January 15th, 2008

A mind is a difficult thing to change: (Part 7A: Jenin, Jenin)

[After a long hiatus, I have resumed my “change” series. This is the first part of a two-parter, the second half of which should be appearing tomorrow. You can find earlier posts by clicking on the “A mind is a difficult thing to change: my journey” category on the right sidebar. The post immediately preceding this one is here.]

In the most recent segment of this series, I wrote:

…the process [of change] was like doing a jigsaw puzzle. At first I only had a few pieces in my hands, and no real way to tell what the picture was going to look like. But bit by bit I started assembling it, and began to discern the outline of a new form as it was slowly being revealed. In the end, events that were happening in the present merged with a reassessment of the past, enabling the picture to emerge ever more clearly, piece by piece.

After the Afghan war was over, I felt a sense of relief that it had gone as well as it had, and a bit of puzzlement as to why the original predictions had been so different from events as they had actually transpired. I wanted things to calm down now, but my sense was that they wouldn’t be doing that for a long time, although I didn’t yet know where the next eruption would occur.

If you had asked me what my politics were at that time—spring of 2002—I wouldn’t have perceived that any change whatsoever had occurred.

I was still a liberal Democrat, just as I’d always been. Yes, I’d supported the Afghan War, and it had been led by Bush and a Republican administration. But hadn’t most Democrats supported it as well? Yes, there’d been some antiwar demonstrations. I was not part of them, but neither were most Democrats. The participants were a fringe group of mostly young college students, plus some old hippies who were either trying to recreate or to relive the heady days of the Vietnam protests. But these new protests had nothing like the breadth and depth of the antiwar sentiment of those days, of which I’d been part. I saw no connection.

I was peripherally aware that there had been increased violence between Israel and Palestine in recent years, but I also knew that area had been a mess for decades. Signs of hope had always been followed by a return to bloody exchanges that seemed to go nowhere. It had tired me out and I’d stopped following the details of the never-ending story all that closely. In a general sense I supported the “cycle of violence” theory of what was going on there, as presented in the mainstream media: first this act and then retaliation for it, and then revenge for retaliation, and on and on in an endless spiral.

But ever since 9/11 it had seemed even more vital to me to follow international stories of all sorts more closely, and it was much easier to do so with all the sources proliferating online. And so in April of 2002, when I turned on my computer and saw the sickening news that Israelis had massacred civilians in the Palestinian “camp” of Jenin, I read the details and was extremely disheartened.

The facts were horrifying: rotting Palestinian corpses, indiscriminate firing on civilians by the Israelis, widespread destruction of homes. I understood that the Israelis had been sorely pressed, and that house-to-house fighting against an enemy whose combatants hide among a civilian population makes it extremely difficult to avoid this sort of thing, but Jenin seemed to be, quite literally, a case of Israeli overkill.

The story built for days in the press. I read avidly, including many British articles. At no point during this period did it occur to me that what I was reading was not true. There was widespread agreement on the facts, horrendous though they were. I assumed the journalists writing about them had reliable sources and independent corroboration.

But gradually—very gradually—other evidence surfaced that seemed to contravene the original story.

Now, instead of hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed, many of them presumably women and children, the report was of victims who numbered somewhere in the forties and fifties. The Israelis said many of them had been killed by booby traps their own side had set. Unlike the earlier casualty reports, now there were few women and children involved, and most of the men killed were of fighting age. And finally even Amnesty International, and later the UN, said there had been no massacre in Jenin; almost all of the dead had been enemy combatants.

Since the UN was saying it, I knew it must be so. Not because I trusted the UN’s judgment so implicitly, but because the UN was not in the habit of giving Israel a pass on anything. But here it was:

…the U.N. report said 52 Palestinian deaths had been confirmed by April 18—the same death toll reported by Israel. It called the Palestinian allegation that some 500 were killed “a figure that has not been substantiated in the light of evidence that has emerged.”

Israel was not only vindicated in its actions but in its report as well. It turned out that the original figure given by the Israelis had been the correct one. I waited for retractions to occur in the newspapers that had been most vocal and graphic, and most critical of Israeli behavior. But coverage of this new information was curiously muted.

I could never remember reading a story this big, and that had been followed this closely by this many news outlets, that had turned out to be so incorrect. This was probably more of a reflection of my heretofore narrow-sourced reading of the news, and the difference between pre-internet and post-internet ability to compare stories, than the fact that this was actually a new press phenomenon. But it had never come to my awareness before in such a dramatic way.

The journalists’ informants had lied. Not only lied, but they had set up those reporters to be the deliverers of the lie, and the reporters had cooperated, either knowledgeably or negligently. That made us, the readers, the duped recipients of that lie. And, for a while, the lie had been doing very well—until it had been revealed as a falsehood.

Or maybe it still was doing rather well.

When I talked to friends about it, many of them seemed to remember the first part of the story but not be aware of the second part, the correction. Many were very surprised when I indicated to them that there had been no massacre in Jenin after all. Many doubted what I was saying (and, if you go to the comments section of the Amazon listing for the award-winning Palestinian film that gave this post its name, “Jenin, Jenin,” you’ll see that many people continue to believe the tale of the Jenin massacre.)

I began to wonder whether this sort of thing had happened before, and if so, when. I’ve never been a fan of conspiracy theories, but I was beginning to doubt that the media was quite as careful to print only substantiated, well-sourced facts as I had previously thought it was.

You may wonder at my naiveté. From the perspective of time, I wonder at it myself. But it’s not as though I had previously trusted newspapers completely or thought they never lied. But I had assumed that the ones with the best reputations—the NY Times, for example, regarded as a sort of sacred text in my school and my home while I was growing up—had used due diligence in trying to ascertain the truth to the best of its ability. In addition, I had assumed that if errors had been made, well-respected media sources would be—if not eager—then at least willing to give an extremely prominent place to a correction of a story of such major importance. I also assumed that next time they would be on their guard and not be so easily fooled.

Shortly after the UN report on Jenin was issued I began to hear rumblings about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, and the possibility of military action against him for violations of UN agreements and nuclear inspections. Although this was not really a surprise—rumors had been floating for some time—I was dreading a war there. Afghanistan was one thing; its connection with 9/11 was crystal clear. Iraq was a different story.

The buildup to the Iraq War was a long period of chess-playing with Saddam, the board being the UN and the media. It seemed to go on for way too long; if we were in fact going to invade, the length of this game could only go to Saddam’s advantage.

This is not the place for another discussion of the pros and cons of the decision to go to war in Iraq. I’ve done that numerous times before, and so I’ll only mention once again that the war seemed to me to have been multidetermined, and I agreed that Saddam should not be allowed to defy the terms of the Gulf War armistice and the WMD inspections.

This time the antiwar protests drew more people, and I understood why. Iraq was a larger and prospectively riskier undertaking than Afghanistan, and the reasons behind it seemed more discretionary and certainly less clearly connected to 9/11. Although I was convinced—once the UN failed to act, over many months—that the invasion was necessary and right (even if WMDs were never to be found), I could see why many others disagreed.

Once again, there was the relentless drumbeat of prognosticators saying that the war would last for years and cause millions of deaths. Even though I’d heard a similar prediction prior to the Afghan War and it had not come to pass, this time it was even more plausible. Iraq had a better army than Afghanistan’s, for example. And even if the war itself didn’t last very long, this could easily be due to the fact that Saddam and his supporters would probably have chosen the route of appearing to give up and surrender, going underground. This would mean fighting a long and unconventional war, very difficult to counter. Like Vietnam.

Vietnam. Its ghost was not just hovering in my mind; it seemed to be in the minds of most of the pundits, protesters, and politicians. I remembered Vietnam only too well. A searing personal experience for me because of a boyfriend who had served there as a helicopter gunner from 1968 to 1969 and had been wounded, it was also an event that had torn apart and scarred my generation.

I thought I knew a lot about Vietnam. After all, I’d lived through the turmoil it had caused in this country from my late adolescence to early adulthood. I had read the newspapers, I had watched the TV. I remembered.

One of the things I remembered were two famous photographs that had become icons of the suffering of the Vietnamese people during that war. One had been taken at the moment of a brutal field execution of a prisoner, performed by a South Vietnamese general without benefit of trial or judge:

vietnam_execution.jpg

Another was of a young South Vietnamese girl running naked down a road, her flesh burned by napalm, her mouth an agonized scream:

napalm.jpg

I wrote briefly about both of these photos in an earlier section of my “A mind is a difficult thing to change” series, including the following description:

Amazingly, the [first] picture appears to have been taken at very the split-second the bullet is exiting [the victim's] head. The prisoner is young-looking and slight, even boyish, dressed in a checked shirt. He is facing the viewer and we see his face clearly and frontally, wincing, although the shooter is seen only in profile. The Vietcong’s hands are tied behind his back, and he seems terribly vulnerable. The entire photo conveys the idea of an innocent victim put to death by a ruthless and almost faceless executioner, as well as the brutality of war in general. There is no question that this photo, presented without much context, shocked people and engendered the belief that the South Vietnamese we were defending and dying for were no better than the Vietcong in their brutality. Probably even worse.

The [second] photo came a few years later, towards the end of the war, in June of 1972. It is the photo of a little girl running down the road, shrieking, her clothes blown off with the force of the blast (or burned off? torn off? who knew?) her burns visible on her naked flesh. She is surrounded by other children, some of whom are shrieking, mouths open as in the Munch painting , conveying wordless horror. The children are without their parents; the only adults in the photo are four blurry and helmeted soldiers in the background. The sky is dark with smoke. It’s a terrible evocation of the anguish that war inflicts on its most innocent of victims, children. A photo you couldn’t help looking at, and then you couldn’t help looking away from, and then you couldn’t help but remember it. By the time the photo was published, it was near the end of a war which had lost most of its support, but support eroded even further as a result of its wide dissemination.

The photos tugged at people at a deep emotional level, screaming, “War is bad. Stop it. Stop the madness.” Furthermore, they induced a deep feeling of guilt, making the onlooker somehow conspiratorial with the executioner and with those who had dropped the bombs––doubly conspiratorial, both as voyeur to unspeakable violence, and as a citizen of the country, the US, seemingly responsible for both acts.

[Continued in Part 7B.]

24 Responses to “A mind is a difficult thing to change: (Part 7A: Jenin, Jenin)”

  1. gcotharn Says:

    Before the internet+9/11/01+coming-of-blogs, I was politically in the center-left. I was socially further to the left, and economically further to the right. I didn’t believe our military were villains, but I didn’t want us interfering in hopeless causes around the world. I had supported Bill Clinton in 1992, but turned on him with a vengeance, early in 1993, when I realized he had lied, to me and all voters, in extremely blatant and cold-blooded ways. Cest la vie “middle class tax cut”.

    With the coming of internet+blogs, what I remember, as I saw for myself more and more about the media’s agenda, and about the media’s twisting of some reportage, and about the media’s hiding and burying of inconvenient facts – is the sense of cognitive dissonance it raised in me. I questioned myself: am I really seeing this media misconduct? Isn’t there some other explanation, which I am missing? This cannot actually be happening. I remember how I mistrusted my own eyes. It took me a long time to trust the truth.

    The second thing that happened, for me, was fear that my friends and family were going to think I had gone looney, if I pointed out what I was now seeing and learning via the internet. It took me a long time to work up the nerve to broach some of the topics and issues vis a vis media misconduct.

    My friends and family did wonder at me. They believed, as I had believed of myself, there must be more to the stories – which I am they did not understand. There simply must be more. The media were trusted professionals. Who was I compared to them? No one. Who trusts info from the internet? No one.

    I remember, for the longest time, feeling alone with my information. Even though my information was truth … when you are alone with something like that, you still wonder if you are a crazy person. My friends, my family, did not understand, and were not interested.

    This was really when I turned to blog-commenting, and to blogging. It was a type of conversation. Even if it was cyber conversation, I craved it.

    I started my blog in October, 2003.
    http://www.theendzone.blogspot.com
    Amongst my friends and family, a lot has changed since then. They are on the internet. They read my blog, and others. They are more informed about the media than they ever were. They, and I, are more informed about foreign events, and about economic thought and policy, than we ever were before.

    There’s a portion of the electorate – the news and blog consuming portion – which is different now than it ever has been. This portion of the electorate – the portion with political curiosity, and with typing/keying skills – is very different even than it was during the 2004 election cycle. I think the defeat of the Immigration Bill in Congress is a herald of this new dynamic – of this newly informed portion of the electorate. Things are changing for the better in this area. I don’t think this newly informed portion of the electorate has any tremendous power … yet they do have some power. They have some small, yet definite power. I don’t know how much. But the landscape is different.

  2. gcotharn Says:

    btw: this post has a photo of me and my brothers.

    http://theendzone.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-sister-in-law-teaches-from-her.html

  3. Vince P Says:

    gcotharn: Thanks for your story. I’ll check out your bloc.

  4. Rob Says:

    Great post, neo — I look forward to the next instalment.

    On Jenin, have you seen the film ‘The Road to Jenin’, which thoroughly refutes the propaganda of “Jenin, Jenin’. I linked to it here

  5. Vince P Says:

    Which Demo had the scene with a lady who worked for a NGO.

    She’s standing on a 2nd floor rooftop.. she’s an older , thin lady.

    At first she believes the Arab lies that the Jews were mutilating or savaging the children.

    But then one day (If i understood her right) she happens upon the Arabs who are in the middle of gutting their own children and being nasty with the entrails. And she breaks down and cries.

    The only thing that goes through my mind when I see that part is “Are you surprised by what these monsters do to their own children? Can you not see the obvious difference between the humanity of the Jewish people and the savagery of the Arabs”

    The film is one of many great and depressing films exposing the depravity of these vermin.

  6. Cappy Says:

    P.S. on the napalmed girl. Later she would become a refugee from Communist Vietnam. So much for liberation.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    But these new protests had nothing like the breadth and depth of the antiwar sentiment of those days, of which I’d been part

    That was primarily due to the fact that Bush didn’t give out years of preparation time for people to counter him. It is hard to organize anything large within a year from start to finish. Even Leftist organizations need time to get the shock down and cook something up, let alone appropriate the correct amount of funds.

    Signs of hope had always been followed by a return to bloody exchanges that seemed to go nowhere.

    The Perpetual War exists for itself, not to resolve anything. In way, it was never supposed to go anywhere.

    first this act and then retaliation for it, and then revenge for retaliation, and on and on in an endless spiral.

    The media was notably the one caught in the spiral of Abu Ghraib, backlash by indigenous pop, American atrocities, and blowback IEDs. The idea of war as being this tugging match is not just the media’s conception of conflict, but it is their actual intended goal that they are furthering. Classwarfare will always exist and that is fine with the media, for they would be without jobs if peace and harmony reigned supreme.

    At no point during this period did it occur to me that what I was reading was not true.

    Not just “untrue” but systematic deception attempts from an organized network of operators and strategists. That probably never occurs to people either, if their jobs aren’t related to deceiving people.

    Since the UN was saying it, I knew it must be so.

    Somebody must have skimped on the bribes.

    but because the UN was not in the habit of giving Israel a pass on anything.

    Allowing one’s propaganda apparatuses, like the UN, to report corrections to propaganda stories that appeared months ago is simply a method of maintaining the credibility of one’s propaganda networks and dissimilation methods. The immediate effects of propaganda is usually its most potent. Thus it doesn’t hurt much and can gain critical leverage by seemingly being objective and taking the side of your targets, the Israelis, after the fact.

    Once a propaganda operation passes its target and leaves it in shreds, as Jenin did to the Israelis, what does it really matter what “corrections” are made given that not even propaganda has the power to re-connect a person’s head back onto his body? So long as one’s propaganda stays strong, people won’t even remember what corrections were for what. It will always be the new magician’s re-direction trick to keep the audience’s attention from the truth behind the illusion.

    This was probably more of a reflection of my heretofore narrow-sourced reading of the news, and the difference between pre-internet and post-internet ability to compare stories

    Like war, the ability to perceive illusion is based upon will, resources, and logistics. The internet provided the resources and the methods to get it to the front lines, and the individual, this being you Neo, directs the resources with her will and intent.

    It is easier to see an inconsistency if one can see more of the bigger picture. The internet, like the printing press, makes information more accessible to individuals that would not have had the benefit of being able to read critical information.

    That made us, the readers, the duped recipients of that lie.

    Psychological warfare’s casualties are not collateral civilian casualties as is the case with bombs. Info war casualties are always the primary, secondary, and tertiary targets on the list, regardless of whether they are civilian or military.

    When I talked to friends about it, many of them seemed to remember the first part of the story but not be aware of the second part, the correction.

    Advertisers know that you get the most bang for your commercial buck if you put out your message when your audience is paying attention. It’s no good if the commercial is so boring and long that your audience has tuned you out by the time you get to the punchline. The same limitations apply to propaganda. The immediate period after a propaganda event takes place, usually defined as the point in which it is publicly made known, is where most people are affected by the propaganda’s message. Any other message that comes after the fact will always seem weak, less shocking, and less effective. The same thing happens when actors upstage other actors. Put a charismatic person on screen and everybody else with less charisma fades into the background. Thus the corrections are never as impactful and attention getting as the star of the show. The corrections were always meant to be background. You can do great things with corrections, but you have to put the correcting of a media story as your centerline highlight. Like with Dan Rather. It has to be the story itself and there has to be lateral actions taken in the real world to feed the frenzy. Meaning a story has no legs if there are no investigations, denials, and shots of the prey trying to escape. When the media makes a target and sets off in pursuit, they are the ones with the initiative because they are the attackers. They get to decide when, where, and how. The prey only gets to decide how long before it can be taken down.

    This is why it is not a good thing to be prey. And also why the media seemingly gets many advantages.

    But it’s not as though I had previously trusted newspapers completely or thought they never lied.

    If you don’t think too much about how to actually propagandize, convince, persuade, and modify the public opinion of an enemy nation’s manpower (resources, citizenry), then it doen’t really matter what you think about the media. Such thoughts are only useful when you put them to the study of psychological warfare, with the goal being the same as in all warfare, which is to defeat the enemy in mind, body, spirit, and anything else that matters.

    Even if a person knows that a defendant is capable of doing a crime, it still doesn’t explain the means, methods, motivation, and various other things that can crop up. To determine if a subject is a criminal, one must think like a criminal and burglar. To defeat insurgents, one must think like an insurgent, which is why counter-insurgency is not a skill set usually trained in or learned by the regular army. Regular army isn’t supposed to think like thieves and assassins. That’s why regular armies tend to get chewed up by guerrillas often, like the Soviets and the Romans.

    Iraq had a better army than Afghanistan’s, for example.

    The media pundits didn’t even know what constituted an army, let alone what made an army better or worse. That’s why they had to hire so many retired generals and colonels, although they should have hired those officers to tutor the media talking heads, not the audience.

    it was also an event that had torn apart and scarred my generation.

    When your side loses, fragmentation and internal dissent is usually what happens. This is usually taken care of because the victors enslave or exterminate the losers, but in this case the Americans had offloaded those consequences onto the Vietnamese. But nature has its way of ensuring that the losers always get some kind of punishment eventually.

    I had read the newspapers, I had watched the TV.

    Sometimes people know more by being ignorant than by believing their knowledge is solid, when their knowledge is based upon nothing but preconceptions and illusions. Thomas Jefferson said something about a person being more knowledgeable if he does not read the newspapers. Those who are ignorant at least have the excuse of a tabula rasa with no preconceptions either way barring the comprehension of truth. Those that believe that they know what is up is stuck with such beliefs for better or worse.

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    People might be interested in what Steven Den Beste wrote about measuring objective standards in winning or losing wars here.

    Link

    He mentions, at the end, the critical nature of civilian support for wars in democracies and republics, which propaganda operations are specifically tailored to effect. Any other purpose to which propaganda can be used for, tends to be not nearly as effective. Japan’s use of propaganda to lie to their people that they were winning, was ineffective since you can believe that you are winning all you want, two nukes will erase every propaganda operation in existence though.

  9. Vince P Says:

    It’s one of the failures of Bush for failing to do ANYTHING to shore up public opinion during this war.

    It’s one of my most fundamental criticisms of him.

  10. Vince P Says:

    Here is an article recongnizing that 2nd Term Bush is making strategetic disasters and undoing all that 1st Term Bush has done. This is exactly the position I’ve come to and stated here a few times.

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/01/16/death_of_the_bush_doctrine/

    THE Bush Doctrine – born on Sept. 20, 2001, when President Bush bluntly warned the sponsors of violent jihad: “You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists” – is dead. Its demise was announced by Condoleezza Rice last Friday.

    The secretary of state was speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route with the president to Kuwait from Israel. She was explaining why the administration had abandoned the most fundamental condition of its support for Palestinian statehood – an end to Palestinian terror. Rice’s explanation, recounted here by The Washington Times, was as striking for its candor as for its moral blindness:

    “The ‘road map’ for peace, conceived in 2002 by Mr. Bush, had become a hindrance to the peace process, because the first requirement was that the Palestinians stop terrorist attacks. As a result, every time there was a terrorist bombing, the peace process fell apart and went back to square one. Neither side ever began discussing the ‘core issues’: the freezing of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, the outline of Israel’s border, and the future of Jerusalem.

    “The reason that we haven’t really been able to move forward on the peace process for a number of years is that we were stuck in the sequentiality of the road map. So you had to do the first phase of the road map before you moved on to the third phase of the road map, which was the actual negotiations of final status,” Rice said. . . . What the US-hosted November peace summit in Annapolis did was “break that tight sequentiality. . . You don’t want people to get hung up on settlement activity or the fact that the Palestinians haven’t fully been able to deal with the terrorist infrastructure. . .”

    ==========

    Go to the link to read the rest of it. It’s really f’ing astounding how dumb these people are.

    The ‘Road Map’ is a HINDERANCE to peace because it required that the Palestinians actually do some bare minimum as a show of good faith to reassure israel that israel isn’t surrendering itself to a terrorist state.

    And indeed, have not the Palestinians shown themselves to be absolutely determined to continue on in hositily towards it goal of a one-state solution?

    Here is the close of the article:

    “When George W. Bush succeeded Bill Clinton, he was determined not to replicate his predecessor’s blunders in the Middle East, a determination that intensified after 9/11. Yet now he too has succumbed to the messianism that leads US presidents to imagine they can resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Clinton’s legacy in this arena was the second intifada, which drenched the region in blood. To what fresh hell will Bush’s diplomacy lead?”

    Exactly what I have asked as well… the consequences of this appeasement is going to lead to nuclear war and the undoing of all our hard work in Iraq

  11. SC&A Says:

    Excellent post.

    The mythology of Jenin remains a necessary fairy tale for both the Arabs and the left for two reasons.

    First, it anchors a victim status for the Palestinians and the left, those ‘kissing cousins.’

    Secondly, it camouflages the truth about ‘root causes.’

    As I noted, ‘terror is not brought on by poverty. Hostages are not taken and held, to be traded for economic aid. Planes aren’t flown into buildings in response to GDP of the free markets of the western world versus the GDP of the many tyrannies of the Muslim world. In fact, the terrorists aims are deliberately misrepresented [by the left]. The terrorists don’t want to see western values and successes brought into the Muslim world [If that were to happen, the left would have to acknowledge the superiority of western values and ideologies]. Indeed, that is what they are fighting against. Religious freedoms, abortion rights, gay rights and human rights are anathema to radical Islamist ideologies [and by tacit admission, they are negotiable ideas for the left].

    That ideology demands the murder of those whose behavior they find offensive- usually administered in a cruel and brutal fashion. These are truths many on the left manage to forget.

    Sunlight on Jenin is the equivalent to sunlight on vampires.

  12. harry9000 Says:

    Sc&A,

    Man, that was great. That is so right. I could never put my finger on the connection or express it as eloquently but understood the same thing must be true for some time now.

  13. Richard Aubrey Says:

    My denomination (PCUSA) kept the Jenin crap on its peacemaking syllabi for several years after it had been debunked.
    I have occasionally called them to explain they look bad telling us stuff we all know better than.
    As with journalists, it does not compute.

  14. Barry Meislin Says:

    And then there’s always the fictitious Al-Durah “affair”.

    Gotta give the Palestinians credit where credit is due. Those dudes are masters.

  15. Sergey Says:

    The whole thing with “Road Map” is based on factually wrong assumption that Palestinians really want their state coexisting with Israel. But nobody from Palestinian side ever declared this in public or otherwise. Quite the contrary, all prominent Palestinian liders thousand times declared that they want Palestine state instead of Israel. Why such obvious fact is permanently ignored by US lidership? Is it hypocrisy or ideological blindness? May be, we learn this only after US get rid of Saudi oil dependance.

  16. Sergey Says:

    In his address to nation after 9/11 Bush sounded like Churchill. Now he sounds like Chamberlain: I bring you peace! What happened to this man? Why he can not understand that in existential struggle (You with us or you against us) no intermediators with peace proposals are possible?

  17. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Has it really been 2 years since such a great installment?

    Some commenters are still here — Michael Totten is even better than ever in Iraq!

    Why not ask Roger Simon, or Michael or somebody, about making your Change articles into a Pamphlet?

    They are fantastic — they might make a great hyperlinked novella, too…

  18. Esther Says:

    The Jenin “massacre” was the catalyst for me finding out what a blog was. I knew very well our soldiers would not have massacred anyone, but nobody in the MSM (even the Israeli press, until later on) seemed to have that side of the story. Googling frantically, I found LGF and a few other blogs who were in the process of uncovering the few media links to a sane perspective.

    The rest, as they say, is history :) .

  19. Grizzly Recare Says:

    I lost faith in the MSM some time ago as well. Jayson Blair and Eason Jordan taught me to be skeptical, Dan Rather put the final nail in the coffin… After Rathergate I started to take a more critical look at the local newspaper I read daily. Guess what! I found more and more information that was suspect at best. I finally gave up and canceled my subscription to the local newspaper. It’s funny that a received a call from the subscription dept at the newspaper a few days later. They wanted to know why I canceled. I responded that I was looking for an information source that was more forthcoming. I won’t repeat what the subscription rep told me…

    As for the ME. I’ve been married to a woman of Lebanese ancestry for nearly 28 years. I’ve heard many, many stories over the past 3 decades but the one constant is greed and how greedy some Arabs are.

    IMHO the Israeli/Palestinian situation will only be solved when the money dries up. I’ve even heard of the situation referred to as the “Arafat Model” referring to the plunder of foreign aid for personal gain. I believe that the cycle of violence will continue until the foreign aid ends. It seems that war and violence has become very, very profitable (at least for a handful of people)…. My concern is that the “Arafat Model” is spreading throughout the region given the last year’s events in Lebanon and in other areas of the ME.

    For those of you who don’t know, Arafat died a very, very wealthy man. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to guess where all the money came from.

    My impression of middle easterners is that the vast majority of them are wonderful people. Unfortunately, there is a handful of greedy psychopaths that drive the violence, combined with a woefully ignorant western press that almost refuses to tell the truth.

  20. Gray Says:

    Wanna solve a mystery? Try and discover what Arafat died of.

  21. Vince P Says:

    He died of AIDS. The Palestinians speak openly about it. There’s a MEMRI clip about it.

  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    I listened to the playback of Bush’s 2005 January speech, made days after the advent of the Iraqi elections and the purple fingers motiff. While Bush mentioned generally those seeking to undermine the war, he neither named those people, Kennedy, Byrd and Pelosi for example, nor did Bush tell the American people what they can do to counter Senatorial corruption and defeatism except “don’t give into despair”. As a guide on resisting enemy propaganda, it lacks a certain number of details.

  23. Lost In Space And Time « Sigmund, Carl and Alfred Says:

    [...] January 18, 2008 While many current events continue to be laundered in the spin cycle,  none has been so reworked as the myths and fables of Palestinian failures and deceit (see Neo-neocons excellent A Mind Is A Difficult Thing To Change: (Part 7A: Jenin, Jenin). [...]

  24. Truth, Honor, Hot Iron And Cold Water, « Sigmund, Carl and Alfred Says:

    [...] A Mind Is A Difficult Thing To Change, Part 7A, Jenin Jenin and Part 7B, The Vietnam Photos Revisited, are two of the most posts documenting Neo’s [...]

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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