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July 15, 2006

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About the same time, Turkey fired shells into Iraq for the same reason.

Yeah, saw that too. I'm wondering why right-wing blogistan is not up in arms about the Iranian bombing, giving them cause for WAR!!!1!1!!!1!. I guess they, like me, don't know about it.

Instead of trying to argue that Saddam Hussein's grand ambitions were more threatening than any other dictator's, it would have been better for the US to support the efforts of the international community in establishing and enforcing international law, without fear or favor. If Saddam Hussein is a criminal who should be put on trial, let there be established an international criminal court with the authority to convene a trial: and let it be clear that no one is exempt from this court.

OK, and since there'd be no way to arrest him and remand him for trial, he'd be tried in absentia, I guess? And sentenced, and then . . . ? What, exactly?

"I guess they, like me, don't know about it."

I think that unlikely. I read the Slate piece the day it came out; it's not an obscure publication; neither is it the only one to give some coverage to the Kurds vs. Iran and Kurds vs. Turkey ongoings.

On the other hand, those who think U.S. military preventive (or so it is characterized) attacks on Iran in short order are a grand idea probably think that painting Iran as generally threatening re nukes and general attitude, towards the U.S., and to some degree Israel and the region, is a stronger argument than some obscure tussling with Kurds that have been going on for decades anyway, I'm inclined to think. (FWIW, though, I'm inclined to join the Iranians in some suspicion that some of the bombings and other incidents they've been suffering in various of their tribal hinterlands may have some outside hands aiding; but that remains very minor stuff, for now.)

some obscure tussling with Kurds that have been going on for decades anyway,

Well, I don't necessarily disagree, I just kind of thought they would see "Iran lobs missles into Iraq" and run around screaming "Iran's invading Iraq" or somesuch nonsense. Maybe I give them too little credit.

They aren't particularly vulnerable to Israeli threats unless they actively meddle with Israel right? No one thinks that they will be invading and conquering Iran if Iran doesn't get nukes. Right?

The Suez. The continuing occupation of the Gaza, the Golan, and the West Bank. The USS Liberty. Osirak. The capture of Beirut. The Lebanon again.

If I was Israel living next to the Arabs, I'd want nuclear weaopons. But if I was an Arab country living within range of a nuclear armed Israel, I'd also want nukes. And so it goes.

By all standards, Iran is less violent than Israel, despite the shit-stirring with Hizbollah. So why aren't you pressing for Israel to disarm its nuclear capability?

What you are really saying is that Iran needs nuclear weapons so that it can step up the current campaign of killing Israeli civilians.

The current campaign, lest we forget, was due to a bunch of independent terrorists/freedom fighters with ties to Iran attacking the Israeli military, degenerating into attacks on civilians from both sides - with the Israelis having the bloodier hands.

A pox on both houses.

By all standards, Iran is less violent than Israel,

Um, what now? By all standards? Do I need to check HRW and Amnesty?

No wonder nobody ever commits genocide anymore, as far as the powers that be are concerned.

Colin Powell did use the word but he was quick to point out that it didn’t commit the US to any drastic action:

Mr. Chairman, some seem to have been waiting for this determination of genocide to take action. In fact, however, no new action is dictated by this determination. We have been doing everything we can to get the Sudanese Government to act responsibly. So let us not be too preoccupied with this designation.

[...]

Specifically, Mr. Chairman, the most practical contribution we can make to the security of Darfur in the short term is to do everything we can to increase the number of African Union monitors. That will require the cooperation of the Government of Sudan.

But certainly there was a pretext for intervention, if any outside power wanted to avail of it.

"Instead of trying to argue that Saddam Hussein's grand ambitions were more threatening than any other dictator's, it would have been better for the US to support the efforts of the international community in establishing and enforcing international law, without fear or favor."

Heh. As the above discussion about genocide shows or any recent discussion about nuclear nonproliferation shows, the 'international community' doesn't care to enforce the things it already finds 'illegal'.

Phil: that kinda was the point about my hypo. Plenty of world leaders have essentially been bought out of their positions once the price was right. If you want to try someone for war crimes, though, you're going to have to go dig him out.

Andrew: on command structures, i'll obviously defer to your expertise. my point is that i've read that Marshall insisted after WWII that the peace-keeping troops not have combat experience.

on money, this is more or less a democracy and the cost of wars should be a factor in people deciding whether to wage them. not only is all the extra debt a bad idea, paying for the war with current dollars enforces the idea of shared sacrifice.

Francis,

As I said, they were quibbles.

The Joint Chiefs are not in the chain of command per Goldwater-Nichols, so it would probably be more appropriate to designate a separate command similar to SOCOM.

I'd like to pay for them by cutting other programs, rather than raising taxes.

I think an honest accounting of the probable costs would be a good thing prior to making any government decision. I'd love to see that tied into a negative income tax to really bring the costs of various actions home. But that's a whole other discussion.

As the above discussion about genocide shows or any recent discussion about nuclear nonproliferation shows, the 'international community' doesn't care to enforce the things it already finds 'illegal'.

Which leads naturally to the argument that the US should not do anything and then complain vociferously that no one else is pulling their weight. cf Mallaby in the WaPo. I liked it better when we felt like we were masters of our own destiny, but I'm sure that is just a liberal conceit.

I don't know about that. I think it leads to the argument that we should decide what is important to us and attempt to assemble coalitions of like-minded nations who concur to do something about it.

"Which leads naturally to the argument that the US should not do anything and then complain vociferously that no one else is pulling their weight."

No, I agree with Andrew. We should decide what is important to us and try to get other people to come along. But that really isn't "international law". That is diplomacy as it has been practiced for thousands of years. My point above was that people appeal to international law as if it fixes anything. It doesn't. Adding more international laws without the will to enforce them is useless.

Why is the process of deciding on international laws not a process of deciding what is important to us and trying to get people to come along? And what if we don't get precisely the law we want, but accept preliminary steps in order to move towards a place we want? Obviously rhetorical questions, but any comment that begins with 'heh' sort of asks for them.

It's the difference between the general and the specific. International law sets down broad standards that tend to be honored more in the breach than in the execution. By focusing on specifics, we're more likely to address the details that matter when trying to build coalitions. An appeal to international law didn't matter in the case of Iraq, even though Iraq was in breach of its treaty obligations. Why? Because other nations determined that removing Hussein from power was not in their best interests, regardless of what international law might say. The same is seen now with Darfur: an appeal to international law to stop the Sudanese government may sound pretty, but it's not going to have any effect, because nobody is willing to enforce that law. So spending time creating new international laws seems a waste of time.

Instead why not examine each case individually, and build coalitions to address them? We don't have to worry that country A, B, and C all agree on fixing problems 1, 2, and 3 if we can get A and B to help with problem 1, A and C to help with problem 2, and B and C to help with problem 3.

I've been thinking about a post on the international power which I may get to today. However, just as a placeholder, I'd wonder how a large set of various coalitions to deal with specific problems not only complicates things immensely, but also leaves a huge opening for the charge of hypocrisy as well as the implicit understanding that might equals right. It seems that the same notions that apply to trade and commerce, which then has us not wasting time bartering for everything, apply equally, if with more difficulty, to international relations. It certainly feels like a step backwards to me, though I would acknowledge that this is at its root a notion of progressivism, which Sebastian (and possibly you) reject.

By all standards, Iran is less violent than Israel,

Um, what now? By all standards?

In this context, it's never invaded any of it's neighbours since the revolution.

And I'm not sure it's internally more violent than Israel, assuming you take the Palestinians into consideration.

The Palestinians would have to matter, to imagine that they are being abused.

Pop quiz, hotshot: You have to pick a new place to live. Your choices are Israel and Iran. Choose now!

An appeal to international law didn't matter in the case of Iraq, even though Iraq was in breach of its treaty obligations. Why? Because other nations determined that removing Hussein from power was not in their best interests, regardless of what international law might say.

International law said that Saddam should be removed from power? I think you're missing a whole bunch of links in the deductive chain there...

Andrew: the only line items in the US budget of any size are interest on the national debt, DOD and entitlement programs. Every non-defense discretionary item (a) has a group of passionate defenders [eg, ag subsidies, Dept of Education] and (b) is relatively small by contrast.

by suggesting that the US cut spending in order to go to war, you are in fact suggesting that the most vulnerable members of our society pay for our military adventurism. Whose ox gets gored?

Pop quiz, hotshot: You have to pick a new place to live. Your choices are Israel and Iran. Choose now!

Posted by: Phil | July 17, 2006 at 09:50 PM

Do I get to live in Israel as a European Zionist in Tel Aviv?

Or a Muslim Palestinian in a refugee camp?

IN Iran, am I a Caucasian son of a Mullah or Kurdish political prisoner?

"Why is the process of deciding on international laws not a process of deciding what is important to us and trying to get people to come along?"

I don't know. But it isn't.

Someotherdude, you get to choose to be a Jew in Iran or a Muslim in Israel. Which do you prefer.

"Someotherdude, you get to choose to be a Jew in Iran or a Muslim in Israel."

The latter, in particular, covers potentially a fairly wide range of possible circumstances.

However, it's easier to get accurate press coverage of it than the former.

Apologies for the threadjack, but with all this talk about choice, I find this vaguely related

National Public Radio foreign correspondent Loren Jenkins, serving in NPR's Baghdad bureau, met earlier this month with a senior Shiite cleric, a man who was described in the NPR report as "a moderate" and as a person trying to lead his Shiite followers into practicing peace and reconciliation. He had been jailed by Saddam Hussein and forced into exile. Jenkins asked him: "What would you think if you had to go back to Saddam Hussein?" The cleric replied that he'd "rather see Iraq under Saddam Hussein than the way it is now."

via Arthur Silber

Pop quiz, hotshot: You have to pick a new place to live. Your choices are Israel and Iran. Choose now!

This depends - am I a Palestinian or not?

Someotherdude, you get to choose to be a Jew in Iran

That is to say, considerably less than 1% of the population...

or a Muslim in Israel.

That is to say, around 42% of the population of Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Would you like to compare apples with oranges sometime?

Sebastian: As the above discussion about genocide shows or any recent discussion about nuclear nonproliferation shows, the 'international community' doesn't care to enforce the things it already finds 'illegal'.

I've noticed before, Sebastian, that your comments suggest you do not think of the US as part of the international community. Am I right?

That is to say, considerably less than 1% of the population...

Now, why do we suppose that is? We're crucially close to learning something here.

I thought the question was interesting so I googled a bit and got this about the Jewish enclave in Iran. This article points to some of the paradoxes.

Before the revolution, Jews were well-represented among Iran's business elite, holding key posts in the oil industry, banking and law, as well as in the traditional bazaar. The wave of anti-Israeli sentiment that swept Iran during the revolution, as well as large-scale confiscation of private wealth, sent thousands of the more affluent Jews fleeing to the United States or Israel. Those remaining lived in fear of pogroms, or massacres. But Khomeini met with the Jewish community upon his return from exile in Paris and issued a ''fatwa'' decreeing that the Jews were to be protected. Similar edicts also protect Iran's tiny Christian minority.

I wondered as well. This doesn’t contain any huge surprises.

Is there a story here, Phil? Was the Iranian Jewish community ever very large?

Sorry, I hit post instead of preview. Here is a second section of that article

Some problems exist. Testimony from Jews who have left Iran suggests more serious problems than those cited by Jews inside the country. In written testimony to a congressional subcommittee in February 1996, an Iranian Jew complained of being imprisoned for two years on trumped-up charges of spying for Israel. He also said his arrest was preceded by harassment at work and pressure to convert to Islam. Inside Iran, Jews say that they frequently receive alarmed telephone calls and letters from relatives in the United States concerned about their well-being, but that they themselves do not feel physically endangered. Their major complaint is the inability to visit family in Israel, and what they say is inadequate funding for Hebrew schools, which are administered by the Iranian Ministry of Education. Although many Jews hold jobs in government ministries or within state-owned firms, they say they are unlikely to rise to top positions. In addition, Iran's strict Islamic law, or ''sharia,'' contains many discriminatory provisions toward non-Muslims. Jews 'part of Iran' Still, Jewish leaders say their community has far stronger roots in Iran than other Middle East Jewish communities, which were virtually eradicated by massive immigration to Israel in the 1940s and 1950s.

As a supplement to the learning process, this is interesting.

Not sure what the lesson is, yet, so I'm going to fade back into the woodwork.

It's certainly interesting, Slarti, but I'm not at all sure it's reliable. There's only 1,204 Jews in Ireland? Ye gods, I must have met them all. Then again if you have worked in the banking industry you aren't likely to encounter a random sample of the population.

Wikipedia has 1,790 in the 2002 census in this article. Interesting read.

I had a small insight about why diplomacy often ends up spurned:

In successful diplomacy, bad people are very likely to end up with more gains than they would have had in its absence.

That's sort of the point, really - that it's better to go ahead and make it worth everyone's while not to fight and stuff, and this can indeed mean the bad guys coming out ahead as well as the good guys. And there's a moralist in many of us (starting with the person who's writing this message, I got to this by reflecting on my own reactions) who would prefer that bad guys not ever get ahead.

But when the choice is between bad guys flourishing who might have been squashed and the good guys throwing away their citizens' lives and wealth in uncertain efforts to squash the bad guys and making a whole bunch of fresh problems, yes, I'll go with the flourishing. In an ideal world I wouldn't have to choose between my own country's well-being and the well-being of bad guys. Since we often do, I'll go with good stuff rather than squashing in most cases.

This of course assumes that diplomatic relations are entered in good faith by both sides. Bad faith on either side can result in gains/losses that weren't part of the negotiation.

Slarti,

I especially liked the precision of the Afghanistan entry.

Well, yeah. They know that because the other one died.

Interesting, the disparity in precision. Some countries don't know to the nearest hundred. Ethiopia might not know to the nearest thousand.

Back when I lived in Israel, I was a copy editor for the Jerusalem Post, and thus got to edit a lot of stories about the Jewish community in X, for various values of X. It was really fascinating. Apparently there was a Jewish community in China that antedated recent Western contacts with China. Who knew?

I'm not assuming any such constraint, Slarti. I'm just saying flat out that diplomacy often leads to bad guys getting stuff that we'd as soon they didn't get, and that it's easy to forget why this is often a good outcome overall.

"I had a small insight about why diplomacy often ends up spurned:

In successful diplomacy, bad people are very likely to end up with more gains than they would have had in its absence."

That might contribute. Personally I think diplomacy has gotten a bad rap because of the high noise-to-signal ratio. Nearly all diplomatic meetings are described as 'successful' or 'productive' or 'process-building' even if they mostly involve a North Korean diplomat complaining about the size of the table. Diplomacy with the bad guys you describe often involves lots of highly publicized 'agreements' that end up broken within weeks (but rather less publicized). And with respect to the UN, diplomacy often consists of 'commitments' which are anything but--witness the anti-genocide agreement for example. Those are the ones I find most disturbing because I believe they channel people who want to help with a situation into a an outlet which isn't productive.

If people who have the power to help really want to do so, they will. That’s almost a tautology. What the UN does is, it enables states which have a lot of power which they prefer not to use for humanitarian purposes to create the impression that they are doing their best, but something called the “international community” is blocking the way.

Hilzoy: Apparently there was a Jewish community in China that antedated recent Western contacts with China. Who knew?

Well, anyone who'd read Peony (one of Pearl S. Buck's novels) would have. (It's a romanticized version of the decline of the Jewish community of Kaifeng.)

"What the UN does is, it enables states which have a lot of power which they prefer not to use for humanitarian purposes to create the impression that they are doing their best, but something called the “international community” is blocking the way."

Sure. And that isn't just the US. That is France, and Germany, and the UK, and even middle-weight places like Spain and Italy. But yes, lots of people use the UN as an excuse not to act--which is easy because the UN largely about enforcing the status quo.

"This article points to some"

LJ, you're quoting an article that a site named "jewsnotzionists.org" thinks it's nifty to highlight. (Would you also want to point to, say, this?) You might want to look into some of the variant POVs on the topic before presenting just that one. Then you might want to consider the conditions under which a foreign reporter works in Iran, and the conditions under which the remaining Iranian Jews live under in which they speak to a foreigner reporter.

Presenting articles without remarking on any of those conditions, well: um.

And that isn't just the US. That is France, and Germany, and the UK, and even middle-weight places like Spain and Italy.

Agreed; indeed – lest I be accused of doing a holier-than-thou thing – you don’t have to stop at the middleweights. Even lightweights like Ireland use the same excuse. Of course we don’t need it so much, since in many cases we can quite honestly say there is nothing we can do.

Where I find your harping on this point a bit bothersome is that it seems to me you are often setting up a false dichotomy: America’s alternatives are to use force, or to fart around at the UN getting worthless promises from unscrupulous regimes. America usually has a wider range of responses than you acknowledge. In fact I would say that if you look at the period since 1945, the best results have usually been got by various combinations of bribes and threats rather than by resort to force.

Bruce Baugh’s introspection has given me a clue to why I often find you comments exasperating. You can’t resign yourself to the fact that sometimes you really have to give guys like Muqtada al-Sadr and Ahmedinejad some, or maybe even most, of what they want. Well, rest assured that I don’t like it either.

"Apparently there was a Jewish community in China that antedated recent Western contacts with China. Who knew?"

The Cochin Jews of China have had about 5 billion tons of worldwide publicity, actually.

Presenting articles without remarking on any of those conditions, well: um.

What's up, Gary? Not enough footnotes for you?

by suggesting that the US cut spending in order to go to war, you are in fact suggesting that the most vulnerable members of our society pay for our military adventurism. Whose ox gets gored?

Francis,

If it involves 'military adventurism' then I'd prefer we not do it at all, thank you very much. However, if it is a requirement to protect the people, then I think that prioritizing funding to military operations is providing a lot better support for everyone, poor and rich alike, than Social Security and Medicare.

The first duty of any representative government is to keep its people alive and free.

"...then I think that prioritizing funding to military operations is providing a lot better support for everyone, poor and rich alike, than Social Security and Medicare."

This is where Andrew's conservative/libertarian side comes out; he believes that the government shouldn't do much more than 18th/19th century government (as he understand it; I'm not clear how he reconciles the reality of "internal improvements" and all), that doing more is un-Constitutional, that it's all about "security vs. freedom," and such-like. Not that I'm trying to speak for him; he'll speak for himself.

"The first duty of any representative government is to keep its people alive and free."

And then the second duty is to help them deal with things like 19th/turn-of-the-20th century trusts and the effect of the industrial revolution, and then the Great Depression, which is where we tend to disagree.

Gary,

First you out Enrak as a relative, now you're telling everyone that I'm right of center. Are there no secrets here at ObWings?

Israel's jounalism and academic community will certainly slow down, if not slam the brakes on the drift toward right-wing nihilism.

The last few days have proven that.

Judt on Israel: "Grow Up"

Yeah, actually, I shouldn't have said anything that might open up a general can of argument; those are typically deeply useless and annoying.

I'll try to wait for some specific point to come up to help lead your into the light.

At least I didn't tell everyone that you're a B5 fan.

Or that you liked the original BSG (I guess your age is an excuse). Or that you're a bit of a gamer.

Actually, I don't believe the fact that you're married has come up yet. So, there.

Now you can point out that you're the only person who comments here, let alone posts, who has actually met me in person, and that I'm short and fat (though I like to fantasize that the latter not having always been the case, will someday again not be the case; the former is less apt to possibly change).

We've got the obligatory Judt-hauling-out. We should have a Chomsky link any minute.

In case anyone isn't aware, Judt's been calling for the elimination of Israel for many years now. And, hey, he's a Jew, so he's the primary cite on the reasonability of the notion.

I suspect most readers have figured out my fondness for B5 by now. I should have them all reciting B5 lines in another six months.

Worse, I still like the original BSG. While I think the new version has great potential and has fulfilled that potential sporadically up until now, the original had strengths as well that I think are overlooked by the bad effects and 70s styles.

Perhaps we'll even meet again, if there's ever another RMBB. And assuming I'm not still at balmy Fort Riley.

"I suspect most readers have figured out my fondness for B5 by now."

Ya think?

"While I think the new version has great potential and has fulfilled that potential sporadically up until now, the original had strengths as well that I think are overlooked by the bad effects and 70s styles."

I'll go easy on you for that. We're all entitled to a little madness. Or nostalgia. Or whatever. (Planet of casinos! Boxey! Angels in space! Astrology! Astrology!)

Although I'm too depressed and pre-occupied to do much or any serious blogging at present, I did actually do a neo-BSG (and Bryan Singer-related, as well) post last night, which I suppose I need to e-mail you if you want to see it.

I think you're a little too hard on BSG. Boxey was a darn sight less annoying than Wesley Crusher, for example. And the planet of casinos was a lure to trap people, so it was a plausible device. All I remember about astrology was that they used the signs of the zodiac to name the colonies; I don't recall it being a substantive part of the series, though I could be wrong. And the angels were just a more advanced species.

So there. :P

There's a restaurant in Manhattan that has wireless internet. I'll try to swing by there tonight if I'm not too worn out at close of business.

Boxey was a darn sight less annoying than Wesley Crusher, for example.

Even Wil Wheaton would agree that's damning with faint praise.

Plus, how can you not love a show (the new BSG) in which such an ostensibly important character is supposed to have died off-screen from cholera?

Even Wil Wheaton would agree that's damning with faint praise.

True. I certainly wasn't a big fan of Boxey.

Who died from cholera? I must have missed that one.

"And the planet of casinos was a lure to trap people, so it was a plausible device."

Can't agree. BSG wasn't set in a universe where interstellar travel was a commonplace of endless numbers of species; they ran across about two others during the entire series, and a handful of other humans.

So it's about as plausible as North America setting itself up as "continent of the casinos" in the year 1200 A.D.

The entire "planet of the [FILL IN HERE]s" trope was laughed out of science fiction in... well, actually, it's never been a part of real science fiction; just idiotic tv sci-fi. It's not exactly, oh, Iain M. Banks, say, or any of the modern neo-space-opera writers. Hell, it's not even up to E.E. Smith sophistication.

Wesley Crusher was a Mary Sue; Boxey was just there to be cute.

"And the angels were just a more advanced species."

A more advanced species of angels, in counterpoint to Satan (Iblis is the name of the Devil is Islamic Arabic tradition, if you're not aware).

The angels/satan/god thing, mixed together with the astrology, was just a mass of mindless mystical tripe. The whole thing was aimed at 8-year-olds.

But, as I said, we're all entitled to nostalgia. I don't claim my fondness for Star Trek is much more. And I wouldn't make much more of my fondness for comics, either, although that's a medium, not a genre; but same same for super-hero comics. Neither would I argue that my penchant for playing computer games is a particularly more enlightening use of my time than watching soap operas or reality tv or He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe. We're all entitled to some mindless tripe, and in particular when it's connected to nostalgia.

But if you want to defend the original BSG (as opposed to the marvelous neo) as worthwhile beyond that, hey, set up the pins. :-)

If we want to continue the BSG discussion, it might be polite of us to move it over to the last open thread, it occurs to me.

Although I suppose we could try discussing whether the war between the Cylons and humans was inevitable or avoidable, and what we can learn from that regarding policy as regards Iran.

you like both BSG and B5? there's hope for you yet Andrew.

re: spending. you're not getting away with burying your comment quite so easily.

there is no magic level of taxation. if we want substantially more revenue for DOD than we currently have, then we're going to have to raise the govt's income, because i seriously doubt that anyone, republican or democrat, will ever have the political clout to make significant reduction in entitlement spending, and the govt really needs to stop borrowing to cover military expenditures.

SS is self-funding and more for now. Medicare and Medicaid are tremendously popular programs because so many people are outliving (or don't have) their employer-provided health care.

of course, we could always go to national health care insurance. who knows? we might even save a ton of money. the europeans do.
(according to Ezra Klein, the French system is one of the best.)

Francis,

But I thought we could just keep cutting taxes to generate revenue?

ducks

you like both BSG and B5? there's hope for you yet Andrew.

Did you think I was starting my posts with B5 quotes randomly? ;)

the govt really needs to stop borrowing to cover military expenditures.

Concur. And I believe that you're correct regarding the need to raise taxes to pay for that venture. Chalk my initial response up to knee-jerk dislike of raising revenues rather than cutting spending.

We've got the obligatory Judt-hauling-out. We should have a Chomsky link any minute.

Posted by: Gary Farber | July 18, 2006 at 02:05 PM

Can't be all bad, if Forward is giving him space. (Don't know if Forward ever gave Chomsky some, room I supposed they may have)

LJ, you're quoting an article that a site named "jewsnotzionists.org" thinks it's nifty to highlight.

Sorry, I missed this. I think of Barbara Demick as a pretty balanced reporter, so the fact that that particular website chooses to highlight that article shouldn't be taken as proof that it is wrong. I also tried to quote both the good and the bad in the article so as to be balanced. Sorry you don't approve, but if you had some specific points that undercut Demick's reporting, those would be appreciated. Also, following your argument that blogrolls are not recommendations, I am hard pressed to think why you would think citing an article that I expressly said I found thru google would mean that I am somehow recommending the viewpoint of the site.

lj,

"I think of Barbara Demick as a pretty balanced reporter"

Having read her regularly when she was the Israel correspondent for Knight-Ridder, my mileage varies enormously.

I didn't really know about her until her article about an LATimes piece with a North Korean businessman that got her excorciated by a number on the right. Of course, I wonder if there actually is any area on the spectrum of opinions in the ME where a balanced reporter would be able to stand, as it seems like the act of reporting anything opens you up to charges of bias.

lj,

Upon reflection, while I read the vast majority of Demick's output published in the Phila. Inquirer, I typically read fact checking only from pro-Israeli sources, most frequently the local Jewish weekly. It is possible that pro-Palestinian sources would be equally critical of her, making her balanced, but totally hopeless as a reporter.

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