Runcible Blog

Disturbing Times

Today's Washington Post reports that an "unembedded" (read: uncensored) journalist has "disappeared" after apparently reporting too much:

Phil Smucker, who writes for the Christian Science Monitor, told his paper yesterday that military police were going through his belongings and were concerned that he had disclosed too much information in an interview, according to Monitor Foreign Editor David Scott.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Smucker, "that's the last we've heard from him," Scott said. "He was upset. I don't think he felt like he'd done anything."

"Some general in Qatar blew a fuse and said, 'Get rid of this guy,' " said Smucker's father, John, who lives in Alexandria.

But censorship during war is nothing new. In fact, it's an important part of the strategy:

Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.
--General William Westmoreland

Meanwhile, supposed "patriots" have effectively shut down the Al-Jazeera website while claiming to be protecting freedom. The irony is lost on these particular computer hackers.

Another word that ends in "y" is hypocrisy. Today's example comes from our much-loved government, who won't reveal where they're keeping Iraqi prisoners of war. No big deal, you say? Well, actually, the Geneva Convention (yes, the same one Donald Rumsfeld whines about the Iraqis violating) grants the Red Cross the right to inspect and interview any POW's for evidence of mistreatment. So there you have it -- the daily dose of hypocrisy. Kinda brings this to mind:

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
--Ernest Hemingway

Finally, here's a poignant sentiment from one of our old, irrelevant presidents (after all, he didn't have to deal with 9/11.....only that little skirmish known as the Civil War):

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. If today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us' but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.'"
--Abraham Lincoln