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". . . shares Ted Rall's fantasies of oppression."
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". . . a good read, apart from the odd witchhunt."
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(Note to literalists: the Watched column presently contains only a smattering of 'warblogs' because the facilitator of the template-change--Dr. Menlo--is not very familiar with them, and will be adding more as they are sent to him. Also, this blog may contain areas of allusion, satire, subtext, context and possibly even a dash of the surreal: wannabe lit-crits beware.)


[Watch this space for: Pentagon and Petroleum, The Media is only as Liberal as the Corporations Who Own Them, Wash Down With, and Recalcify]


Sunday, July 14, 2002


We have received what passes for a "Fisking" in the logic-impoverished world of the warbloggers. The term does not indicate that, as common sense would dictate, we have completed a series of ethnographic histories, received journalism awards from the United Nations and Amnesty International and acquired a competency in local language and history unmatched in the State Department steno pools that are the foreign desks of most newspapers. No, a "Fisking," as described by one of the art’s foremost advocates (and victims) is said to have occurred "when someone, usually a web-logger, picks apart the factual accuracy of his reporting."

Mr. Harold Owens presents us with very few facts when "Answering WBW". Owens sets his personal high-water mark for acuity early on with his by assessing his answer as a "half-assed job," the lone inarguable in his effort. After enthusing over The War Against Terror (TWAT) and approving of the foreclosure of Palestinian democracy, Owens asks of a WBW post which states ""Now, more than ever, war is only 'necessary' to the war profiteers" if he should "start laughing now?" I would say hold off, Hal, until you re-read yesterday's Times.

Owens also is completely untroubled by our failure to account for Osama bin Laden, supreme terror architect, most-wanted of the most-wanted, and unambiguous public enemy number one. Owens can only sputter pathetically that the centerpiece was not the only piece of a war whose perpetuation without end is both likely and much welcomed as far as he is concerned. "If you expected a short war," Big Hal says while wagging a finger, "it only displays your ignorance of our enemy." That many other countries have dealt with terror in ways not involving the massive expenditure of war and human life is an historical fact that never insinuated itself in Mr. Owens' mind. Some countries even manage to avoid being regarded as the Great Satan. How do they do it?

At least when reading the Weekly Standard or other such rubbish, facts such as America's charming habit of intervening in countries whose leadership we find objectionable are acknowledged before being explained away. No such concessions to reality are made in warblogging circles. Indeed, Owens demands documentary evidence supporting claims the U.S. regularly intrudes upon sovereign countries. Amazing.

Owens offers his first fraction of a thought late in the game, when, upset over speculation that oil interests could be motivating policy, he denounces it all as "empty leftist, anti-capitalist (which means anti-people) rhetoric." Elsewhere I would have assumed such a series of conflations was deliberate and opportunistic, but Owens might actually be thick enough to use terms such "capitalist" with such reckless disregard for their inherent specificity unwittingly. To oppose an imperialist grab of concessions is in no way a criticism of capitalism, and even a criticism of capitalism is in now way a criticism of "people." And a paid practitioner of logic can point to this jumble approvingly?

Lastly, Owens gets pissy when the diminution of our civil rights is pointed out, something he maintains did not happen. His rights, he tells us, remain intact, though he does allow that he would be "inconvenienced" were he to travel by plane - as if speedy air travel were a civil right. We're a bit more concerned with other facets of this spectacular little war, Mr. Owens, though the continued erosion of civil rights does yield the odd boon to humanity.

• • • • •

The Watchers

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