Double Standards? Moi?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by skunk, May 15, 2005.

  1. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #1
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1484251,00.html

    Spreading democracy around the world, my arse.
     
  2. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Rather than harumphing about this sort of (bleep), lemme come from a different direction: Why do it? I see two basic problems. First is that this sort of stuff CANNOT be kept secret, and the word WILL get out and then there are egg-covered faces and all the CYA stuff and as is obvious, bad PR.

    Second is that most of the time, torture elicits what the victim thinks the torturers want to hear. Some poor devil that's "hooked up" will tell everything he knows about anything he's ever learned or heard--but it isn't necessarily the "true fact" about anything.

    I wonder sometimes where "they" find the people who set up these sorts of systems. You can go back to the Vietnam era and shoving guys out of helicopters, to make the onlooking prisoners talk. Or the "tiger cages" used first by our SV allies and later by the new Vietnam government.

    I dunno. Looking at that thread I started about the US role in the world, I'm sorta getting toward isolationism and bringing home damned near everybody. I don't know of any administration besides Jimmy Carter's where some sort of official brutal stupidity was actually restrained.

    But to get closer to home and some potential for our own futures, I'm not really reassured by that May 10th 100-0 Senate vote...

    'Rat
     
  3. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #3
    Having a double standard assuming being in possession of at least a single standard. It happens there is a standard at work here, but it also happens to have nothing to do with human rights. As 'Rat was implying, the only US president to seriously attempt to make human rights the guiding principle of the nation's foreign policy was Jimmy Carter, and he was hooted and jeered for his trouble. And still is, all these years later. Far be it for the Bush team to make the mistake of promoting human rights in places where it might interfere with some other goal.
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Back when I was doing gunshows and coinshows as a penny-ante-sized entrepreneur, a phrase from decades before pretty much stayed in my mind: "Enlightened self-interest". That is, I always wanted to make a profit, but I didn't fight for the absolute highest possible price. Same thing with the broke-down cars I'd buy and rebuild and later sell. What happened was that I had a lot of come-back customers. The deal is, it's all in the way you treat people and the reputation you earn over time.

    So honor and integrity and keeping one's word are not just important to me; they're R-E-A-L, real. I despise lying, cheating and stealing, and I can work up a real strong foam about gratuitous cruelty and violence.

    Yeah, I understand about national interest. I understand that politics is the "art of the possible" and compromise among competing interests is necessary. I understand that budget allocations have forever been and will always be allocations of a shortage of funds. A lot of the stuff that goes on in politics and government is no more than human nature and ego in a world of power-seekers. I may disapprove of a lot of it, but I can understand it and live with it.

    But some stuff just flat-out chaps my butt. Stupidity that rebounds against the society as a whole is one of those chappers...

    I guess I'm glad I can compartmentalize stuff, and sorta keep it to the back of my mind--cause for the last forty years or so, there's been just way too much Bad Stuff emanating from our VIPs...

    Harking back to my mother's wondering, "Where are the Statesmen? We used to have Statesmen!" and all I can say is that I've given up on that; I'd just like to see some mature adults. We seem to have a plethora of greedy, nasty little children.

    'Rat
     
  5. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #5
    The good business model applies to the nation as a whole as well. Selling our products to the world is beneficial to the home market as it expands production beyond what is necessary just to satisfy our own needs.

    Producing for both your own needs and the needs of others leads to a booming economy and trade surplus. And low unemployment levels. An employed nation is one that has money to spend.

    When it comes to good business, borders should not be an issue. A consumer in NZ is no different than a consumer in OC. They want the best for their buck. The sellers reputation depends on it locally, nationally, or internationally.

    The basics will always be the best product at the best price. To sell a product, you need consumers though, which is also pretty basic. If there is no ability to purchase something, there is no incentive to produce anything.
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #6
    Assuming the mission is genuinely to spread democracy around the world, realistically, the US can't put pressure on every country in the world at once and is bound to make compromises in that mission. It's not realistic to expect otherwise.

    On the other hand, I think those compromises tend to be incredibly short sighted, like supporting Pakistan in 1971 in its violent suppression of East Bengali independence (since I just wrote a paper on that!). Or supporting Uzbekistan's authoritarian government and pretending Abkhazia doesn't exist at the same time as supporting 'revolution' in Georgia and Ukraine--efforts that have clearly pissed off Russia and renewed its commitment to regional hegemony.
     
  7. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #7
    Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd add this little tidbit here. It concerns Newsweek's story about the desecration of the Koran at Guantanamo.

    Emphasis mine.

    Oh, so it's a huge tragedy when Newsweek can't verify its sources but irrelevant when the US gov't. can't.

    How does McCellan live with himself?
     
  8. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #8
    Massive doses of psychotropic drugs.

    That's my theory, anyway.
     
  9. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    Denial ain't just a river in Africa.
     
  10. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #10
  11. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    The editor of Newsweek says he doesn't know now if the story was accurate, which means they probably should not have printed it. The magazine is describing this as an error on their part. Now, it's possible that somebody in the administration pulled a dirty trick on Newsweek, but if that's the case, then they certainly fell for it.
     
  13. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #13
    The story was unproven. Whether it was an error is debatable. If I were Newsweek, I'd be telling Scott McClellan to prove me wrong, rather than meekly taking his ********.
     
  14. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #14
    there's a frightenting potential fallout from all this. from here.

    given the (to put it mildly) relaxation of whistleblower protection under the bush administration, tougher standards for getting info under the FOIA, and now the squeeze on using anonymous sources, it appears the administration is really trying to remove the teeth of investigative journalism.
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #15
    It's generally a bad idea to run with unverified and unconfirmed news stories. The reporters over at Newsweek have to be feeling like they were deliberately suckered into reporting a story based on one anonymous source who would later recant -- and it's quite possible they were. But that's not an excuse any legitimate journalist can use, and they know it.
     
  16. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #16
    One down-and-dirty way to fight leaks from the inside is to offer up a poisonous anonymous source from time to time. The source backs off after publication and the reporter is left looking like a fool. Investigative reporters will just have to work a little harder. If the upshot is that they can no longer simply accept a call from Joe Anonymous and run with the story, then maybe that's not such a bad result. It was never a good idea anyway.
     
  17. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #17
    This obviously wasn't Joe Anonymous, as Newsweek managed to get back to him. I suspect they weren't the only ones.
     
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #18
    I don't follow your point. The story was based on an anonymous source the reporter assumed was trustworthy. When they weren't able to obtain any comment from the Pentagon, instead of smelling a possible setup, they ran the story. Not very smart. The net result: Newsweek and one of their star reporters take a big hit in the credibility department, and the administration gets another golden opportunity to rant and rave about media.
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #19
    Huh... I heard a guy from Newsweek claiming today that the magazine had shown the article in question to the Pentagon and their only objection (at that time) was to an unrelated item that was subsequently dropped.

    Don't know if that's true at all, but there you have it.

    Anyway, what Newsweek did was sloppy journalism. Relying on a single source without independent verification isn't good practice. Would that the Bush administration had been as wise regarding Chalabi or 'Curveball'.
     
  20. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #20
    But there again - and I saw that Pentagon thing as well, but can't remember where - if they did run it past the Pentagon, that's corroboration, to all intents and purposes. This looks increasingly like damage control. Considering the wealth of statements from ex-Guantanamo internees about this kind of crap, and the stuff about other treatment calculated to insult Muslims (as seen also in Abu Ghraib), I see no particular reason to doubt that these things happened. Call me cynical.
     
  21. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #21
    Yeah, IF they ran it by the Pentagon and all that turns out to be true that should count as corroboration. If that's the case I'd lean more heavily towards a set-up, but I just don't know enough facts at this point.

    And the fact still stands that the source isn't saying this didn't happen, just that he couldn't recall if he ran across the report of that particular abuse under Southern Command or some other report. He didn't deny that it happened.
     
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #22
    The failure of an anonymous source to deny something means almost nothing in journalistic terms. A journalist who relies on this low threshold of proof is just begging to get burned.
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #23
    Right, but what I heard (and I only heard in in passing on TV so I have no source nor link to provide which is why I provide a caveat) is that Isikoff ran the story past higher-ups at the Pentagon, not just the original source.

    Yes that's still weak journalism, a non-denial isn't exactly the same as confirmation. Isikoff should certainly know better than to trust the unverified account of an anonomous source with an item like that.

    However, the Pentagon should also have realized that publishing that item without their denial would lead to the conclusion that it did indeed happen.
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #24
    Yes, this was in the linked story, which is what causes me to suspect that Isikoff was set up, and a little too easily for a veteran reporter.

    As of this morning, Newsweek is "retracting" the story, btw. Not sure what this means in reality, since they'd already said they couldn't be sure it was true, and they aren't saying now that they know it wasn't true.
     

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