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"US troops in sick taunt of Iraqi boys"

by STA Thu Nov 23rd, 2006 at 09:18:32 AM EST

A video showing US soldiers in Iraq taunting thirsty children with a bottle of water has caused outrage.

The footage shows a group of children desperately chasing a truck so they can get a drink.

Today the US Department of Defense confirmed the video showed US soldiers and said the images were 'unfortunate'.

The faces of the two men in the vehicle are not revealed but they can be heard saying in American sounding accents: 'You want some water? Keep running.'

The video

The article

Comments >> (2 comments)

Too many philosophers

by STA Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 09:05:15 AM EST

A passage from a speech given yesterday by President Bush:

Let me start with taxes. Max and I have a philosophy: We believe that you know how to spend your money far better than the federal government does. (Applause.) We believe that when you have more of your own money in your pocket to save, spend or invest, the economy benefits. (Applause.) Democrats believe they can spend your money better than you can. So over the past five years we have acted on our philosophy and passed the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. (Applause.)

In other words, we just didn't talk about philosophy --there's too many philosophers in Washington -- we acted.

As a philosophy professor in Washington, I am particularly concerned. May be if I stopped teaching there would peace in the Middle East and the Budget would be balanced and the poor would eat.

The again, in our defense:

1 -- Apparently philosophy is everywhere in the District.

2 -- This is not the first time we have been blamed. Forget Socrates' corruption of the youth and remember Gavroche:

Je suis tombé par terre, c'est la faute à Voltaire
Le nez dans le ruisseau, c'est la faute à Rousseau
Je ne suis pas notaire, c'est la faute à Voltaire
Je suis petit oiseau, c'est la faute à Rousseau

Comments >> (19 comments)

Fisk on Iran

by STA Fri Aug 18th, 2006 at 08:25:45 PM EST

This is a brief diary reflection.

There was a great discussion about Hersh on Iran, initiated by Bob. Essentially, Hersh says that Lebanon was a test for a possible attack against Iran.

Here is Robert Fisk's take:

Iran, as Hizbollah's principal supporter, clearly thinks so too. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who usually talks far more than he thinks, condemned the US for supplying Israel with the weapons it used on Lebanese civilians - perfectly true. But he did not say Hizbollah's missiles come from a new-generation Iranian arsenal that did not even exist during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. While the US will be keen to assess the effectiveness of its weapons - albeit largely used on civilians - no one should doubt that Iran will also be assessing the success of its new Fajr missiles - and their effect on the Israeli army.

What if both journalists are right?  What if each president deliberately tried to test its manhood by blowing up so many civilians in a proxy war? If that is the case, is there even room for a scandal? Or should we just live a aesthetic life of irony, of private giggles, and give up progressive hope and  public agendas?

(It's been a rough few weeks on my psyche...not this pessimistic in general...)

Comments >> (7 comments)

The Haditha Massacre Did Not Take Place (Ad Mominem Victory!)

by STA Sat Jun 3rd, 2006 at 12:26:55 PM EST

It has become a long-standing strategy for Karl Rove and the Republican Party to have recourse to ad hominem attacks against their political adversaries.

A brief history first:

  • McCain, 2000 Republican Primaries: "As for the Waterloo of South Carolina, most of the facts are well-known, and among this group of Republicans, what happened has taken on the air of an unsolved crime, a cold case, with Karl Rove being the prime suspect. Bush loyalists, maybe working for the campaign, maybe just representing its interests, claimed in parking-lot handouts and telephone "push polls" and whisper campaigns that McCain's wife, Cindy, was a drug addict, that McCain might be mentally unstable from his captivity in Vietnam, and that the senator had fathered a black child with a prostitute."
  • Valerie Plame. Too long to summarize, of course, and most know what happened. See here.
  • Cindy Sheehan: What do you do to a grieving mother? Calling her an "ignorant cow" does not come to mind first, for most folks. See also here.
  • And the one case that enriched the English language by creating a new verb: Kerry and the Swiftboat veterans. If you need more, here are the facts defeating the Swiftboaters, but Kerry was defeated too...  
  • In philosophy courses, we don't let students make ad hominem arguments. They have as much persuasive value as "yo moma jokes" (Ad Mominem?)

    However you call it, it is low but seems to work in American politics these days.

    Today's case: al-Mashhadani

    Read more... (1 comment, 843 words in story)

    Yet one more horrific record broken

    by STA Tue May 30th, 2006 at 11:25:27 PM EST

    From Editor and Publisher:

    The deaths of two CBS journalists on Monday means the Iraq conflict is now the deadliest war for reporters in the past century.

    Since 2003, 71 journalists have been killed in Iraq, more than the 63 killed in Vietnam, 17 killed in Korea -- and now the 69 killed in World War II, according to Freedom Forum.

    The Iraq numbers do not include the 26 members of media support staff who have also died, as counted by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    Read more... (4 comments, 241 words in story)

    The Iranian scenario that keeps me up at night

    by STA Fri May 19th, 2006 at 08:26:36 AM EST

    There have been a steady number of diaries and stories about Iran. Yesterday's goingsouth diary was yet one more thoughtful one.

    In this diary, I would like to present what I consider the worse scenario, my biggest fear, but also my only hope, coming from the international community.

    Promoted by Colman

    Read more... (58 comments, 733 words in story)

    Judith Miller and 911

    by STA Thu May 18th, 2006 at 02:06:32 PM EST

    Recently Jerome had brought Miller up in a discussion.

    Now, in an exclusive interview, Miller reveals how the attack on the Cole spurred her reporting on Al Qaida and led her, in July 2001, to a still-anonymous top-level White House source, who shared top-secret NSA signals intelligence (SIGINT) concerning an even bigger impending Al Qaida attack, perhaps to be visited on the continental United States.

    Ultimately, Miller never wrote that story either. But two months later -- on Sept. 11 -- Miller and her editor at the Times, Stephen Engelberg, both remembered and regretted the story they "didn't do."

    Read more... (1 comment, 630 words in story)

    What it takes to attack Iran

    by STA Tue May 9th, 2006 at 11:47:53 PM EST

    In my view, nuclear ambitions won't suffice. It will be Iran's collaboration or direct role in terrorism that will justify war.

    Read more... (33 comments, 275 words in story)

    World War III is here, says Bush

    by STA Sat May 6th, 2006 at 05:11:53 PM EST

    War on terror is apparently the world war three...

    Read more... (2 comments, 202 words in story)

    Zarqawi video gags

    by STA Thu May 4th, 2006 at 11:16:29 PM EST

    The US military has released the terrorist's outtakes. But Family Guy was ahead of them all...

    Read more... (124 words in story)

    Trust in Media

    by STA Thu May 4th, 2006 at 03:35:35 PM EST

    Who do you trust more, media or government?

    Read more... (4 comments, 82 words in story)

    Moussaoui Gets Life in Prison

    by STA Thu May 4th, 2006 at 08:10:27 AM EST

    The jury did not sentence him to death.

    Read more... (18 comments, 118 words in story)


    by STA Tue May 2nd, 2006 at 10:46:15 PM EST

    A poll was released tuesday about young americans (18-24) and their knowledge of geography.

    Read more... (26 comments, 88 words in story)

    My president

    by STA Tue May 2nd, 2006 at 11:02:09 AM EST

    A small political riddle

    Read more... (13 comments, 225 words in story)

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