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August 17, 2004

Comments

"The release of Mr. Khan's name - it was made public in The New York Times on Aug. 2, citing Pakistani intelligence sources"

Dunno - is that what the 2 Aug story did? Am I paranoid to wonder if a US official told a reporter the name but said don't print this, then the reporter went to Pakistan for a (perhaps inadvertant, "since you already know") confirmation.

The source compromise might come from the difference between the above scenario and the one in which the US official dumbly passed on the name - that is, the reporters might feel the question of where the leak came from exactly is a bit gray and just pointing to one country or the other would present an incorrect picture, but full disclosure would break confidences.

Anyway, I'll have to retract some animus if this holds up.

A week or so ago, Brian Ross explicitly said that a U.S. official leaked the name. He said it matter-of-factly and said that the official did not give the usual restrictions about not printing the name. I heard at least 2 other tv news folks say the same thing.

So...jury's still out for me.

I just read the article and it seems to me that U.S. officials did mention Khan's name, as a link to Hindi. Still collating data :-) .

There's also Condi's somewhat-mystifying remark about identifying Khan "on background". I don't know how that plays into this, however; still too many unknowns for me to get a good grip on it.

I wondered about the phrasing in today's NYT article, but didn't find the original article to check on it. If it was Pakistan, then I too retract anything bad I said about the administration leaking it, though I will be completely unclear about what Condoleeza Rice thought she was doing on the Wolf Blitzer show.

I don't think the inference Sebastian draws is unavoidable. The article on August 2 has the name, and has repeated descriptions of his activities attributed to Pakistani officials. It does not say, directly, that Pakistanis revealed the name.

Todays paragraph following the one quoted above begins in the active voice, rather than the weaselly passive construction above -- and is how the story would have been written had today's story been intended to reveal that the ultimate source for the name was Pakistani. Such a revelation would be newsworthy, and I think if the NYT wanted to make that point, we'd see it made directly.

The stories today and 8/2 are together completely consistent with the following scenario: an American official gives the name on background -- and thus cannot be identified [without her permission] even today. Reporter takes the name to Pakistani official, asks for a description of activities, and gets it.

Nice post but it was the NYT who leaked the name to the American people; the NYT's source was a Paki confirmed after the fact by the Admin, simply reflecting our collective impatience.

Timmy, you may not be aware that "Paki" is considered an offensive term, just as "Jap" is.

I googled Paki.

amoung results on the first page:

Pakisearch.net - a Pakistani web directory
Pakirecipes.com - dedicated to Pakistani cooking
Pakivibes.com - "Pakistan's most vibrant web portal"

Apparently there are a sizeable amount of people from Pakistan who don't find it offensive. Jap has a fair amount of baggage from WWII but if by extension Paki is offensive, we ought not speak of Brits either.

Althought not considered offensive, I've generally found my British friends not wild about being called "Brits," actually. YMMV.

Try googling "paki, offensive."

"...if by extension Paki is offensive, we ought not speak of Brits either."

Incidentally, what people consider offensive isn't logical, so there's no point in trying to reason "by extension" about it. People either find it so, or not, and there's no arguing about logic involved.

Speaking as someone who might be referred to as a Brit, I would say that here in England, the term 'Paki' is pretty much universally considered a racist label and in my experience has only been used as such.

'Brit' I've only really come across in American usage; it tends to be 55:45 defamatory/non-defamatory.

Hm. The wife is rather close to a number of Brits who don't mind being called such. At least they haven't complained about it to me.

'Paki' is well known around here to be right out.

You know, you can always find someone who is not offended by some thing or other. There are a number of African-Americans who use a certain N word with abandon -- but that doesn't mean I can use it in any conversation ever with anyone, whether or not an African American is present. The standard, of course, is not whether some Pakistani somewhere is unoffended, but whether some significant number of Pakistanis would be offended. And we all know what Miss Manners would say about using any term that is demeaning, in the ears of the hearer. I think she would give everyone a free pass do to ignorance, if it is not willful.

"Brit" troubles me less, because it doesn't carry any baggage related to past or present oppression. "Frog," I think we are all free to use at any time. ;- )

On the substance, it is utterly unimportant who leaked the information to the American people. What matters is who leaked the information to Al Qaeda -- which may or may not have been the same leak -- and it seems to me that mistakes enough were made, all around, that much better care ought to be taken in the future. And I think we can all be assured that lessons have been learned . . . at least by the people for whom the arrest and infiltration of AQ folks is a law enforcement function, rather than a PR opportunity for or against re-election.

OK Gary, looking further into, Paki does have offensive connotations in Britain. And some Pakistanian Americans seems not to care and some seem to take offence. Personally, outrage on this looks to me like another group grasping at Victimhood. PC run amok.

Probably best to avoid the usage, I did notice that Bush got creamed for using the word a few years back. I read about the outrage it Paknews.com. Incidently, Cheney also has been blasted for using Pak. The whole topic is apparently a minefield.

Should I start using Afghanistani from now on, or is Afghani still acceptable?

" looks to me like another group grasping at Victimhood"

except the Victim is you, since you're unwittingly using terminology used by a significant number of people that employ it as a racist term of derision. Making you aware of that fact is a service, intended to help avoid embarassment.

If you don't appreciate the warning and don't mind being mistaken for someone in that crew, by all means 'take your language back' and save yourself from the extremist PC fascists.

"Should I start using Afghanistani from now on, or is Afghani still acceptable?"

Last I looked, but, then, I don't know any Afghanis.

Avoid "towelhead," however.

Gary, I will take up the issue of Jap with you, I use the word Jap to describe Imperial Japan from December 1937 to August 1945 just as I would use Nazi to describe Germany during the same period.

Why December 1937 well it marks the beginning of the Rape of Nanking, even the Nazis were appalled by the shagging and rooting of the Chinese by the....

"Gary, I will take up the issue of Jap with you, I use the word Jap to describe Imperial Japan from December 1937 to August 1945 just as I would use Nazi to describe Germany during the same period."

That you use it doesn't change the fact it is considered a derogatory, offensive, usage, Timmy. And "Nazi" has never been such, save by its content value; as well, "Nazi" refers to a philosophy; a more accurate parallel would be to "kraut," or in WWI, "the Hun."

(And today we see quite a number of people in blogs blithely referring to "the palis," or refusing to capitalise as a deliberate show of disrespect, and using "palestinian" (which is at least a step up from "pali" and worse).

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