Who am I?
Christian. Skeptic. Ponderer. Sold on Western Civilization. Background in engineering and software. Rational, but not rationalist.
Informs my values.
Posts On This Page:
- · 7/21 Bombers' Intentions?
- · Chicago's Democratic Political Machine
- · London Plotter Aswat in Zambia
- · Stress
- · Ghandi
- · Let's call them "terrorist attacks"
- · IraqBodyCount.net
- · The Scourge of Slavery
- · NY Times Inconsistency
- · Suicide Car Bomber Kills Iraqi Children
- · The Malung
- · Karl Rove's Web of Evil
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
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- June 2007
- July 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- January 2008
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- October 2008
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- July 2010
- February 2011
- April 2011
- May 2011
- February 2013
Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Osman Hussain, admitting his role in London's 7/21 bombings "said it was only intended to be an attention-grabbing strike, not a deadly one". But the head of the Metropolitan Police says otherwise.
Hussain "also reportedly told investigators the bombers were motivated by anger over the U.S.-led war in Iraq." But, as Chrenkoff points out: 250,000 Iraqis living in Great Britain, zero involved in any of these attacks. Curious, no? Not to mention 3,000 British citizens training in Afghanistan with the Taliban--long before Iraq.
I'm so glad the Feds are investigating. But the bad-guys aren't going down without a nasty fight. And they scored a huge victory in leaking the cooperating witness list. Incredibly sick. No wonder the mob can instill such fear, when their lawyers do this. Are the courts obliged to show the defense this list? If so, the entire legal system breaks down in the face of organized crime.
(Registration req'd. Or bypass it.)
Update, 8/4/2005. More corruption: kickbacks for park contracts, including Millenium Park.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
"U.S. authorities had asked Britain if they could take Aswat into custody but they refused because he was a UK citizen, the sources said. Later British authorities said they suspected Aswat lent support to the July 7 bombers."
I wonder what we might have discovered about 7/7.
Did all the stink Mubanga made about his detention make British or Zambian officials gun-shy?
(Correction: a closer reading shows Aswat in South Africa, not Zambia, when U.S. officials made the request.)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Watched the movie Ghandi last night. An amazing man who accomplished amazing things. Seeing what he did in India helps boost my (pretty low) faith in humanity. The movie looks closely at the injustices at the hands of the British, like British General Dyers' massacre (1,516 casualties with 1,650 bullets).
My favorite quotes:
- "If you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth."
- "An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody will see it."
It raises questions, though--questions I don't expect this movie to address, as it's (rightfully) a tribute to this great man.
Can his techniques be universally applied? Or were they specific to the situations in which he found himself? Would non-violent resistance have stopped Adolph Hitler, or Joseph Stalin? I'm convinced it wouldn't. (The movie toys with the idea with Hitler, but can't give an answer.)
Did Hitler, Stalin and Mao commit the mass murders they did because no one thought of applying Ghandi's non-violent resistance (or somehow didn't do it "correctly")? Or did hundreds or thousands of would-be-Ghandis die in obscurity at their hands? I believe the latter.
So then how did Ghandi succeed? Consider these two reasons:
- Though the British were classic imperialists/colonialists, in the final analysis they were reasonable people with a conscience (and a free press). A fundamentally different society/government than those constructed by Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.
- India's massive manpower was a very powerful weapon to wield the way Ghandi did. (And that he was able to have such control, through such a strong moral voice, seems miraculous.)
Where Ghandi may have been wrong or failed...
- "When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won." Perhaps, but at horrific cost to the innocent (e.g., 105 million dead at the hands of Communism). Can we really count those as victories?
- "There must be Hindu-Muslim unity - always." The Hindu-Muslim clashes, culminating with the Bangladesh ("East Pakistan") genocide, shows Ghandi's failure here. 1.5 million Hindus murdered, or 1,000 times as many as murdered at the hands of British General Dyer.
- "Secondly, no Indian must be treated as the English treat us so we must remove untouchability from our lives, and from our hearts." Yet the caste system, even though technically illegal, is still a big influence.
- KINNOCH: "With respect, Mr. Gandhi, without British administration, this country would be reduced to chaos." GANDHI: "Mr. Kinnoch, I beg you to accept that there is no people on earth who would not prefer their own bad government to the 'good' government of an alien power." Perhaps the victims of the Bangladeshi or Rwandan genocides would disagree with Ghandi.
- The movie script (here, too).
- The Official Ghandi eArchive & Reference Library, with quotations.
- The Hindu caste system.
- The East Pakistan (Bangladesh) genocide.
PS: To be fair to the movie, it did depict Ghandi's frustration and dispair over the Muslim/Hindu clashes.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
...and the perpetrators "terrorists," or "indiscriminate mass murderers."
I don't want to get too hung up on labels, but some scrutiny is justified. Clear labels help us think and communicate most clearly.
But what about calling them London "bombers" or "suicide bombers"? Suicide was a peripheral part of it. Indiscriminate mass murder was what it really was about.
When I think of bombings, I think of the heinous attacks on abortion clinics here in the U.S.: 41 bombings, one resulting murder since 1993. Contrast that with the London attacks: 4 bombings, 52 dead, in a single day.
To the BBC's credit, they're calling them "attacks." They are.
(Note that there were eight abortion-clinic-related murders, but only one from bombings.)
See also the murder of Iraqi children.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
In their Press Release, they say "30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003." Further, "US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims." and "Over half (53%) of all civilian deaths involved explosive devices."
Let's do some math: 30% of 37% of 24865 civilians killed, or 2760, were killed by US-led forces during the invasion phase. Civilian deaths not involving explosives devices (100% - 53% = 47%): nearly 1300. Most of these deaths should be able to be corroborated by the hundreds of embedded reporters traveling with the military at that time. Where are they? These reporters should have witnessed many of these killings, or at least have seen the victims' bodies soon after their deaths.
Further, I reviewed this project on 9/8/2004 (before this blog existed). Here are my notes:
Listening to NPR, they did an interview of the web-site iraqbodycount.net. They claim between 11,800 and 13,800 civilian deaths to date, since the start of the conflict. However, scrutinizing their methods, here’s what I find:
- Their list of media sources is long, but it’s unlikely that most of these sources have trusted reporters doing independent, original, eye-witness reporting throughout Iraq (e.g., the Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times). So it’s not likely that all stories are really from independent sources.
- They consider as news sources commondreams.org (“Breaking news & views for the progressive community”) and intellnet.org (now defunct with the message “well folks, that time in my life has finally arrived; I have finally graduated and found employment…”), and the famously anti-American Al Jazeera.
- Consider the typical ambush against U.S. soldiers. The enemy (let’s assume Saddam loyalists) prepare carefully and lie in waiting. As much a part of that ambush as those who trigger the road-side bomb or fire the RPGs is the “innocent bystander” who’s ready to meet the press with reports of coalition forces’ butchery. So corroboration is essential, but do we have any?
- “The project relies on the professional rigour of the approved reporting agencies. It is assumed that any agency that has attained a respected international status operates its own rigorous checks before publishing items (including, where possible, eye-witness and confidential sources). By requiring that two independent agencies publish a report before we are willing to add it to the count, we are premising our own count on the self-correcting nature of the increasingly inter-connected international media network.” Per my remarks above, this doesn’t establish the level of independence and rigor they assume. One point they’re trying to make is that the press’ interconnectedness has a self-correcting nature, but it shows that independence and interconnectedness are in tension, if not at odds.
- By their accounting, if a group of Saddam loyalists or terrorists went from house to house murdering indiscriminately, they count that exactly as though a coalition soldier pulled the trigger. Are these equivalent? Not a chance.
- “The test for us remains whether the bullet (or equivalent) is attributed to a piece of weaponry where the trigger was pulled by a US or allied finger, or is due to "collateral damage" by either side (with the burden of responsibility falling squarely on the shoulders of those who initiate war without UN Security Council authorization). … In short, we record all civilians deaths attributed to our military intervention in Iraq.” If one has a different interpretation of “those who initiate war without UN Security Council authorization”, then the numbers are meaningless. Technically, Iraq didn’t comply with the conditions for the first Gulf War’s cease-fire, nor with a dozen other UN Resolutions. Finally, Bush gave Saddam the 48-hour ultimatum to seek exile, and it was his refusal that led to war. Any of these facts technically and/or morally shift the burden of responsibility, making the entire project meaningless.
- Taking that same statement to its logical conclusion, if we were to shift the burden of responsibility, then by their own statements, we could carpet-bomb Fallujah and they would put every civilian death “squarely on the shoulders” of Saddam. Yeah, right.
- Their standard would apply equally to our actions in Afghanistan, too. We didn’t get explicit UN permission there either.
- Ironically, even using their criteria, Saddam would have murdered more Iraqi civilians in the same time-frame. Estimates of Saddam’s brutality (from mass graves found) suggest that he killed on average 36 people every day he was in power (not including soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq War). So let’s compare their numbers to his. From 3/20/2003 (start of the war) to today is about 1 year, 5-1/2 months, or about 530 days. They report a maximum of 13,802 civilian deaths. Saddam would have killed 530 x 36 = 19,080 civilians: or over 5,200 more. Further, those civilians would have died with no reporting from any news outlet—no voice at all.
- Their raw data may contain errors: the Iraq war began on March 20th, 2003, but they have entries “10 Feb 2003” (x003) and “12 Feb 2003” (k011). Do they mean 2004? Or are they counting things before the war? In fact, it looks like they go back to “01 Jan 2003” intentionally—entry “x001”.
My conclusion: anti-American propaganda.
Update: Edited a bit for wordiness.
Welcome, NRO Media Blog readers!
One more belated thought (12/30/2005): The web-site's background graphic (bombs falling endlessly from a distinctively American bomber) is part of the propaganda, suggesting that the majority of deaths were from American bombing. Misleading.
Update, 12/30/2005: GatewayPundit's analysis shows progress in Iraq.
An amazing perspective on the history of slavery, and the Christian roots of liberty. I'd like independent verification of the facts presented here.
HT: Power and Control, via Roger L. Simon
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The New York Times reports that 10 Sunnis suffocated in Iraqi police custody. The victims seemed to be insurgent/terrorist suspects, though the Times never explicitly acknowledges this. Even so, they shouldn't have been treated this way.
To be consistent, the Times should report the religion/sect of every victim of every insurgent and terrorist attack. It's only when the fledgling government's mishap have "new flashpoint" potential that we're carefully told, in the headline, of their sect.
It's likely that the majority of the insurgents' and terrorists' victims are also Sunni, but perhaps pointing that out with equal care would cause a press-induced flashpoint. (Or would that be a truth-induced flashpoint?) It might knock the wind out of both terrorist and insurgent recruiting.
Look your enemy in the face...
A suicide car bomber sped up to American soldiers distributing candy to children and detonated his explosives Wednesday, killing up to 27 other people, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. One U.S. soldier and about a dozen children were among the dead.
But as this guy says, there are no civilians.
(CNN: "...most of the dead were children...")
(7/27/05) Keep this in mind, too, when thinking about bin Laden's fatwah, complaining about "... great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance..."
(11/24/05) Update: Terrorists rig childrens' dolls with explosives.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
He's been taking heat over the documentary he's doing on the Finsbury Park Mosque, in light of the terrorist attacks on London. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but those attacks sure look like the work of al-Qaeda. If it turns out that the folks he's been filming had something to do with it, he has a lot of re-thinking to do. And if they don't, he's vindicated (at least in that one realm).
Here's some random quotes from his own blog, to give you a sense of what he's about.
To his credit...
- "Everyone should have their say. I see no reason to twist words."
- As you can probably tell, I hate left and right wing politics..."
- "It was no doubt true that [Abu Hamza] had considerably revised what he was saying, and the manner in which he said it outside the mosque from what he had said inside."
- "'So why did [George Galloway] say to Saddam Hussein 'I salute your indefatigability?' I asked. No one answered."
- " Sometimes it’s been comical, I've been trying to find the funny side, but then something like the Madrid bombing happens which makes me question everything I am doing. Now alleged terrorists have been arrested in Britain."
- "This was my first experience of leftist political meetings. ... I thought that without the drug of actual power these guys would at least be able to say, 'I don't know.'"
- [Quotes Abu Hamza:] 'If a kaffir (godless person) is caught in a Moslem land and you can’t sell him as a slave in the market place then you kill him.'
- " In the same way, to depict all US soldiers or republicans as evil wouldn't be the whole picture either. Looking through blogsville you can find soldiers who genuinely want to free Iraq from Saddam and give its people back a stabble country."
- "In the following months [after Saddam's statue fell] I spent much more time online talking to people I disagreed with that those I agreed with. How the f*** else can any progress be made? This is why we at socialistwanker link to people like conservative punk. I f***ing hate Bush, but thanks to "my political enemies" I read this and challenge my own perspective."
- I see shreds of decency and rational thought. (I attribute it to a little Christian influence.)
- "Politically I am a jester. All "sides" seem to dislike me. I have deliberately put myself in this position and I don't know why."
What I have a problem with...
- "I just had the feeling that if he was who the Sun said he was, someone more sinister than Mr. Abdullah would be standing next to him."
- "The Sun want the [Guantanamo] guys to be terrorists. The Independent and people like myself want them to be innocent and everyone writes accordingly."
- 'Al-Quaida as an organised terorist network simply does not exist.' ... and what Hajj (One of Abu Hamza's friends) said to me on camera: 'No Muslim would set a bomb in this country unless he was a nutter.'
- I wish you could meet [Guantanamo detainee] Martin Mubanga. He comes across like your average quietly spoken British person...
- Waaaaay too many drugs, mate. They're rotting your brain. Keep trying to kick it.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
This little gem comes from the Huffington Post, of all places.
HT: Roger L. Simon