Thursday, December 09, 2004

Jihad vs. Journalism

On Sundays, The Toronto Star newspaper has an excellent World section, offering depth unseen in daily reporting (as more history and geography are discussed for context), and relevant Op/Ed pieces from around the world. An interesting juxtaposition of the two happened on December 5th, 2004, and it is one that is happening in papers and magazines worldwide as they discuss the War in Iraq.

On the cover was the story "Inside Fallujah" by Anthony Shadid from The Washington Post, focusing on Abu Mohammed, a 39 year-old Iraqi insurgent fighting for what he clearly sees as liberating his homeland, and whose 13-year old son Ahmed was recently killed in battle. On page three, an Op/Ed piece ironically titled "Troops Must Stay To Protect Iraqi Children" from Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times, who suggests that while attacking Iraq was certainly a mistake, the U.S. has to stay as long as possible to ensure the safety of the Iraqi children.

So: Page 1 vs. Page 3. The Insurgent vs. The Columnist. The Iraqi vs.The American. The Mujahideen vs. The NY Times.

Both sides want peace, both are willing to kill for it, one is willing to die for it, but who's right? Today, it is both common practice and incredibly dangerous to reflexively say both positions are equal, as that thinking is now being used to neutralize harsh criticism of any actions, and in alarming cases, facts. It is also mind-numblingly lazy to dismiss analysis and opinions as simply from the "left" or "right", and to avoid searching for a moral hierarchy especially in matters of life and death. Judged closer from any angle, we can see traces of arrogance in dismissing the immediate Iraqi bodycount as irrelevant to long-term planning, and we have to recognize the biggest danger to the immediate security of the Iraqi people is American soldier. In fact, one probably killed Ahmed Mohammed. This is not to say that American soldiers are bad people - they're merely doing what they are trained to do, or that pulling out immediately is the right answer. But, this does own up to the stark reality that more Iraqi's are being killed by American actions than by anything else, and as the insurgency grows this will continue.

So, what to do?

It seems all we have to do is whisper "a future breeding ground for terrorists" and people will start screaming "we have to stay!" However, I have seen no proof that current actions are achieving better results, nor that they are increasing the desire of moderate Arabs to turn against extremists. It seems the whole world is now a much larger breeding ground for terrorists, and I haven't seen any analysis guaranteeing changing course would fail beyond histrionics that maintain the status quo. In recognizing this, we can see that quickly validating a long-term solution only entrenches the idea that everyone (save perhaps for those profiting from the war) hates the most: America occupying Iraq for a long, long time. Before accepting this, aren't we smart enough to think of any other solutions? Can't we challenge our leaders to be?

As both sides settle in for an increasingly bloody conflict, the moral lapses accepted to fight an increasingly difficult war will haunt the world for generations (see: Guantanamo Bay), and destroy lives on both sides. The costs to the Iraqi people in general are brushed over in broadstrokes, and while liberty, freedom, and democracy are great, if you tell that to people while destroying their country, don't be surprised when they bristle at the hypocrisy of you caring more about their future than their present. For America to make this democratic omelette they are more than breaking a few eggs, they are taking a few lives.

Mr. Kristof in his first point quotes a study in the respected British medical journal, The Lancet, that suggests 100,000 Iraqi's have been killed so far, and incredibly, in the same short section details some of the awful conditions Iraqi's face as a result of looters stealing air-conditioners from hospitals, among other lawless Iraqi actions. He conveniently avoids American involvement in the deaths of 100,000 Iraqi's in suggesting them as a saviour, and is being dishonest in quoting that study and then only listing Iraqi threats to the safety of the Iraqi people.

His second point lists the humanitarian crisis with respect to water, food, and child mortality rates, stirring stuff, but also completely ignoring the biggest cause of the deaths of Iraqi children. All that tugging at my heartstrings had them frayed, but when they finally snapped, I got it: I can be sold anything if you tell me children are suffering, tell me you'll fix it, and tell me to look the other way as the tragedy is too great to bear witness. Sure, I'll allow for the possibility that tripling the number of American troops will save more Iraqi children, but if we look at every other "hot war" in history, adding more troops only adds more people trained to kill, leading to more killing. Rocket science this ain't. Finally, if you look at the most recent and analogous precedent of people defending their country against perceived U.S. aggression, over time you can foreshadow a similar bodycount: 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese.

So, it seems that conventional wisdom, or the most sensible "middle" position in a time of extremes, is: "we broke it, we'll fix it!" It sounds perfectly reasonable in the abstract, and shows taking responsibility for the mess caused. However, much like fixing up a house, if you see the builders have done a shoddy job (do I have to list the mistakes made even the Pentagon agrees with?) then you don't give them carte blanche to continue unquestioned until they get it right. You demand to see a revised plan, and you demand to know exactly what they will do to fix the problems caused and ensure they don't happen again. Before glossing over the occupation as a necessary evil fo the next few years, we need to see that mistakes will not be repeated, and that actions will truly reflect sentiments like "Troops Must Stay To Protect Iraqi Children". A continuation of the same course will only worsen anti-American sentiment in the Arab world, and attract others including more children to the insurgency. The idea that America has to stay for as long as possible specifically for the benefit of the Iraqi people is not a conclusion one should arrive at lightly, and as badly damaged as their houses are, I'm sure many Iraqi's like Abu Mohammed just want to go home.

10 Comments:

Blogger job opportunitya said...

Great blog.  I just like the site and I will get a
visit again! In my spare time I usually try and look
for blogs just as neat as yours.
Hey playa! You need to check out my loan home re finance loan debt blog.

1:34 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

nike air max, louboutin shoes, burberry, louboutin outlet, replica watches, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, tory burch outlet, ugg boots, tiffany jewelry, nike free, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, ugg boots, replica watches, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses, louboutin, polo ralph lauren outlet, oakley sunglasses, ugg boots, tiffany and co, nike outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, ugg boots, prada handbags, prada outlet, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin outlet, michael kors outlet, michael kors, longchamp, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses

8:46 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

michael kors, north face, converse pas cher, vans pas cher, nike air max, ralph lauren pas cher, hollister pas cher, nike air max, mulberry, coach outlet, abercrombie and fitch, michael kors, coach factory outlet, michael kors, true religion jeans, michael kors, burberry, vanessa bruno, nike blazer, new balance pas cher, coach purses, true religion jeans, nike free, kate spade handbags, longchamp pas cher, hogan, louboutin pas cher, timberland, lacoste pas cher, oakley pas cher, lululemon, sac longchamp, air max, ray ban pas cher, air force, hermes, north face, coach outlet, true religion outlet, nike air max, nike roshe, air jordan pas cher, ralph lauren uk, true religion jeans, hollister, nike free run uk, tn pas cher, sac guess, nike roshe run, ray ban uk

8:49 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

north face outlet, jimmy choo shoes, insanity workout, nike roshe, mcm handbags, chi flat iron, babyliss, iphone cases, iphone 6s plus cases, ipad cases, instyler, baseball bats, p90x workout, nike huarache, ghd, iphone 6 cases, celine handbags, giuseppe zanotti, soccer shoes, nike air max, iphone 6s cases, bottega veneta, asics running shoes, longchamp, ralph lauren, valentino shoes, reebok shoes, vans shoes, oakley, nfl jerseys, hollister, north face outlet, beats by dre, ferragamo shoes, timberland boots, mont blanc, s5 cases, abercrombie and fitch, birkin bag, wedding dresses, iphone 5s cases, iphone 6 plus cases, new balance, herve leger, nike trainers, hollister, mac cosmetics, lululemon, soccer jerseys, louboutin

8:53 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

ugg pas cher, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, canada goose, hollister, sac louis vuitton pas cher, moncler, canada goose, louis vuitton, canada goose, louis vuitton, marc jacobs, moncler, toms shoes, pandora jewelry, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, bottes ugg, canada goose outlet, supra shoes, barbour jackets, links of london, canada goose, pandora charms, canada goose uk, swarovski, ray ban, converse outlet, nike air max, vans, gucci, barbour, replica watches, wedding dresses, moncler, moncler, moncler outlet, juicy couture outlet, thomas sabo, coach outlet, converse, ugg boots uk, canada goose outlet, doke gabbana outlet, doudoune canada goose, montre pas cher, swarovski crystal, moncler, lancel, pandora charms

8:56 PM  
Blogger Minko Chen said...

tiffany jewellery
ralph lauren uk
replica watches
true religion uk outlet
air max 2014
christian louboutin,louboutin,louboutin outlet,louboutin outlet italia,scarpe louboutin
tiffany and co
pandora outlet
designer handbags,handbags outlet,cheap handbags,purses and handbags,wholesale handbags,designer bags,bags outlet,handbags wholesale,cheap purses,discount handbags,handbags sale,wholesale purses,handbags and purses,designer purses
cheap uggs
louis vuitton bags
hermes outlet store
cleveland cavaliers
true religion outlet
longchamp handbags outlet
louis vuitton outlet store
abercrombie and fitch
mizuno running shoes
cheap jordans
0108minko

8:42 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

ugg boots, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, christian louboutin, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, gucci handbags, christian louboutin uk, tiffany jewelry, chanel handbags, louboutin pas cher, air max, nike free run, prada handbags, louis vuitton outlet, jordan pas cher, louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, oakley sunglasses, polo outlet, replica watches, nike free, nike roshe, kate spade outlet, nike outlet, tiffany and co, polo ralph lauren outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses wholesale, prada outlet, nike air max, longchamp outlet, longchamp outlet, tory burch outlet, michael kors pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, replica watches, burberry pas cher, christian louboutin outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren

10:38 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

timberland pas cher, michael kors outlet, nike free uk, guess pas cher, michael kors, michael kors outlet, hollister uk, ralph lauren uk, abercrombie and fitch uk, north face uk, coach purses, burberry outlet, converse pas cher, coach outlet, polo lacoste, nike blazer pas cher, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, hollister pas cher, lululemon canada, michael kors, sac hermes, true religion outlet, uggs outlet, nike air force, michael kors outlet online, burberry handbags, sac vanessa bruno, michael kors outlet, nike air max uk, new balance, true religion outlet, mulberry uk, vans pas cher, ray ban uk, ray ban pas cher, nike tn, true religion outlet, kate spade, north face, nike air max, true religion jeans, coach outlet store online, michael kors outlet online, hogan outlet, oakley pas cher, nike air max uk, nike roshe run uk

10:46 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

insanity workout, hollister clothing, jimmy choo outlet, longchamp uk, soccer shoes, iphone 6s cases, ralph lauren, hermes belt, iphone 6 cases, abercrombie and fitch, mont blanc pens, timberland boots, s6 case, mcm handbags, chi flat iron, lululemon, mac cosmetics, giuseppe zanotti outlet, iphone 6s plus cases, ferragamo shoes, herve leger, iphone cases, celine handbags, north face outlet, nfl jerseys, valentino shoes, soccer jerseys, iphone 5s cases, wedding dresses, bottega veneta, nike huaraches, ghd hair, baseball bats, iphone 6 plus cases, north face outlet, p90x workout, instyler, vans outlet, new balance shoes, oakley, ipad cases, nike trainers uk, babyliss, louboutin, beats by dre, reebok outlet, nike roshe run, nike air max, hollister, asics running shoes

10:48 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

lancel, swarovski, hollister, swarovski crystal, moncler uk, juicy couture outlet, montre pas cher, doudoune moncler, links of london, ray ban, ugg uk, moncler, louis vuitton, moncler, hollister, moncler outlet, moncler, barbour uk, louis vuitton, replica watches, nike air max, louis vuitton, toms shoes, barbour, canada goose outlet, converse outlet, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, louis vuitton, ugg, juicy couture outlet, pandora jewelry, wedding dresses, canada goose, louis vuitton, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, pandora charms, canada goose uk, pandora uk, pandora jewelry, moncler, canada goose outlet, gucci, moncler outlet, ugg pas cher, converse, thomas sabo, karen millen uk, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose, supra shoes, canada goose jackets, vans

10:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home