More Liberal Media Bias

by Brian on May 28, 2004

The CNN Report on “The Day After Tomorrow”: has, as its quoted scientific expert, “John Christy”: The same John Christy who has contributed to such balanced pieces of work as “Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths”: Yep, that’s our liberal media.

[click to continue…]

While I prepare my pro-McSweeney’s vicious battle raps, I leave you with:

The Making of the Autobiography with George W. Bush (An Excerpt) (via Radney Balko)

Pros and Cons of John Kerry’s Top Twenty Vice-Presidential Candidates (via Reason)

Daily Reasons to Dispatch Bush

My goodness, how I love the internet.

A non-sequitur about Amnesty

by Chris Bertram on May 28, 2004

My post the other day “about Amnesty International”: generated some comments, as I expected. It also led to “Jacob Levy”: over at the Volokh Conspiracy getting excited over the following statement by AI:

bq. AI is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.

Now I happen to think that’s a reasonable thing for an organization like Amnesty to say. Libertarian Cain and Socialist Abel may disagree on a lot of things. Cain believes that socialized medicine is the first step on the road to serfdom and Abel believes that the capitalist system inevitably leads to exploitation and oppression. No matter. They can work together to protest against torture, extrajudical killing and so on — which they agree are _bad_ things. An organization that insisted the everyone sign up to an analysis of underlying causes would be sectarian and ineffective. But because the smart thing for an organization like Amnesty to do is to stay out of the business of root causes, that doesn’t mean it is committed to the positive view that “Jacob now attributes”: to it in a further post. To whit:

bq. I emphasized the organization’s institutional stance that no system of government is preferable to any other, that human rights abuses just kind of happen rather than being matters of official policy in some cases and not in others. This requires a pose of believing in equivalence among liberal democracies, theocracies, military dictatorships, and so on.

No way is such “equivalence” entailed by the Amnesty statement of aims that Jacob quoted and it is lazy of him to suggest that it is.

(I should add that Jacob does have a point about the emphasis of some of Amnesty’s up-front press releases, but it is absurd to suggest as Frida Ghetis does in the “TNR piece”: that Jacob approvingly links to that Amnesty “has decided to stop doing its job” — since it demonstrably continues to produce the many detailed country-by-country resports that are its staple.)

One true love

by Ted on May 28, 2004

Last week, Daniel Drezner asked, “Who will the neo-neos go with — Bush or Chalabi? My money is on Chalabi.”

I hope that he made that bet:

Richard Perle, until recently a powerful adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, described U.S. policy in post-war Iraq as a failure.

“I would be the first to acknowledge we allowed the liberation (of Iraq) to subside into an occupation. And I think that was a grave error, and in some ways a continuing error,” said Perle, former chair of the influential Defence Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon…

“We didn’t have to find ourselves in the role of occupier. We could have made the transition that is going to be made at the end of June more or less immediately,” he told BBC radio, referring to the U.S. and British plan to transfer political authority in Iraq to an interim government on June 30.

Don’t get me wrong: I haven’t suddenly discovered the previously unsung wisdom of Richard Perle because he’s started criticizing the administration. He’s been wrong since the beginning.

What I’m marvelling at is the fact that Perle is willing to attack the Administration on the record, calling the Administration’s policy a “grave error” and the current situation an “occupation”, because they didn’t follow his plan to hand the country to Chalabi just after the statue of Saddam fell.

Amazing. Will a widely-denounced tell-all book be next?

(via The Poor Man.)

Home cinema

by Chris Bertram on May 28, 2004

This may well be an idea that has already occurred to most of you, but I hadn’t heard it before. Ingredients: a laptop with a DVD-drive, a data projector of the sort widely used for PowerPoint presentations, a large flat white wall. Yes with just these three items (and connecting cables) you can project your favourite movie in a rather more stylish manner than on a wide-screen TV.

Peace with Sadr

by John Q on May 28, 2004

Now that the inevitable peace deal between the American forces and Sadr’s Mahdi army appears to have been reached, amounting to restoration of the status quo ante , can anybody provide a coherent rationale for Bremer’s decision to drive Sadr into revolt in the first place, by closing his newspaper and arresting his supporters? The assault on Fallujah was bound to be a disaster, but it’s not surprising that the Americans felt impelled to take some drastic action in response to the killing and mutilation of US contractors there. But the attack on Sadr seemed gratuitiously stupid, even more so than the disbanding of the army and the banning of the Baath party.

Tacitus, still taking the view that “failure is not an option in Iraq”, is naturally furious about the deal . But any realistic analysis of the planned election must recognise that Sadr has enough support to make him a powerful force. He may not be a particularly attractive character, but he’s no worse than dozens of other world leaders with whom we deal for want of any better alternative. The notion that a military option with a June 30 deadline could take him and his movement out of the picture was never more than a delusion.

Whether you think, like Tacitus, that the attack on Sadr should been pushed through to its bloody conclusion, or like me that it should never have started, this is another appalling stuffup on Bremer’s part. Even at this late stage he ought to take responsibility and resign or, failing that, be sacked.

Rumsfeld Speaks

by Kieran Healy on May 28, 2004

The incomparable “Fafblog”: interviews Donald Rumsfeld:

FAFBLOG: Great to have you here Donald Rumsfeld! Lets get right to it an start by askin: what is with this torture thing, and how long have you known about it?
DONALD RUMSFELD: Good gosh, that’s a tricky one there. Was it torture? Were detainees indefinitely held for days with bags over their heads? Yes. Were testicles electrocuted? You bet. Were orifices molested, flesh ripped by dogs, and nostils raped? Almost certainly. But torture? Hard to say.
FB: Wow – that IS hard to say.
DR: It sure is.

There’s “plenty more”: