Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Cartoonist Ted Rall hates Bush and the war. No surprise there. His cartoon for May 3 went over the top and embarrassed MSNBC.

MSNBC picks up his syndicated cartoons. On Monday, Rall let loose his invective on football player Pat Tillman who enlisted and was killed in Afghanistan. Rall depicted Tillman as an idiot who signed up to kill Arabs but "actually we was a cog in a low-rent occupation army that shot more innocent civilians than terrorists to prop up puppet rulers and exploit gas and oil resources. So when Tillman got killed by the Afghan resistance, one word naturally came to mind:" "Uh- idiot?", "Sap?", "HERO!"

MSNBC pulled the cartoon. Their statement is here.

On Tuesday it was back for a while. Now it is gone again. Here is the original.

What does Rall have to say for himself?

Mr. Tillman served an evil president and an evil cause. Anyone with an open mind after 9/11 could easily have learned the truth, that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq occurred instead of a war on terror, not as part of one.
Finally, it's time for troops who signed up post-9/11 to take a little personal responsibility. It's one thing for a career soldier to go where the politicians tell him or her to go, but quite another to join the military when the "president" is an illegal usurper occupying the White House, he's an out-of-control warmonger using the deaths in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania to promote a partisan political agenda and his wars are nothing more than grabs for control of oil and gas resources and pipeline routes.

The stupid thing here is that Tillman was in Afghanistan. It was well documented that Bin laden was in Afghanistan when the 9/11 plot was hatched and that Al Qaida was propping up the Taliban. The furthest of the far left has re-written this so that Bin laden was in Pakistan instead of Afghanistan

Rall may have swiped the idea for his column from here

However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot.

Kerry and others want to turn Iraq over to the UN. Are they up to it? Glenn Reynolds Casts doubt on this. Between the corruption in the oil for food program and the number of atrocities that were committed in areas under UN peacekeeper control, this would probably be the second worst thing that could happen to Iraq. The worst? Bringing in Arabs from surrounding countries to police Iraq which is the second most popular option among liberals.

During the 1990s some slaughters happened under the UN's noses plus hundreds of UN troops were taken hostage. None of the articles Glenn Reynolds references examine the lessons of the period but I have a good memory. What was said at the time was:

1) No one in a peacekeeper's uniform wants to die for the UN.
2) The UN has no troops of its own. Its peacekeepers are loaned from member nations. The members never want to send their best troops so they inevitably send inferior troops.
3) Few countries can afford to give their troops training similar to what the US gives.

Put it all together and you have poorly trained troops with no motivation to fight. No wonder they were taken hostage 500 at a time.

Sierra Leone "nearly became the UN's biggest peacekeeping debacle" when 500 peacekeepers there were taken hostage by rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF)

And that's not counting the sex and drug parties.

Funny thing, there are 100+ nations in the world. The ones that are open democracies free of (major) corruption can be counted on your fingers but people expect that a confederation of these countries will be responsible and honest.

Then there is this:

African nations have ensured that Sudan will keep its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, a decision that angered the United States and human rights advocates who cited reports of widespread rights abuses by the Khartoum government.

Officially Kerry wants NATO to take over the military portions of Iraq. He has not made that very clear in speeches but that is what his web site says. There are of course, several problems with this:

1) Has NATO said that they would be willing to do this? They were pretty skittish about a short air war in Bosnia/Kosovo and they turned the peacekeeping over to the UN which is a disaster (see above).

2) This is a major expansion of NATO. It is one thing to stop a civil war, it is different to become an occupying force. Only one NATO country (Turkey) boarders Iraq and it is not threatened by any stretch.

3) If NATO does take over, will Turkey seize northern Iraq? We know that they want to.

4) Will the Kurds accept any occupying force that includes Turkey? The Kurds want their own state which includes the Kurdish population in Turkey.

5) Arabs already see Europeans as wanting to overrun them (again). If you want to fire up Arabs, refer to the occupiers as "crusaders". This would reinforce a negative image of Europe in general. Occupying French are not going to be any more popular than occupying Americans.

Assuming all of these concerns can be addressed and NATO agrees, what will happen? Will we be able to send our troops home and let the French and Germans get shot instead? Nah. We will end up with 100,000+ troops in Iraq plus a few thousand NATO troops. It will be just as much of a coalition as the current one with only minor help from other countries.

I am not going to make fun of the other countries in Iraq, though, not when their troops are taking fire, also. That's the Daily Show's territory.

More on Microsoft's Digital Rights announcement.

But granted, if from your perspective it's a good deal to pay a monthly fee in order to be able to listen to a big pile of music, then having the ability to listen to it on a portable player might be helpful. Otherwise, in the secure DRMed future you'll do well to keep questioning who exactly it is that 'your' hardware is working for.

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