death in Hama — or pretty much any other Arab ruler. Arab governments — and their press and public — should first practice moral judgment on themselves and eachother, before turning their outrage on the United States. And, before they complain about a new hectoring colonialism, they should first show they’re capable of governing themselves by some means other than torture and massacre.

How we treat prisoners

How we treat prisoners
: The 18 Afghanis freed from Guantanamo Bay talk about their captivity:

Seated cross-legged on a floor of the Kabul Police Department jail yesterday, nearly all of the former detainees enthusiastically praised the conditions at Guantanamo and expressed little bitterness about losing a year of their lives in captivity, saying they were treated better there than in three days in squalid cells in Kabul. None complained of torture during questioning or coerced confessions.

After they were set free, however, two men who had remained silent earlier hesitantly began to recount being punished for protesting indignities to their captors. The two both admitted to having been employed by the Taliban as drivers….

”The conditions were even better than our homes. We were given three meals a day — eggs in the morning and meat twice a day; facilities to wash, and if we didn’t wash, they’d wash us; and there was even entertainment with video games,” said Sirajuddin, 24, a taxi driver from Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban. He said he was forcibly conscripted by the militia and captured by a notorious warlord, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, who ”sold us to the US.”

Before Kabul jail authorities told the men that they would be released, Sirajuddin said: ”The conditions here are worse than terrible. If we are to be imprisoned, I want to go back to Guantanamo,” he said, banging on a table.

Murtaza, 28, of southern Helmand province, was one of two who said they had received bad treatment. A driver for the Taliban who also fought as a soldier, his problems at Guantanamo began, he said, when he protested the confiscation of his Koran. US guards piled everyone’s copies on the floor and then sat on them, he said….