Sep 04 2009

The double standard of photographic realism

Category: abortion,media,military,societyharmonicminer @ 3:21 pm

The AP has decided to print the photo of a young marine as he is dying, despite the expressed wishes of his family and the Secretary of Defense that the soldiers privacy be respected and the photo not be released. The AP is doing this in the name of “journalistic realism” and “telling the real story of the Afghan war.”

The AP reported that the Marine’s father had asked – in an interview and in a follow-up phone call — that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.

The AP reported in a story that it decided to make the image public anyway because it “conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.”

The photo shows Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine, who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush Aug. 14 in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, according to The AP.

Gates wrote to Thomas Curley, AP’s president and chief executive officer. “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as Secretary of Defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with Walter Reed.”

“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”
……………

Morrell said Gates wanted the information about his conversations released “so everyone would know how strongly he felt about the issue.”

The Associated Press reported in a story about deliberations about that photo that “after a period of reflection,” the news service decided “to make public an image that conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.

“The image shows fellow Marines helping Bernard after he suffered severe leg injuries. He was evacuated to a field hospital where he died on the operating table,” AP said. “The picture was taken by Associated Press photographer Julie Jacobson, who accompanied Marines on the patrol and was in the midst of the ambush during which Bernard was wounded. … ‘AP journalists document world events every day. Afghanistan is no exception. We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is,’ said Santiago Lyon, the director of photography for AP.

It is the policy of essentially every mainstream news organization, including the AP, NOT to print photos that show the reality of abortion, and what aborted unborn human beings look like.  They won’t show what aborted human beings look like after being aborted at 9 weeks, or 15 weeks, or 24 weeks, or 30 weeks.  It would be “too disturbing,” it seems.  But they will show other, equally or even more distubing photos without apparent restraint, whenever it fits the news agenda of the day. 

Some newspapers won’t even run print ads paid by pro-life organizations if they tell the truth too accurately about abortion, and they may even object to accurate descriptions of abortion, let alone photos of the killed human being that results from it.  I would go further with this…  but you already know it’s true, don’t you?  Because you have just about never seen a picture of an aborted baby in any major newspaper, newsmagazine or network TV broadcast, have you?  But you have routinely seen bodies piled high in Holocaust photos, people being shot in the back of the head in executions by totalitarian regimes, and many other horrible, but true, events.

The cognitive dissoance is stunning, because on the one hand the mainstream media buys into the lie that aborted babies aren’t really people, just some kind of thing that could have developed into one…  and on the other hand, it is apparently more disturbing to them to show a photo of an aborted fetus than to show the murder of someone they DO accept as a full human being.  I guess it’s just too disturbing to show a photo of the death of a non-person.

It seems that photographically telling the truth about abortion is NOT on the news agenda….  but showing the last moments on earth of a mortally wounded soldier IS.

Pray for the family of the deceased soldier, as their pain is increased by this barbarous decision.


Jun 26 2009

Quick, what’s scarier? Missing nukes, or missing bugs?

Category: funny but sad,government,military,national securityharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

Thousands of uncatalogued pathogens found at US lab

With three days left in spring cleaning season, a US army lab that works on the world’s deadliest pathogens has turned up uncatalogued vials of Ebola, anthrax, plague and other pathogens – 9220 of them to be precise.

The laboratory is the same one where anthrax researcher Bruce Ivins worked before he committed suicide last year. The US government suspects Ivins was behind the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people, and studies showed that the anthrax used in the attack was “directly related” to the batch stored at the lab.

The discovery of the uncatalogued vials raises questions about whether anyone would notice if some of the lab’s pathogens went missing.

“A small number would be a concern; 9200 … at an institution that has been the focus of intense scrutiny on this issue, that’s deeply worrisome. Unacceptable,” Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers University, told the Washington Post.

If you see some guys in white lab coats selling vials of “special fragrance” at the swap meet, I suggest you find someplace else to shop.  I’m not sure if this is scarier than missing Russian suitcase nukes, but it’s at least competitive on the scare-o-meter.  Does anybody think that the anthrax-spreading misanthrope is the only geek with a big brain and a tiny moral center? 

There are days when I wonder if the human race is just too stupid to live.  Then I’ll buck up a bit, and start feeling less pessimistic.  But not long after that, I’ll hear a bunch of people, who should know better, waxing rhapsodic about the wonderfulness of government mananged healthcare for the future.  It reminds me, as if I needed reminding, that the innumerate and the illiterate have no defenses against technocrats, their natural predators.

If the missing Russian nukes, the Iranian nukes, the North Korean nukes, or the pathogenic terrorists don’t get us, then it’ll be the nanotech that does it, when the first self-replicating machine (originally designed to “eat waste at toxic waste-dumps”) turns the entire Earth into a gigantic orbiting pile of staples — covered, incidentally, with Ebola spores.

I’m sure they’ll be very useful to someone (the staples, that is).  I expect that the Intragalactic Council on Emerging Technology (ICE-T) will have a LOT of reports to fill out.


Jun 03 2009

Sadly, this won’t be the last American Jihadist

Category: Islam,media,military,sharia,societyharmonicminer @ 9:55 am

ARKANSAS’ LONE JIHADIST: HOW ALONE IS HE? (much more at the link)

Here we have a new case of an individual U.S. citizen who committed an act of terror in the name of his ideology (Government officials have called it inaccurately a “political and religious motive”) against U.S. military targets. Do we see a pattern here? Are we witnessing a repeat and copycats? In fact, as we review several previous cases, from the Miami cell case, to the Fort Dix Six, the Georgia two, the New York Four, the Virginia Paintball network, and many other cases, we’re witnessing the surge of a phenomenon we have been warning about. I have repeatedly coined it Mutant Jihad, including in my book Future Jihad. Two important elements are to be taken into consideration: One is the fact that in many of these cases, U.S. military personnel and targets have been on the short list of these “homegrown terrorists.” If you study the repeated targeting process of these urban Jihadists, they systematically focus on military deployment inside the United States. In a sense, even as the perpetrators are separate, dispersed, and not connected, their targeting seems war-like: attacking the enemy’s forces on the homeland. The second element to be taken into consideration is the clear fact that in all these cases, without exception, we’re seeing one ideology: Jihadism. Despite various levels of understanding and sophistication, the cells and lone wolves who were involved in the terror acts, legitimized their action under the label of “Jihad.”

When relatively perfunctory Christians are re-energized, they tend to give more money, act nicer towards their families, and maybe volunteer more. New converts to Christianity simply do not become violent. The exact opposite is true.  The comparison of Christian fundamentalism to Muslim fundamentalism is one of the most dishonest things done in our Left media.

But too many American and British mosques and imams preach ways of thinking and feeling about what it means to be a good Muslim that boil down to jihad. I wish it wasn’t true. But it has been pretty well documented, though not well covered in the major media.

A question: how many Muslim groups immediately issued unconditional condemnation of the murder of the soldier at the recruiting office, and denied that such actions are any part of being a good Muslim?  Google it.  See if you can find even one.

In contrast, pro-life groups around the USA immediately and unconditionally condemned the murder of Tiller the Kansas abortionist.

Maybe the imams will save their statements of condemnation of the murder for the mosque attendees.   Yeah, that’s it.

In the meantime, I guess our military recruiters had better start showing up for work in full battle-rattle.

Tags: , , , ,


Apr 13 2009

America abdicates under Obama

Category: freedom,government,military,national security,Obamaharmonicminer @ 8:09 am

I rarely quote an entire post by someone else, but this is so clearly argued that I have nothing to add. The major media’s failure to provide this kind of analysis is another reason it deserves to go extinct.  From Caroline Glick

Like it or not, the United States of America is no longer the world’s policeman. This was the message of Barack Obama’s presidential journey to Britain, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Iraq this past week.

Somewhere between apologizing for American history – both distant and recent; genuflecting before the unelected, bigoted king of Saudi Arabia; announcing that he will slash the US’s nuclear arsenal, scrap much of America’s missile defense programs and emasculate the US Navy; leaving Japan to face North Korea and China alone; telling the Czechs, Poles and their fellow former Soviet colonies, “Don’t worry, be happy,” as he leaves them to Moscow’s tender mercies; humiliating Iraq’s leaders while kowtowing to Iran; preparing for an open confrontation with Israel; and thanking Islam for its great contribution to American history, President Obama made clear to the world’s aggressors that America will not be confronting them for the foreseeable future.

Whether they are aggressors like Russia, proliferators like North Korea, terror exporters like nuclear-armed Pakistan or would-be genocidal-terror-supporting nuclear states like Iran, today, under the new administration, none of them has any reason to fear Washington.

This news is music to the ears of the American Left and their friends in Europe. Obama’s supporters like billionaire George Soros couldn’t be more excited at the self-induced demise of the American superpower. CNN’s former (anti-)Israel bureau chief Walter Rodgers wrote ecstatically in the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday, “America’s… superpower status, is being downgraded as rapidly as its economy.”

The pro-Obama US and European media are so pleased with America’s abdication of power that they took the rare step of applauding Obama at his press conference in London. Indeed, the media’s enthusiasm for Obama appeared to grow with each presidential statement of contrition for America’s past uses of force, each savage attack he leveled against his predecessor George W. Bush, each swipe he took at Israel, and each statement of gratitude for the blessings of Islam he uttered.

But while the media couldn’t get enough of the new US leader, America’s most stable allies worldwide began a desperate search for a reset button that would cause the administration to take back its abandonment of America’s role as the protector of the free world.

Tokyo was distraught by the administration’s reaction to North Korea’s three-stage ballistic missile test. Japan recognized the betrayal inherent in Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s announcement ahead of Pyongyang’s newest provocation that the US would only shoot the missile down if it targeted US territory. In one sentence, uttered not in secret consultations, but declared to the world on CNN, Gates abrogated America’s strategic commitment to Japan’s defense.

India, for its part, is concerned by Obama’s repeated assertions that its refusal to transfer control over the disputed Jammu and Kashmir provinces to Pakistan inspires Pakistani terror against India. It is equally distressed at the Obama administration’s refusal to make ending Pakistan’s support for jihadist terror groups attacking India a central component of its strategy for contending with Pakistan and Afghanistan. In general, Indian officials have expressed deep concern over the Obama administration’s apparent lack of regard for India as an ally and a significant strategic counterweight to China.

Then there is Iraq. During his brief visit to Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon, Obama didn’t even pretend that he would ensure that Iraqi democracy and freedom are secured before US forces are withdrawn next year. The most supportive statement he could muster came during his conversation with Turkish students in Istanbul earlier in the day. There he said, “I have a responsibility to make sure that as we bring troops out, that we do so in a careful enough way that we don’t see a complete collapse into violence.”

Hearing Obama’s statements, and watching him and his advisers make daily declarations of friendship to Iran’s mullahs, Iraqi leaders are considering their options for surviving the rapidly approaching storm.

Then there is Europe. Although Obama received enthusiastic applause from his audience in Prague when he announced his intention to destroy the US’s nuclear arsenal, drastically scale back its missile defense programs and forge a new alliance with Russia, his words were anything but music to the ears of the leaders of former Soviet satellites threatened by Russia. The Czech, Polish, Georgian and Ukrainian governments were quick to recognize that Obama’s strong desire to curry favor with the Kremlin and weaken his own country will imperil their ability to withstand Russian aggression.

It is not a coincidence, for instance, that the day Obama returned to Washington, Georgia’s Moscow-sponsored opposition announced its plan to launch massive protests in Tblisi to force the ouster of pro-Western, anti-Russian Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.

And as for Russia, like Iran, which responded to Obama’s latest ode to the mullahs by opening a nuclear fuel plant and announcing it has 7,000 advanced centrifuges in operation, so Moscow reacted to Obama’s fig leaf with a machine gun, announcing its refusal to support sanctions against North Korea and repeating its false claim that Iran’s nuclear program is nonaggressive.

Finally there is Israel. If Obama’s assertions that Israel must support the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state, his declarations of support for the so-called Saudi “peace plan,” which requires Israel to commit national suicide in exchange for “peace” with the Arab world, and his continuous and increasingly frantic appeals for Iran to “engage” his administration weren’t enough to show Israel that Obama is sacrificing the US’s alliance with the Jewish state in a bid to appease the Arabs and Iran, on Tuesday Vice President Joseph Biden made this policy explicit.

When Biden told CNN that Israel would be “ill-advised” to attack Iran’s nuclear installations, he made clear that from the administration’s perspective, an Israeli strike that prevents Iran from becoming a nuclear power is less acceptable than a nuclear-armed Iran. That is, the Obama administration prefers to see Iran become a nuclear power than to see Israel secure its very existence.

AMERICA’S BETRAYAL of its democratic allies makes each of them more vulnerable to aggression at the hands of their enemies – enemies the Obama administration is now actively attempting to appease. And as the US strengthens their adversaries at their expense, these spurned democracies must consider their options for surviving as free societies in this new, threatening, post-American environment.

For the most part, America’s scorned allies lack the ability to defeat their enemies on their own. India cannot easily defeat nuclear-armed Pakistan, which itself is fragmenting into disparate anti-Indian nuclear-wielding Islamist and Islamist-supporting factions.

Japan today cannot face North Korea – which acts as a Chinese proxy – on its own without risking a confrontation with China.

Russia’s invasion of Georgia last August showed clearly that its former republics and satellites have no way of escaping Moscow’s grip alone.

This week’s Arab League conference at Doha demonstrated to Iraq’s leaders that their Arab brethren are incapable and unwilling to confront Iran.

And the Obama administration’s intense efforts to woo Iran coupled with its plan to slash the US’s missile defense programs – including those in which Israel participates – and reportedly pressure Israel to dismantle its own purported nuclear arsenal – make clear that Israel today stands alone against Iran.

THE RISKS that the newly inaugurated post-American world pose for America’s threatened friends are clear. But viable opportunities for survival do exist, and Israel can and must play a central role in developing them. Specifically, Israel must move swiftly to develop active strategic alliances with Japan, Iraq, Poland, and the Czech Republic and it must expand its alliance with India.

With Israel’s technological capabilities, its intelligence and military expertise, it can play a vital role in shoring up these countries’ capacities to contain the rogue states that threaten them. And by containing the likes of Russia, North Korea and Pakistan, they will make it easier for Israel to contain Iran even in the face of US support for the mullahs.

The possibilities for strategic cooperation between and among all of these states and Israel run the gamut from intelligence sharing to military training, to missile defense, naval development, satellite collaboration, to nuclear cooperation. In addition, of course, expanded economic ties between and among these states can aid each of them in the struggle to stay afloat during the current global economic crisis.

Although far from risk free, these opportunities are realistic because they are founded on stable, shared interests. This is the case despite the fact that none of these potential alliances will likely amount to increased support for Israel in international forums. Dependent as they are on Arab oil, these potential allies cannot be expected to vote with Israel in the UN General Assembly. But this should not concern Jerusalem.

The only thing that should concern Jerusalem today is how to weaken Iran both directly by attacking its nuclear installations, and indirectly by weakening its international partners in Moscow, Pyongyang, Islamabad and beyond in the absence of US support. If Japan is able to contain North Korea and so limit Pyongyang’s freedom to proliferate its nuclear weapons and missiles to Iran and Syria and beyond, Israel is better off. So, too, Israel is better off if Russia is contained by democratic governments in Eastern and Central Europe. These nations in turn are better off if Iran is contained and prevented from threatening them both directly and indirectly through its strategic partners in North Korea, Syria and Russia, and its terror affiliates in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

For the past 16 years, successive Israeli governments have wrongly believed that politics trump strategic interests. The notion that informed Israel’s decision-makers – not unlike the notion that now informs the Obama administration – was that Israel’s strategic interests would be secured as a consequence of its efforts to appease its enemies by weakening itself. Appreciative of Israel’s sacrifices for peace, the nations of the world – and particularly the US, the Arabs and Europe – would come to Israel’s defense in its hour of need. Now that the hour of need has arrived, Israel’s political strategy for securing itself has been exposed as a complete fiasco.

The good news is that no doubt sooner rather than later, Obama’s similarly disastrous bid to denude the US of its military power under the naive assumption that it will be able to use its new stature as a morally pure strategic weakling to win its enemies over to its side will fail spectacularly and America’s foreign policy will revert to strategic rationality.

But to survive the current period of American strategic madness, Israel and the US’s other unwanted allies must build alliances with one another – covertly if need be – to contain their adversaries in the absence of America. If they do so successfully, then the damage to global security induced by Obama’s emasculation of his country will be limited. If on the other hand, they fail, then America’s eventual return to its senses will likely come too late for its allies – if not for America itself.

Tags: , , , ,


Mar 26 2009

White Male Privilege?

Category: militaryharmonicminer @ 9:48 am

Marine Freed after Rape Conviction Overturned

Amazingly enough, it took Marine Sergeant Brian Foster 10 years to get his conviction heard by an appellate tribunal. That’s 10 years behind bars for allegedly raping his wife, a crime he has always denied committing.

The appellate court noted that, at the trial of the case, there was no forensic evidence of rape, Foster and his wife continued to have intercourse for years after the alleged attack and the allegations came in the middle of a contentious divorce and custody case.

The Marine Corps blamed a large backlog of cases and “judicial negligence” for the long delay in hearing Foster’s appeal. Military prosecutor Col. Tom Umberg said, “This injustice should have been resolved in 18 months.”

Interestingly, this article about Foster’s case refers to his wife Heather Foster living in the Denver area with “her” two sons (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/14/09). Those would appear to be “his” two sons as well.

The article says Foster intends to continue in the Corps until his retirement. What he plans to do regarding his sons is not mentioned.

Sergeant Foster should get reparations, not just easy time until retirement. I continue to be dismayed at the way our military sometimes unjustly accuses its own, with a suspicious smell of PC assumptions that they are guilty until proven innocent.

Tags:


Mar 10 2009

I want one. Or two.

Category: military,technologyharmonicminer @ 9:30 am

Having been a roadie in a former life, and occasionally still being forced to function in that capacity, this looks like just the thing to help me manage those heavy flight cases for mixers, full size keyboards, etc.

Tags: ,


Dec 24 2008

More than a bandaid

Category: Afghanistan,Islam,military,terrorismharmonicminer @ 10:21 am

In an article showing pictures of a medical clinic in Afghanistan, and signs with operating hours and lists of services provided by US military medical personnel, Michael Yon makes a very important point, rebutting charges of cynicism in putting up such signs with English translation, and offering lots of great observations about the overall situation. A key graph:

At a moment when much of the Islamic world is suspicious of the U.S., publicizing the positive changes that Western nations have provided is essential. The enemy advertises cutting off heads, or attacking innocent civilians in India, or blowing up a train in Spain. They smile when blowing up tourists in Bali, and dance as buildings fall. We smile when babies recover and the children of illiterate shepherds and subsistence farmers learn to read. You have to be willfully blind not to know the difference between the good guys and the bad guys in this place.

What would you guess is the literacy rate in Afghanistan? Click the link above, read the article, and try to reconnect your jaw to the rest of your face.  Understand that we are in this for the long haul, and if Obama will fight that war, and invest in that society, you’d better support that aspect his policy, whether or not you voted for him.

And whenever you get a chance, put a stake through the heart of moral equivalence argumentation.  Most of the time, we ARE the good guys in the world (which is what makes our occasional failures so remarkable, and so attention getting), and if we give that ambition up, we die, first by abdication, and later, by national assassination, which will be all we deserve.

Tags: , , ,


Dec 19 2008

O Brave New World

Category: military,national securitysardonicwhiner @ 11:52 am

Storing food and water yet? How about body armor?

A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned Wednesday of economy-related riots and unrest in various global markets if the financial crisis is not addressed and lower-income households are hurt by credit constraints and rising unemployment.


Dec 18 2008

How much do YOU trust the government to handle life and death decisions for YOU?

Category: government,healthcare,left,militaryharmonicminer @ 10:00 am

Our military wins whenever it isn’t forced to quit by our civilian government. But it isn’t precisely “efficient”, and has the same amount of politics, stupidity, and shortsightedness as the rest of the world. When lives are on the line, that can be deadly.

WASHINGTON — Military leaders knew the dangers posed by roadside bombs before the start of the Iraq war but did little to develop vehicles that were known to better protect forces from what proved to be the conflict’s deadliest weapon, a report by the Pentagon inspector general says.

The Pentagon “was aware of the threat posed by mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) … and of the availability of mine resistant vehicles years before insurgent actions began in Iraq in 2003,” says the 72-page report, which was reviewed by USA TODAY.

The report is to be made public today.

Continue reading “How much do YOU trust the government to handle life and death decisions for YOU?”

Tags: , , ,


Dec 13 2008

Too easy to forget about right now

Category: military,national securityharmonicminer @ 10:14 am

What Norman Podhoretz calls World War IV continues, even though the American public isn’t paying the attention it should, largely because the media isn’t either.  (In Podhoretz’ formulation, the “Cold” War was World War III.)  Brilliant, independent war correspondent Michael Yon writes about the difficulty of the war for our military, and the   distortions that happen in it’s reporting.

While Americans sleep tight in their beds, this time of year U.S. soldiers sit shivering through the frigid, crystal clear nights at remote outposts in places most of us have never heard of and will never see. Often they head out into the enveloping darkness, to hunt down and destroy terrorists, who continue to kill innocent Afghans, Americans, Aussies, Balinese, Brits, Indians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Spanish….in short, anyone who opposes their violent tyranny. Their greatest weapons are ignorance and terror. Witness the latest unprovoked attack on our friends in India.

These enemies have no wish to reconcile with their fellow countrymen, or compromise in any way that would diminish their control of the lives of the ordinary Afghans who don’t share their feral vision of life. They throw acid in the faces of little girls whose only crime is that they go to school. So we must continue to send our toughest men to confront them eye to eye, while performing the difficult balancing act of not alienating those who intend us no harm. This is particularly difficult in Afghanistan, a proud nation with a deep tradition of antipathy toward outsiders — even those who are here to help, though I am finding many Afghans clearly do not want us to leave.

Continue reading “Too easy to forget about right now”

Tags: ,


« Previous PageNext Page »