September 19, 2008

No Time to Update the Script

Justin Katz

Is it me, or is the news editor of the Providence Phoenix increasingly giving the impression of a strident partisan? To be sure, no doubt previously existed as to Ian's political leanings, but something in this election season seems to be drawing him further across the tightrope spanning the ideological gulf, toward his ticker-tape-talking-point friends. Perhaps I've been too keen to see balance, heretofore, but this post puts a head on the snake (so to speak):

Yet the CRFRI's implication that non-Republicans are to blame for the state of the fight against terrorism seems a bit odd, doesn't it?

A few questions:

Who botched the hunt for Osama bin Laden?
Who allowed the Taliban to come back into power in Afghanistan?

Who has waged an extremely costly and unnecessary war that has failed in its stated goal of transforming the Middle East?

Whose own government says this war has made worse the fight against terrorism?

And who is reportedly ramping up the search for Osama since there's a presidential election in November?

Putting aside my observation that, beyond its name, the College Republican Federation of Rhode Island stated nothing in the materials that Donnis cites to implicate non-Republicans in a way that exonerates various members of the party, what does seem a bit odd to me is that Donnis begins his questioning with reference a "botched" hunt for OBL and ends it faulting the administration's renewed focus on him now that its days in office are coming to a close. It's also worth noting that Donnis's link related to the OBL question is to an article from spring 2002, since which time precious little has been heard from the terrorist mastermind.

Donnis doesn't provide a link for his second question, but I'd submit that this article answers it with "Iran":

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have been arming Taliban groups in western Afghanistan for the past year, an independent journalist has told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Question #3 points to a curious — perhaps telling — ambiguity in liberals' thinking: The linked opinion piece addresses the Global War on Terror, with Iraq being merely a stage in that broader war; is Donnis's position that fighting terrorists is "unnecessary"? And apart from that request for clarification, I wonder if Ian would provide his view of a reasonable time frame in which to "transform" an entire region. Should routing terrorists and transforming a broad-based ideo-political culture be roughly equivalent, in time span, to earning a Master's degree? Or is it a project more in the mold of changing a state school's image from "party school" to respected institution?

Chronology is certainly relevant to Donnis's next question, not the least because his supporting link harks back to the pre-surge days of September 2006. Apparently, presidential races are to be run during whatever period serves the liberal candidate best, regardless of whether it happens to be the present.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Everyone who believes that the "war on terror" is anything more than this decade's "war on drugs" and therefore a big dog and pony show and just an excuse for rampant law enforcement and military spending and curtailing of civil rights, please raise your hands.

Now look around at everyone around you with their hands raised. Please don't let them play with sharp objects.

Bin Laden is way more valuable to Bush as a living, breathing boogie man than he is as a captured and executed villain and as such Bush has no real interest in 'finding'* Bin Laden.

*Yeah, cuz we haven't had a KH-14 floating 65 miles right over his head for the last five years...

Posted by: Greg at September 19, 2008 8:01 AM


Well, Anchor could never be accused of being stridently partisan, eh?

Some people can't resist simplifying my political leanings and those of the Phoenix and its contributors, but they are more varied than you suggest. In one such example, Phillipe + Jorge this week hold up Michael Pinga as a signal of positive change at the State House.

To answer your question, I believed that fighting jihadist terrorism is necessary. The point of my post was to contend that the Bush administration hasn't been particularly effective in doing so.

And the role of David Horowitz and other conservatives in last year launching "Islamofascism Awareness Week" on American college campuses suggests, IMHO, that this frame generally comes with an implied critique of non-Republicans.

Posted by: Ian Donnis at September 19, 2008 11:12 AM

You're missing my meaning, Ian. I claimed neither that Anchor Rising is not partisan nor that your views are simplistic. Rather, I expressed the observation that you (as a person, not as a stand-in for your paper) have seemed increasingly partisan, lately, as evidenced by your questionable and unfair rhetorical questions and related links.

As for the effectiveness of the GWOT, I wonder if you'd remind me of when the last significant jihadist terrorist attack was perpetrated on the U.S. ... or, if you'd like, on any Western nation. Might make for an interesting chart to compare the frequency of attacks leading up to our various endeavors and after them.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 19, 2008 12:43 PM

I carry a lucky stone in my gear bag. Since I've carried it I haven't been attacked by a tiger.

Would you like to buy my tiger protection rock?

Posted by: Greg at September 19, 2008 1:25 PM

Well, I suppose we've hit on some of the prevailing critques and counter-critiques involving the GWOT. I suspect there's something to be said for both sides. Given the vulnerabilities that have been revealed, post-9/11, in US airports, ports, and other sensitive points, it's open to question why we haven't seen another domestic attack. I don't necessarily buy it, but Greg Palast theorizes that Al Qaeda was somewhat mollified by the withdrawal of US forces from Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Ian Donnis at September 19, 2008 1:40 PM

re GWOT and lack of terrorist attacks in US.

You know the old joke. A man is stomping on the ground outside the Plaza Hotel in NY. Cop says, "Hey Buddy, why are you stomping around like that?"
Man replies, "It keeps the elephants away".
Cop says, "There aren't any elephants in NY."
Man replies, "See how good it works."

Posted by: observer at September 19, 2008 1:45 PM

Above we have someone who just compared the existence of elephants stomping outside the Plaza Hotel in NY to the existence of terrorist attacks in the US.

I want to read some intelligent or reasoned defense of that statement.

Posted by: msteven at September 19, 2008 4:04 PM

I'd like to see some evidence that the biggest curtailment of civil rights in the history of our nation (The Patriot Act) and the creation of a new level of clusterf*ck government run amok (Homeland Security) has accomplished ANYTHING positive.

Got any? I mean besides the taking my shoes off at the airport thing.

Posted by: Greg at September 19, 2008 5:27 PM

Ian Donnis is a biased, corrupt card-carrying water-bearer of the Atheist Left who refuses to hire a single contributor from the MAJORITY of the population that elected Carcieri twice and wants illegals booted out on their asses?

In other breaking news, Greece has announced victory in its long-running battles with Troy after a brilliant manouver regarding an artificial horse.

Posted by: Mike at September 19, 2008 7:57 PM

Ian-You cannot "mollify"people willing to blow themselves up for their cause by simply withdrawing from some specific area.This behavior actually may encourage them.
Study the communist guerilla war in Malayasia,or the Moro and Huk rebellions in the Philippines-there were no quick fixes-only a long and hard struggle.
The Jihadists are willing to wait as long as they have to,like sea mines do in naval warfare.In their view,they are locked in a timeless struggle for Islamic supremacy.The history of Islam bears this out.They may have made accomodations along the way as tactical remedies,but their long-term strategy has remained unchanged.
Kemal Ataturk in the 1920's and 30's made the most significant attempt to defeat the Jihadist mentality when he broke the power of the Turkish mullahs.His actions bought the rest of the world a lot of time by secularizing Turkey.The battle has been joined again there in earnest by the Jihadists,but the eventual outcome is unclear.Turkey is a pivotal country in the struggle.Why?Because a non-Jihadist Turkey provides a valuable counterbalance against Iran in the struggle for the Central Asian republics(Uzbekistan,Kazakhstan,Tadjikstan,Turkmenistan,and Kyrgystan)which has been going on since the breakup of the USSR.
In general,if one is familiar with world history from 1900-1940,what is going on today is much more understandable.
That goes for Asia and Europe as well.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 19, 2008 8:36 PM

After reading this thread...shame on Andrew and Joe for associating themselves with such a leftist publication.
Where's the blue sarcasm font when we need it?

Posted by: rhody at September 20, 2008 12:04 AM

Hey Rhody-you and OTL post here almost every day-and I don't suspect either of you have McCain-Palin bumper stickers-3/4 of the Phoenix is non-political stuff on arts,entertainment,restaurants,etc(and the famous "adult"section)

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 20, 2008 7:24 AM

In one such example, Phillipe + Jorge this week hold up Michael Pinga as a signal of positive change at the State House.

And you think they'd say the same thing if Pinga was still a registered Republican? Please.

Given the vulnerabilities that have been revealed, post-9/11, in US airports, ports, and other sensitive points, it's open to question why we haven't seen another domestic attack.

Piles of dead terrorists would be my guess. You need to keep in mind the numerous attempted, but foiled, attacks (Richard Reid, et al). The attacks that were disrupted by our invasion of Afghanistan and the tendency of AQ leadership to be on the receiving end of drone-fired missiles, we'll probably never know about. Fortunately those plots died with their creators.

Posted by: EMT at September 20, 2008 10:05 AM

Mike, before you get too self-righteous, let's remember that your comments on this and other blogs reveal, among other things:

1) a belief that anyone who doesn't share your reactionary views is a "commie."
2) racism (in an attempted comment on my blog, you used the N-word in referring to Obama).
3) a silly belief that I'm somehow censoring news about Cicilline's brother -- which has been all over TV news and on the front of the statewide daily for the last two days -- when I don't mention it on my blog.

Joe, the "mollify" comment was in relation to Palast's belief, not my own.

EMT, the Phoenix has endorsed Republicans (most recently, Sue Stenhouse in 2006), and I've repeatedly expressed the ultra-rad view that Rhode Island would be better off with a more competitive two-party system.

Posted by: Ian Donnis at September 20, 2008 2:45 PM

Ian-on re-reading your comment I do see the disclaimer,and I don't buy Palast's thinking on that either as you could tell.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 20, 2008 10:02 PM

You have been asked by me Ian this same question multiple times in a civil manner without answer:
"Why, amongst your many listed contributors is there not a single one representing the MAJORITY of this state that wants illegals booted out on their asses and elected Carcieri twice?"

Posted by: Mike at September 21, 2008 9:31 AM

Mike, Since you've tried to post four ad hominem comments against me on my blog just in the last two days, you can drop the pretense about being interested in a civil discussion.

As a presumed proponent of private property and the free market, however, you would seemingly support the discretion of a private business, such as the Phoenix, to make its own internal journalistic and editorial decisions.

Let's recognize, too, that the immigration situation has come about with both Democrat and Republican presidents and GOP control of Congress for lengthy periods, not to mention considerable support from big business.

Secure borders are a no-brainer in the post-9/11 age. You clearly don't like the way we have (or haven't) written about immigration, but it's not like we've issued some enthusiastic endorsement of illegal/undocumented immigration.

Posted by: Ian Donnis at September 21, 2008 6:32 PM

The most irresponsible reporting in print I have seen on the immigration issue locally is in the Projo-specifically the news stories of Karen Lee Ziner,Steve Peoples,and the columns of the now departed Merrill C.Bakst.Bakst was a columnist and I get the difference from a reporter,but nonetheless he lionized illegal aliens and couldn't draw a distinction between them and immigrants,who are legal resident aliens.He also conveniently ignored the very real problem of alien criminals.
The only accurate reporting on this matter in the current Projo is by Amanda Milkovits who seems to understand the principles of research and reporting facts without embedded editorial content.
Lee Dykas,the former Journal police reporter,and Kevin O'Connor of the Pawtucket Times always wrote informative and fact based articles on immigration enforcement.
The Phoenix hasn't had all that much on the subject as far as I recall with the exception of the Philip and Jorge column.
Jorge is Rudy Cheeks,and if anyone remembers his behavior on the radio,it is hard to take him seriously.
The Phoenix definitely has a liberal bent,but they have broken a few stories the Journal wouldn't touch.I thought the article on Dean Esserman was very good,because it reflected the negative views of him held by many police officers,as well as positive content.The Journal has been kissing Esserman's rear end non-stop.
The Journal editorial board is usually not that liberal on immigration,and I wonder if they didn't get just a little sick of Bakst pulling out the crying towel every other day on behalf of "immigrants".
Ironically one of the Phoenix reporters I disagree with the most is one David Bernstein-we are definitely NOT related.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 21, 2008 10:55 PM
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