Today is one of those days in which we are particularly grateful that George W. Bush is no longer the president of the United States.
The news from Afghanistan is grim. With the latest round of deaths, we pass a milestone: 2,000 US combatants have died in what is now the longest war in American history. The milestone has been reached just as the surge in troops has come to an end without achieving the goals of pacifying the country or even launching peace talks with the Taliban. Our Afghan "allies" remain as corrupt and ineffectual as ever, with the added wrinkle that the most dangerous place in Afghanistan for US troops these days seems to be the neighborhood of US-armed and trained Afghan forces, who are shooting and blowing up their nominal allies faster than the Taliban can do it.
This is all bad news and very disturbing, but there is a crumb of comfort to be had. Because these failures happened on President Obama's watch, the mainstream press isn't particularly interested in relentless, non-stop scrutiny of the unpleasant news. If George W. Bush were president now, and had ordered the surge and was responsible for the strategic decisions taken and not taken in Afghanistan over the last four years, the mainstream press would be rubbing our noses in his miserable failures and inexcusable blunders 24/7. The New York Times and the Washington Post would be treating us to pictures of every fallen soldier. The PBS Newshour would feature nightly post-mortems on "America's failed strategies in the Afghan War" and every arm-chair strategist in America would be filling the op-ed pages with the brilliant 20/20 hindsight ideas that our pathetic, clueless, failed president was too dumb and too cocky to have had.
There would be no end to the woes and the recriminations. There would be the most moving and eloquent examples of hand wringing in the New York Review of Books, elegantly demonstrating that the cretinous assumptions and moral failings that led Bush into his failed Afghan policy weren't his alone, but reflected broader, deeper failings in America itself. One is almost sorry for the sake of the authors of these diatribes that Bush is gone; the failure of our Afghan strategy is so sweeping, so unavoidable, that it would be the best possible backdrop against which to paint a stirring portrait of a failed president misleading a flawed people. What works of polemical literature have been lost, what inspired jeremiads will never be penned, what scalding portraits of America's inherent flaws will never see the light of day because W left the White House too soon.
If only President Bush had uttered that fatuous nonsense about "wars of choice" and "wars of necessity" that President Obama used: how much fun the press could have had mocking his grotesque and pathetic efforts at "strategery."
George W. took an unmerciful daily beating by the lame stream media that Obama has has a pass on for nearly four years--not because Obama is any great shakes as a president--he is most likely the worst president we have ever had--but just because the press has given up its role as a free press. The MSM might as well just dry up and go away for the lack of any good they do.
It is incredibly sad that the media has abandoned its role as even somewhat partial arbiter. They just don't ask the questions, or pursue the stories that are everywhere with the Obama administration. Just won't go there. It is a truly dangerous development for our country.
The press is doing everything it can to sway these elections. There is no truth in the press, we all know that. But the elections won't lie. Zero will lose in a way that will make the cater loss look like a close race.
Posted by: 49 pan ||
10/02/2012 20:56 Comments ||
[Dawn] NOT so long ago, the radio was in the news for all the wrong reasons. That was the medium chosen by the bad turban leader Fazlullah, who became known as Mullah Radio, to spread his messages of hatred and divisive ...politicians call things divisive when when the other side sez something they don't like. Their own statements are never divisive, they're principled... ness.
For a long time, he broadcast his venom and the state did little to try and stop it. And then, he and his band ended up in de facto control of Swat.
During Mullah Radio's comparatively brief rule over the area, his men imposed their own hard boy version of religion; government buildings and schools were destroyed, opponents or those labelled 'immoral' were flogged or beheaded, the bodies strung up at intersections.
Fazlullah and his men were pushed out of Swat ...a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistain, located 99 mi from Islamabad. It is inhabited mostly by Pashto speakers. The place has gone steadily downhill since the days when Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat... by the Pakistain Army in 2009 (though they still intermittently launch cross-border incursions into Pakistain from their shelters in bordering Afghanistan provinces).
This summer, a front man told Rooters via telephone that the group's aim was to retake Swat and bid for control over all of Pakistain, and then establish what they refer to as 'Sharia law'. A taste of things to come, because the monster of militancy now has many heads and many strains of hatred feeding it.
The drawing rooms of the chattering classes echo with despondency and many argue that the odds facing us are so insurmountable that there's little point in even trying. Thankfully, that is not sage counsel for everybody.
A few days ago, the radio was in the news again, this time with an example of the sort of moves that Pakistain so desperately needs to help it stand fast against the dark tide.
The idea was conceived by journalist Imtiaz Gul: highlight the plight of the people affected by the bad turbans' brutality and start a debate among the people about the issues they are facing.
Is the polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... vaccination campaign really a CIA plot? Let's talk about that and get some facts on the table. Does the state go far enough by paying a sum of money to those who lost family members in natural disasters or acts of violence? What is your view?
The shows are called 'The Dawn' and 'The Voice of Peace', and they are a mixture of reports and live debates designed to not just start a critical discourse on militancy but also to give the victims of this bloody conflict a voice.
A Rooters report about the show referred to an episode in which a woman who had lost her son in a kaboom recounted her grief to the audiences. And there is an audience, for people call in to comment or to ask questions of guests such as a police officer. More than 80 people called in during a recent episode about whether religious leaders of the area are doing enough to promote peace.
Reportedly, Mr Gul started his Radio Pakistain effort in 2009, but it took a long time for audiences to engage and start talking. They were too scared for at the same time other radio broadcasts were being made through FM stations by the faceless myrmidons who gave out the names of those on their hit-lists.
People would listen to progressive broadcasts, one must assume, but they also listened to the more fiery ...a single two-syllable word carrying connotations of both incoherence and viciousness. A fiery delivery implies an audience of rubes and yokels, preferably forming up into a mob... stuff to make sure that their names weren't on the lists.
Can an effort such as this make a difference? While it cannot be pinned down in quantifiable terms, certainly such an effort can lead to a change in the mindset that was exploited by the faceless myrmidons spreading hardline propaganda. Tradition demands, for example, that a Pakhtun consider himself duty-bound to protect anyone seeking refuge. This custom is exploited on occasion when imported muscle from across the border seek shelter with rustics on this side.
During an episode on the subject, reportedly a number of people called in to say that it was a tradition they were proud of. But others said that criminals or traitors should not be considered deserving of protection, or that difficult cases should be referred to tribal elders.
On the other side of the spectrum, far from the hinterland, we recently saw another example of resilience against the onslaught and a pledge to normality. On the day (Sept 21) the government had declared an unexpected national holiday, we were treated to a display of ferocious mob fury. In too many areas, protesters ran amok, burning, killing and looting. Most people sat in their homes, trying to get over the scenes of anarchy they had witnessed.
But in Lahore, Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... and Islamabad, a few people -- mainly young -- squared their shoulders and set out to do whatever little they could. They went to the spots that had seen trouble and started clearing up, picking up stones and spent teargas shells, sweeping up broken glass, repainting pickets and bus stops.
And they sent out a very powerful political message: if this country is ever to be cleaned up (beyond the physical sense), then those who oppose the gunnies have to get up from their armchairs and become more actively involved.
These are just two examples that imply that the light at the end of the tunnel is not necessarily a fire. There are others, drops of sanity in a sea of anarchy.
A bicycling group in Lahore gets exercise while sending the message that the streets belong to everybody. Traffic police across the country stick doggedly to what must be a hugely frustrating task, but they haven't yet given up.
Theatre persons and filmmakers soldier on in a hostile terrain. Among a plethora of shouting voices in the media, there are also saner counsels. Radicals and gunnies cannot be said to dominate Pak society, even though theirs seems to be the louder voice.
I suppose the question, then, is whether these pinpricks of light will prove enough to eventually save the day.
Posted by: Fred ||
10/02/2012 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan
In which Daniel Pipes suggests a novel experiment. Herewith a taste:
[Fox News] When Salman Rushdie mocked Islamic sanctities in his magical 1989 realist novel "The Satanic Verses," Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini did something shockingly original: He issued a death edict on Rushdie and all those connected to the production of his book. By doing this, Khomeini sought to impose Islamic mores and laws on the West. We don't insult the prophet, he effectively said, and neither can you.
That started a trend of condemning those in the West deemed anti-Islamic that persists to this day. Again and again, when Westerners are perceived as denigrating Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam, Islamists demonstrate, riot or kill.
Which prompts this question: What would happen if publishers and managers of major media outlets reached a consensus -- "Enough of this intimidation, we will publish the most famous Danish Muhammad cartoon every day, until the Islamists tire out and no longer riot"? What would happen if Korans were recurrently burned?
Would repetition inspire institutionalization, generate ever-more outraged responses, and offer a vehicle for Islamists to ride to greater power? Or would it lead to routinization, to a wearing out of Islamists, and a realization that violence is counter-productive to their cause?
I've been calling it desensitization for years. Yes. More, please.
Posted by: Abu Uluque ||
10/02/2012 12:49 Comments ||
Absolutely necessary in order to remove the imams carefully structured fantastic sensationalism. You know, that sensationalism which keeps the Islamic drones reaffirming their faith through violence.
Some are violent with arrogant colonels pointing forty-fives at the temples of their predecessors and blowing their brains out; others are stealthy with the citizens awakening on an ordinary morning to find their whole world has changed yet not a drop of blood has been shed.
The latter is what has happened in America.
We are the victims of a media coup détat and are currently living under it.
The best way to shut them down is to cancel your subscriptions and turn off your TV. Walk your dog, read a book, ride a bike, tend your garden, wash your car, clean your gun, whatever. You might be amazed at what you can do with your spare time just by getting out from in front of the idiot box in your living room. If you must have news you can get it for free from sites like Rantburg, Drudge and Breitbart. Well, of course, every now and then Fred will issue a bleg. But it's better than giving it to the New York Times.
Don't hold your breath Ebbang, the Cubs drop 100 games (so far) and still get 2.8 million in Wrigley. You will never go broke betting on the stupidity of people and the media bets heavily on stupidity
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