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A vision to revitalize the 4th Estate
May 11, 2005 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Home From Iraq: photojournalist Molly Bingham was detained in 2003 by Iraqi security forces and held in Abu Ghraib prison from March 25 to April 2, 2003. Eighteen days after her release, she returned to Iraq to pursue stories for The New York Times, The Guardian of London and others. Taking a short break during the summer of 2003, Bingham had the idea of working on a story to explore who was involved in the nascent resistance that was becoming apparent throughout Iraq. In August 2003, Bingham returned with British journalist Steve Connors and spent the next 10 months reporting the story of the Iraqi resistance. Her account was published in Vanity Fair magazine in July 2004; Connors shot a documentary film on the subject. This experience has led Bingham to seriously question the values and responsibilities of the press.
posted by stenseng (65 comments total)

 
Or do I need to start facing the reality that all I love and believe in is simply self-delusion?

Yes you need, it is better to experience dissonance then remaining in perpetual delusion. Plus one can start changing thing little by little outsite the delusion if they avoid entering another delusion, that of changing everything in a second.
posted by elpapacito at 12:34 PM on May 11, 2005


In the spirit of the essay in the first link: the opposing viewpoint.
posted by kavasa at 12:44 PM on May 11, 2005


Interesting story, with some germane questions. But these tables can all be turned around 180 degrees. She herself is making a value judgment. It's one thing to explore "why" a group is doing something. That's a fine, even patriotic thing to do. Yet, by clearly sympathizing with the "resistence," her own journalistic "values" and "responsibilities" are legitimately called into question:
Then why is it that this story of human effort for self-determination by violent means cannot be told in America? Are we so small, so confused by our own values that we cannot recognize when someone emulates our own struggle? Even if it is the U.S. that they are struggling against? I want to be careful to explain that I am not saying that the Iraqis fighting against us are necessarily fighting for democracy, but they are fighting for their right to decide for themselves what their nation looks like politically.
This Michael Moore-style fetishizing of the "resistence" betrays a predetermined story on her part that is every bit as troubling as an editor who chooses not to run bad news that doesn't fit his preferred "good news" story line.

The story of the resistence can and should be told -- we should know why they do what they do. But don't presume to lecture us that their vision for the future of their country (not to mention their tactics for achieving same) is worthy of more respect than the Iraqis who welcome democracy through normal means. By doing so, she wades ass-deep into policy, thus becoming the very thing she's complaining about.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:48 PM on May 11, 2005


Is there any belief structure that cannot be characterized as self-delusion by someone with a differing viewpoint?

...so what does "outside the delusion" mean then? Outside according to whom, and with what justification?
posted by aramaic at 12:51 PM on May 11, 2005


Is there any belief structure that cannot be characterized as self-delusion by someone with a differing viewpoint?


Of course not. Including the one that made you ask that, and this that made me answer it thus. Hell, strictly speaking there is nothing that can't be characterized as self-delusion by anybody for any reason.
posted by davy at 1:07 PM on May 11, 2005


who is the fish in my pants, really?
posted by quonsar at 1:11 PM on May 11, 2005


Anyone who would deny others political self representation through violent means is unfit for society.

The author claims that the terrorists aren't necessarily fighting for democracy... that they are fighting to decide for themselves how their country will look.

Well, that's what voting is for. And if you don't want people voting, then you have no argument, no position, and no rational perspective... you are a terrorist.
posted by ewkpates at 1:12 PM on May 11, 2005


First - she's not suggesting that the resistance neccesarily has any particular aims at democracy, she's simply suggesting that a: the "insurgents" are iraqis, not foreign agents, that b: they have real human motivations for doing what they do that we need to understand, and that c: these Iraqis seem determined to shape their nation as they see fit, which has historically been considered the right of any sovereign people.

As to "democracy through normal means"

Pardonyou, what exactly do you suggest are normal means for achieving democracy? Sketchy elections and leaders handpicked by the invading power do not a democracy make.

As I remember, we didn't establish an American democracy by supporting the tory dupes of nutty king george and hoping that maybe someday we'd get redress for our grievances, we got there by fighting a bitter and bloody guerilla war against imperial invaders with bad teef and funny accents, with a handy penchant for marching in lines into battle.

While the Iraqis may not be after democracy as we were, they certainly seem to be following the path of soveriegn self determination through violent rebellion that so many peoples have "in the course of human events."

So is it only okay to fight for one's national soveriegnty if the end result is what, warm and fuzzy? Friendly to American economic interests?

Who are the assholes in this equation? They aren't our soldiers. They're doing their job and are incredibly brave. It's not the iraqis, they're defending their homeland, and asserting their rights to self-determination.

This war is a complete and utter corruption of American principles, a moral and logistical disaster, and a stain on our national reputation that may take a century to repair, and the blame lies squarely in the lap of President George W Bush, his neo-conservative cronies, their backers in industry and finance, and all the so-called conservatives in American society who have mortgaged their personal honor and decided that "winning" in the partisan sense is worth abandoning ethics, values, and even reason.
posted by stenseng at 1:21 PM on May 11, 2005


imperial invaders with bad teef and funny accents

I hate to rain on your parade stenseng, but unless you're a Native American, calling the British "invaders" is a bit disingenuous. I basically sympathize with the rest of what you said though.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 1:32 PM on May 11, 2005


stenseng, rational argument is no longer allowed in these Iraq threads - please switch to rant mode...
posted by fairmettle at 1:38 PM on May 11, 2005


but right now, there's no room at all to even ask about motives, nor is anyone asking. we're just being fed bullshit about "foreign elements" and stuff.

They're not--they're fighting US-the INVADERS and OCCUPIERS. Therefore, they are the resistance. They don't accept our puppets and want us out--it's simple. That simple thing isn't even reported--ever.

great piece--thanks, stenseng.
posted by amberglow at 1:38 PM on May 11, 2005


I think invaders is a perfectly apropos term for a force controlled by a power a continent away, sent to quell by force any attempt at self-determination, and to instead subject a population to hegemony by proxy.
posted by stenseng at 1:41 PM on May 11, 2005


stenseng, I think you're making my point. You're arguing for why we should take the side of the insurgents over the U.S. This is also what Bingham does.

Her underlying thesis is that too many journalists are failing to "check their own perspective at the door" (to use her words). Yet he does the very same thing -- it just looks different because it's on the other side. She starts out paying lip-service to her neutrality -- her desire to be open-minded, and understand. Yet by the end she has revealed her preference for the rebels' objectives, not merely understanding.

The other fatal flaw in her reasoning is the assumption that the rebels represent "Iraqis," rather than a subset thereof. She conveniently ignores the fact that there are other Iraqis who abhor these methods, and wish to determine their political future through non-violent means.

It's very clear to me by the end of her speech that she's taken sides -- she prefers one side in the conflict over another. In the abstract, that's fine. But in the context of journalism, she's no different than a journalist who implies that the U.S. policy of forcing democracy is the "right" one. This might even be forgivable if not for the fact that the whole premise of this piece was to criticize journalists who do just that.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:42 PM on May 11, 2005


Sorry. To me the "side" she took was claiming that the US media had no backbone to report on any real "news" relating to Iraq. That was basically the theme here -- that the US government has basically been allowed to dictate the public perception of the war.

It's time we looked in the mirror and began to take responsibility for what our country looks like, what our country is and how it behaves, rather than acting like victims before we actually are.

This isn't saying "Hey, these Iraqis are opressed, people" as much as it's saying "Hey, while you're fueling your SUV, there's an entire big picture that your government has worked to deny you, and which your press has failed at investigating.
posted by VulcanMike at 1:52 PM on May 11, 2005


Stenseng, are you going to sart singing Dixie next? We were part of that power untill we seceeded via revolution. As I alluded above, the colonists were "invaders" too, in a sense. Now, if the Native Americans had initiated an insurgency against the lot of them, there might have been something worthy of analogy. Just imagine it: The British established colonies in North America to establish a democracy among the tribes, who were presently being ruled by a hostile regime(regimes, really), and were unwilling to share their abundant natural resources! teh funny! That little exercise just further illustrates how ridiculous this situation has become.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 1:54 PM on May 11, 2005


I am not sure I see her taking the side of the resistence/terrorists/whatever in her speech - indeed, she mentions something about strongly disagreeing with them. Her speech seems to be more aimed at journalists being unwilling to do more than rubber stamp government press releases. Anyhow, that is how I read it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:55 PM on May 11, 2005


me too.

The other fatal flaw in her reasoning is the assumption that the rebels represent "Iraqis," rather than a subset thereof. She conveniently ignores the fact that there are other Iraqis who abhor these methods, and wish to determine their political future through non-violent means.
The American Revolutionaries only represented a subset of American colonists as well. Many were against armed rebellion at the time. There were many Americans who abhorred the methods used, and who ended up going north to Canada.
posted by amberglow at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2005


It seems to me that the assault on free speech, while the fear and intimidation is in the air, comes as much from us -- as individuals and networks of journalists who censor ourselves -- as it does from any other source.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 2:15 PM on May 11, 2005


It's a great piece, and the fact that we have resident right-wingers going into traitor!-mode only proves her point.
posted by mr.marx at 2:17 PM on May 11, 2005


>stenseng, rational argument is no longer allowed in these Iraq threads - please switch to rant mode...

RANT MODE.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.
posted by gsb at 2:20 PM on May 11, 2005


I think the dominant thought in her story is this: America and Americans used to represent something great and wonderful. Parts of that represented freedom, democracy, helping those in need, tolerance, the right to self-determination.

The world admired us for that.

Now we (speaking of both sides, so I want to make sure to piss off everyone) are a nation of hypocrites. The right is the 'New American Taliban (and they are). The left is too disorganized or powerless or whatever to do anything to challenge this. There. Hope everyone is pissed off now. Let the judgement flow . . .

In conclusion, I don't mean to upset anyone, just point out the obvious.
posted by mk1gti at 2:30 PM on May 11, 2005


The American Revolutionaries only represented a subset of American colonists as well. Many were against armed rebellion at the time. There were many Americans who abhorred the methods used, and who ended up going north to Canada.

Yes, of course. But this isn't about choosing which faction is politically "right." Or, said differently, Bingham herself claims that it is wrong for a journalist to take sides (specifically, the U.S.'s side). Yet it is clear to me (and I would submit anyone who doesn't see it is being wilfully obtuse) that she is taking the political side of the insurgents. Again, more power to her as a U.S. citizen -- maybe she's right, maybe she's wrong (time and history will tell). But it's laughably ironic to do so at the same time you're criticizing other U.S. journalists for being "homers." She's just an "awayer."

And "mr. marx" give me a break. Nobody has claimed she's a "traitor" -- she's absolutely entitled to her opinion that the insurgents' cause is more noble than the U.S.' (and who are these "resident right-wingers" of which you speak, Mr. Label Man?)
posted by pardonyou? at 2:41 PM on May 11, 2005


From reading this it seems to me -- and this is hardly a surprise -- that any point of view in which the insurgents are represented as anything but monsters is sure to be met with complaints of bias and partiality. In a sense there is a refusal to understand because of a faith-based viewpoint that there IS nothing to understand, and that, I think, is one of the reasons why the Americans have so far failed to nip the insurgency in the bud.
posted by clevershark at 2:47 PM on May 11, 2005


From reading this it seems to me -- and this is hardly a surprise -- that any point of view in which the insurgents are represented as anything but monsters is sure to be met with complaints of bias and partiality.

I call bullshit on that. If she had simply said, "The insurgents view themselves as defending against an invading nation and seeking governance on their own terms" (i.e., told us "why") I would have no issue with that, and it would not have been inconsistent with her own premise. But she takes it a huge step beyond: She asks us if we wouldn't do the same thing if someone invaded our country ("If the roles were reversed, do you think for a moment that our men wouldn't be stockpiling arms and attacking any foreign invader with the temerity to set foot on our soil, occupy our buildings of government and write us a new constitution? ... Wouldn't we as women be joining with them in any way we could?")

By doing so, she's asking us to identify and sympathize with their cause. By analogizing to the American Revolution, she's arguing that their cause is just, and preferable to the U.S. Again, good on her. But neutral journalism -- the dearth of which she so earnestly deplores -- it ain't.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:58 PM on May 11, 2005


To make matters worse, clevershark, there seems to be some sort of misapprehension that there is a single unified insurgency, when in fact, this term is really a catch-all for many groups of people with disparate aims, ranging from religious zealotry to petty thuggery. Lumping them all together oversimplifies the situation, and downplays the fragmentation of Iraqi society.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 3:00 PM on May 11, 2005


I think pardonyou? has a point here. Her analysis isn't entirely neutral, however, she has extremely valid points regarding government and corporate chilling of coverage of alternative viewpoints, as well as the self-imposed editorial filter and the causes of it. She also sounds an incredibly valid if not impartial warning about how far American journalism has strayed from it's ethical roots, and how far American policy and society has strayed from the principles of the founding fathers.
posted by stenseng at 3:07 PM on May 11, 2005


pardonyou? writes " I call bullshit on that."

It is your right, but you are wrong. Are the insurgents not fighting an invading force? Would Americans not do the same if the tables were reversed? I got a newsflash for you -- there are already men in America stockpiling arms out of paranoia that the US government is somehow acting as an agent of some conspiracy (usually a Zionist one). If America were to be invaded by another country somehow (notwithstanding the very absurdity of the premise) there is absolutely no question that the resulting resistance would make the Iraqi insurgency look positively servile by comparison.
posted by clevershark at 3:17 PM on May 11, 2005


"pardonyou?", is it not possible to sympathize with both sides? or is it "either with us or against us"? that's the traitor-mode rethoric I'm talking about.

and yes, I called you a right-winger. want a hug?
posted by mr.marx at 3:22 PM on May 11, 2005


So you're saying pardonyou? that:
- a Russian journalist working in Chechnya and reporting about the awful Chechens and how a group of terrorists is fighting out of pure evilness the great and humanitarian Russian army,

is doing as good a job as

-a Russian journalist who exposes the lie behind the Russian state's characterization of all of the Chechen resistance as terrorist, based on a few nutjobs, and shows their cause to be valid and honourable...?

Also, when you suggest that "by analogizing to the American Revolution, she's arguing that their cause is just, and preferable to the U.S." you're missing the point. If it is a valid analogy she's not only entitled, but obliged to make it, to better convey the situation to her readers. Only if it isn't a valid analogy is she displaying any bias. In either case the crucial issue is not the analogy but its validity. And I haven't seen an argument against that.
posted by talos at 3:45 PM on May 11, 2005


I like metafilter.
posted by airguitar at 4:00 PM on May 11, 2005


If America were to be invaded by another country somehow (notwithstanding the very absurdity of the premise) there is absolutely no question that the resulting resistance would make the Iraqi insurgency look positively servile by comparison.

Somehow the image of Lemule with his beer belly in a pickup truck slowly chawing on his 'chawan tabacky' doesn't inspire as much fear in me as a skinny Iraqi insurgent armed with an RPG and an AK-47 who's been fully schooled and experienced in military tactics and house to house fighting.

I fear the right-wing militia as well as the next guy, but those sloppy bohonks in military fatigues would fold up like a cheap lawn chair under an overweight housewife if they went up against a real military foe.

Now, if it were the left-wing militia . . . gay men undercover, sneaking around in public by day, screwing the oppressive taliban by night . . . That's something fearsome to contemplate . . .
posted by mk1gti at 4:26 PM on May 11, 2005


Very interesting article, very brave of her to publish it. I think the sort of debate it's spurring here is the debate it's supposed to spur.

Some people can't see past the notion of 'taking sides' for anything.
posted by breath at 4:32 PM on May 11, 2005


talos, you may have got the Chechen thing right.

The journalist you could be refering to is Anna Politikovskaya.
posted by hoskala at 4:40 PM on May 11, 2005


This article is an addition to current debate about American media that is very timely and needed very very badly.
posted by futureproof at 4:44 PM on May 11, 2005


pardonyou, one can understand (and report on) what and why someone's doing something, and even point out a parallel to our own past without being on one side or another.
posted by amberglow at 4:56 PM on May 11, 2005


If America were to be invaded by another country somehow (notwithstanding the very absurdity of the premise) there is absolutely no question that the resulting resistance would make the Iraqi insurgency look positively servile by comparison.

I'm not sure about that. The most powerful military in the world hasn't been able to defeat or suppress the Iraqi insurgency after three years. In fact, their attacks have become larger-scale and more complex recently.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:03 PM on May 11, 2005


She has a lot of good food for thought in the article. I hope that everyone takes what she says to heart. These are thoughts and fears I think that many of us are having in our own country now, just as others in once-communist countries had to deal with similar issues. Never thought we would have
Honecker's Germany transplanted to the U.S., but here we are. . .
posted by mk1gti at 5:06 PM on May 11, 2005


pardonyou?: By doing so, she's asking us to identify and sympathize with their cause. By analogizing to the American Revolution, she's arguing that their cause is just, and preferable to the U.S. Again, good on her. But neutral journalism -- the dearth of which she so earnestly deplores -- it ain't.

And you're calling other people obtuse?

It is not the journalist's job to recite facts about a situation line by line. The journalist's job is to record and communicate news to an audience -- she went over there, observed a group of people, and is retelling their story.

She obviously can't take each reader there with her to observe the situation, so she must communicate the situation as she observed it. The fact that you saw a previously under reported issue and identified the fact that it portrayed the other side as real human beings is a sign of the effectiveness of her communication, not her biased agenda.

Perhaps the news is causing you to identify and sympathize, rather than the author...
posted by VulcanMike at 5:09 PM on May 11, 2005


and yes, I called you a right-winger. want a hug?

No, I think the knowledge that you're content to talk out of your ass is enough for me.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:17 PM on May 11, 2005


You can't be a freedom fighter if you aren't fighting for freedom.

Fighting to reinstate Baathist hegemony over Kurds and Shia is bad. Blowing people up to keep them from voting makes you a terrorist. If you sympathize with butchers just because they hate Bushitler McChimp as much as you do, you are no better than Jeff Gannon.
posted by snout at 6:29 PM on May 11, 2005


No, I think the knowledge that you're content to talk out of your ass is enough for me.

so is this where you say "because I'm a LIBERTARIAN neener neener"? 'cause that won't cut it, I'm afraid.
but you know what, fuck it. call yourself whatever you like. your mefi history makes it pretty clear what your views are anyway.

snout: it's a little late for trolling, you should've been here 3 hours ago. sorry.
posted by mr.marx at 6:50 PM on May 11, 2005


They're fighting for sovereignty and self determination. Nobody said anything about "freedom fighters," so you and that straw fellow you walked in with can pound sand, snout.
posted by stenseng at 7:09 PM on May 11, 2005


No one would have sympathized with the whites in South Africa if they had started blowing shit up to prevent the ANC from winning the election, and rightly so.

The insurgents want to reinstate a government that oppressed minorities and raped women whose brothers opposed them. Maybe that's okay with you, Groucho, but decent people despise that kind of shit.
posted by snout at 7:13 PM on May 11, 2005


Hey stenseng!

Rapist thugs don't necessarily get to have sovereignty in my world order. That's why I and millions of other women voted for Bush. Ha-ha!
posted by snout at 7:20 PM on May 11, 2005


Ha-ha!
posted by VulcanMike at 7:24 PM on May 11, 2005


(Not too far) Off topic: I was thinking today about the term "insurgent." Who decided that was the right term to use and why did everybody else go along with it?

Just a hypnotized-in-traffic thought I had on the way to work.
posted by jaronson at 7:29 PM on May 11, 2005


That's not all they want, snout, and you should know that. They want us out.

snout, read this, too--Women Returning to Democratic Party, Poll Finds

here's a BBC explanation of insurgent -- We use the term 'insurgent' for the current situation in Iraq because the phrase describes people who are rising in active revolt. We believe it is the most appropriate term to use in situations of rebellion when there is no free-standing government. We know that such words are open to challenge and that the use of appropriate language is a vital factor for audiences in recognising the impartiality of our news reports on events in Iraq. Over the last year, as there has been an increase in violence in Iraq ? including the targeting of Iraqis as well as coalition forces - the BBC has reported the instances without prejudice.
posted by amberglow at 7:32 PM on May 11, 2005


Some of them want us out, some of them want us to stay. I think our presence there should be based on a vote by all Iraqis, and votes by car bomb don't count.

As for the polling you were kind enough to point out, it is strangely similar to results before the election. So please allow it to soothe all your fears, while we gear up to win again in 2006. Yee-haw!

Here's some more interesting findings by those right-wing nutjobs at Pew.
posted by snout at 7:54 PM on May 11, 2005


call yourself whatever you like. your mefi history makes it pretty clear what your views are anyway.

Oh, no, not my MeFi history! You win, Sherlock. I'm right wing.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:05 PM on May 11, 2005


as long as the GOP keeps restricting the right to choose, and trying to put anti-choice judges on the bench, and doing nothing about the weak economy, i am very soothed, snout, thank you.
posted by amberglow at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2005


Some of them want us out, some of them want us to stay. I think our presence there should be based on a vote by all Iraqis, and votes by car bomb don't count.

What the fuck is wrong with you? If someone invades your country, you don't hold a town-hall meeting and set up the ballot boxes to decide whether the invaders should be allowed to stay... that is, if your freedom actually meant anything to you, of course – it obviously doesn't.
posted by odinsdream at 9:00 PM on May 11, 2005


one man's freedom fighter is another's terrorist.
posted by nola at 9:10 PM on May 11, 2005


a great Daily Kos diary--What reporters actually doing their job sounds like (except that they're all foreign reporters)
posted by amberglow at 9:17 PM on May 11, 2005


Which decent people are those snout? The ones who allow thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis die for a lie? The ones who hate fags? The ones who'll fight all day and night to save a lump of dross the size of a nail clipping, but won't lift a goddamned hand to help a real live fully formed one? The ones who'll get all self righteous and teary-eyed when they talk about "our vet'rans" except when it comes to signing the legislation that actually provides them with the benefits they deserve? I'm not sure just which "decent people" you're jawing about, but if it's these, I'm glad not to be counted among y'all.
posted by stenseng at 11:16 PM on May 11, 2005


Sounds like what liberators do to me:

" The heavy-handed tactics of the American occupation force, reported Jamail, have also fed that rage. Jamail stated that the Americans have taken to using 'collective punishment' against large segments of the population to try and dampen the violence. In one instance, a road leading out of a remote farm community was blown up and blocked to punish the residents, and the only nearby gas station was machine-gunned and blasted by a tank.

The most glaring example of collective punishment took place within the city of Fallujah. You will clearly recall the events of March 31, 2004, when three mercenary contractors from Blackwater were pulled from their car, butchered, burned and hung from a bridge in that town. The American corporate news media carefully described these four repeatedly as 'American civilians, failing to note that some 30,000 highly-paid military mercenaries just like these four are operating in Iraq, beyond the laws and rules of American military justice. These mercenaries stand accused by the Iraqi populace of a variety of crimes including rape and theft.

It was a despicable and horrifying act of violence, to be sure. Yet the American populace was left with the impression, reinforced by the media, that these 'civilians' were targeted by the entire city of Fallujah. In fact, the act was committed by perhaps 50 people, and the Imams in the mosques spoke with one outraged voice against what was done to those four.

This did not matter. The collective punishment of Fallujah began days later. Civilians were targeted by snipers. Helicopters and bombers rained fire and steel indiscriminately on the city. After a while, a truce was called so the city could bury its dead, and so medical supplies could be brought in. No supplies made it into the city, but the casualties were entombed in soccer fields that were renamed 'Martyr's Graveyards.' Jamail photographed the fields of burial mounds, and translated the names on many of the headstones. A majority of those stones bore the names of women and children.

In the lull between attacks, the citizens of Fallujah flooded the streets in a massive victory celebration, unaware that the worst was yet to come. The rage they vented on the Fallujah streets was proof enough that American tactics are manufacturing resistance fighters every day.

Not long after, the second phase of the punishment of Fallujah began, this time as an aerial bombardment of the city that left thousands dead and wounded. Bodies remained unburied in the streets to bloat in the sun and be gnawed by dogs. One Jamail photo from Fallujah showed the shattered, rotting corpse of a man lying next to his prosthetic leg. It seems this one-legged man was an enemy of freedom, a feast for dogs in the hot Iraqi sun.

The Pentagon has a phrase for the photos and reports Dahr Jamail was able to bring back to us from his time in Iraq. They call it 'Hostile Information,' otherwise known as unassailable facts that cut violently against the pretty portrait and non-news the American people have been spoon-fed about our occupation of that country.

If you believed the situation there was bad, it's worse than you can imagine, a war crime writ large, a grinding of a civilian population that was no threat to America and is now caught between hot steel and a cold grave. 'Horror' is not a strong enough word to describe what Dahr Jamail showed us that night, what he saw with his own eyes, what almost no American has been allowed to see because 'Hostile Information' is not permitted. It does not fit into the consensus contrived by the media. It is not part of the pleasant fiction. But it is happening, every day, right now, it is happening. "

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/051105A.shtml
posted by stenseng at 11:28 PM on May 11, 2005


Thank God for Little Green Footballs.com
posted by ParisParamus at 11:32 PM on May 11, 2005


PP, thanks to you my laptop screen is covered in chocolate milk.

Fucker!
posted by gsb at 11:55 PM on May 11, 2005


What's your point Paris? You find that thoughtful and compelling dialogue the lgf folks are having, comforting? They truly are the creme risen to the top of the deep thinkers of our age. In fact, why are you wasting your time here? I can't stand the thought of you keeping yourself from greatness by spending time with us here on lowly Metafiter. There are only so many hours in the day man! Why waste your time here when such brilliant thoughtful nuanced commentary is to be had at LittleGreenFootballs.com

GO, RUN, BE FREE! SOAR AS HIGH AS YOU CAN LITTLE BIRD!!!
posted by stenseng at 11:58 PM on May 11, 2005


We don't link to the balls. It's not good for anyone.
posted by asok at 3:09 AM on May 12, 2005


I hate it when there's only one considered right-wing voice in a thread such as this one, as it just reminds me of LGF threads. All those "witty" "biting" stabs at the left (or right here) and all the me-too's... meh! LGF and Mefi oftentimes seem like two sides of the same coin IMO. I suppose it's just the current nature of political debate.
posted by Onanist at 3:27 AM on May 12, 2005


Sorry mate, but if you can't discern the stark disparity in quality of the two dialogues, you're sniff tester must be busted.


What the hell is it with this tendency to lend equal weight to two sides of an argument when one side is so patently averse to logic, facts, and rational discourse?

"The first ammendment does not give someone the right to commit treason. Arrest her NOW!"

"We need a new conflict and I say soon. How about North Korea - forget the nuclear weapons, think of all the unemployed human shields."

"Liberals have totally lost their sense of values--they no longer can see good and evil. This woman is insane."

"This lady, and I use that term loosely, is on the verge of treason. With some encouragement she might reveal some tidbit of information that could be used to put her away. It would be most interesting to see her boyfriends video too."

"Too bad some of our guys didn't find her, rifle her belongings, plant a GPS receiver in
her backpack and send her on her merry way.
Could of whacked a bunch of them with a JDAM."



Yup, JUST LIKE what people at Metafilter say.
posted by stenseng at 8:01 AM on May 12, 2005


It's also interesting to reconcile the "It's us and the peace-loving Iraqis against those horrible insurgents" concept with the fact that Iraq is now on the verge of civil war.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:11 AM on May 12, 2005


According to this Newsweek recap of the accidentally-declassified Pentagon report into the March shooting of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena:
"The U.S. considers all of Iraq a combat zone," says the report, which was wrapped up at the end of April, three months after the elections that were supposed to have turned the tide in this conflict. "From July 2004 to late March 2005," says the document, "there were 15,527 attacks against Coalition Forces throughout Iraq." Then comes one of several paragraphs marked S//NF (secret, not for distribution to foreign nationals): "From 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 there were 3306 attacks in the Baghdad area. Of these, 2400 were directed against Coalition Forces."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:28 AM on May 12, 2005


You misinterpret me stenseng. I wasn't intending to equate the threads in that sense. Don't worry about it.
posted by Onanist at 10:30 PM on May 12, 2005


LGF is great because of Charles' posts. There isn't much of a dialog over there; Metafilter discussions are logarithmically superior. But that doesn't negate the excellence of the materials Charles brings together.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:31 PM on May 13, 2005


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