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Don't Bomb Us.
November 26, 2005 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Don't Bomb Us. In response to credible reports that Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera's HQ in allied Qatar (discussed here and here on MeFi), Al Jazeera staffers start their own English-language blog. Their site contains remembrances of their fallen colleagues, firsthand accounts of US attacks on their offices, links to relevant reports on the controversy, Flickr photosets of protests calling for an official investigation, and al Jazeera's code of ethics. Also, a quick note to Tony Blair: " P.S. Thanks for talking Mr. Bush out of bombing our offices!" Not surprisingly, their blog is generating some comments.
posted by edverb (117 comments total)

 
thanks for the post. woudn't even suggesting something like this be an impeachable offense?

for those who haven't seen it - i would highly recommend all check out " control room" - an excellent documentary on Al Jazeerah during the Iraq war.

speaking of the Al Jazeerah - is the english version online yet?
posted by specialk420 at 10:06 AM on November 26, 2005


The English version has been around for some time.
posted by stirfry at 10:14 AM on November 26, 2005


Here's Al Jazeera in English. They had a tough time getting online in 2003. They were all set up to go with Akamai when they suddenly cancelled them. Nice way to treat a customer.
posted by Nelson at 10:15 AM on November 26, 2005


Great post, and a second for the necessity of watching Control Room. Isn't there a sequel in the offing? (of the film, not the bombing)
posted by wah at 10:34 AM on November 26, 2005


I think of al-Jazeera as being the FOX news of the Islamic world. So, OK, a bit of propaganda, but hardly Pravda.
posted by caddis at 10:40 AM on November 26, 2005


"I think of al-Jazeera as being the FOX news of the Islamic world."

Not even close. Aljazeera, non-Western-friendly ethics notwithstanding, is a news organisation.
posted by nthdegx at 10:46 AM on November 26, 2005


I doubt they'll get thru to Blair or Bush. Look at how we attacked that hotel where all the journalists were staying.

For many in repressive countries, their satellite dishes are their only lifelines to information that's not state-owned and controlled--they do a very good thing, even if they're not perfect (none of our media is, by any means). And wasn't our Pentagon or someone going to start up some ridiculous pro-US competitor?
posted by amberglow at 10:48 AM on November 26, 2005


go away, you soil the earth.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2005


I also highly recommend Control Room to anybody who has the inclination to compare Aljazeera to Fox. They are certainly not without bias, but the film was an eyeopener for me.

Now what's this about a Control Room sequel? Does that come out after the Iranian invasion?
posted by puddles at 11:12 AM on November 26, 2005


a news organisation.

oh, well, that makes all the difference. and here i was about to disrespect them.
posted by quonsar at 11:24 AM on November 26, 2005


most effective use of a "P.S."
posted by funambulist at 11:26 AM on November 26, 2005


And wasn't our Pentagon or someone going to start up some ridiculous pro-US competitor?

Al-Hurra

NewsHour story and transcript here, which contains the following gem:

AHMED RIZK: I've been watching Al Hurra since day one. And, you know, it's not all good, not all bad. But I don't believe it's really Hurra, you know, it's what we call "American freedom." It's not that kind of freedom you give to your people. We don't need that kind of station, we need real freedom.
posted by halcyon_daze at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2005




I think of al-Jazeera as being the FOX news of the Islamic world."

Not even close. Aljazeera, non-Western-friendly ethics notwithstanding, is a news organisation.
posted by nthdegx

As if the Big Media - ABC, CBS, NBC And CCN are "western-friendly"? or perhaps they are simply biased against the concept of American Conservatism vs. LIberalism?
posted by garficher at 11:34 AM on November 26, 2005


look at this shit that goes on in Yemen towards journalists, and then realize that things like AlJazeera are needed: Journalism in Yemen: A Battle for Truth in the Age of Terror

(and thanks, halcyon--i never knew it launched)
posted by amberglow at 11:40 AM on November 26, 2005


garficher sez: As if the Big Media - ABC, CBS, NBC And CCN are "western-friendly"? or perhaps they are simply biased against the concept of American Conservatism vs. LIberalism?

-cough-

Yeah, they're liberal all right. They're SO damn liberal that they refuse to question whatever line comes out of the administration's press offices....
posted by JHarris at 11:49 AM on November 26, 2005


It would be cool if the Pentagon started taking requests for bombing tv stations people don't like. The whole process needs to be more democratic.
posted by funambulist at 12:16 PM on November 26, 2005


Don't want to be bombed? Stop airing uncut versions of Islamofascist propaganda. Otherwise, we begin bombing in five minutes ;- )
posted by ParisParamus at 12:18 PM on November 26, 2005


I'm not defending news outlets, I'm just saying that when it comes to bias, misrepresentation of facts, poor research, sensationalism and propaganda, Fox fail to live up to the woefully low standards set by CNN, the BBC and Aljazeera.

garficher, do you mind rephrasing your point because I'm afraid I don't understand it at all.
posted by nthdegx at 12:34 PM on November 26, 2005


Paris, the bathroom is down the hall and on your left. Please leave the thread alone.
posted by caddis at 12:37 PM on November 26, 2005


Yes ParisParamus, let's bomb the fuck out of anyone who offers a viewpoint we disagree with. I'll start with you.
posted by anomie at 12:37 PM on November 26, 2005


PP: Don't use the word "islamofascist." It just shows us that you don't know what "fascism" means.
posted by brundlefly at 12:49 PM on November 26, 2005


Paris has given up on reason, logic, and knowledge again. I guess he decided to slack-off now that we have dios to carry the intellectual heft of the right wing inflammations around here.
posted by caddis at 12:56 PM on November 26, 2005


something i've been curious about for a while: if this is al jazeera's english home page, then what is this?
posted by radiosig at 1:11 PM on November 26, 2005


I don't know what fascism means? OK: "stop airing uncut propanda from people who pretend they are Muslims, and want to kill us Americans, Jews and Westerners; who are madmen; and/or are actual Muslims,

And then we'll stop threatening to bomb you.

Until then, get out of the building if you want to be reasonably sure of not being killed. OK?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:15 PM on November 26, 2005


Radiosig, good question!

Also, Alclick.com--that's almost clever.

PS: EVERYONE, save a few fringy politicians, voted for the Iraq War. Those who say otherwise are full of Shiite.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:20 PM on November 26, 2005


You're all deliberately misreading PP, didn't you see that ";-)" at the end? He was being ironic! just like Bush really. All that bombing talk, it was only an innocent joke to lively up a boring diplomatic meeting, but these Arabs take everything soo seriously, ooof... You can't even play a prank or two on Arab detainees and oooh torture war crimes illegal blah blah, gimme a break, they do that to inmates in US prisons all the time and do you hear them whining on and on? No, because they get the spirit of fraternal goofiness behind it. Arabs don't, that's the problem! America needs to export more of its sense of humour to the Middle East. It's doing a good job in Iraq, everyone's laughing there, now the hiliarity just needs to spread, and then there'll be no more terrrorists.

And you need the collaboration of Al Jazeera for that. They just have to lighten up a little!
posted by funambulist at 1:27 PM on November 26, 2005


PS: EVERYONE, save a few fringy politicians, voted for the Iraq War. Those who say otherwise are full of Shiite.

Uhh... the intelligence they based their vote on was the same crap that the Administration told the rest of us: that there was an "imminent threat." Now we know there wasn't one, and there's evidence that we were deliberately misled. What the hell are you trying to prove with their vote, other than that most everyone fell for the Administration's bullshit?

Dumbass.
posted by jorbs at 1:51 PM on November 26, 2005


No, "the administration's intelligence" was "their" intelligence; was Gore's intelligence, was Clinton's intelligence, was Kerry's intelligence, was Chirac's intelligence, was Blair's intelligence, was Putin's intelligence, etc. Grow up!
posted by ParisParamus at 1:59 PM on November 26, 2005


Not even close. Aljazeera, non-Western-friendly ethics notwithstanding, is a news organisation.

Ah, I see. It's not a lack of ethics. It's just non-Western-friendly ethics.

I would be interested in hearing if you have a standard for rating Al Jazeera far above Fox News, or if it's purely subjective bias.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:17 PM on November 26, 2005


ParisParamus writes "Grow up!"

That mde me laugh.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:31 PM on November 26, 2005




Grow up? Read your own flaming posts and then try and tell me that again.

There has been a growing body of evidence that states that the administration threw out evidence given to them by the CIA that disagreed with their preconceptions on Iraq. This would mean that the administration was aware of contradictory information that was not given to everyone else that voted for the war.

Which would mean that no, the "administration's intelligence" was NOT "their" intelligence.

Also, no, you apparently don't know what fascism means.
posted by jorbs at 2:34 PM on November 26, 2005


In Qatar, it probably was a joke. If it was in Syria, or Iran, the only reason not to destroy one of their offices is that it wouldn't do much good: they'd be back on the air in no time. But the principal of taking out a propaganda machine in Iraq is fair game.

Shout out to Krrrison!
posted by ParisParamus at 2:34 PM on November 26, 2005


Fox News is certainly no less even-handed than CNN or CBS News. You just don't like its lack of slant; it's not comforting for you. Tough.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:36 PM on November 26, 2005


ParisParamus writes "Don't want to be bombed? Stop airing uncut versions of Islamofascist propaganda."


Yeah, that will be a great object lesson on how to spread American values like freedom of expression to an oppressed people.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:42 PM on November 26, 2005


ParisParamus writes "You just don't like its lack of slant"

So, a phrase like "homicide bomber" is not loaded and nonsensical? (Hint: any bombing with the intent to kill is a "homicide bombing." Not every bomber wants to commit suicide, however, so Fox has effectively stripped a phrase of its meaning for political purposes, and they use the phrase whenever they refer to a suicide bomber, which, despite their claims, is not a sympathetic description.)

I've rarely heard defenders of Fox News claim it wasn't biased. Most acknowledge the bias but claim that it's fair if everyone else is doing it.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:47 PM on November 26, 2005


save a few fringy politicians, voted for the Iraq War

...voted for the authorization for Bush to launch the attack should events warrant, actually. For a smart person, you sure are imprecise with words, PP.

other than that most everyone fell for the Administration's bullshit?

I think this is undue revisionism, too. IMV, people should have had a rather clear picture that the intelligence was cooked (I sure did), but that was a non-winning position to take into the 11/02 elections, for it would be seen as blocking the president's plan of attack (it's important to note that Bush's approval rate in 2002 from rational people[1] was TWICE what it is now, and shot up to ~80% once we went in), and before we had evicted Saddam, nobody could actually know what bona-fide WMD programs we would uncover once on the ground in force.

The vote for Democrats, which was going to pass anyway, was to put their position in government on the line that Saddam in fact did not have WMD, or significant WMD program-related activities to be uncovered.

Plus it would have seemed gauche (and fatal to one's career) to oppose liberation should the end results in 2003/2004 had turned out to be the neocon flowers scenario.


I've looked at the Senate (D)votes for war, they are all people gearing up to run in 2004, or in tough red states (several of whom who lost even with their pro-Bush vote), and dipwads like Feinstein and Clinton (glad I voted against the former and I would vote against the latter if I could).

[1] which excludes fundies, which would support Bush if he ate (non-fetal) babies as long as he keeps briinging whackjobs like Alito into the judiciary, and otherwise pushing their God buttons.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:47 PM on November 26, 2005


please stop responding to the imbecile cunt
posted by mr.marx at 2:54 PM on November 26, 2005


No, "the administration's intelligence" was "their" intelligence; was Gore's intelligence, was Clinton's intelligence, was Kerry's intelligence, was Chirac's intelligence, was Blair's intelligence, was Putin's intelligence, etc. Grow up!

I am hoping you do not really believe that, and are just parroting talking points for effect. Administrations never give "all" their intelligence to congress. There are still fights going on over the contents of intelligence briefings GW received shortly after 9/11 (to the effect that there is no connection between al Qaeda and Saddam) which GW refuses to release to congress or the intelligence committee). It is pretty clear that there were preconceived ideas in the WH about Saddam, and WMDs and when intelligence reports came in which stated otherwise, the CIA was told to go back and get better intelligence. With enough effort they produced a "slam dunk." Unfortunately, the ball failed to actually go through the hoop.
posted by caddis at 2:58 PM on November 26, 2005



posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:58 PM on November 26, 2005


It is pretty clear that there were preconceived ideas in the WH about Saddam, and WMDs and when intelligence reports came in which stated otherwise, the CIA was told to go back and get better intelligence. With enough effort they produced a "slam dunk." Unfortunately, the ball failed to actually go through the hoop

Disagree. The stovepiping got us into Iraq, that is all that it was intended to do. Once there, two independent events were on tap: flowers & candy (say a 66% probability in their estimation) and/or (SOMETHING WMD-related the admin could point at and say, 'gee, aren't you glad we went in' (say another 66% probability).

So there was a 1 in 9 (1/3 * 1/3) chance going in, according to these probabilities, that Bush would end up with his dick in his hand (like he is now) wrt this affair.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:04 PM on November 26, 2005


please stop responding to the imbecile cunt
posted by mr.marx at 10:54 PM GMT on November 26 [!]

Which one? There are so many to choose from.
posted by Joeforking at 3:10 PM on November 26, 2005


Kerry was more Hawkish than Bush--until he was running for office.

Keep it up, and there won't be a progressive in the White House in our lifetime.

PS: I support the Iraq War--did you know that? I believe it is at least as important as WWII. Hitler didn't want to die. Stalin and Khruschev didn't want to die. The Muslim wackos do. That gives them a lot of power we don't have.

PS: Long live the neoconservative revolution! William F. Buckley turned 80 a few days ago. Why wasn't that covered in the News? Oh, I know, Kultursmog!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:20 PM on November 26, 2005


It was covered in the MSM, but I think the armor plating on your fallout shelter messes up the reception.
posted by bardic at 3:36 PM on November 26, 2005


If we can get reliable supply of cheap news by bombing al-Jazeera's headquarters in Iraq, I think it's justifiable. Anything is better than the scandal ridden U.N. news-for-food program.
posted by stavrogin at 3:40 PM on November 26, 2005


Please stop responding to him.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:47 PM on November 26, 2005


JHarris - Liberal or whatever, It doesn't matter to me, they can be as weird or as staid as they care to. But to carry an agenda, and then to state they are not involved in trying to create the news rather than to report the news is dishonest. If CNN, CBS yada yada want to work against the Administration , it's their choice. Don't let them tell me repeatedly they have no bias though. FOX is conservative, they don't try to hide it. Al Jazeera is biased, they spew uncut, unsubstantiated rumours as fact and then the Big Media here picks it up and pushes whatever gobbledeygook they can find to convince a reasonably gullible American public that the sky is falling.
posted by garficher at 3:51 PM on November 26, 2005


Truth in News like truth in advertising, is long overdue. The only problem with the concept is having the Gov't with their finger in another pie. Despite being a Pro war Pro Bush con, I have little or no trust in Gov't to fix any of the problems we in the U.S. happen to have.
posted by garficher at 3:57 PM on November 26, 2005


The particular irony in this case is that "Al Qaeda in Iraq" believes al-Jazeera is pro-American.
posted by dhartung at 4:05 PM on November 26, 2005


OK.

So far as I know, it would not be possible to bomb the offices of al-Jazeera in Iraq or Iran, since both of those countries have banned al-Jazeera from operating on their soil. It is also not possible to bomb the offices of al-Jazeera in either Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, and for the same reason.

Several other Arab countries have similar bans in place, but their names escape me at the moment.
posted by halcyon_daze at 4:06 PM on November 26, 2005


Would anyone else be for a little re-writing of the Bill of Rights?
To include a real Right to Privacy in your Person and Papers?
Also a Right to Truth. Where lying becomes a federal offense.

Bah, I wouldn't trust anyone in the government to write it right anyway.
posted by Balisong at 5:03 PM on November 26, 2005


So, it was all a joke, anyway. The Bush administration is wonderful at completely wasting the energies of its opponents; better to reach the goal line when the pass is actually thrown. I LOVE THIS PRESIDENT!
posted by ParisParamus at 5:09 PM on November 26, 2005


Can anyone think of a way to confirm that this site is actually written by Al Jazeera staffers? A blogspot blog and a gmail account aren't that difficult to obtain. Also, the flickr stream looks a lot like press photos.

The authenticity question doesn't necessarily reduce the blogs message, but it does seem a little too convienient.
posted by jsonic at 5:20 PM on November 26, 2005


"With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn't the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago," Mr. Buckley said. "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

William F. Buckley, as quoted in the NYT 6/29/04
posted by halcyon_daze at 5:40 PM on November 26, 2005


Halcyon, and so? Who wouldn't agree with that? The point is what was known at the time; and all the charlatans who would like to pretend they knew differently or knew more.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:47 PM on November 26, 2005


Most folks with any sense should have realized that the intelligence was flawed when Colin Powell went to the United Nations trying to shore up support prior to the war. He spoke to them about the imminent danger, and even brought pictures of the 'Mobile Chemical Weapons plants' that the Iraqis had built in the back of semi-trucks.
Problem was, the pictures were DRAWINGS!
WTF?
The US wants to start a war on the other side of the world, and the sum total of the 'Evidence' that it brings to the UN to make it's case are artists renditions?
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 6:16 PM on November 26, 2005


ParisParamus: When MetaFilter discussed the situation of Eason Jordan, who lost his job at CNN after making the claim that coalition forces were deliberately targeting journalists...You were enthusiastic about his dismissal.
The MSM/liberal establishment is, finally being reigned-in. The is hope for the country and world!

posted by ParisParamus at 1:22 PM EST on February 12
Now, you cheer the prospect of attacks on al Jazeera as if they are a legitimate target, simultaneously claiming it was just a joke on Bush's part.

Which is it? A joke, or a threat?

Either way -- you're a worthless hypocrite. When Eason Jordan made the claim that US forces were targeting journalists (which has turned out to be well-supported), you called for his head and applauded his dismissal. When it's revealed that Bush actually threatened to attack journalists, you encourage it and applaud that too.

You add nothing to discussion but antagonism, lies, threadjacks, and naked hypocrisy. This thread is no exception.


I will not take that thing from your hand.
posted by edverb at 6:24 PM on November 26, 2005


edverb: you're not as smart as you think you are. Or wise. Except as in "wise-ass."
posted by ParisParamus at 6:32 PM on November 26, 2005


PP: I see (by your comments in this thread) you are unable to discuss this issue on its merits. But then, how could you? You have no credibility on this issue either.

Your preferred activity seems to be to harangue and threaten any critics of Bush, while ignoring the validity of their criticisms.

Regardless of questions of the merits of al Jazeera's journalism or their loyalties, or Eason Jordan's well-supported claim, or my pointing out your rank hypocrisy...you show your true colors by attacking all three, with zero regard for the content of what's being said.

Your contradictory statements (attack Eason Jordan for suggesting journalists were targeted, applaud Bush for suggesting to target journalists) would cause a person of integrity to either retract their previous misstatements, or at the very least reserve comment. Not you though.

Stop embarrassing yourself.
posted by edverb at 6:50 PM on November 26, 2005


Journalists should not be targeted. Al-Jerkzera, from what I've read, is not doing journalism, as it is understood by reasonable, civilized people. Al-Jerzera is a propaganda tool of militant Islam. Therefore, it should not enjoy the privileges journalists enjoy.

Edverb, the embarrrassment is Metafilter participants such as yourself. Grow up, and treat a serious issue seriously.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:54 PM on November 26, 2005


I have decided to be kinder and sweeter on Metafilter. Less annoying, too.
- ParisParamus, August 25, 2005
posted by kirkaracha at 7:03 PM on November 26, 2005


PP: Maybe this will embarass you into silence on issues you know nothing about.

Al-Jerkzera, from what I've read, is not doing journalism, as it is understood by reasonable, civilized people. Al-Jerzera is a propaganda tool of militant Islam.

I wasn't aware that top US officials were in the business of granting interviews to "propaganda tools of militant Islam". Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Armitage, Marc Grossman, and former CIA Bin Laden station chief Michael Shueuer have all granted interviews to al Jazeera, among others.

But it's not to point out the credentials of al Jazeera, but to point out how careless you are with the truth. As dhartung pointed out upthread, Al Queda believes al Jazeera to be a tool of pro-Western propaganda. Somewhere between your extreme positions and theirs...the truth can be found. And neither you nor they can be described as "reasonable civilized people".

Al Jazeera certainly presents a pro-Arab view on events. That is not the same thing as pro-terrorist, though to a digital brownshirt like you, it's all probably just "them". As in fight "them" over there so we don't have to fight "them" here. Or, worse kill "them" all and let God sort "them" out.

I'm going to use you as the spokesperson for the entire rightwing movement for a moment (since you seem so willing to make yourself such in every thread.) You, in your zeal to prosecute a pre-emptive war started over lies and scare tactics, with ever-shifting justifications, you can't even seem to define who "they" are, or what the mission is.

The enemy seems to consist of anyone who disagrees, and the mission whatever vague platitudes Bush and his proxies pass off as a strategy. You wildly applauded the shock and awe, you dismissed and downplayed claims of torture, you exposed your hypocrisy over WMD, you advocate attacking journalists whose work you are completely unaware of, while claiming to liberate a country and promote freedom?

What naked, blatent hypocrisy.

Al-Jerkzera, from what I've read, is not doing journalism

On your considered opinion (or worse, depending on how you read that -- on secondhand information) you have determined all by yourself that al Jazeera are not journalists, and thus are worthy targets for extermination? Fascinating. Tell me, was it hard for you to learn Arabic?

If it's freedom you're promoting, then freedom of the press must of course be sacrosanct. But that's not what you're advocating. Far from it.

You're not fighting for America's leadership, or a position of moral superiority, and you certainly aren't fighting for freedom. You don't show any concern for the Iraqi people, or for journalists.

You're fighting for Bush, right or wrong, at the expense of your own credibility.

Grow up, and treat a serious issue seriously.

In this conversation, there are several people who are quite serious, and you aren't one of them, judging by your ignorant and hypocritical comments. If you were serious, you wouldn't let your backside do the talking, or your testosterone do the thinking.
posted by edverb at 7:48 PM on November 26, 2005


No, Edverb. I don't live in the Mideast, and I don't speak arabic; I don't even own a television, in fact, so I'm not in a position to assess anything firsthand about A-J.

Wow, Edverb, you speak Arabic?! I'm very impressed.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:09 PM on November 26, 2005



User Blacklisted.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:09 PM EST on November 26


Ah... the joy of technology.
posted by odinsdream at 9:34 PM on November 26, 2005


another thread completely ruined by PP. please please please stop responding to him.
posted by muckster at 9:48 PM on November 26, 2005


Juan Cole addresses the controversy and also summarizes al Jazeera's broadcast style:
Aljazeera is a widely misunderstood Arabic television channel that is mainly characterized by a quaint 1950s-style pan-Arab nationalism. It is not a fundamentalist religious channel, though it does host one old-time Muslim Brother, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Its main peculiarity in local terms is that it will air all sides of a political issue and allow frank criticism of Middle Eastern politicians as well as of Western ones. It is the only place in the Arab media where one routinely hears Israeli spokesmen (speaking very good Arabic, typically) addressing their concerns and point of view to Arab audiences.
and there's more, read the whole thing.

Cole also links to "a detailed and very valuable timeline of Bush administration- Aljazeera relations" at Booman Tribune which contains a compendium of admin statements, attacks and detentions of Al Jazeera, and even touches upon Rendon Group's DoD assignment to "media mapping" Al Jazeera. (Rendon was recently discussed on MeFi here.)
posted by edverb at 10:13 PM on November 26, 2005


muckster: I refuse to allow Metafilter to become another assinine ghetto if the Left. How many of those do you really need?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:42 PM on November 26, 2005


asinine
posted by ParisParamus at 10:43 PM on November 26, 2005


another thread completely ruined by PP.

Actually, I think it was redeemed pretty well by edverb laying the smack down. But in general, yes, if you're not going to be like edverb, please stop responding to him.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:52 PM on November 26, 2005


Al-Jerkzera

AL-JERKZERA?
You chose to make up a "funny" name for people you don't agree with, and that's the best thing you can come up with? And this is coming from the guy who told us all to grow up.
I will address your first comment, PP- they were broadcasting uncut "Islamofacist" propaganda because they were the only people who had it, and they also happen to be journalists, who are, if I am not wrong, responsible for spreading information, and if a bin Laden video isn't something that we should see, I don't know what is. I'm not going to mention anything else you wrote, because it has nothing to do with the issue at hand, and because I find you, in general, below comment; I suggest that everyone else who wants to engage PP on an issue that is not Al Jezeera-related do so somewhere else, unless, of course, the smack is being laid down.

The blog itself is pretty telling, and links to some pretty damning evidence, including this article by an embedded English journalist, who presents very interesting facts regarding the earlier destruction of offices.
posted by 235w103 at 11:16 PM on November 26, 2005


"Not even close. Aljazeera, non-Western-friendly ethics notwithstanding, is a news organisation."

"Ah, I see. It's not a lack of ethics. It's just non-Western-friendly ethics."


Erm, no. Look up "notwithstanding".
posted by nthdegx at 12:11 AM on November 27, 2005


The Sunday Times reports that the day before Bush's little joke, Donald Rumsfeld accused Al-Jazeera of lying and broadcasting "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable" stories.

According to The Observer, the part of the five-page memo that's about the comments is 10 lines long.

My question is, if it was a joke, why is it in a memo at all? And if it was a joke, it wouldn't have to be 10 lines.

George: I'm gonna blow up Al Jazeera!

Tony: Aw, George, you trippin!

George: Psyche!
posted by kirkaracha at 12:20 AM on November 27, 2005


Wow, this is the first I have heard of the memo. Just chilling. It's nice to see that Bush would like the Arab world would like to have a press as free as the US...or China, whatever.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:49 AM on November 27, 2005


PP wrote: I refuse to allow Metafilter to become another assinine ghetto if the Left.

What ParisParamus refuses others is the existence of a discussion/debate/forum in which PP himself is not the center of attention. It isn't a question of right or left. It is trolling by narcissistic compulsion.

This topic - about an act which could define a US president as a terrorist and thus subject him and the US to serious scutiny as participants in the manufacture of "terror" (as opposed to "military response") - is one that trolls like PP do not want you to have. Just like FOX news doesn't want you to have this debate.
posted by zaelic at 1:27 AM on November 27, 2005


ludwig_van writes "Actually, I think it was redeemed pretty well by edverb laying the smack down."

No kidding. PP's response was laughable. "Do YOU speak Arabic? Well, DO you?" Cudos, edverb.
posted by brundlefly at 2:10 AM on November 27, 2005


We think there might have been two memos: self link

From the Observer:

part of the memo - 10 lines to be precise - concerns a conversation between Bush and Blair regarding Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite television station that the US accuses of being a mouthpiece for al-Qaeda. According to those familiar with the memo's contents, Bush floated the idea of bombing the Qatar-based station...

...according to those who have seen the memo 'there is no question Bush was serious'...

...Written by a Blair aide who accompanied the Prime Minister to Washington it was headed 'top secret'. It is understood that on the five pages there were details of troop deployments and movements. Lurking within the pages were also frank discussions over the US assault on Fallujah. It was clear from the tone of the memo that Blair was far from happy at the tactics used by American forces.
posted by quarsan at 2:28 AM on November 27, 2005


BBC: Arabic press anger at al-Jazeera 'plot'--Newspapers in the Arab world have reacted with a mixture of anger and disgust over allegations that US President George W. Bush suggested bombing the popular Arab television station al-Jazeera. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:30 AM on November 27, 2005


*sigh*
Ok. Reluctant post here. But...

I'm going to use you (ParisParamus) as the spokesperson for the entire rightwing movement for a moment - edverb

This, in a nutshell, is yet another reason I'm disgusted with ParisParamus.
Paris - stop quoting Reagan (boming in 5 minutes - don't know if any of you libruls caught that) stop praising Buckley when you show clear ignorance of his position, you're not a conservative, you're not a republican (not even a rhino - I'm oddly willing to take you at your word on that) so shut the fuck up and get off our side. You harm the right's position every time you post anything. Perhaps that is by design. Perhaps everything must be about you. I don't fucking care.
You gleen chunks of ideas from God knows where (a pastiche of juvenile neo-con blgs I suspect) and regurgitate them here as if you've cobbled together some sort of principle and thinking behind them.

There are some excellent, thoughtful, comments to be made regarding this issue in opposition to what has been said here.
Among them - the variety of unnamed sources being quoted
(a constant irritation in the media in the past 5-10 years, here is The Mirror's "unnamed source" vs. the BBC's "White House official", also one government official suggests it's in jest, another source says it's deadly serious); the possibility that al-Jazeera sends al-Qaeda messages (not in the Fox or CBS, ABC, etc. - air's the Bin Laden video sense, in the "this is the plan" sense), the variety of speculation as to motives of the Bush administration in the absence of any intelligence on the matter (e.g. - Bush administration is desperate, levels of retaliation if the bombing had occured, etc.) - all out of context when we don't know the motives as to why they were considering it, all we have is the memo as evidence that they were (that and an unnamed official); and of course the simple fact that it was a consideration and was not done. Nothing was halted by this story (granted, that we know of), the bombing was not going to take place. Blair had "talked" Bush out of it.


However, were I to now begin to follow any of these lines of thinking in a logical manner - even with the concessions and easy to find previous quotes of mine condemning bombing as inefficient and killing people for expressing their views as reprehensible - I would be haphazardly attacked with inconsistient arguments by the emotional beesnest you have stirred up in order to be some sort of defender of the right wing on Metafilter. I am so conservative I make you look like Ralph Fucking Nader (of course my thinking is guided by principles and accepted practices proven by time and refined by caution) and I'm not the right wing exemplar here. No one is. It's about the issue at hand and the communication, the interchange of ideas. Not the validation of identity.
I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence;-)

"Ghetto of the Left"? you pompus fool, this is nothing but thoughtless bickering. Which is all you appear to want anyway, but in either case this knee jerk "bomb them all" rhetoric degrades the entire discussion.
"A rising tide lifts all boats" is a valid truism whether it comes from Kennedy, Buckley, or Snoopy the dog. So too should arguments raise the level of discourse.
I had several cogent arguments to inject and now, it's not going to happen.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:33 AM on November 27, 2005


Smedleyman: There are some excellent, thoughtful, comments to be made regarding this issue in opposition to what has been said here. [...]

However, were I to now begin to follow any of these lines of thinking in a logical manner - even with the concessions and easy to find previous quotes of mine condemning bombing as inefficient and killing people for expressing their views as reprehensible - I would be haphazardly attacked with inconsistient arguments by the emotional beesnest you have stirred up in order to be some sort of defender of the right wing on Metafilter. [...]

I had several cogent arguments to inject and now, it's not going to happen.


I, for one, would genuinely like to discuss them with you. I have the utmost respect for your well-considered positions Smedleyman. I often find myself impressed by a particularly insightful post, only to read to the end and see your name at the bottom -- again and again. More than that, I've been profoundly moved by your comments more than once.

Let's forget the past, and move forward in discussion. If your likes were a more accurate representation of the right than that ill-mannered unthinking idiot typified by PP, this country would be a far better place today (and less rancorous, too.)

And as an American who spends an inordinate amount of time studying and considering her policies, her path, and future, in hopes of reaching (and reclaiming) our great potential for good, and making her the "far better place" of my imagination -- I say:

Up Smedleyman, down PP. We need far more of you, and far less of him.
posted by edverb at 10:13 AM on November 27, 2005


BBC: Arabic press anger at al-Jazeera 'plot'--Newspapers in the Arab world have reacted with a mixture of anger and disgust over allegations that US President George W. Bush suggested bombing the popular Arab television station al-Jazeera. ...
posted by amberglow at 12:30 PM EST on November 27 [!]



That, in a nutshell is the problem with these little outbursts of the man-child who carries the title president. One more stunning PR failure in the war for hearts and minds. It is, of course, a war that he cares little about, despite words to the contrary.

Likening this to Reagan's joke won't work. When Reagan said it, everybody knew right away that it was a joke, and he didn't try to hide it after the fact. Here we have Tony Blair telling newspapers if the print the memo they will be prosecuted. So, even if it was a joke, and it probably wasn't, it looks to the outside world like it isn't.
posted by caddis at 11:06 AM on November 27, 2005


Smedleyman, edverb, SORRY, you'll just get more of me for your arrogance. Try reading the NY Sun or the WSJ before you conclude conservatives are against the Iraq War.

Also, stop pretending that Metafilter is a forum for serious, deep discussions of politics. It's not, as evidenced by the millions of snarky, shallow quips about President Bush, his administration. Politicallyt, Metafilter is largely populated by a college-age mentality of vapid vulgarity. Unfortunately, and inevitably, I am pulled down by this ambience.

I don't pretend Metafilter is a serious political forum; sorry you get off by doing so, and then being pseudo-deep/thoughful.

Just because you have a little more time than I do to post links supporting your position doesn't mean your position is any wiser; it just means your more of a wise-ass.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:11 AM on November 27, 2005


"Newspapers in the Arab world have reacted with a mixture of anger and disgust over allegations that US President George W. Bush suggested bombing the popular Arab television station al-Jazeera. ...
posted by amberglow at 12:30 PM EST on November 27 [!]"

Oh, how tragic. Wait let me shed a tear. Like, how many of these "[N]ewspapers" are not under the thumb--no, wait--gun of some military or Islamic regime? Angering those who are, in effect, surrogates for non-democratic and/or crazy Islamic governments is something to applaud!!! Loudly!


As for the BBC, it went into the liberal cesspool about a decade ago. Or, as LittleGreenFootballs says, "hits bottom, and digs.."
posted by ParisParamus at 11:15 AM on November 27, 2005


"Likening this to Reagan's joke won't work."

Actually, what won't work is pretending that the Iraq War isn't going well--probably a 7.5 on a scale of 10. But keep trying...it's good to see you spin your wheels.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:17 AM on November 27, 2005


caddis, that's just it--if it was a joke, then they wouldn't threaten to prosecute reporters for revealing it as a "Secret". This is Bush, who joked about looking for WMDs under his couch in front of a ballroom full of reporters.
posted by amberglow at 11:20 AM on November 27, 2005


It's worthwhile to note the fallout from this threat Bush made. It's not going away.
posted by edverb at 12:14 PM on November 27, 2005


/crap begins (ignore)
"I don't pretend Metafilter is a serious political forum."
The world is what you make it. More so any microcosm. So if your feedback sucks - you suck.

"Just because you have a little more time than I do to post links supporting your position doesn't mean your position is any wiser; it just means your more of a wise-ass."
posted by ParisParamus

Perhaps others condemn you for that. I didn't. Perhaps you don't have time to read well either. Far be it from me to put someone down for being less well read or not expressing yourself well. I'm speaking of putting thought into what you are posting - enough to figure out that what I quoted you as saying there is idiotic. Just because you don't reveal what you have to say doesn't mean my position is better? Wha? You don't seriously mean that do you? I'm speaking about being self-consistient (might want to look that up when people keep posting your previous comments on "if no WMDs are found") arguing from principle rather than sound bite or personality and ignoring those who are. At least those who don't make an absolute menace of themselves. You've said earlier your position is to disrupt communication here. Why you bother I don't understand. That sword cuts both ways.
But, ok, I'm a wise-ass. Want to try to shut me up? Disrupt me? Going to send someone to bomb me? Or are you going to back that one up at all - pansy.
/crap ends (resume comment)

Thanks, edverb.

Ok. Well, in essence - I utterly abhor the idea of silencing journalists. This is compounded by murder and futher compounded by wrecklessly targeting a building potentially occupied by innocent bystanders for bombing. Also I'm aware of media realities such as Al-Jazeera interviewing Bin Laden do not reflect their views as much as if the BBC aired it. And of course I reject our of hand the knee jerk "propaganda! bomb them" without understanding why they are considered propaganda. (Although apparently some freepers seem to be reading this which doesn't appear to be this (in fact it sez so at the bottom) but there are other cases) And there is the so called "Al Jazeera effect" (albeit from the weekly standard).
So, bear with what I'm saying with the understanding that even in a worst case scenario, I'm not reliquishing that position.
From what I understand, some Iraqis refered to Al Jazeera as "The Sunni News Network."
Well, back in March (when the "Al Jazeera effect" started being "noticed") Al Qaeda on the Arabian peninsula threatened to attack Kuwait if the U.S. didn't leave.

They didn't threaten Qatar.

Qatar is the HQ of CENTCOM, and is one of the central staging areas for Iraq (big AFB there). The Qatari ruler finances the Al-Jazeera channel there (remember the fight over domain names? we may not be talking apples to apples here). Qatar or rather Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (ruler) doesn't like Saudi Arabia.

A number of Al Jazeera employees shifted to Al Arabiya (owned by the Saudi Royal family...friends with who?) because they were uncomfortable with the Islamist atmosphere at Al Jazeera (the NYT sez - so really, God knows). And you have the case of Tayseer Alouni (Al-Jazeera's most celebrated war reporter) being convicted and sentenced to seven years by the Spanish national court this September.

So we have - at least - the appearance of impropriety. Ok, well that doesn't mean we should take out the whole building does it?

Well...again, as much as I hate bombing, and don't support it, there is some strategic legitimacy in seeking to destroy the entire organization - that is, building, equipment, people - in Qatar.

Why? Well, Al Thani (Qatari ruler) funds a channel that boots Saudi Arabia and their cohorts (U.S., more than occasionally) in the ass and staves off attacks from Al Qaeda. Since he doesn't have the headache of dealing with terrorist attacks he can make buddies with our military play nice with Israel (who wants problems with Mossad?) let the fallout from Al Jazeera agitprop (arguable of course) drop on someone else and get fat dumb and happy while disavowing anything his competators suffer.

So, it's near a base near a war zone and have a plane accidentally drop a bomb so that Al Thani is subject to the terror threat and in greater need of our protection (if you're not with us, you're against us...it's policy) and so fully with us instead of just playing us against the middle. 'Cause if there is chaos in the region, it drains his enemies (Saudis) and his allies (us) and makes him look more and more like the only alternative.

So, bombinb, we get a more cooperative government in the region, further the position of consolidating a viewpoint of the Arab world ('cause Al Thani doesn't want Al Qaeda kicking over his teawagon either) and, granted, eliminating dissent.

It's just a theory. Wuz I Blair I'd argue (strategically) that Al Thani is not that big a threat, Qatar is small potatoes, and not worth the headaches that could ensue trying to fight a now guerrilla news organization with that kind of base and resources. Radio free anything is generally considered gospel by oppressed folks.

So, lot of givens there, it's just a theory.

Makes a hell of a lot more sense though than "It's propaganda! Bomb 'em!" or it's a joke or the other "right wing inflammations" caddis mentioned as well as the simplistic denegrations of Bush for wanting only to quash dissent.

Bush might well be stupid, but there are enough people who see the upside of taking out Al Thani's shield to Al Qaeda in moving policy forward to put it on the table as a possiblity.
Ultimately rejected I'd add.

As to the other events where reporters were killed, I don't know. It is possible that if you associate with terrorists you might well get targeted if you are in the same area.
"Permission to fire, sir"
"Who's in there?
"Uh, a few unknowns, Tayseer Alouni, couple goats and..."
"Permission granted."

I'm not approving, I'm just pointing out how things take place sometimes.

But I could be wrong. In either case I don't approve of depriving anyone of the right to speak.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:52 PM on November 27, 2005


"I hope Prince Hamad Bin-Khalifah [Al Thani] reads in between the lines just as I did. I also hope that after this, he will review the hosting of US forces, at what is the largest base in the Middle East, because it is clear that the Americans do not have the manners of guests." - from edverb's link.

Yeah. Go figure.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:55 PM on November 27, 2005


A favorite PP tactic - rather than refute the point (especially when logic escapes him) just change the subject and lob another bomb, usually inflammatory.
posted by caddis at 1:01 PM on November 27, 2005


Edverb, Smedleyman, you are both responsible for redeeming what would have been (otherwise) an utterly worthless thread.

I'd given up on potentially learning anything as soon as PP's witless prattlings appeared. Fortunately for me, I returned.

In particular, edverb, yours was a gift of concise summation; I intend to reference your description of Al Jazeera's role in Middle Eastern journalism and self-consciousness in the future.

Thanks to you both, gentlemen*.

*It's the intranets: gender not actually presupposed.
posted by Haruspex at 1:11 PM on November 27, 2005


As to the other events where reporters were killed, I don't know. It is possible that if you associate with terrorists you might well get targeted if you are in the same area.

Tariq Ayoub was killed standing on the roof of Al Jazeera's Baghdad office, which was hit by two air-to-surface missiles. A month and a half earlier, Al Jazeera had sent a letter to the Pentagon with the office's exact coordinates. The same day, US tanks fired on the Palestine Hotel, where about 200 journalists were staying, and the offices of Abu Dhabi TV. Two journalists were killed at the hotel.

what won't work is pretending that the Iraq War isn't going well

Not according to former Prime Minister Allwai, who says human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein, if not worse.
"A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed in the course of interrogations," Allawi said. "We are even witnessing Sharia courts based on Islamic law that are trying people and executing them.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:22 PM on November 27, 2005


Makes a hell of a lot more sense though than "It's propaganda! Bomb 'em!" or it's a joke or the other "right wing inflammations" caddis mentioned as well as the simplistic denegrations of Bush for wanting only to quash dissent.

Ok, clearly if the idea was serious it means it hadn't simply popped up in Bush's mind after a sleepless night. So yeah, assuming the bombing was seriously being considered, there had to be some calcualted intimidation purpose and some planned strategical interest in it (like in previous instances where tv stations or reporters were hit, except it was no target this big and relevant, which is no small difference).

But that doesn't mean it's not a kind of right wing inflammation, does it? The whole war was done for strategic interests yet the "bomb 'em!" was still part of the (implied) rhetoric, made more explicit by those who eagerly cheered that war, so, it's just two sides of the same coin, Smedleyman... Even if there was some intelligence plan behind it, and some military-diplomatic advantage perceived from the US side, it's still crazy talk. Not just in principle. For the effects it'd have in the area, in political consequences.

And if it was the UK that stopped this from happening, then it's not Blair who single handedly did that either. We all have a tendency to use Bush and Blair as shorthand for respective goverment/military/intelligence, sometimes we forget that it's shorthand. Otherwise the whole idea of lone Bush suggesting the bombing and lone Blair holding him back sounds like a scene out of the Sopranos.
posted by funambulist at 1:40 PM on November 27, 2005


" You've said earlier your position is to disrupt communication here. "

Never, ever said such a thing. My aim is to distrupt the virtually constant flow of anti-Bush, anti-American nihlistic dross that passes for argument here much of the time. And to do so by offering a counterpoint, even if such is derided.

If I'm so empty, then ignore me.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:44 PM on November 27, 2005


" You've said earlier your position is to disrupt communication here. "

Never, ever said such a thing. My aim is to distrupt the virtually constant flow of anti-Bush, anti-American nihlistic dross that passes for argument here much of the time. And to do so by offering a counterpoint, even if such is derided.

If I'm so empty, then ignore me.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:45 PM on November 27, 2005


it's still crazy talk. Not just in principle. For the effects it'd have in the area, in political consequences.

Sure. Conceded.

Given a strategic interest, it implies there are other factors involved than targeting journalists.
To me this memo is one small peice of a much larger puzzle.
I'd consider damaging relations with an ally as fitting under the Official Secrets Act (not sure of Britain's, but I suspect they're similar enough in the major respects).

But is putting the bombing forth crazy talk? Yeah. I'd say. The losses far outweigh the gains. I wouldn't put it outside the realm of consideration though. And if that is what this memo is - gaming the scenario, then it's been much ado about nothing.
I'm not going to be an apologist for those who knee jerkingly cheer the war on. There are valid reasons for seeking stability in the middle east. Methodology is debatable. I'm not arguing war was the best method. If we're talking greater context here, then seeking to bomb Qatar for the reasons I mentioned are, I agree, in line with the policy and rhetoric surrounding it.
That doesn't invalidate it's usefulness. The flaw in the plan is it's plausible deniability.
But that's why you shop a plan around. That's why you send someone a memo that says "I'm thinking 'x.'"
And sure, I agree it must have been more than Blair that told him it didn't have any legs.

Man, I'd love to see Bush and Blair doing a scene from the Sopranos.

----
/more madness.
If I'm so empty, then ignore me. -PP
He says, posting twice.
I don't know if you've noticed the "ignore him" comments. I and many others have tried.
But you did state that. Whether that's what you meant or not I can't say. It's what I've read. Strangely I mirror you in not having the time to repost it. Doesn't mean I'm wrong though. (To echo your sentiments)

And to do so by offering a counterpoint, even if such is derided.
Uh huh...I'm offering a pro-American and in some respects pro-Bush counterpoint. So where then is the basis of your argument. I tend to get more positive responses because if the information I give conflicts, and it's me who is in error, I admit the mistake. If my argument is less robust I discard it. Same thing with my reality picture. If the Bush administration makes an obvious error, I concede it. This does not affect my political philosophy. I can be a conservative and yet admit to errors in information. Much like the aforementioned William Buckley. You apparently can't. And you insist on ignoring feedback. Insist on simply arguing with no underlying concepts. Ignore fair comment. Undermine the right's position with this type of behavior and perpetuate the stereotype that it is only liberals who think critically.
Insist on associating anything critical of the administration as anti-American when in fact constructive criticism is one of the most honest expressions of regard. Insist on...well, considering the last comment it would be dubious of me to continue, wouldn't it?
I put it to you ParisParamus, if metafilter is so devoid of content than why don't you ignore it?
/end

(Incidentally, my use of the word 'pansy' was in reference to someone of poor character, cowardace, etc, not at all in reference to sexual orientation).
posted by Smedleyman at 2:24 PM on November 27, 2005


Also, ParisParamus - I concede not everything on mefi is gold (see how I did that? I read what you said and found that it was true so I modulated my argument and formulated a reply based on the understanding of what you said). But I ignore threads I don't care for or where the arguments are mired in sloganeering. Perhaps you would have more time to post cogently if you chose your threads more carefully.

...no. No. Just fuck off.

My aim is to distrupt... doesn't work well with then ignore me.
Reminds me of Austin Powers snapping his fingers at a model "Ignore me doing this! Ignore me doing this!"
It's a problem when the adults have things to talk about.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:33 PM on November 27, 2005


I admit mistakes all the time, Smedleyman; perhaps you need to subscribe to my newsletter? Don't let the cloud of BS confuse you about my true outlook. The Bush administration is far from perfect, even in the foreign policy realm. It's just that the Democrats are offering nothing serious as an alternative.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:33 PM on November 27, 2005


Smedleyman: It's an interesting theory, and in the realm of the plausible, though I don't think that's what happened personally. (I guess we'll have to wait and see, if and when the memo ever comes out.)

I doubt that Bush would have the Kissingerian deviousness/realpolitik skill to formulate such a scenario as you suggest. He truly doesn't do nuance.

I tend to believe the simpler explanation that under the conditions which then existed in Fallujah, that Al Jazeera's sympathetic reporting was threatening our delicate dance to subdue the city while not blowing the battle for hearts and minds -- a balance which was utterly destroyed in the November 2004 assault on the city.

I also entertain the possibility that Bush truly does believe his own simplistic bullshit about "instruments of enemy propaganda" in a grand lumping of guilt by association. (Like you say, "with us or against us" is...ugh...policy.) No doubt there is something to the Johnny-on-the-Spotness of some of Al Jazeera's exclusives, which does not indict the news organization, but realistically does merit scrutiny of individuals in their employ.

In a fascinating post on the matter, Steve Clemons gives a summary of thinking on the matter, quotes Frank Gaffney trotting out the "enemy propagandist" justifications, while Tom Clancy seems to think that in five years time, Al Jazeera will be our top mouthpiece in the region.

Only later (long after the discussion that is the subject of the memo) did the Bush administration begin to recognize the value of co-opting Al Jazeera, and leveraging their credibility on the Arab street to help get our message out.

And as you say, the scenario was gamed out and ultimately discarded. I absolutely agree with the part of your scenario which suggests that it was discarded by Bush b/c of a lack of deniability. Blair might have found pause in the diplomatic and legal consequences of such a move, in addition to the lack of deniability, but Bush has never shown such an inclination. He has, however, shown a predilection for drastic, audacious attacks on those who stand in his way. Also, he never met a diplomatic problem he thought couldn't be solved by military action or, at a bare minimum, sabre-rattling. Put simply, he thinks like a bully and it shows in his every action.

I'm keen to see the memo released. Though I don't think it's likely, it wouldn't surprise me if your scenario or some variation turned out to be the case, that the plan was floated as some sort of Arab wedge politics by bombardment. It wouldn't be the first instance.
posted by edverb at 3:19 PM on November 27, 2005


what won't work is pretending that the Iraq War isn't going well--probably a 7.5 on a scale of 10

10.0 would be ... a liberal secular democracy achieved with minimal US blood and treasure, and Iraqi loss of life.

Deduct 1.0 for having had spent $250B+ to get us to where we are now.

Deduct 1.0 for having incurred 15000 casualties.

Deduct 1.0 for having killed 20,000 -> 100,000+ Iraqis.

Deduct 1.0 for having to largely level Fallujah.

Deduct 1.0 for a piss-poor Constitutional process that's still up in the air.

Deduct 1.0 for the Kurds going their own way.

Deduct 1.0 for the loss of women's rights in Iraq.

Deduct 1.0 for the original WMD justifications to have been proved entirely bullshit.

Deduct 1.0 for a security situation that is worse now than it was a year, or two years ago.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:19 PM on November 27, 2005


Deduct 1.0 for having to largely level Fallujah.

Dude, we did this twice. I think we deserve extra credit.

Deduct 1.0 for having incurred 15000 casualties

The US military has suffered 17,676 casualties (killed and wounded) to date. (2,108 killed; 15,568 wounded.)
posted by kirkaracha at 4:14 PM on November 27, 2005


That's a low casualty rate by historical standards, by the way.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:26 PM on November 27, 2005


"the Iraq war, so far at least, shows dramatically more US deaths per month than the Vietnam war did at a comparable point" Infantry duty in Iraq is just as intense as infantry duty in Vietnam circa 1966 "after factoring in medical, doctrinal, and technological improvements."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:24 PM on November 27, 2005


Regarding the proportion of US casualties:

Richard Clarke has observed firsthand a sort of cowboy bravado regarding Bush's response to 9/11.

In his recollection of administration thinking in deciding to make Iraq part of the larger GWOT, though there was no connection to 9/11 and "of course they knowingly misstated" the connection -- one of the driving rationales (among several) was that Saddam was chosen as a convenient target for an American demonstration of power, a way of disproving UBL's belief that American could not "take a punch" and that Americans would only permit an "immaculate war".

He mentioned the fact that over our last several military engagements in recent decades -- Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, Haiti, Panama, Grenada, even including the first Gulf War and the initial 9/11 response in Afghanistan -- the total number of US casualties combined has been less than half of that incurred in the current engagement in Iraq.

It constitutes a perverse willingness on the part of Bush to sustain casualties for their own sake, as a way to show "them" that we can take a punch, an out-crazying of the crazies...kind of a "don't mess with Texas" response to 9/11.

To that sort of mindset, stomaching each successive casualty is a way of contradicting UBL and the terrorists who "mean to shake America's will." Sick, but true.
posted by edverb at 7:33 PM on November 27, 2005


Actually taking casualties is an important part of war. A nation unable to take casualties in a fight is a paper tiger.

But as Wolfowitz said, taking a large number of casualties to remove Saddam:

"[Saddam's criminal mistreatment of the Iraqi people] by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it."

So we're basically left with the Flypaper Strategy, the insane idea that killing terrorists in Iraq will improve our security situation in the long run. This of course ignores the hatred we're building among the Iraqi people themselves, all of whom, other than our lackeys, want us to please go home. Every person we've materially harmed in this fucked-up enterprise is a potential terrorist down the road, and god knows should they find means at striking back at us for the harms we have caused them they will take it.

Is this "Anti-American nihilism" in your twisted, parochial excuse of a mind, PP? If it is, fuck you. Sometimes the reality of the situation is in fact "anti-american", and ignoring these unpleasant unrealities is just infantilism.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:23 PM on November 27, 2005


Heywood. You are wrong. And vulgar.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:26 PM on November 27, 2005


Heywood. You are right.
posted by caddis at 8:34 PM on November 27, 2005


Edverb, "Bring 'em on" indeed.
The people running the country next will have real opportunities to be heroes. Whoever that may be.


It's just that the Democrats are offering nothing serious as an alternative.
posted by ParisParamus


Unquestionably. But if you offer the cloud of BS instead of your true outlook or bring some kind of agenda to disrupt - how is anyone supposed to know?

It is often precisely because we (in the U.S) are not a nation of sadists, torturers, or criminals that such harsh and sometimes unreasoning criticism is thrown against such things.

But how am I - or anyone - to defend a logical position much less convince anyone of anything in an environment in which - even granting you at your most useful - simply reminds people of the 'unreasoning' part of that criticism?

As to the democrats - this is not an either/or situation. Both parties are subject to the will of the people. It is we who define them, not the other way around.

Additionally, one can support Bush without supporting the Bush Doctrine (by that I mean the pre-emptive attack thinking - reflected in the consideration to bomb Qatar). Unfortunately it is Bush himself who makes this position untenable evidenced by the amount of resignations in his administration among other things.

Traditional conservative thinking is generally opposed to nation building. While Bush's goals are laudable as perhaps Reagan's were in Grenada, we don't have the luxury of an ideological mission of that size or nature anymore. The Soviets and brinkmanship is gone. We don't have the support we did (in for example WWII) to expand our role in the vision of the world without a great, great deal of caution and geostrategic selectiveness.
That our vision is one of freedom does not negate the realities of the situation. One cannot take control of a nation - however tormented - simply because one's cause is just.
One cannot bomb one's allies without cost.
Now I grant, the situation in Iraq as it is already supported by the ideological mission needs to continue for a bit. Certainly how long and under what conditions is open to debate. And how well it embodies that ideological mission, and how crucial it is, are also debatable, so I'll mostly avoid them here.
However expanding that mission to include entities such as al-jazzera and fine points of agressive diplomacy with an ally (Qatar) would be a mistake and should have been reserved for speechmaking. (Absent force, one counters propaganda with better and more accurate information)

I'm certainly no shrinking violet. Politically I believe individual freedom is impossible without the threat of organized violence under certain conditions. But there are better uses we can put our energy to which currently and apparently for the near future will get only speechmaking such as human rights and freedom in China, genocide in Africa, the potential threat from N. Korea, and of course the real threat from terrorist groups getting actual WMDs.

"Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive" - William F. Buckley.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:43 PM on November 27, 2005


Heywood. You are wrong

LOL. Full circle.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:08 PM on November 27, 2005


that Al Jazeera's sympathetic reporting was threatening
our delicate dance to subdue the city while not blowing
the battle for hearts and minds - Edverb


Sure, Occam's razor & all that. Details vary.
A pleasure debating with you, by the way.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:11 PM on November 27, 2005


A pleasure debating with you, by the way.

Likewise, my friend.
posted by edverb at 10:41 PM on November 27, 2005


Smedleyman: But that's why you shop a plan around. That's why you send someone a memo that says "I'm thinking 'x.'"

Definitely, I also think it's very plausible that the intention to bomb was not actually there but the intention to "send a message" and put pressures on AJ and their political/intelligence connections was. Whatever goal is being sought, and whatever connections AJ has.

After all, one also has to wonder, why did the story come out now and who has interest in making it known, even if the memo itself is not public?

edverb: I doubt that Bush would have the Kissingerian deviousness/realpolitik skill to formulate such a scenario as you suggest. He truly doesn't do nuance.

Well that's what I mean by the fallacy of taking the shorthand for the real thing. Bush is the frontman, the songwriters certainly can do devious realpolitik, as proved time and time again.
posted by funambulist at 1:45 AM on November 28, 2005


"I also think it's very plausible that the intention to bomb was not actually there but the intention to "send a message" and put pressures on AJ and their political/intelligence connections was"

funambulist, excellent point. I hadn't thought of that.
*throws away ‘smartest SOB in the world’ plaque*

That would be slick. Leak the memo. Make a fuss. Deny. Deny. Deny. Meanwhile make a phone call to Qatar...Hmmmm...
posted by Smedleyman at 9:05 AM on November 28, 2005


*throws away ‘smartest SOB in the world’ plaque*

* it lands in pile of discarded "smartest SOB in the world" plaques, including mine *

** funambulist's plaque graces wall, shines **
posted by edverb at 10:06 AM on November 28, 2005


eh... Smedleyman, I thought *that* was what you were implying already with that "send someone a memo that says 'I'm thinking x'".

Maybe I was just projecting the plot of my own spy movie... but yeah, to me it doesn't sound too far fetched. I just don't think this kind of thing gets leaked purely for journalistic purposes.

And one reason I don't really believe there was a serious intention to bomb is, if you think about previous recent instances of tv/radio stations and reporters being targeted, they all occurred during a bombing campaing already in that location, so it was rather convenient and inobtrusively done, relatively speaking... they were all excused away as mistakes and/or by claiming the tv was part of the regime already under attack so a military target too, something that wouldn't be possible if you're going to suddenly drop bombs on allied Qatar which has nothing to do with anything. And AJ is just too big and successful.
posted by funambulist at 1:24 PM on November 28, 2005


Frank Gaffney advocated taking out Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya in September 2003. "Unless the two networks adjust their behavior so as no longer to act as the propaganda arm of our enemies, they should be taken off the air, one way or another."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:15 PM on November 28, 2005


“I thought *that* was what you were implying already with that "send someone a memo that says 'I'm thinking x'". “

Peripherally. It wasn’t my main focus, but there are plenty of iterations from those initial premises.

“You’ve uh...got a nice army base here colonel...be a shame if something happened to it.” - Luigi Vercotti.

Frank Gaffney supported the Team B exercise so he’s a zero sum gamer to begin with. Lots of folks didn’t see Gorby or the hard line apparatchiks starting a coup and some drunk from Sverdlovsk saving the world. We knew we’d kick the crap out of them conventionally though. Someone who’s drinking the hydraulic alcohol from their own tank isn’t planning on fighting.

He's right about delivering our own news and about Putin though. But I wouldn’t stick my hand into that woodchipper.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:13 PM on November 28, 2005


There were two memos.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:54 PM on November 28, 2005


i just was coming over to post about that, kirk--i can't get over it--what could be so damning in the other one?
posted by amberglow at 7:21 AM on November 29, 2005


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