Archive for February, 2007

February 13, 2007

Sorry, No Hate Mail

I don’t get any anymore. Gee, I wonder why.

On the other hand, Jennifer had this to say:

When I saw the title of this week’s column, the first connection I made was to the “unwomen” in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. However, as I read your column, I realized my mistake. You make some key points about how various ethnic groups are treated, but I was disappointed that you did not include women as unpersons.

Enlightened writer that you are, I’m sure you’re aware of how women are routinely marginalized in the media, which portray doctored-up images of women (e.g., Katie Couric minus ten pounds) or women who fall far outside the norm (models, actresses), propagates glib generalizations about “security moms”, relegates “women’s issues” such as athletic anorexia to the New York Times Styles section, tokenizes the few who make it almost to the top (Nancy Pelosi, Carly Fiorino); and then there are the medical studies that test on males first, even for problems such as Rett Syndrome, which primarily affects females … I could go on ad nauseam.

Nowhere are women represented in a way that accepts us as whole humans rather than a one-off version of men. Never are our concerns treated as human concerns. Always we are treated as the exception, the strident bitch, the me-too whiner.

If we are elided even from your column, then we truly are unpersons.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

PS – Don’t forget the elderly, and also the children about whose interests many claim to care, but look at the crappy world we’re leaving for them.

I replied that she was absolutely right. One could write a (long) book on the topic of this week’s column, which barely scratches the surface of a topic with enormous import.

Advertisements

February 13, 2007

Obama’s First Gaffe

Hillary Clinton should be denied the presidency for voting like a neo-fascist: for the Iraq war, for the Afghan war, for the USA-Patriot Act (twice). Barack Obama, on the other hand, should be denied for being a pussy.

During a campaign stop in Iowa over the weekend, the Illinois senator told a crowd: “We now have spent 400 billion dollars and have seen over 3,000 of the bravest young Americans wasted.”

Fair enough. Except it’s more than $400 billion. And he forgot the Iraqis.

Then he apologized for his “slip of the tongue.”

Here, let me help: Those lives were wasted. Every last one of them. They all died for nothing. Well, they died for lies. Their mission made things worse, not better–both for America and for Iraq. And it’s a national outrage.

The sooner people start accepting the truth, that these sacrifices are all in vain, the sooner we’ll stop throwing even more lives away on an illegal, immoral and unwinnable endeavor.

February 7, 2007

Terrorists

The above photo from the front page of today’s New York Times tells more than just the story of, as the caption reads, “An Iraqi man” who “comforted his mother, who collapsed yesterday after he was questioned by American soldiers under a new security plan for Baghdad.”

“Questioned”? Note the plastic handcuff still on his left wrist, obviously cut to allow him to tend to his mother.

I couldn’t help notice the fact that these asshole soldiers are wearing their boots inside this Iraqi house. We’ve occupied Afghanistan for six years, Iraq for four, and our troops still think it’s OK to wear shoes inside? It’s not just Muslim Culture 101–taking your shoes off at the door is standard in most countries. Is there actually not one single Army officer who pays attention to local sensibilities and teaches local mores to their men?

Look at this guy’s face. If I was pro-American before, I’d sign up for the local insurgency the second these automatic weapon-toting shitkickers violated my home and terrorized my mother.

February 2, 2007

Back and Forth

I Fisk a letter from one Stephen, who says he’s a “long-time reader”:

I’m a college student and while I’m not really religious I have a generally conservative political stance; somewhat like a guleini. Although I often disagree with you – – you should know that I greatly respect your opinion.
Being critical of America is fine — in many ways its an American tradition. The biggest problem that people like me [average, middle-American, good ole’ boy] have with people like you is that you never seem to “go after” the terrorists and insurgents the same way.

There are three reasons you might think that. First, I try not replicate sentiments I hear widely expressed. For instance, I don’t write about how disgusted I am by child molesters because, well, duh. That’s well covered in the media. I agree, but I have nothing to add to the subject. Nodding in assent makes for boring writing.

Second, you have to separate “terrorists” from the insurgents fighting off occupiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. The former are loathesome. The latter are to be admired, for they are patriots. There may be times when insurgents become terrorists. However, merely being an insurgent does not make one a terrorist, no matter how often Bush and Fox News claim otherwise.

Third, I am a million times more concerned about the shortcomings of the American people, their system of government and their political leaders than those of other countries. I live here, not there, and there’s a lot more I can do about what goes on here in the United States. Did I think the Muslims who burned embassies over the Danish Mohammed cartoons were idiots. Yes, obviously, and I said so when asked. But they worry me a lot less than people who shoot abortion doctors.

For instance, you hate the whole Bush wire-tapping thing (and so do I). However, if you love civil liberties so much, wouldn’t you be even more pissed off about what the North Koreans do to their people?

No. I wouldn’t. Because liberation cannot be imposed from outside. Freedom will come to North Korea when the people there rise up and overthrow their oppressive dictatorship. What I think about North Korea’s leaders is irrelevant. Besides, as far as I know, the regime there may well be very popular. On the other hand, as an American, I know enough about basic American values to know that listening in to our phone calls is un-American.

Or consider how much you hate discrimination ( I hate it too, I think its great you call the American government out when it crosses the line)… but if I was going to write about unfairness in the world I’d have to start with how women are treated in Islamic governments – and how Islamic governments deal with free speech and everything else.

See above. It would be great if women in oppressive Taliban-style regimes like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (incidentally, close allies of the Bush Administration and the US) were to rebel and fight for equal rights. I would be very, very pleased if they did. But it won’t change unless and until they do. Women’s rights in Muslim countries is for women–and, well, for men–to decide there.

Also see above on the redundancy thing. Others have said it. Why repeat it over and over?

This is the editorial that I want you to write:
American Foreign policy: How Ted Rall would deal with terrorists that want to kill Ted Rall.

I’ve already written about how I would fight the war on terror in columns and books.

You wonder why Americans have been going down the same path since Reagan, and I’ll tell you the answer.

WE HAVE NOT BEEN GIVEN A BETTER CHOICE. complaining and calling bush a killer is not a solution. I voted for Bush because he had the only plan, it wasn’t a great plan but it was a plan, he said he’d fight the terrorist on their own crummy ground and that’s what he tried to do.

I suspect you’re right. Voters like their candidates to seem certain, and Democrats don’t project that same arrogance. But it’s one hell of a way to choose a president or a Congress.

I’ll let you go, I know you’re busy.
Thanks for taking the time to read my rant.
I may be just one guy – but I represent the thinking of millions.

Please consider writing the editorial I mentioned.

February 1, 2007

German Courts Issue Arrest Warrants for CIA Kidnapper-Torturers

Leave it to the Germans to call us to account for our evil actions. How we mighty have fallen.