....LMB: "Next Stop: Syria?"....

April 09, 2003

For months I've been writing about what seemed to be the crazed warhawk plan that lead to the invasion of Iraq, a bizarre scheme for U.S. dominion over the Middle East by invading Iraq, followed by possible attacks on Iran and Syria (only if they hadn't been properly intimidated by the example of Iraq). Even though I still think that is the reason for our current war, I guess I still couldn't entirely believe that this was true.

But now rhetorical shots are being fired across Syria's bow.

Last week, Donald Rumsfeld announced that military supplies were being shipped into Iraq via Syria. He didn't claim that the Syrian government was shipping items to Saddam Hussein, but that interpretation is easily made (although it looks more likely that the supplies are being smuggled across the border [possibly with/possibly without the knowledge of the Syrian government], as it has been for years). Okay, that's not an explicit shot, maybe Rumsfeld meant that Syria better stop the smuggling. But when asked to clarify, Rumsfeld declined.

Then, this morning, I caught part of the news-like Christian Broadcast Network, where evangelist and fool Pat Robertson was interviewing Dr. Khidhir Hamza, alleged former nuclear scientist for Saddam Hussein (I don't intend to imply he's untrustworthy with the "alleged," I only put it because I haven't researched the fellow, so I don't know if he's reliable). Pat asked Hamza about whether or not he thought the U.S. should invade Syria as well as Iraq. Seemed like an odd question to ask... Didn't catch any more of it, and don't have a link. If anyone can help me out, I'll add the proper linkage.

And then, these two articles via Dack:

For Some, Syria Looms as Next Goal. Mainly based upon Rusmfeld's threat above, and a comment by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz on "Meet the Press": "There's got to be a change in Syria". Then another similar comment by Richard Perle. These folks generally hope/feel/pretend that Syria's regime can be changed non-violently in the aftermath of Iraq.

And then this article with a section towards the bottom titled "Syria, Iran: Are they next?".

And finally, a pair of official denials by the most peaceful (and therefore most ignored) members of the "coalition," Tony Blair and Colin Powell:

Powell Says U.S. Won't Invade Syria, Iran

Blair Says U.S. Has No Plans to Attack Syria, Iran

I'm not sure if those denials should make me less nervous or more nervous.

In conclusion... fuck, I don't know. Do these actions spell war? Are they just mean-spirited rhetoric by opposing sides? Attempts at intimidation? Hard to say. I keep waiting longer and longer to write about any war-related topic, hoping that a little time and distance will bring perspective and clarity. Guess I'll continue this discussion when/if that happens.

Posted by Jake at 12:22 AM | TrackBack (0)

I was also noting the rhetoric which implies the next phase of the "war that is far from over" (i.e. the "Project for the Nerw American Century") pointing to Syria as the next target. If Syria is smuggling weapons to Iraq, it's unfortunate that their weapons are just as ineffective at stopping the US forces as the "wmd's" Saddahm has yet to use.

Posted by: basha at April 11, 2003 07:39 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."

Posted by Jake at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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