Friday, May 07, 2004

Prison abuse "coverup" 

How come nobody knew about the prison abuses until recently?

That's not exactly what I would call "hidden."
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Tufts U researchers: Beer is good for you 

I knew it!

Note: The article specifically says "beer." So if you find yourself reaching for a Bud Light after reading this, don't. The article says "beer." "Beer" does not mean fizzy, yellow, adjunct-laced swill made with questionable methods. It means REAL BEER. From the article itself:

And a recent study found the antioxidants present in dark beer help prevent clogged arteries, which should reduce the risk of heart disease.
See? DARK beer. Not only does it actually taste like something, it is good for you. Which means that a couple of homebrewers I know are all set, since everything they make turns out dark, whether they intended it or not.
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Celebrating defeat 

I guess if you're France, you don't have many victories to remember. So you improvise.
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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Ceci n'est pas un human rights violation 

I'm taking odds on whether the UN Human Rights Commission will condemn this. Based on recent events I'm calling it 20-1 against.

A UN report has accused the Sudanese government and Arab militia of colluding in the systematic starving of refugees in the Darfur region.

The report said a United Nations team found "appalling" and "outrageous" conditions when it visited the town of Kailek less than two weeks ago.

Pro-government Arab militias had been preventing food deliveries and stopped anyone leaving the town, it added.

One aid worker described what happened there as the "politics of starvation".

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No, we won't condemn prison abuse 

Fifty members of the House of Representatives voted against a resolution

Deploring the abuse of persons in United States custody in Iraq, regardless of the circumstances of their detention, urging the Secretary of the Army to bring to swift justice any member of the Armed Forces who has violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice, expressing the deep appreciation of the Nation to the courageous and honorable members of the Armed Forces who have selflessly served, or are currently serving, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and for other purposes.
The fifty are:

Abercrombie, Blumenauer, Brown (OH), Clyburn, Conyers, Cummings, Fattah, Frank (MA), Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hastings (FL), Hinchey, Hoyer, Inslee, Jackson-Lee (TX), Jones (OH), Kaptur, Kilpatrick, Kucinich, Lee, Lewis (GA), Markey, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, Meek (FL), Millender-McDonald, Miller, George, Mollohan, Oberstar, Olver, Owens, Pallone, Paul, Payne, Pelosi, Rangel, Ryan (OH), Sabo, Schakowsky, Serrano, Stark, Strickland, Towns, Velázquez, Waters, Watson, Watt, Waxman, Woolsey.

Can someone explain to me why these 49 Democrats and one Independent voted against this resolution? What big political point were they trying to make? Because it just strikes me as disgusting. The lack of unanimity can only be a sign to the Arab world that their worst fears are true, and it will hurt the war effort.

Maybe that's the point.
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Irony, sweet irony 

The radical left eats its own.

New York — Fearing that some of today’s biggest celebrities are in danger of cutting their careers short with unhealthful lifestyles, PETA wants to help them slim down before they become too much of a good thing.

Bravo! may have its "Fab Five," but PETA is tackling the "flab five" with its new "Veg Eye for the Fat Guy" Campaign in an effort to give these five larger-than-life stars a meat-free makeover that will help them look and feel like new men:

Michael Moore — Looks like the Downsize This author has been doing too much supersizing. The awful truth is that animal products are packed with fat and cholesterol. Before he gets too big for his britches, Moore should stay away from the stupid white meat and embrace tofu, the other "other white meat."

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Good. Should have been said yesterday.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush apologized Thursday for the abuse and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers, saying the scenes of mistreatment had made Americans "sick to our stomachs."

A day after he stopped short of apologizing, Bush told Jordan's King Abdullah II: "I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families.
Okay, stop right there...

"I told him I was as equally sorry that people seeing those pictures didn't understand the true nature and heart of America," Bush said, standing in the Rose Garden alongside Abdullah.
Damn. Did he have to follow up with that? It's better to show people than to tell them. Too late, I guess.
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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

'Six morons who lost the war' 

I don't agree with the "Pentagon official" who used the above description for the soldiers who have been reprimanded for abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Oh, don't get me wrong, I absolutely concur that they are morons. In fact, "moron" is a far milder term than I would prefer. I just don't think that the actions of these few people have "lost the war."

Time will tell what long-term damage these morons did. Joe Biden may be right when he says, "This is the single most significant undermining act that's occurred in a decade in that region of the world in terms of our standing." I don't think he's right, but I can't say with certainty that he's wrong.

What I do know is that the acts of a few have damaged the reputation of an entire country. Every time I have gone to a foreign country as a member of the Navy, it has been drilled into everyone, over and over, that when you're outside of our borders, you are America. You're not just representing yourself; you are representing the ship, the Navy, and the United States as a whole. Apparently this handful of soldiers didn't get that message, or they didn't take it to heart.

Now they have to live with being the face of American barbarism to the entire Muslim world. Congratulations, morons.

So where do we go from here? We make sure these people receive punishment commensurate with the damage they have done their country, first of all. With any luck, that will show the Muslim world that such behavior is not tolerated by the United States and that the people who did it are nowhere near the norm. Then, we make absolutely certain that there is no repeat of this incident. The example of others will go a long way toward deterring future abusers, but obviously there is a training shortfall which needs to be addressed as well. We need to be doubly certain that every soldier who comes into contact with prisoners gets the message about what is and what is not acceptable.

Then, as is already happening, we continue with damage control. Every high-level official has publicly condemned the actions of the soldiers who abused prisoners. Condoleezza Rice apologized on al-Arabiya. That must be done, and hopefully it will be taken seriously in the Muslim world. The President's appearance on two Arabic satellite channels will be a huge help. The sight of the President of the United States, on an Arabic network, denouncing the actions of American soldiers, will send an unequivocal message that the leadership of the United States is not behind what happened, and that the administration and the Army are taking action to punish those responsible and prevent it from happening in the future. And it is my hope that he will follow Dr. Rice's lead and say that he is "sorry" for what happened.

The damage, obviously, has been done. And all of the above actions will not be cure-alls. They can, however, start the process of repairing the damage. The process could take a long time--Arabs are the world's most accomplished grudge holders--but in the end, if the United States delivers on its promise to build up an independent, democratic Iraq, it will go a long way toward restoring respect for America in a critical part of the world.
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Monday, May 03, 2004

UN absurdity 

Compare and contrast:

UN official pleads for intervention in Sudanese `crisis'

Sudan Assured Seat on U.N. Rights Commission

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Karl Rove destroyed NH landmark 

No, really. The New Hampshire Gazette says so.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) charges Karl Rove with blowing up New Hampshire’s ‘Old Man of the Mountain,’ in exclusive video footage obtained by The New Hampshire Gazette.

Rove, arguably the man most responsible for George W. Bush’s occupancy of the Oval Office, dynamited the distinctive and much-revered rock formation one year ago this May 2nd “in a fit of anger,” McCain says on the tape...

“Is it true,” [fake reporter Vermin Supreme] asks, “that Karl Rove was responsible for the destruction of the Old Man of the Mountain, to spite the people of New Hampshire for voting for you over George W. Bush in 2000?”

McCain answers, “Everything that I heard — yes. In a fit of anger, Karl went up there and dynamited it. I’ve asked the FBI on several occasions to investigate that.”
I really don't know what to say, other than to draw a parallel between The Onion and the NH Gazette... only the Gazette thinks it's reporting actual news. Which is hilarious and sad at the same time, I think.

Anyway, near the top of the article there is link to the actual video of McCain. There are several things that should clue in a reasonable person that McCain is joking. First, he's, well, John McCain, a known joker. Second, right before the "interview" he stepped off a George W. Bush campaign bus. It's quite possible that Karl Rove was within earshot.

The Gazette, based in New Hampshire, apparently does not recognize sarcasm, despite being in the heart of New England where it's widely believed that sarcasm was born.

Therefore, on behalf of the entire six-state New England region, I'm disowning editor Steve Fowle as one of us.

(If you're ever in the NH seacoast area, look for the Gazette at local establishments. It's a total hoot without meaning to be. To see what I mean, try reading this with a straight face.)
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Anti-war? No, anti-human. 

LT Smash dug up a disgusting post from Portland Indymedia:

Write a letter to a soldier to let him/her know what people really think of this war. Send a photo of a dead Iraqi civilian. Send a photo or message about an anti-war protest... Outreach to soldiers is the best way to persuade them to stop killing civilians. Maybe they will even begin fragging (killing their officers) like in Vietnam. It's worth a try...
Some peace movement we've got here.

Smash says "This guy wants me dead." Well, he wants me dead too. I hope the "peace" movement isn't counting on garbage like this to bring people over to their side. Advocating murder shouldn't be in anyone's arsenal of political tools. It's revealing that in the case of this guy (and these people too), murder IS part of their agenda.
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