Friday, July 15, 2005

There's a lot of loose talk on the left about the ideology of Dubya and co. being kinda like the bad guys in World War II. Well, one characteristic of those folks was that they overtly characterized their enemies as subhuman. And I haven't yet seen that this morning from any Republican. I've seen it from the New York Times.

Referring to the long-since-verified stories of female interrogators at Guantanamo smearing menstrual blood on prisoners, and the like, the Times' editorial board has finally decided to take a stand: this must end at once because it is degrading to American women:

Religious conservatives have made their presence felt in so many other parts of the Bush administration, but they have been strangely quiet about these practices. And where are the members of Congress who wring their hands over the issue of women in combat? It's obvious that the Bush administration will never offer a real reckoning on the prisoner abuse, or that the Republican Party will demand one. But surely the dehumanizing of America's military women is a nonpartisan issue.

Apparently more so the dehumanizing of the prisoners, most of whom were picked up in street sweeps in Afghanistan by local thugs that we were paying by the head...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

One of the rationales seen on the right for the Iraq invasion was the "flypaper theory" -- that by keeping all the terrorists busy in Iraq, they'd somehow not want to strike over here.

Many have noted that recent events in London would appear to discredit this theory. So, it appears, would recent events in Iraq, as jihaddi bulletin boards on the net are now telling aspiring homicidal freaks they are not wanted. At least not unless they already have specific training and experience. Apparently, the thugs already have all the cannon fodder they need, and then some.

Well, isn't that a relief?

via Rafe Colburn.

New frontiers in music:

Seen in Harvard Square this evening -- a klezmer punk duo, on fiddle and accordion. Not half bad, either...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Atrios comments:

It's fairly obvious, 4 years later, that we as a national collectively crapped our pants and went quite a bit nuts after 9/11. That's certainly understandable, though it's a shame that there are quite a few of us never really recovered. What's rather more annoying is just how desperate our media is for the UK to have the same experience.

This isn't about "London holding up better than America" or anything, the scale and method of attacks in the US as well as the now completely forgotten post-9/11 Anthrax (haven't caught that one, either, by the way) attacks certainly gave us a lot more reason to crap our pants and go a little nuts. It's just rather disgusting that CNN is desperate to tell one story - PANIC! TERROR! FEAR! - which just isn't there.

But Britain has had its years of panic --- the years of the terror campaign of the IRA, when goverment imposed absolutely restrictions on the press in the name of security which became utterly comic (IRA spokesmens' voices could not be broadcast on the air, leading to quick money for actors that could imitate their voices), and civil rights did go out the window for anyone of a suspect ethnic group --- with consequences that they later came to regret. If they're not going crazy now, that's at least in part because -- regrettably -- they've been there before.

It'll be no consolation to the Guilford Four that they did themselves no lasting damage because the panic stayed in their own borders. But it's true nonetheless...