Wednesday, April 06, 2005

20 Thoughts for Today

1. It looks like the Bush Doctrine might just be working after all. Judging from the progress on the ground in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria (we’ll see), George W.’s move to knock the legs out from under totalitarianism might eclipse Reagan’s then-criticized push to yank down the Berlin Wall. I’m gonna wait 5 or 10 years before making a final call on this, though. The mullahs in Iran are still living high on the hog. Goodness knows Bush wants at ‘em. The question of every age: At what cost?

2. The irony of Peter Jennings’ lung cancer is that he quit smoking 20 years ago and has been an anti-tobacco advocate for years. This in the same week that a Harvard report showed that Massachusetts' restaurant-and-bar smoking ban has not hurt its economy. Some day I’ll write a wickedly blunt anti-smoking piece that will prove acerbic and divisive . . . and right.

By the way, the longtime-coming, Geritol-swaddled demise of the Big Three, 6:30-p.m. media conglomerates has just about concluded. Now if we can find a way to tell the stories without everyone turning into a pompous ass like O’Reilly. (Although I admit, entertains me. I actually agree with him once in a while, too. Then I remember Franken’s nicely-researched chapter on him and change the channel over to Animal Planet where no one has an opinion except Khaki Pants).

3. I’m tired of the Right ripping on the Mainstream Media, the MSM, the Liberal Media. I am the first to say that it is in dire need of some redirection and retooling. However, without the big media outlets, none of us would have anything to bitch about. As much as I respect (and often disagree with) the Powerline guys, would they have much to talk about if it weren’t for the White House Press Corp, the AP, UPI, CNN, and the rest? Nope.

4. More on the media. The Right (look for "The Pulitzer Prize for Felony Murder") has mounted an inquiry (read "indictment") of the AP using an Iraqi stringer-photographer who had tribal, neighborhood, or familial connections to the terrorists/insurgents in Baghdad. This guy was tipped off that a "demonstration" would happen, and ended up at the scene, photographing the terrorists shooting three election workers in the head in a busy street last December. Then the photo was one of 20 to win the Pulitzer Prize this week.

The Right says that this shows the AP’s complicity in the killings. I think there’s an issue here, no doubt. It’s one thing to hire Iraqis as freelancers because they know the streets and the people. It’s another to hire any journalist to do anything when he knows or has supportive relationships with his subjects.

A bigger issue has been raised, which I think is more important. It’s not new. The Vietnam War fostered the very same debate except with regard to NVA and Viet Cong militants. The question: Is shooting, then publishing, photos of terrorists shooting election workers "legitimizing" or otherwise "aiding" the enemy?

My simple answer: There is no doubt in my mind who the good guys are, and that they are engaged with evil people who do evil deeds like kill election workers. But even evil people have stories. Every person on the face of the Earth has a human story. A Conservative Evangelical friend told me yesterday (I paraphrase, with apologies if necessary): "They are pure evil. Their stories are not worth telling. All the AP is doing is fostering their cause."

I agree that they are evil. But their stories are absolutely worth telling. Because to understand the enemy is to defeat him. To understand the enemy is to make sure that his progeny do not rise from the same dung. To understand the enemy is to understand that "pure evil" emerges from complex real-life circumstances where human beings only see black, or whose idea of black and white is reversed, or are prevented from understanding what is right. Or worse, are prevented by threat of force or force itself from acting on what is right.

To prevent the pictures from being shot or shown is to prevent the world from knowing the truth. Journalism–ideally, and in its best light–is about telling the truth about our world, whether we like it or not.

Whether the stringer was a courageous countryman covering the horrors of his day-to-day existence or a propagandist/protaganist/militant-sympathizer in the pockets of both the terrorists and a naive or money-hungry AP is another question all together.

5. They are terrorists. And they are insurgents. We’ve been over this one.

6. Been reading the Bible a lot. I’m tired of humans interpreting everything for me. Everyone has their take. So I’ve asked God to just tell me what he thinks of all my good-deed-doing, loving-their-neighbor Jewish friends. For the two commandments that sum it all up are: a) Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and b) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

7. Faith is a pain in the butt for evidence men.

8. But evidence men are left with empty hands too.

9. I see God in my wife’s eyes and my daughter’s eyes. It’s no illusion or contraption of mind.

10. Will Bolton–if he gets the seat–gut the U.N. and make it an arm of U.S. unilateralism? Or just run it into the ground through U.S. influence? He did say that it would make no difference if 10 stories of the U.N. building suddenly disappeared. That’s a bold statement. I’m happy to admit that the U.N.’s leadership is questionable and its inclusion of states with abysmal human-rights records is downright problematic.

It is possible his bold voice–and Ned Flanders-looking face–will help fix it.

11. I’m no longer speculating whether Condi Rice is a lesbian. I’m now focused on her hair.

12. Chicago is a great city overlooked by lovers of great cities. So get on the bus!

13. I’m the most creative immediately before going to the bathroom.

14. That said, let me change the topic: There’s a Norwegian wolf hunt, too. And the Swedes are perturbed to say the least.

15. I hate job searches but love good jobs.

16. I like raisins. And I like bran. And raisin bran.

17. I wish I had an Amish friend.

18. My definition of discipline, something I admire in others and drill every day in myself: Doing something that is only hard because you have made it hard to do. That, of course, doesn’t get to the fact that your or my "making it hard to do" might mean putting on extra pounds over years, or developing mental roadblocks to self-understanding, or whatever. Still, if something is worth doing, it’ll present a challenge of one kind or another. Rise up and start.

19. I love my dog. And not just because he likes the way I take care of him. He’s got good spirit.

20. Speaking of good spirit, here’s this: When you’ve started something good, Maintain the Seed.


Blogger ajmac said...

Every point invites a counterpoint and no good post should go unpunished... er... uncriticized... uh... uncommentedupon.

1. Dubya is either a courageous visionary or a tragically myopic flop. Though I think recent events have made the former seem far more likely, it certainly is still to early for history to judge him with any accuracy. At any rate, hopefully we have heard the last of the "Bushitler is an evil moron controlled by the evangelical theocrats" mantra, at least among the more respectable segments of the left.

2. Smoking is bad for you? I never would have guessed.

3. Maybe the right is tired of ripping on the Main Stream Media. But as long as the MSM keeps using its pulpit to couch its mildly-liberal, ardently-secularist worldview in the ostensiblly unquestionable cloak of objectivity (see CNN, WaPost, and NYT's coverage of JP II's "divisive" legacy this past week, in exemplum) someone has to present the other side of the story. At least the Powerline guys admit their bias. But we've been over this one (see #5) haven't we?

4. There's truth and then there's truth. The problem is that the only truth the AP seems interested in reporting is that which demonstrates innocent Iraqis suffering, evil Iraqis winning, and American soldiers either victimizing or hesitating. To paraphrase Mark Steyn, someday we'll look at old newspaper clippings about the Iraq War and wonder how on earth we lost every single battle but somehow won the war itself.

5. I am conservative. They are terrorists. (See #3)

6. This deserves its own comment, which I will provide after this word from Geritol.

7. "[F]aith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Paul

8. To paraphrase CS Lewis -- That we have longings unsatisfied by the stuff of earth proves that God made us for eternity.

9. "Male and female He created them [in His image]." Moses

10. He-hie-hiddiddly neighbor Kofi. I'm afraid you've outlived your usefulness here. But gosh you're looking swell these days.

11. Forget Marion Jones. Condi must be on 'roids to have abs like that.

12. Is this one a filler? I mean, Chicago is nice and all...

13. Drink up.

14. Okay, this one's definitely a filler.

15-20. Maybe tomorrow you should do the 12 Thoughts for Today. Or just don't go to the bathroom.

Just kiddin'. That would be bad for your bladder.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'7. Faith is a pain in the butt for evidence men.

8. But evidence men are left with empty hands too'

7. Only because they have quite alot of wishful thinking. Otherwise it is what it is.

8. Why? What is empty about that?

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