....LMB: "The Saddest "I Told You So""....

January 12, 2003

On September 22, 2001, I went to an anti-war protest at the Federal Building in Westwood, California. Although it seemed a vain goal, I felt that I had to do something to try to prevent the U.S. from attacking Afghanistan. I couldn't think of any better plan. I was also scared, fairly certain that at some point, some frat boys from the local college would drive by in a Jeep and kick our asses for being "terrorist-lovers" or something.

(Our asses were not kicked. My friend John Kawakami suggested that maybe it was because they couldn't find parking)

I had written up a one-page flyer to hand out, which for lack of a better title, I called "Common Sense: Why a War Against Afghanistan is a Bad Idea." As Los Angeles is a terribly non-pedestrian place, there weren't many folks to hand them out to. So I ended up sticking them on free newspaper racks in the shopping district before driving dejectedly home.

My flyer had three simple reasons why a war with Afghanistan was a bad idea.

1) A War Against Afghanistan Will Not Get Rid of the Terrorists.
I still use the metaphor today, that you can't destroy an international terrorist network like al Qaeda by bombing a country any more than you could destroy the Mafia by bombing Italy. Sure enough, al Qaeda seems to be functioning today.

2) A War Against Afghanistan Will Kill Thousands of Innocent People.
The best, most conservative estimate I've seen of Afghan dead was in a January 2002 report by the Project on Defense Alternatives called Strange Victory: A critical appraisal of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Afghanistan war. The PDA report reasoned that 1000-1300 Afghan civilians died due to U.S. bombing, and that another 3000-7200 (well, up to 18,000, depending on how you juggle the numbers) died due to the bombings' effects on getting humanitarian aid to starving Afghans. So a reasonable estimate of 4000-7500 Afghan non-combatants killed due to the U.S. invasion.

3) A War Against Afghanistan Might Create New Terrorists.
"Bombs dropping on the innocent might push some desperate Afghans over the edge. Attacks from the US might have the unintended effect of inspiring a new generation to enlist in a terrorist army," I said.

At the time, this seemed like a reasonable prediction. But as the months drew on without any news reports of such things, I began to think that maybe I'd been paranoid. After all, how many widows and orphans have U.S. intervention in Latin America created? And they haven't begun terrorist attacks on us. Maybe the Afghans were going to just move on with their lives, tragedy fading and the cycle of violence coasting to a stop.

Then, I read this:

Latest Al Qaeda Recruits: Afghans Seeking Revenge

According to that article, Al Qaeda is seeking to exploit the anger of grieving Afghans to convert them to their jihad. And it's working.

So I'm three for fucking three. Not that you needed Nostradamus to figure that out.

Funny, you usually feel good when you're right. Yet all I can do is sit here and blink away furious tears.

Posted by Jake at 11:54 PM

my thoughts exactly, jake.

3-for-3. indeed.

Posted by: bc at January 13, 2003 11:31 AM

Jeez.. what makes me even more sad is the fact that people can be brainwashed into fighting a war that would only destroy themselves and everyone else. Jake, e-mail me about protests and any further peace rallies, I'm interested to go.

Posted by: Katarina at January 14, 2003 12:29 AM

A great article by Zoltan Grossman called, "Killing Civilians to Show That Killing Civilians is Wrong:" at:
http://thirdtablet.com/InfiniteJustUs/zoltan_grossman.html comes to the same conclusion. It was published on 9-28-01, just a week after Jake's predictions

Posted by: jim at January 15, 2003 12:45 PM

Uh huh. And what exactly are your proposals for fighting terrorists? It's nice to be able to sit back and criticize, but how about some constructive solutions then?

Posted by: Todd at January 16, 2003 10:27 AM

Well Todd, let's bring this headline on for you: "Terrorising Terrorists to Show That Terrorism Is Wrong" U.S Imperalism is, afterall, Global Terrorism.

Posted by: Katarina at January 16, 2003 11:50 PM

To me, it's obvious that any real effort to defeat modern fundamentalist Islamic terrorism must rely primarily on a long process of police work, detective work and spy work.

I really think that Al Qaeda is a criminal syndicate, and must be fought as such. It must be studied, spied upon, and infiltrated. Cops and spies will have to find out who the members are, how they interact, where their money comes from, what their plans are. Then the network must be disrupted or destroyed, and the members must be captured or killed.

It's not a particularly satisfying answer, and not a particularly easy solution. But I don't see any other way.

But "terrorism" can't be stopped, as it is a tactic. It's kind of like declaring war on "shooting people."

And Katarina's got a point, I imagine that for all its domestic and international justifications, that having a bomb kill your son in your mud hut in Afghanistan probably looks just as much like terrorism as a suicide bomber.

Posted by: Jake at January 17, 2003 12:08 AM

Katerina, that is STILL not a solution. I asked for solutions, not more criticism.

Posted by: Todd at January 17, 2003 07:21 AM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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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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