Zarqawi assassination

Zarqawi death good news for BushOlmert congratulates Bush for killing of al-ZarqawiZarqawi’s demise is a psychological boost.

Zarqawi has a horrid history and deserved strong justice (strong justice does not necessarily equate to death, mind you).

(I’m sure some people will disagree with what I’m about to say, but I feel it necessary.)

We should remember all this crowing and cheering that we’re doing next time we see reports from Al Jazeera or BBC about Arabs cheering in the streets as a result of al Qaeda or other success against “the west”.

Iraq Body Count reports that between 38,254 and 42,646 Iraqi’s have been killed as a result of the attack on and occupation of Iraq. Yes, you read that right, around forty thousand people killed as a result of military action launched by Bush, Blair and Howard. The perception is that this war was launched with our (the citezenship’s) support.

Now, for a thought experiment, flip those headlines around: “Bush death good news for bin Laden”, “Hamad congratulates bin Laden for killing of Bush”, “Bush’s demise a psychological boost”. That is probably how we are being seen by a great many in the Arab world. Even if we don’t agree with Bush’s policies (as many in the Arab world probably didn’t agree with Zarqawi), we’d still think it was an outrage if an event like that was celebrated so openly.

I also note no mention of civilian casualties from the air strikes (don’t kid yourself into thinking there were none – if there’s one thing I learnt from Robert Fisk is that air strikes are never as precise as claimed).

Why are we so eager to celebrate death?

Update: In fact, I was just thinking about one of those articles again – “:Zarqawi death good for Bush”. I’ve heard (through an email group that I’m part of) that six civilians were killed in the attacks. Looked at from another perspective, that headline reads: six people dying is good for Bush – because it helps him “revive sagging public support for the war in Iraq”…

The news

Cameron quotes from a few blogs about the footage from the Pentagon attacks that was supposedly “released for the first time” yesterday.

One of the quotes struck me most:

If you’re just the slightest bit intelligent and keep up with current events, you’ll realize that the footage they’re trying to impress us with isn’t new at all. In fact, that footage was available mere months after the whole attack* even happened. I guess they figure we’ve let our guard down since then and they want to inject us with a new healthy dose of angst.

I saw the footage on the news last night and I too remember seeing it years ago. So much for new…

On two related notes – I watched the TV news last night for the first time in months and I was very unimpressed, except when I flicked to SBS. And I realised that I now get very little of my news through mainstream outlets like TV and the papers.

Just a few weeks ago I actually unsubscribed from the major dailies’ RSS feeds – so pretty much all of my news now comes through blogs and friends on instant messaging or email (i.e. people I trust – to a greater or lesser degree – flag items of interest for me).

So another of Cameron’s recent posts, Aussie Newspapers in decline and denial, really got me thinking.

There are some great graphs which indicate that capital city newspapers’ sales in Australia declined 2001 – 2005 and that the per capita consumption of capital city newspapers from 1993 – 2005 have declined substantially, especially the Mon-Fri numbers. The graphs also indicate that capital city commercial free-to-air TV stations have declined 2001-2005 BUT, and I love this, the ABC and SBS are UP over that period.

Very interesting stats. But this rang true most for me:

He misses the true point of what’s happening though. It isn’t technology that is disrupting the news industry – it is the people who are dissatisfied with the news product as it currently exists and who are using the technology to create alternative sources of information and entertainment.

It’s something newspapers, TV and radio would do well to tattoo on their foreheads so they don’t forget: It’s the people, stupid.

Palestine is still the issue…

Newsvine: Israel to Draw West Bank Borders by 2010. What a disgrace! Israel is already illegally occupying Palestinian land, in defiance of U.N. resolutions that have been conveniently ignored by Israel and the U.S.

“Israel will determine its border with the West Bank in the absence of negotiations with the Palestinians…” – there’s no negotiation to be had – Israel should be withdrawing from Palestinian territory. Meh…

No civil war?

Newsvine: No Civil War in Iraq!. In his latest book, Robert Fisk talks about the claim of “civil war” from the U.S and British spin-meisters from as far back as the 1991 attack on Iraq. Interesting that Newsvine is spreading the word…

I’m still getting through Robert’s book. It’s a long and hard read, so detailed and so devastating. I think it is a must read for anyone who wants to know just why there are so many “issues” in the Middle East. Hint: it has a lot to do with our governments’ actions over the past, oh, 50 years.

Robert Fisk

Miguel di Icaza has been mentioning Robert Fisk a lot lately (Barry was the first to put me onto him, linking to an article on his long-abandoned blog – hint, hint). A week or so ago I checked out a lecture recording or Robert speaking in LA. This was enough to prompt me to buy his latest book, The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East.

I’m only two chapters in, and it’s a lengthy book – fun holiday reading 😉 – and I’m hooked. A very good read so far. Miguel has posted some thoughts on the chapter on Iraq, and points to a part of chapter 11, on the 1917 invasion of Iraq.

Although different in topic and tone, it reminds me a lot of Absurdistan by Eric Campbell, in terms of Fisk’s recollections of being a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion, launched in 1979.