Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 13: The reason why...

It was never clear why the US launched a war on Afghanistan. After 911, the Taliban offered to surrender Osama bin Laken to an international court. That fully met its obligations under international law. There was no evidence (and still is none) that Aghanistan had anything to do with 911. So why did the US launch a war on Afghanistan? And why did NATO, including Canada, join it?

NATO has played a heavy price in lives, not only in killed but in those wounded in the many ways that war can wound, and wound for the rest of their lives. We also have inflicted one hell of a price on men, women and children in Afghanistan with mass killing, torture, widespread poverty and starvation.


While in the Far East, I was caught up in the romance of the great trade routes that centred on Afghanistan. Before the rise of the sailing ship, Afghanistan was the economic and strategic key to that vast area called central Asia. Five hundred years ago and more, it was trading minerals, spices and silks to western Europe overland on "The Great Silk Road". (Hands down, all those who thought globalization was something new.)

Afghanistan still has an enormous wealth in minerals. Estimates run between one trillion and three trillion dollars. It is also still a strategic centre for control of resource industries in the whole region.

It's not surprising, then, that the call to invade Afghanistan came not after 911, but a good five years before 911. Nor is it surprising that it came from a group of very powerful business men who had established a plan for American dominance of the world called Project for the New American Century. This is the group that came to power with George Bush. 911wasn't there reason. It was their excuse.

NATO was invited to join to give the operation an air of legitimacy, and because the US would need help with wars both open and secret, and more that were planned. Many NATO businessmen were eager to join so they could get in on the exploitation of Afghanistan resources. That's why Canada joined. Harper got out of the fighting part when he saw the political dangers of a large butcher's bill. But he kept a finger in by offering troops as training instructors.

On Nov. 11, remember our dead who died for big business in Canada.   (Big business is very good at making money for itself. It would be nice if it stayed there. Instead, it rushes into areas in which it is hopelessly incompetent - education, health care, foreign policy... It is our equivalent of the old, European aristocracy which for centuries insisted on ruling, long after it had proven itself hopelessly doltish.)

Watch the news for mention of "The New Silk Road" initiative. It's the latest Washington buss term. Big business recognizes it can't win the war it fought with our lives and money. So NATO will be working out business deals with Afghanistan. That means we shall be talking turkey with, almost certainly, the Taliban whom we were once told were terrorists.

This story did not and will not appear in The Moncton Times and Transcript.


On the "life's little comedies side", I sent a complaint about an editorial that appeared last week's TandT. I accused the editorial writer of extreme bias; and I sent the complaint to the Atlantic Press Council, a body appointed by the press to investigate itself. (Something like drug pushers appointing some of their members to report on drug pushers.)

When contacted, the managing editor of the TandT replied that I was criticizing their opinion - and that was criticizing freedom of expression. I truly hope the managing editor of the TandT will not be involved in the school literacy programme. You see, opinion and bias do NOT mean the same thing. Sometimes an opinion is the result of bias. Sometimes it is not. But the two words are not interchangeable. Fighting down an urge to form a group to teach literacy to Irving press editors (and applying for a 2 and a half million dollar grant from the government, I communicated my response to the Atlantic Press Council.

And I got another word game. They would examine other articles in the paper on the same topic as that editorial to see if any offered another opinion. If they found such an article (and in hundreds of articles, it would be easy to find one that could be argued into looking like a different opinion).

The trouble with all that is that my statement had nothing to do with the rest of the paper going back over the years. It had to do with one editorial that was biased. Finding another editorial or story that was not biased has nothing to with whether that editorial was biased.

So much for the "watchdog of the press" in the Atlantic region.
As you might have guessed by now, there's nothing much worth reading in today's TandT.

I was pleased to see the picture on A1 and the story on A3 of an elementary school breakfast programme. This is a worthwhile investment in the future, one that really will pay off - even more than an events centre.

There's no other news worth reading. Reporting on the the Vatican election is particularly trivial - though it occupies lots of space.

The editorial expresses the opinion that the Tidal Bore is not a huge, tourist draw.  Well, that took only a century or so to figure out.

Good cartoon of Justin Trudeau - though I suspect we're stuck with him.

Alec Bruce nicely puts the skids under statistics - and rightly so. Journalists just love statistics, and will claim they prove all sorts of things. In fact....well, read Bruce's column. It puts it very well.

Norbert has a good day - a very good day.

On the op ed page, Eric Lewis delivers a virtuous but particularly bland and boring sermonette.

Brian Cormier is Brian Cormier, and probably beyond hope.

The Letters to the Editor have some of the best insights and writing in the whole paper.

In the last few days,  I've been shifting the focus of this blog to deal more fully with specific topics. That's because I could go on forever just giving details of why this is a stinking newspaper. So I'm thinking now of giving more time to what the paper should be doing. I may start that tomorrow with an outline of the kinds of questions the paper should be asking about municipal affairs, and what kinds of information we should be getting.

1 comment:

  1. So true about Brian Cormier....worst writer in the T&T