Monday, November 10, 2008

New York Times Blindly Reports Illegal Military Activity

For some time now, I have been horrified by the corporate media's tendency to report on covert military or intelligence missions that flagrantly violate international law without ever putting the actions in (il)legal context. Case in point: the New York Times today reported that for the past four years the U.S. military has been illegally invading countries that have not committed a single act against America and killing people therein.

If Syria were to send troops into Israel to kill West Bank settlers it accused of slaughtering Palestinians, this would be an act of war.

If Mexico regularly sent drug enforcement agents to assassinate drug importers they accused of narcoterrorism in San Diego, this would be an international scandal.

So, why does the Times think it's appropriate to report on a story of the U.S. military assassinating people in sovereign countries as if it were an action movie without placing the actions in (im)moral and (il)legal context? Not to mention the fact that the wisdom of this type of "intelligence"-driven covert activity is not questioned in light of horrific "intelligence" failures on September 11, 2001 and in the ramp-up to the Iraq war, during which time we were assured that Iraq had all types of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons (yet close inspection revealed that Iraq possessed none of the above)? And these are the same intelligence agencies we should rely upon when sending U.S. covert military forces to kill people who may or may not be terrorists, in sovereign countries, and in violation of international law?

To confuse the uneducated reader, the Times includes a lengthy description of how these illegal acts are "authorized" by high-ranking U.S. military and civilian leaders, none of whom have the authority to unilaterally circumvent international law. It would be the equivalent of me arguing in court that I should not be convicted of murder because I talked to a few high priced lawyers about it and we all agreed it would be okay for me to start killing people. The idea is ridiculous on its face.

The recent raid into Syria was not the first time that Special Operations forces had operated in that country, according to a senior military official and an outside adviser to the Pentagon.

Since the Iraq war began, the official and the outside adviser said, Special Operations forces have several times made cross-border raids aimed at militants and infrastructure aiding the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq.

The raid in late October, however, was much more noticeable than the previous raids, military officials said, which helps explain why it drew a sharp protest from the Syrian government.

Thus, even when the Times makes a brief mention of sovereign nation Syria complaining about the incursions, the "protest" is not put in context of an allegation that international law was flagrantly broken by these covert acts, none of which were (or ever would be) approved by the U.N. Security Council, the body that has been given the authority to authorize military actions against (read: killing people within) sovereign states (however one may question the moral authority underlying the authority of the five permanent members of the Security Council to make such decisions). "Protest" is the descriptive word used, as if this were a boycott launched by picket sign-toting hippies, not an explosive allegation of the wanton disregard of the rule of law by the United States military.

Of course, a quick read through "A People's History of the United States" and "Into The Buzzsaw" would reveal the corporate media's complicity in all manner of illegal activities by the U.S. military in the name of imperialism (or under the general mistaken belief that the U.S. military is somehow exempt from the U.N. charter and other tenets of international law), but it never ceases to amaze me, an an impartial, historically aware observer.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fox News Uses Nader Statement Against Him

Fox News is no champion for race relations, so for them to use a poorly thought-out racially charged statement from Nader to castigate him is pathetic. I strongly disagree with Nader's usage of the racially loaded term 'Uncle Tom' against the first African-American President (as I would if he used it against any black person) because I think racially loaded terms constitute ad hominem attacks when we should be LASER-FOCUSED ON ISSUES at this crucial juncture in American history. Still, shame on Fox for its continued attempts to undermine anyone who doesn't strictly follow the corporatist line and in pretending to be morally above it all as they do it.

Obama made judgments I questioned when he was a Senator and statements I questioned when he was a candidate. I will continue to make my resistance known (and hopefully felt) if he speaks or acts in a manner I find to be anti-progressive, pro-corporatist or pro-militaristic. I still deplore Nader's head-shaking-ly horrible choice of words, but I deplore Fox News (aka Faux News or Fixed News) even more.