Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sic Semper Tyrannus

Oh, Happy Happy Joy Joy, Happy Happy Joy....

Ding dong, the witch is dead, the witch is dead, the witch is dead...

When I went to bed last night, I had a feeling that the world would be a better place when I awoke today. And so it is. Saddam Hussein is gone, executed by the people he had so long terrorised. Wonderful.

Obviously, it won't end the war in Iraq. Nobody expects it to. But it eliminates one aspect of it, and pretty much ends the fear there of him returning to power. And it pisses off the Ramsey Clarks of the world, which is a bonus.

But trust the media in the West to find a way to spin it in a negative way. The AP story linked to in the title manages it well. Here's a little clip of the article, detailing the reactions among US troops there:

"U.S. troops cheered as news of Saddam's execution appeared on television at the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in eastern Baghdad. But some soldiers expressed doubt that Saddam's death would be a significant turning point for Iraq.

"First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial," said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. "So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?"

Wonderful. A brief one sentence mention that troops cheered, and then the rest is a mention that undermines it all. As I mentioned above, nobody thinks it'll be the end of the war. So they reiterate that belief, and then follow with a quote from a disgruntled soldier (the only one mentioned in the article). Hmmm. I wonder if they just couldn't find a soldier "in country" that thought the death of the former dictator would be a Good Thing. Bet they're hard to find there, huh?

I also thought of another point. This guy, Thomas Sheck, is being played. It's fine to have doubts about what you are doing. After Gulf War I, a war for which I was sorta almost involved, (I was in the Reserves, but my unit never got called up because the War ended so fast), a friend of mine went to Kuwait to teach English there. The stories he told me about the Kuwaitis made me wonder why we spent any blood or effort to free them. Even by Middle Eastern standards, the Kuwaitis are rotten people. And I remember thinking that if this was what we went to war for, then I wanted no part of it. However, I thought more about it, and realised that I had signed up for the Army, and had been paid to do a job. Picking and choosing what you will fight for, when you're a professional soldier isn't a valid choice. So I swallowed my doubts, and went on. As another friend put it at the time, when I had explained my doubts and then the choice I made, "You took the King's shilling." Bingo. End of moral conflict.

Okay, so this joker has his doubts. Soldiers do that. And they express them to people, usually those with whom they have a sense of rapport: Normally, you don't tell someone how you feel if you believe that they will disagree. Human nature wants reinforcement. Also, the military tends to frown upon soldiers that criticise their leaders and the national defence policy. However, young Thomas here told the press how he felt. Obviously, anyone with a brain would know that a person from the AP will agree with anyone that criticises Bush, Cheney, the War on Terror, etc. So he complained about being lied to. Wonderful. The problem is, I suspect this guy will get called on the carpet for that quote. They might not actually go to that extreme, but I'm 99% sure, based on my knowledge of the Army, that a quote like that falls into the category of Article 15/Court-martial offenses.

Let's assume the worst. Specialist Sheck gets disciplined formally for that quote. If he has any plans for a career in the military, they have suffered, at best, a minor setback. At worst, he'll be done whenever his current enlistment ends. Actions, consequences. In the broad scheme, okay whatever. So he gets booted from something that he wants. What happens now? Why he's a victim! The Army and the politicians screwed him over because he stood up for what he believed in. So that would tend to make him even more opposed to the people that sent him there. His attitude would slip more, and he would get more criticism. Which would lead to more anger, etc.

And if he gets thrown out of the Army, then he is a victim of the Establishment, that wouldn't allow a simple soldier to say what he thought. Isn't it horrible that a member of the military can be punished for exercising his right to Free Speech?

I wonder if the AP reporters there will manage to find him the next time they want a quote about something that happens in Iraq. Bet they will. And think of the time they'll save, by not having to run around interviewing random soldiers, hunting desperately for one that will say what they want to hear (and print).

And people wonder why I hate liberals and the mainstream media so much.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

A wee bit misleading

Here's a story from Yahoo this morning. They say that Gerald Ford "Ford disagreed with Bush over Iraq invasion". Okay, fine. Makes it sound like Ford would never have invaded Iraq. Now first off, that's a matter of opinion. Secondly, it falls into the category of "appeal to authority", which I recall being listed as one of the primary logical fallacies.

And thirdly, it's not quite true. What he actually said is that he thought Bush over-emphasized the WMD argument. Which is of course true. (Remembering that the Senate resolution authorising force had twenty-some other reasons). Here's that quote: "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

Ford also said that he would have tried other means-sanctions, restrictions, etc- first.
Again, fine. Of course, we had tried sanctions, restrictions, etc before, and they never worked. But that's a minor problem, now isn't it?

Now here's an interesting thing: I first read the Yahoo article about 20 minutes ago. Looking over it again as I write this, I discovered that it isn't the same article. The newer version has things that I absolutely did NOT see in the original one. Things that I believe would have been slightly more favorable to Bush.

I hate to go all tin foil hat paranoid here, but why was this story changed in the course of 15-20 minutes? Either that or there are 2 versions of it.

This appears to be the case. Check this out. (This is the original piece)

And here's the latter one:

Same headline, different article with different slant to it. Curious, isn't it?

(I hope that both links work. Now the original one seems to have disappeared entirely.)