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Yemen Charges Five Saudis With Plotting Attacks
Today's Headlines
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Page 4: Opinion
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Down Under
Interesting Historical Perspective on the Toon Mayhem (Tim Blair)
Posted by: phil_b || 02/23/2006 09:16 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [266 views] Top|| File under:


Fifth Column
WaPo OpEd: A Failure of the Press
By William J. Bennett and Alan M. Dershowitz
There was a time when the press was the strongest guardian of free expression in this democracy. Stories and celebrations of intrepid and courageous reporters are many within the press corps. Cases such as New York Times v. Sullivan in the 1960s were litigated so that the press could report on and examine public officials with the unfettered reporting a free people deserved. In the 1970s the Pentagon Papers case reaffirmed the proposition that issues of public importance were fully protected by the First Amendment.

The mass media that backed the plaintiffs in these cases understood that not only did a free press have a right to report on critical issues and people of the day but that citizens had a right to know about those issues and people. The mass media understood another thing: They had more than a right; they had a duty to report.

We two come from different political and philosophical perspectives, but on this we agree: Over the past few weeks, the press has betrayed not only its duties but its responsibilities. To our knowledge, only three print newspapers have followed their true calling: the Austin American-Statesman, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Sun. What have they done? They simply printed cartoons that were at the center of widespread turmoil among Muslims over depictions of the prophet Muhammad. These papers did their duty.

Since the war on terrorism began, the mainstream press has had no problem printing stories and pictures that challenged the administration and, in the view of some, compromised our war and peace efforts. The manifold images of abuse at Abu Ghraib come to mind -- images that struck at our effort to win support from Arab governments and peoples, and that pierced the heart of the Muslim world as well as the U.S. military.

The press has had no problem with breaking a story using classified information on detention centers for captured terrorists and suspects -- stories that could harm our allies. And it disclosed a surveillance program so highly classified that most members of Congress were unaware of it.

In its zeal to publish stories critical of our nation's efforts -- and clearly upsetting to enemies and allies alike -- the press has printed some articles that turned out to be inaccurate. The Guantanamo Bay flushing of the Koran comes to mind.

But for the past month, the Islamist street has been on an intifada over cartoons depicting Muhammad that were first published months ago in a Danish newspaper. Protests in London -- never mind Jordan, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Iran and other countries not noted for their commitment to democratic principles -- included signs that read, "Behead those who insult Islam." The mainstream U.S. media have covered this worldwide uprising; it is, after all, a glimpse into the sentiments of our enemy and its allies. And yet it has refused, with but a few exceptions, to show the cartoons that purportedly caused all the outrage.

The Boston Globe, speaking for many other outlets, editorialized: "[N]ewspapers ought to refrain from publishing offensive caricatures of Mohammed in the name of the ultimate Enlightenment value: tolerance."

But as for caricatures depicting Jews in the most medievally horrific stereotypes, or Christians as fanatics on any given issue, the mainstream press seems to hold no such value. And in the matter of disclosing classified information in wartime, the press competes for the scoop when it believes the public interest warrants it.

What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists -- their threats more than their sensibilities. One did not see Catholics claiming the right to mayhem in the wake of the republished depiction of the Virgin Mary covered in cow dung, any more than one saw a rejuvenated Jewish Defense League take to the street or blow up an office when Ariel Sharon was depicted as Hitler or when the Israeli army was depicted as murdering the baby Jesus.

So far as we can tell, a new, twin policy from the mainstream media has been promulgated: (a) If a group is strong enough in its reaction to a story or caricature, the press will refrain from printing that story or caricature, and (b) if the group is pandered to by the mainstream media, the media then will go through elaborate contortions and defenses to justify its abdication of duty. At bottom, this is an unacceptable form of not-so-benign bigotry, representing a higher expectation from Christians and Jews than from Muslims.

While we may disagree among ourselves about whether and when the public interest justifies the disclosure of classified wartime information, our general agreement and understanding of the First Amendment and a free press is informed by the fact -- not opinion but fact -- that without broad freedom, without responsibility for the right to know carried out by courageous writers, editors, political cartoonists and publishers, our democracy would be weaker, if not nonexistent. There should be no group or mob veto of a story that is in the public interest.

When we were attacked on Sept. 11, we knew the main reason for the attack was that Islamists hated our way of life, our virtues, our freedoms. What we never imagined was that the free press -- an institution at the heart of those virtues and freedoms -- would be among the first to surrender.
Posted by: .com || 02/23/2006 05:10 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [264 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It is one thing to surrender to an armed enemy of the US.

But I believe it is another entirely to actively undermine the efforts of our military and intel organizations to prosecute this war in the way it needs to be prosecuted. WaPo fits this paradigm neatly with room to grow.
Posted by: badanov || 02/23/2006 7:39 Comments || Top||

#2  AH, but the WaPo DID have the 'courage' to print this daring op-ed piece.

On page 19.
Posted by: Bobby || 02/23/2006 7:45 Comments || Top||

#3  The WaPo is left of center and no friend of the administration, but compared to the NYT and LAT it usually operates under adult supervision. If you're gonna dog 'em when they get it wrong, it's only fair to give 'em a pat on the back when they get it right.
Posted by: Mike || 02/23/2006 10:48 Comments || Top||

#4  I'm with Mike on this one. Except for that whole Dana Milbank thing.
Posted by: Seafarious || 02/23/2006 10:52 Comments || Top||

#5  Goddammit. I was gonna write that this evening.
Posted by: Fred || 02/23/2006 16:25 Comments || Top||

#6  Agreed. WaPo is the adult of the bunch.
Posted by: Secret Master || 02/23/2006 20:57 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
Windschuttle: The Adversary Culture
Posted by: tipper || 02/23/2006 01:14 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [268 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wow, excellent article!
Posted by: DanNY || 02/23/2006 6:19 Comments || Top||

#2  Quite right. It's an excellent piece.
Posted by: Secret Master || 02/23/2006 12:08 Comments || Top||


Iraq
Your Opinion: Do you think there will be civil war in Iraq? If so, what will the US do about it?
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 02/23/2006 12:12 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [359 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Unfortunately yes. And if the US took any side it should the side of the Kurds. If the Turks don't like it though titties. Otherwise hunker down and let the idiots fight it out. Then shoot the last man standing. What would scare me about a Civil War in Iraq between Sunni and Shite is it spilling over into the rest of the ME in general. Just my 2 cents
Posted by: Cheaderhead || 02/23/2006 13:01 Comments || Top||

#2  On the Big Picture scale, they've been gunning for each other, sorta, since the death of Mo and the Big Split. There's only been a warm bathtub of water separating them all that time, so what this tells me is that neither side is actually willing to duke it out in the old bloody ways till there's a winner. Adding nukes to the equation could certainly change that, however.

Within Iraq, outsiders will feed the strife and push the Iraqis, as their proxies, to have a go at it -- if they think they can do it without blowback. Zarqi, and to an extent Tater, give them the cover, so I'd wager Zarqi is being offered a lot of stuff and advice - and Tater his marching orders from the MM's. If the Iraqis can resist this indoctrinated from birth hatred and fear, and not let these foreign interests use them, then they've certainly met a supreme hurdle and topped it.

I say no civil war, but more skirmishing, perhaps serious but not all-out war, before it dies down. I take 2b's suggestion that they're actually tired of it as being an excellent point - meaning that I want it to be true. I say no all out war, but still more skirmishing for awhile to come.

If one comes, then we should be with the Kurds and exit the playing field of the Sunnis and Shi'a ASAP.
Posted by: .com || 02/23/2006 13:49 Comments || Top||

#3  If they can't behave, side with the kurds and let them have at it, they will get tired of it soon ask the afghans.
Posted by: djohn66 || 02/23/2006 13:52 Comments || Top||

#4  I agree with .com except I expect at least another few months of nasty militia action.

Also I really hope some of the captured terrorists who were involved in the Shrine bombing will ID Tater.
Posted by: mhw || 02/23/2006 15:07 Comments || Top||

#5  Are the Kurds really a party to all this, as long as they can keep their traditional area? I.e., wouldn't they be happy to sit on the sidelines and watch the Shi'a and Sunnis kill each other while Kurdistan continues to act and prosper independently?
Posted by: Dar || 02/23/2006 15:16 Comments || Top||

#6  I just realized that even the small scale civil war now going on probably makes it impossible for the OIC to have a conference on the cartoons.

Even for the OIC, such a conference would not pass the vomit/giggle test.
Posted by: mhw || 02/23/2006 15:20 Comments || Top||

#7  "the vomit/giggle test"

*snort* *gag*

Um, I needed a little advance warning on that, mhw!
Posted by: .com || 02/23/2006 15:22 Comments || Top||

#8  Actually, the Kurds have about 100,000 reasons to help the Shias demolish the Sunnis : their dead from the nerve gas attacks and Saddam's ethnic cleasing operations. And the troops that did almost all of that : Sunnis from the Triangle.
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 02/23/2006 15:37 Comments || Top||

#9  My contention is that the Kurds already have a very stable and established region--why risk it? Yes, they may hate the Sunnis, but would they actively take part in a civil war and risk losing what they've already achieved?

Would this really boil into a three-way free-for-all, or more of a Shia (and Kurd, to varying degrees) vs. Sunni fight?
Posted by: Dar || 02/23/2006 15:48 Comments || Top||

#10  I don't think the Kurd leadership will allow them, not matter how much they want to, to jeaopardize thier shot at an independent state. They're smart - seems like down to the last soul there - so they'll keep their power dry - and continue to retake Kirkuk and (assuming it was once theirs) Mosul - sending the Arabs (who Saddam installed) packing. That will be their most, uh, "escalating" or "antagonstic" act, I think. If there is a full Sunni vs Shi'a civil war, they will use it to advantage to more quickly consolidate the areas they consider traditional Kurdish lands.

My take, for better or worse, heh.
Posted by: .com || 02/23/2006 15:56 Comments || Top||

#11  Sheesh. "jeopardize" and "powder" PIMF.
Posted by: .com || 02/23/2006 15:57 Comments || Top||

#12  Well, since the best units in the Iraqi Army and Police are mainly or heavily Kurdish, the Kurds will be involved in any Sunni/Shia battles. One of the deals cut to get a constitution passed there was that the Kurds maintain their militia {Peshmerga, sp?} as "Police units" in the Kurdish zone. However, the Shias also have the authority to callup those units to back up engaged Police/Army units in times of national emergency. A civil war would cetainly qualify as that, and Kirkuik and Mosul would be the prizes awarded for loyalty to the Shia-dominated national government.
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 02/23/2006 16:01 Comments || Top||

#13  Do you think they'll stay with their units if civil war on a wide scale begins?

I'm not sure about that at all.
Posted by: .com || 02/23/2006 16:10 Comments || Top||

#14  Hmmm. Maybe for Kirkuk and Mosul...

A lotta meat in there to chew...
Posted by: .com || 02/23/2006 16:11 Comments || Top||

#15  This is an uptick in a low level setting of scores that has been going on since before We removed Saddam. I don't know which way it's going to go. My hope is that it doesn't break out into a full bore Civil War. I do hope Iraqi's take this chance to remove all non-native Arabs foreign muslims one way or another.

What ever happens we should hang with the Kurds they can read this all better than we every will and are interested in real peace and stability.
Posted by: Sock Puppet O' Doom || 02/23/2006 16:12 Comments || Top||

#16  Yes the Kurds will stay : the Shias will not be going after them, at all. People have to remember one fact : the Kurds are Sunnis, just a relaxed branch of that sect. So, if Shias whack the Triangle Sunni Arabs - especially the imams - they are getting a twofer : dead enemies and the strong possibility that the replacement Sunni imam will be a Kurd. The Shias have no incentive to attack the Kurds and every reason to draw them into the fight as a combined force : Shia/Kurd vs Triangle Sunni. And the Kurds have all sorts of reasons to go along with that : Kirkuk, Mosul, oil revenue sharing programs to give a lot to the producing zones, political and economic power-sharing, and the ability to be the Praetorian Guard of the new government, as well as good old revenge.
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 02/23/2006 16:16 Comments || Top||

#17  I agree with Shieldwolf but see it as a lot of reprisals and not an actual civil war. Yeah its a fine line but the Sunnis will learn and mellow.

On a similar note the entire area will become uninhabitable for Al Queda in the near future because of the Mosque attacks so there will be less provocating attacks in the future as well.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 02/23/2006 16:31 Comments || Top||

#18  The kurds have a strong economic incentive to prevent a civil war. Their economy is prospering partly because they sell stuff to the rest of the country. Also their soldiers in the National Army have a job because there is a national army.

Of course the emotional incentive is to encourage a shia-anwar conflict to take care of enemies.

To be honest though, if I were a Kurd I might well go with the revenge thing.
Posted by: mhw || 02/23/2006 16:40 Comments || Top||

#19  Better read this and see who is pushing it. Iraq the Model.
Posted by: Sock Puppet O' Doom || 02/23/2006 16:43 Comments || Top||

#20  There won't be a civil war, geography and logistics preclude it. The 'worst' that will happen is we see some heavy duty ethnic cleansing of Sunnis. The Shias and Kurds are probably not averse to pushing the bulk of the Sunnis into the 'Sunni triangle' and then contain them there.

BTW, Omar and his bro at ITM are Sunnis, and like most Sunnis they seem to way over estimate the military capabilities of the Sunnis and underestimate that of the Kurds and Shia.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/23/2006 17:12 Comments || Top||

#21  Is ethnic cleansing by Kurds, etc a legal solution given UN impotence?

For what it is worth, some of us supported ethnic cleansing by Serbs (Muslims were the first cleansers in Yugoslavia) as a means of removing hostiles and terrorists from the midst of a civilian population. I won't link the Serbianna website, for obvious reasons, but it is a fact that Serbs are being pushed out of Kosovo, by the same Muslims that Clinton served. And Bosnia has not permitted the construction of a single Christian church since they conned the Euros.

Sbrenica? Some innocents were slaughtered, but most of the targets were Muslim terrorists.
Posted by: ToughLove Not Hate || 02/23/2006 18:56 Comments || Top||

#22  As I recall the Croats have the honor of first place in ethnic cleansing.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/23/2006 18:59 Comments || Top||

#23  Nimble Spemble, I think you may have bought into the disinfomation that the Croats ethnic cleansed 200,000 Serbs when they retook the southern and eastern areas of the country . News reports at the time clearly showed long columns of Serb vehicles fleeing ahead of the advancing Croats. Which makes it difficult to argue it was ethnic cleansing.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/23/2006 19:28 Comments || Top||

#24  Phil
A cousin was over there with Doctors without borders..
Only stayed a couple of weeks as all sides would shoot at doctors, nurses and rescue workers being they were easy targets to shoot.

Said..
Muslim Jihadist from Iran would wander all over raping and pillaging everybody as they couldn't even recognize the local muslims.
Croats tattooed swastikas on their own foreheads and hunted muslims and serbs.
Serbs methodicly ran an rational sort of battle plan to accomplish what they needed.
Muslims Serbs and Croats shot at the aid workers and laughed.
Posted by: 3dc || 02/23/2006 19:44 Comments || Top||

#25  A couple of days ago the burg had an article about the Kurds moving Christians and Jews from Iraq proper and into Kurdistan to live.

Sounds like they had a good idea shit was going to happen.
Posted by: 3dc || 02/23/2006 19:45 Comments || Top||

#26  Everyone lived happily ever after in the Krajina, I'm sure.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/23/2006 20:16 Comments || Top||

#27  My point was that while 200,000 Serbs did leave Krajina. To say 200,000 were ethnic cleansed is false. Many if not most left of their own volition. Nowhere did I say the Croats (or Muslims, Serbs) didn't conduct ethnic cleansing.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/23/2006 20:32 Comments || Top||

#28  And all I said was that they were first.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 02/23/2006 21:14 Comments || Top||

#29  I have to comment here, I think the question is wrong, not "Will" there be civil war, but that "Civil War" is, and has ben going on for a loooooong time now, interrupted by the United States Army in some severely localised areas.

That this recent resurgence (Touched off mainly by the excuse "Cartoons") is only the current excuse used, and now fueled by the golden dome destruction as simply the heat under the steaming pot just being turned up another slight notch higher.
Hunker down, wait a bit, this has been going on for so many centuries now that the people are very tired of it, and things will calm relatively quickly.
(Calm being a relative term, you understand)
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 02/23/2006 21:39 Comments || Top||

#30  I don't think so - the SAMARRA, etal. attacks appear more like yet another coordinated strike against multiple local targets intended more for American MSM-Pols than to successly destabilize the post-elex new Iraqi Govt. Yes, the Civilians have suffered loses but so have the atackers.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 02/23/2006 21:43 Comments || Top||

#31  When we established the northern No-Fly zone for Sammy after OIF, the Kurds took advantage of the stability it produced and ran with it. The Sunnis in the Triangle are just spoil sports now that their benefactor Sammy and Uday and Qusay are out of power and/or this world. The Shiites have this Martyr complex that has been following them around for 1000+ years. They have a lot of shadow work to do, heh.

The Kurds have to secure their own area, consolidate their borders with the Triangle, ensure that their Northern oilfields are secure, and work things out with the Turks, so they have some communication with the outside world. It sure as hell won't be with Iran for a while.

If the Kurds play their cards right, they will do OK, despite what storms come up with the Sunnis in the Triangle.
Posted by: Al-Aska Paul || 02/23/2006 21:57 Comments || Top||

#32  From what I understand, causing folks to flee for their safety is the same as ethnically cleansing an area. If the Serbs left because they wanted Serbs as neighbors that wouldn't qualify.

As long as they don't go Rwanda on each other I don't really have a problem with this kind of ethnic cleansing as it tends to resolve conflicts a little better when combatants aren't intermixed.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 02/23/2006 22:18 Comments || Top||

#33  Considering all the weapons/ammo caches still laying around in the Iraqi desert, telling the Peshmurga "no" might prove to be a very exciting experience. Short, too.

Let Turkey find out.
Posted by: mojo || 02/23/2006 22:47 Comments || Top||



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Two weeks of WOT
Thu 2006-02-23
  Yemen Charges Five Saudis With Plotting Attacks
Wed 2006-02-22
  Shi'ite shrine destroyed in Samarra
Tue 2006-02-21
  10 killed in religious clashes in Nigeria
Mon 2006-02-20
  Uttar Pradesh minister issues bounty for beheading cartoonists
Sun 2006-02-19
  Muslims Attack U.S. Embassy in Indonesia
Sat 2006-02-18
  Nigeria hard boyz threaten total war
Fri 2006-02-17
  Pak cleric rushdies cartoonist
Thu 2006-02-16
  Outbreaks along Tumen River between Nork guards and armed N Korean groups
Wed 2006-02-15
  Yemen offers reward for Al Qaeda jailbreakers
Tue 2006-02-14
  Cartoon protesters go berserk in Peshawar
Mon 2006-02-13
  Gore Bashes US In Saudi Arabia
Sun 2006-02-12
  IAEA cameras taken off Iran N-sites
Sat 2006-02-11
  Danish ambassador quits Syria
Fri 2006-02-10
  Nasrallah: Bush and Rice should 'shut up'
Thu 2006-02-09
  Taliban offer 100kg gold for killing cartoonist

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