Sunday, October 23, 2005

He card read good!

It's op-ed Sunday at Hope & Onions. But these guys & gals all write better than me. Use them for all of your smart-making needs:
  1. Haroon Siddiqui on the Saddam-show-trial
  2. "Avoiding global bio-apartheid" by Peter Stoett, Prof. International Relations, Concordia University
  3. "China's quick rise to power" by Eric Margolis
  4. "Whys Behind the War" by Frank Rich
  5. "Judy Miller's WMD" by Maureen Dowd
  6. Harper's Lewis Lapham on the true meaning of the F-word
  7. Rise of the 'Patriotic Journalist' by Robert Parry
To hasten the smart-making, I've provided my favourite excerpts from (most of) these op-eds in the expanded portion of this post. I hope you'll join me :)

[click "Read on, MacDuff!" to continue reading]

Haroon Siddiqui on the Saddam-show-trial:
The problem with all this is not that Saddam may not get a fair trial, as the bleeding hearts fear. Or that the nincompoops running it will let him steal the show from the prosecutors. The real danger is that the propagandist phoniness seeping out of this exercise will undermine its validity.
[...] As Iraq becomes Vietnam, he blames the seemingly unstoppable insurgency on Al Qaeda and other Islamic militants, whom he has just compared to Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot. But his own analysts peg their number at only a few hundred out of an estimated 10,000 insurgents. He blames Iran and Syria and won't rule out waging war on either or both. Yet suspected foreign militants caught in Iraq since April add up to a grand total of 312. Of them, the highest number, 78, hail from Egypt, about which he remains silent, as also about the other American ally, Saudi Arabia, whose apprehended citizens outnumber Iran's, 32 to 13.
[...] He crows about bringing democracy to Iraq but plans to veto a U.S. Senate vote ordering him to bring Guantanamo Bay and similar other holding pens under the rule of law.
"Avoiding global bio-apartheid" by Peter Stoett:
...we need ethical resolve, because when the big one hits, as with the Black Plague, the immediate temptation will be to shut the city doors and lock out the doomed. This won't work this time around, and we can do better. We need to avoid the bio-apartheid scenario, where the infected are cordoned into what are essentially large-scale concentration camps, while the wealthy pay for oppressive measures to keep them there.
"China's quick rise to power" by Eric Margolis:

Glory in war, Japanese samurai used to say, is a function of your enemy's courage and strength. Arabs make miserable foes. You can't justify building new $20-billion carrier battle groups or supersubs because of a bunch of car-bombers.
[...] Besides Taiwan, China poses no current military threat to any other Asian nation -- except India, which can well look after itself.
[...] Today, Americans, only 4% of the world's population, consume 25% of world oil. China, India and the EU want their share.
[...] This is a task for diplomats, not the Pentagon. America will have to learn to share energy and accept China as an equal in the Pacific
Harper's Lewis Lapham on the true meaning of the F-word:
By retrieving from our historical memory only the vivid and familiar images of fascist tyranny (Gestapo firing squads, Soviet labor camps, the chimneys at Treblinka), we lose sight of the faith-based initiatives that sustained the tyrant’s rise to glory. [...] [Umberto Eco] attempts to describe a way of thinking and a habit of mind, and on sifting through the assortment of fantastic and often contradictory notions – Nazi paganism, Franco’s National Catholicism, Mussolini’s corporatism, etc. – he finds a set of axioms on which all the fascisms agree. Among the most notable:
  • The truth is revealed once and only once.
  • Parliamentary democracy is by definition rotten because it doesn’t represent the voice of the people, which is that of the sublime leader.
  • Doctrine outpoints reason, and science is always suspect.
  • Critical thought is the province of degenerate intellectuals, who betray the culture and subvert traditional values.
  • The national identity is provided by the nation’s enemies.
  • Argument is tantamount to treason.
  • Perpetually at war, the state must govern with the instruments of fear. Citizens do not act; they play the supporting role of “the people” in the grand opera that is the state.
[...] the news media devoted to the arts of iconography, [is] busily minting images of corporate executives like those of the emperor heroes on the coins of ancient Rome.
[...] I think we can look forward with confidence to character-building bankruptcies, picturesque bread riots, thrilling cavalcades of splendidly costumed motorcycle police.
Rise of the 'Patriotic Journalist' by Robert Parry:
One early turning point in the switch from “skeptical” journalism to “patriotic” journalism occurred in 1976 with the blocking of Rep. Otis Pike’s congressional report on CIA misdeeds. CIA Director Bush had lobbied behind the scenes to convince Congress that suppressing the report was important for national security. But CBS news correspondent Daniel Schorr got hold of the full document and decided that he couldn’t join in keeping the facts from the public. He leaked the report to the Village Voice – and was fired by CBS amid charges of reckless journalism.
[...] In the late 1970s, conservative leaders began a concerted drive to finance a media infrastructure of their own along with attack groups that would target mainstream reporters who were viewed as too liberal or insufficiently patriotic.
[...] Where I worked at the Associated Press, general manager Keith Fuller – the company's top executive – was considered a staunch supporter of Reagan’s foreign policy and a fierce critic of recent social change. In 1982, Fuller gave a speech condemning the 1960s and praising Reagan’s election. "As we look back on the turbulent Sixties, we shudder with the memory of a time that seemed to tear at the very sinews of this country,” Fuller said during a speech in Worcester, Mass., adding that Reagan’s election a year earlier had represented a nation “crying, ‘Enough.’"
[...] But resistance to the Iran-Contra scandal also penetrated mainstream news outlets. At Newsweek, where I went to work in early 1987, Editor Maynard Parker was hostile to the possibility that Reagan might be implicated. During one Newsweek dinner/interview with retired Gen. Brent Scowcroft and then-Rep. Dick Cheney, Parker expressed support for the notion that Reagan’s role should be protected even if that required perjury. “Sometimes you have to do what’s good the country,” Parker said.
[...] That tendency deepened even more after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as many journalists took to wearing American flag lapels and avoided critical reporting about Bush’s sometimes shaky handling of the crisis. For instance, Bush’s seven-minute freeze in a second-grade classroom – after being told “the nation is under attack” – was hidden from the public even though it was filmed and witnessed by White House pool reporters.
Class dismissed :)

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