....LMB: "Angry at Fear"....

October 04, 2002

I know some extremely bright and reasonable people who support the U.S. war on Iraq. They feel that Saddam Hussein does have weapons of mass destruction, and that he might use them against the United States. They don't know if he is likely to do that, but they are unwilling to take that chance. In their minds, attacking Iraq will remove Saddam Hussein and any potential threat he might pose to us here in America. And since he is a bad man, the people of Iraq will certainly be better off. Anyone who disagrees with this position is either naive for trusting Saddam Hussein not to attack, or they "hate America," or they are needlessly letting the Iraqi people suffer under a tyrant when America could go set them free.

To me, their arguments are based upon one thing: fear.

They are afraid that they might be attacked by Saddam Hussein, possibly an attack as horrifying as the attacks of September 11. And a war against Iraq, which will be just another television program to most Americans, will eliminate this fear.

"But what about all the innocent Iraqis who will die?" you might ask them. To which many reply matter-of-factly, "people die in war." People also die in murder. And in lynching. And in genocide. The "people die in war" argument is absolutely un-fucking-acceptable.

I'm angry. I'm angry that so many Americans would be willing to allow the killing of thousands of strangers just so that these Americans don't have to feel afraid anymore. The lives of their loved ones are unimaginably precious, and the lives of strangers are worth less than nothing.

So here you go. Feel free to continue to support a war on Iraq, a war on your own fear. But I want you to read a few things first. These are the people who will die. These are the people who may soon become orphans or widows. Feel free to call for war, once you know on whom the bombs will rain.

Letters from Iraqi High School Students to American Students

Reflections from Iraq- peace activist from New Orleans brings medicine to Iraq, talks with the people there.

Voices in the Wilderness Photo Galleries- pictures of the people of Iraq.

Sorry folks, I'm really not a fan of self-righteous screeds like this, but I'm at the end of my rope. These peace activists returning from Iraq have really brought the message home to me. I've been ranting for months about injustice and death and war, but it's a different thing to read a letter from a teenage boy and his love of soccer, and then think "will he still be alive when the bombs drop next month? Or the month after? Or the month after that?"

I'll probably interview one of these returning activists on my radio show in the next couple of weeks. It might change a few minds, and it might not. And even if those minds are changed, will it make a difference?

Inside me there's little but a battle between fury and despair. And the battleground is so, so tired.

Posted by Jake at 02:06 PM
Comments

Yep, I guess people died in the September 11 attacks too. It's only war...I mean terrorism.

Posted by: Eric at October 6, 2002 07:11 PM

FRIENDS - Think you will enjoy what I have to say about the GE-Vivendi merger. Go to Update #6 on the visit with Edward page. www.edwardbaskett.com. The music is beautiful, too. Please use as you see fit.

Posted by: EDWARD EUGENE BASKETT at October 13, 2003 09:47 AM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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