....LMB: "The Aftermath"....

March 19, 2003

The part of the war that the Bushies haven't talked much about, what comes next The general story is that after expelling Saddam, then comes the rebuilding, then comes the new government, then the Americans leave. Details? There aren't many. On one hand, that's smart; why make plans before you've had a chance to assess the situation. On the other hand, it's a catastrophe; after the country has been invaded, damaged, and its government nullified, basic problems like food, water, medicine, transportation, electricity, refugees and possible retaliation will become vital concerns within hours of victory.

Is the U.S. military and Bush administration up to this task? The following articles argue, "no."

A bringer of liberty can soon become an occupier- history professor Eric Rauchway draws a parallel between President Bush's war to liberate Iraq in 2000s with President McKinley's war to liberate the Philippines in 1900s.

As Senator Henry Cabot Lodge mildly noted: "Those people whom we liberated down there have turned against us." An army of 75,000 Filipinos began to fight a guerrilla war against their benevolent occupiers. The Americans had the advantage of superior firepower; the rebels enjoyed the privilege of camouflage that accrues to an occupied people. The well-armed Americans hunkered in groups while stealthy guerrillas sowed terror among the coloniser troops - who then retaliated against the populace at large. This pattern culminated in an ambush on the American garrison at Balangiga - the worst massacre of US troops since Custer. In reply, US forces laid waste to the surrounding country.

News of such terrorism and indiscriminate response brought the war to a sputtering halt - although US troops stayed in the islands and rebels remained in the wilderness, as they do today. The Philippines did not attain independence, let alone democracy, until 1946.

I believe the U.S. repression in the Philippines resulted in the deaths of about a million Filipinos.

The War After the War- lengthy (but pretty much mandatory if you want to be informed about this) article about the troubles the U.S. will face in the rebuilding/transformation of Iraq. Largely based upon "The Day After: The Army in a Post-Conflict Iraq, " an "unpublicized U.S. Army War College studies being read with increasing interest by some Pentagon planners" back in December, the article paints a very grim picture due to the amazing complexity of the situation, coupled with the U.S. military's general ignorance of Iraqi society, culture, politics, and needs. The report argues that the U.S. would need 65,000-80,000 troops stationed in Iraq for 5-10 years (even with UN support) to stabilize the country. Stop reading my summary and go read the article.

All of this has got me worried. A violent and unstable post-war Iraq would make the U.S. look bad, because it would reinforce the world opinion that the war was a bad idea.

Which got me thinking that maybe the U.S. won't be as concerned with Iraqi democracy--even a facade of it--as they will be with a U.S.-friendly leader who will "keep the peace," even if that "peace" means violent repression by the new leader.

But won't a new dictator in Iraq make the U.S. look bad too? Well, you probably won't hear about it. When was the last time the mainstream press covered oppression in allied countries like Saudi Arabia, or Turkey, or Pakistan?

Posted by Jake at 05:59 PM | TrackBack (0)

But won't a new dictator in Iraq make the U.S. look bad too? Well, you probably won't hear about it. When was the last time the mainstream press covered oppression in allied countries like Saudi Arabia, or Turkey, or Pakistan?

True. Also: when is the last time the US media has mentioned the condition of people in Afghanistan? You know, the last country we "liberated" and sprinkled "democracy" over?

After a spate of articles in the summer of 2001 about how awful the Taliban was, followed by an avalanche of similar reports post-9/11, the press has been silent for over a year. Why? Because, according to the latest UN report, life is slightly better for people in Kabul, and somewhat worse for those outside Kabul. 12 of the new girls schools have been blown up in that time, BTW.

So, you can bet the house the press WON'T report on how "democracy' (ho ho ho) is doing in Iraq after the war is declared over.

Posted by: Z at March 19, 2003 10:26 PM

Excellent finds, both of these, and there's a nice synergy to them too.

Posted by: dack at March 20, 2003 07:29 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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