Sunday Times of London: –

Sunday Times of London:
– Fascinating story of the new world of war: How the US killed Al-Qaeda leaders by remote control — “The Predator was providing a live battlefield television picture back to control rooms at the US Central Command in Tampa…”

– The battle in Mediastan: Brit papers fight their own war over the war… “Life under a tabloid regime may at times be nasty, brutal and short-paragraphed….” And in this fight, Andrew Sullivan is the cluster bomb: “With amazing swiftness and surprising finality, the enemy caved in last week…. Never before in the field of human conflict have so many armchair generals been exposed as idiots in such a short period of time.”The Guardian’s take.

– Intelligence officials estimate 70,000 (!) trained sleepers ready to attack us…. McVeigh’s bomb inspires binLaddites…. Flash-forward: If Pol Pot’s place can be a tourist resort, why not Kabul?

– And the Telegraph says we don’t want bin Laden alive. Probably true. How do you put him on trial? To quote: “President Bush has insisted all along that he wanted bin Laden ‘dead or alive’. It is now clear that he wants him dead…. The Prime Minister evidently realises that ‘justice’ for bin Laden can no longer mean months listening to lawyers in a courtroom in New York, the Hague, or anywhere else. It means a bullet in the back of the head, or immolation in a cave hit by a ‘bunker-buster’ bomb…. ‘I love death as much as you love life’, bin Laden told a Pakistani journalist who interviewed him last week. As the net closes around him, he may start to reconsider that judgment. He might now come to realise that he can inflict more damage on his enemies if, rather than dying in some vast blood-soaked conflagration, he decides to give himself up. The worst outcome for the West would be if bin Laden uses one of his televised appearances to tell the world that he wants to be tried by an international court. The Americans have already tried to make that option more difficult for him, by bombing his only outlet – the al-Jazeera television centre in Kabul – to smithereens. Let us hope that he stays in love with death, and never looks for a way to ensure that he receives a trial. For if he does, we might be forced to give him one.”

This wonderful web:
Yesterday, I threw out bait to three of my favorite webloggers hoping they’d tackle some new antiwar bilge from Brit John Pilger. I knew they’d do a better job than I could refuting the twit, for I was tired and sick (and sick and tired) and not as smart as any of them. So Matt Welch swallowed the bait and wrote an intelligent and reasoned yet nicely bitchy retort.

This is one of those moments that makes me marvel still at the wonders of the Web. I felt like I did when I was a plain print editor, handing a story to a reporter in a room filled with them: “Welch, see what you can find here.” And this Welch would return with the facts and a good story and thus news was made. Now the Web helps do that.

The Web — and webloggers in particular — add perspective that rarely could exist in print because newspapers and magazines and TV are all one-way media; editors are all about telling you what they think you should know. But the Web is about listening to the audience; the audience owns this medium. And the audience is smart; they call us in the media when we’re wrong (see Andrew Sullivan every day these days and also Nick Denton today on the war quagmirists).

It also still amazes me still how this audience can coalesce into community that freely and eagerly contributes value to each other; I see it every day in my job at, where in just one of our local services the forum traffic on just one high-school sport can add up to hundreds of thousands of page views and thousands of posts a day; interactivity is the heartbeat and soul my services and our medium. Here, too, in the land of warblogs, there is a fast community forming. I’ve never met Welch, Ken Layne, Sullivan, Charles Johnson, Thomas Nephew, Dan Hartung, Reid Stott, or Bj¯rn StÊrk but I admire and like them (even if I often don’t agree with them) and feel as if I’ve come to know them and their views over beers instead of blogs. Damn, I love this.

– Note also that it took a web site,, to uncover the fact that the nuclear clues found in Kabul by the Times of London (I fell for this too) were really just an old parody. The web is a reporter (albeit often unreliable) that never sleeps.

– New tool #1: If you haven’t yet found this, Columbia U has created a neat Newsblaster that automatically categorizes headlines from major news sources. Pretty good. Long ago, the MIT Media Lab’s Fishwrap tried to do this. And, of course, Moreover does this with thousands of sources.

– New tool #2: At least it’s new to me… Vivisimo is a meta-search-engine that also categorizes search results very nicely and also offers searches of the web and of news.

– See, the Web is like real life. I’m already fearing that Newsblaster, Moreover, and Vivisimo will put us human Webloggers out of work.

– Any of the bloggers above could have fun, too, with the latest from Palestinian Prof Edward Said in Al-Ahram. Smelling defeat in Afghanistan and, coincidentally, for Yasser Arafat’s political dynasty as well — even as Washington and London start talking credibly of a Palestinian state — Said again executes the intellectual suicide of tying bin Laden’s terror with Western and Israeli sins in the Middle East. I had this same argument the other night with my minister, believe it or not. They both say there is justice in the Palestinian cause and there is injustice in America’s and Israel’s actions. Fine; we can discuss that. But how does that connect with a madman’s mass murder? If you try to tie them at all, you try to justify bin Laden’s actions — and, at the same time, you devalue and dirty any arguments about Palestine and America and Israel. There is no justification. What bin Laden has done is, yes, evil; it is terrorism; it is hate-motivated murder and everyone on every side should be agreeing at least on that. Separately, of course, we must find solutions to the problems in the Middle East but we cannot fall into the trap of doing that in reaction to murder and evil and terror. We cannot fall into the trap of letting the terrorist set the agenda by thinking that our sins led to his evil. Nothing leads to evil acts but evil itself.

– What he said: “No doubt, injustices and policies can be argued over, but not as root causes of terror” – Edward Rothstein in the NY Times via Andrew Sullivan.

– More smoking jets: They’re finding flight school ads and flight manuals in the Kabul houses. And now there’s a farewell letter from one of the hijackers to his girlfriend. In English, German.

– Timing is everything: Lake Effects giggles over Geraldo Rivera’s arrival as a war correspondent at just about the moment when the war (in Afghanistan, at least) is ending.

Sorry for light posting today.

Sorry for light posting today. Have a cold. Very grumpy. Would probably call for nuking countries and then wake up to regret it. Took red wine cure. Retreating to my mountain cave. Back tomorrow.

– The food angle: Times of London says we’re rushing to buy cupcakes as we hunger for comfort food. If only Boston Market could have held on, eh?

– If only you could buy Amtrak stock: Gunman shuts Atlanta’s airport. “If you want me to fly, you’ve got to stop this kind of nonsense,” said one would-be passenger.

Ken Layne, Matt Welch, Nick Denton: Have at him — more bilge from the Mirror’s John Pilger calling this a “war of lies.”

– More Russia love: “Our kids won’t even know we’re supposed to hate the Russians,” says Ken Layne.

– Now German love: Schroeder calls the Greens’ bluff in their complaints about sending troops to our war and he wins his vote of confidence.

– What a phenomenal, wonderful

– What a phenomenal, wonderful change in our relationship with Russia: Putin offers military support for our war; he rides (if uncomfortably) in a pick-up truck with President George; he refuses to lower oil production, which will lead to a price war (predictions of $10 barrels), which in turn could lead singlehandedly to a rejuvenation of the American economy. Why the fast kinship? Samuel Huntington is right: This war is a clash of civilizations. It is about modernity vs. fundamentalism. Russia is no longer a nation built on dogma, on its form of fundamentalism; it is now a nation, like ours, built on the necessary flexibility of politics and economy and media and democracy; it is modern. It is allied with us and our interests; it has more in common with us than with its stone-age neighbors. That is a momentous change in the order of the world. I know all this is quite obvious but I can’t help shaking my head in wonder at it. It wasn’t that long ago when I was growing up slamming my body against the tile walls of the halls in my elementary school, against the fear that the Ruskies would be nuking us. Now, I fear that our children may be holding drills against the dread of bin Laden’s nukes (or chemicals or germs or suicide bombers) — and Russia is our friend, ally, and defender.

– I always look forward to Rossi’s gentle Rants.

– From the Times of London: Osama’s poisonplans. The scene of the crime.

– The Times also has a very clear explanation of the political muddle that has been caused in Germany by our little war. Five possible outcomes of the current vote of confidence, among them: The government could fall or the Greens could wilt.

Andrew Sullivan has an ambitious roundup of of the naysayers who said we were losing this quagmire war; obviously, he was saving them, savoring them, just waiting for this day when he could nya-nya-nya them all. Well done.

Tale of the damned lucky aid workers now safe in Pakistan.

ABC says Taliban guys will sell info on Osama to the U.S. in return for some of our $25 million reward money. As today’s Mirror front page says: “Who Wants To Be An Afghan Millionaire?”

Bush to City: Drop Dead (apologies to the Daily News headline writer of yore and lore): New York won’t get more aid now.

– 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.”

– Well-said: The Telegraph celebrates

– Well-said: The Telegraph celebrates the victory (so far).

– Howard Stern is properly pissed this morning about the government falling over itself to assume the JFK crash is an accident. We don’t know yet.

– Mohammed Atta picks up a ladyfriend on a flight. [Via Moonfarmer]

– Oh, hell, our side is winning. The Northern Alliance is in Kabul. This could be bad news for lots of reasons, primarily: Once the Taliban is defeated, every fair-weather ally will want us to stop fighting when, in fact, the enemy is everywhere, including Iraq. It will be harder to keep the PR coalition together as the war continues. Nick Denton‘s two cents: “I would rather the Islamic international brigade stay there, and die there, rather than leach out full of revenge into the wider world.”

Ken Layne is a one-man blogfest this week; lots of good posts.

– Thomas (Newsrack) Nephew has a fun feud with a German editor over their odd opinion of taking on oppression. He says to me: “I keep thinking, naively, jeez, you’d think they’d jump at a chance to join the civilized world in doing the right thing…. Maybe I should take it easier on Germany: the US public wasn’t exactly gung-ho about taking on Hitler, either, once upon a time. In fact, Hitler had to declare war on us to really get our attention.”

– Here’s one reason Germans are hinky on deploying troops: It could cause the government to fall. Schroeder calls for a confidence vote on Afghan war troops.

Kabul: Get out the razors, burn the burqas.

Guardian lead: “American Airlines flight 587, bound for Santo Domingo, crashes into Queens. ‘It is a test,’ Mayor Giuliani says. I believe him. I just wish I knew who was doing the testing: God or Osama bin Laden?”

– Mirror page 1: Same City, Same Airline, Same Time… Coincidence or Bin Laden?