Media's Take on the News: 3-12-03 to 4-24-03

Media's Take on the News

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When Mao Tse-tung swam the Yangtze at the age of 73, observers were amazed at the speed he was travelling.

He was known for swimming the river but the film footage showed him cutting through the water at remarkable pace for a man of his age. Photos from the same day also raised suspicion as they appeared to show a detached head bobbing on the water.

There were enough witnesses to authenticate it was the Chinese leader but there is still debate among historians today about whether the video was altered to make him swim faster or whether the government had frogmen in wetsuits and flippers underneath towing him along.

The art of deception has been widely used to prop up ageing statesmen who want to appear virile and has helped numerous leaders who were ill -- even dead -- give the impression they were still in command.

The Iraqi government's media campaign over the past two weeks has attempted to show Saddam Hussein is alive despite American attacks on his bunkers, government buildings and palaces. Saddam has appeared a number of times on state television delivering speeches to the nation and meeting with senior aides and his two sons, Uday and Qusay. In images shown yesterday of the 65-year-old dictator, he is dressed in military uniform and is smiling and laughing.

Intelligence sources told CNN yesterday t

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Rainer Kyster - 7/19/2004

Thanks for this. And you Americans have even longer to wait until you are liberated from being the murderer of Hisroshima and Nagasaki and the inventor of the atomic threat.

Nathan Williams - 4/29/2003

John Bloom, the author of "Assignment America: The Lawrence Problem," does not remember Lawrence of Arabia as well as he imagines. When the bickering tribes abandon administrative control of Damascus near the end of the film, there is no implication whatsoever that they have looted this culturally important city.

The looting of a Turkish train that occurs earlier in the film is an entirely different incident and likely would bare little resemblance, in the minds of the characters, and their historical counterparts, to the notion of sacking of an overwhelmingly Arab city.

He also makes the implication that after the bickering Arabs gave up, the Europeans established their rule "with a minimum of fuss." He evidently forgets that the French had to militarily defeat a Syrian army, united under Faysal (portrayed by Alec Guiness in Lawrence), in 1920 and put down a bloody revolt in 1925. Simmering hostility towards the French rule led to the formation of a certain "Ba'ath" party in that very city.

Ernest Wilberger - 4/9/2003

Yea right!

Mr. Weinkopf needs a lesson in current events.
Sure it was a quick war but whether or not it will be a quagmire is yet to be seen.


At a time when the United States is promising a reconstructed, democratic postwar Iraq, many Afghans are remembering hearing similar promises not long ago.
Instead, what they see are thieving warlords, killings on the roads and a resurgence of Taliban vigilantism.
"It's like I am seeing the same movie twice, and no one is trying to fix the problem," said Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghanistan's president and his representative in southern Kandahar. "What was promised to Afghans with the collapse of the Taliban was a new life of hope and change. But what was delivered? Nothing. Everyone is back in business."
Mr. Karzai said reconstruction has been painfully slow — a canal repaired, a piece of city road paved, a small school rebuilt.
"There have been no significant changes for people," he said. "People are tired of seeing small, small projects. I don't know what to say to people anymore."
When the Taliban ruled, it forcibly conscripted young men.
"Today I can say, 'We don't take your sons away by force to fight at the front line,' " Mr. Karzai said. "But that's about all I can say."

Denis Sinor - 3/15/2003

If Iraq has WMD, our losses might become appaling - and our attack justified. Respect for the US will increase. If, on the contrary, Iraq does not possess WMD. the war will be short and relatively painless for us and it will become evident that the attack was unjustified. Respect for the US around the world will be at an all-time low. It really is quite simple.

Dave Thomas - 2/24/2003

The Germans may want to be a normal country liberated from their past, but they need to wake up and realize the rest of the world, including their French allies, has not wiped the slate clean. How preposterous for Germans to want to hold the Allied nations responsible for the actions they took to save the world from a German assault on humanity. Does Germany think that they can demand that the allies could only defeatthem with the minimum amount of force necessary and that any actions taken beyond this were criminal? How preposterous to even suggest such a thing. War is a diabolical evil that the Germans perpetuated on Europe in the 1940's. They will have to live with that reality and responsiblity until the grandchildren of the soldiers of World War II pass away. Why is it that France and England refuse to allow the newly liberated German nation to possess nuclear weapons? Germany has a long way to go and a long time to wait, thirty to forty more years, before she is liberated from her Hitlerian nightmare.

Dave Thomas - 2/24/2003

I would appreciate some substantiation of the devestating charges Mr. Ellsberg makes. I would appreciate Dr. Ellsberg supplying evidence that one anti-American mass murderer, Saddam Hussein, would not supply another anti-American mass murderer, Osama Bin Laden, with NBC agents in sufficient quantitiy to kill hundreds of American citizens. It may not be a case for invasion, but he makes it sound like the possibility of such a collaboration is akin to martians landing in Nevada.

Stanley Davis - 12/20/2002

RE: ridiculous interpretation of events in this article:

The Party of Lincoln is now the Democratic Party,,,,,, silly,,,,
That's why Lott left the Democrats,,,,,,,, the party philosophy slowly migrated to opposite sides over 100 years,, not surprising,,,, each party is always trying to grab the constituency of the opposing party,,,,,,,, Stan Davis

Matthew Moriarty - 12/12/2002


Walter Isaacson of the New Republic gives Kissinger a thumbs up on his appointment to head the latest government cover-up of 9/11. In doing so, Isaacson typifies the intellectual drivel that passes for scholarly opinion these days. We are talking about a familiar sociopath here, a man who can hardly leave the country for fear arrest in matters of war crimes and murder. A man who unabashedly espouses pre-emptive war and the right of might in deciding questions of state to state relations. Kissinger's record is a record of lies and arrogance and contempt for the constitutional rights of Americans. Kissinger is an enemy of all that most Americans hold dear. He is fundamentally and viscerally opposed to our republic, to the nation state and profoundly believes the future of America is embedded in the rise of a world fascism. He is poison to all that is good and decent in America. His appointment to head the 9/11 investigation is an insult. This man that should be in jail.

Jo Ann McNamara - 10/17/2002

Your commentator is looking at the wrong Caesar. Julius was highly respectful of the Roman constitution and its traditions and, unlike other imperators of the period (Marius, Sulla, Pompey) abided strictly by the rules until his enemies drove him into a corner where he felt his career and even his life to be in peril.

The Roman Empire was actually devised (or flung together) by his nephew, Octavian, a nasty piece of work if ever there was one. Octavian was a devious young man with a reputation for womanizing and generally living it up. He joined the army in seeking revenge for Caesar's murder but avoided going into battle. His later battles were fought by surrogates. He manipulated his position in Rome to undercut his fellow triumvirs and ultimately cut them out of the government. He built up his own support by executing the bloody proscriptions against the supporters of Caesar's murderers. After he had murdered his enemies and knocked out his rivals, he claimed that he had restored the republic and the grateful survivors voted to change his name to Augustus and give him the title of Father of the Country. After that, he could do pretty much as he pleased while pretending to be just a humble citizen.

Does this sound like anyone we know?