Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Posts Tagged ‘war on terrorism’

White men can’t jump – or be terrorists

Posted by metaphorical on 28 August 2008

Compare and contrast:

Police in Aurora, Colorado – 12 miles due east of Denver – stop a pick-up truck being driven erratically the day before the start of the Democratic National Convention.

According to news reports, “In the back of the vehicle, officers found two high-powered rifles, one with telescopic sights, a spotting scope, a flak jacket, camouflage clothing, a bulletproof vest, boxes of ammunition, three fake identity cards, two wigs, two walkie-talkies and a quantity of the drug methamphetamine, a form of speed known as crystal meth.”

The men are, according to the police, members of the Aryan Nation. One of them, named Adolf, of all things, is a wanted fugitive. “He tried to escape by jumping from a sixth-floor window, breaking his ankle in the attempt. He has a long history of convictions for drugs and violence, and when arrested, police found he had the key to handcuffs in one hand and a ring with a swastika emblem in the other.”

Put these guys on hold for a moment. Now let’s recall the Lackawanna Six, the American citizens of Yemani extraction who, according to Dina Temple Raston, author of the book The Jihad Next Door, “were influenced by a known terrorist, Kamal Derwish, who enticed them to travel to Afghanistan – a decision they regretted upon arriving at the camp.”

That’s all those guys did – go to a training camp in Afghanistan in the spring of 2001. True, “investigators recovered a rifle, and a telescopic sight” from the house of one of them. From his house. Not from and erratically-driven car, with a known target 12 miles away. Wikipedia says that even “the FBI Special Agent in charge of the investigation, Peter Ahearn, stated that there was no specific event triggering the arrests.”

One group you pick up as terrorists. The other you arrest on nothing more than a weapons charge. Which is which? The answer is simple and just what you’d expect. The white guys trying to kill a black man get the weapons charge. The six Arabs who haven’t done a single thing during the 4-8 months you investigate them, them you convict of terrorism.

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Posted in language, Orwell, politics, religion | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The inconvenient truth about the war on terrorism

Posted by metaphorical on 19 June 2008

We’re living in a time of inconvenience
Compassion fails me with this
meanness in the air
Our city streets are filled with violence
So we close our doors to the city
And pretend that it’s not there
Here I go again
Back out on these mean streets
The evil seems to cling to the soles of my feet
Cuz’ I’m living in a time of inconvenience
At an inconvenient time

— “Time of Inconvenience,” by Nanci Griffith

How many times must the NY Times be rebuked for misstating the facts about 9/11 and adopting the administration’s lies and misrepresentations? Well, how long are they going to keep doing it? If, after the Times’s endorsement of the war on Iraq, the equation of Iraq and Al Qaeda, the Judith Miller affair, aluminum tubes and all, if the reporters at the NY Times are going to rewrite history yet again, say, last Sunday in a news article about a Supreme Court decision, then they’re going to have to be taken to task yet again.

So it is extraordinary that during the Bush administration’s seven years, nearly all of them a time of war that began on Sept. 11, 2001, the court has been prompted to push back four times. Last week’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush, in which the court ruled that prisoners at Guantánamo Bay have a right to challenge their detentions in the federal courts, marks only the most recent rebuke.

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Um, no. The war did not begin on September 11. The war didn’t begin on September 12th. Nor did it last anything like seven years.

The war on Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001 with aerial bombardments. By December 17th, the U.S. had declared victory at Tora Bora and the Afghan war was considered over.

On March 19, 2003, Bush declared war on Iraq. By May 1st, he announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

The war on terrorism, on the other hand, is a war without beginning and without end. It is a war that can justify everything and therefore, as the Supreme Court seems bent on pointing out, nothing.

Certainly, the war on civil liberties has lasted for virtually the entire length of Bush’s rule, a war so cynical in intent and bleak in its view of human nature that even the most conservative court in living memory has rebuked the Administration four times, most recently last week. The Times finds it remarkable that the court keeps standing up to the President in a time of war, and surely it is remarkable. But perhaps one factor is that we’re not exactly at war.

We’re living in the age of communication
Where the only voices heard
have money in their hands
Where greed has become a sophistication
And if you ain’t got money
You ain’t got nothin’ in this land
An’ here I am one lonely woman
On these mean streets
Where the right to life man has become my enemy
Cuz’ I’m living in his time of inconvenience
At an inconvenient time

Posted in journalism, language, Orwell, politics, Times-watch | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »