Email: darkblogules at yahoo dot com
All email will be assumed to be for publication unless otherwise requested.
What's in the banner?
Thursday, March 06, 2003
A good example of what I mean by childish European anti-American views are the comments by "Lilli" in this post on A Small Victory.
I've inserted paragraphs in her comments, which aren't in the originals. She says in the second comment that she was joking about "Bill Gates and the weather" in the first comment, which I guess is clear in retrospect. But her hysterical assertions and sloppy reasoning obscure that.
There are many things to argue with here, but in particular I take issue with this part, from the second comment:
I asked, in the comments, if anyone had heard that. I remember that Czech intelligence had been following an Iraqi diplomat, and reported after 9/11 that he had met with Mohammed Atta. The CIA wasn't buying it, and later the Czechs said they had been mistaken (although it's my recollection that some factions of the Czech government maintain it was true).
[Here is a FAQ on the subject, by Richard M. Smith, who as far as I know is just some random guy. I wouldn't ordinarily cite such a thing, but it mostly jibes with my recollections (I didn't hear some of the wilder rumors), it seems pretty dispassionate, and he has linked cites (although by this time link rot has claimed three of them).]
Ryan Waxx replied, again in Michele's comments:
Lillie said "It was your government who didn't stop setting a connection betweeen 9-11 and Saddam." But it is very clear that the government did stop setting such a connection, last spring. I don't debate these things with people in real life, so I don't really know what people think. I do know that I have not seen that meeting mentioned in a government news conference for a very long time; I don't remember hearing Bush allude to it all. I've not seen it mentioned in pro-war editorials and comments for a long time.
Even at the time, I didn't give much credence to it. There was always the chance for error, and there may have been other explanations. But I don't know what other people, who are not newspaper or TV or blog pundits, think about it. Since I barely remember it, didn't think it very significant, and have heard little about it for almost a year, I assume other people discount it too; but that might not be true.
The poll Ryan mentions is here, by the way. There are no links to individual polls; this is the fifth from the top, "Knight Ridder poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Jan. 3-6, 2003".
I happened to stumble onto the web page of an acquaintance, and saw this poll used to support this very view: that government propaganda had convinced Americans that Saddam was involved with 9/11. He was very heated about it. I was quite disappointed, because it ruined my respect for this person's reasoning processes. (So disappointed that real-world consequences ensued.) And according to Lilli, the European press believes this too.
Lilli has her own blog. In this post she giggles that she just couldn't resist trying to get us stupid Yankees to think:
...little Georgie needs an enemy...
Now that's an informed and thoughtful viewpoint on the war.
I wanted to comment on this, but her comments section only allows 400 characters per comment. (By comparison, her short post there was 596 characters.) So it's hardly worth the effort.
I wanted to know what "manipulated" meant. Ryan answered in his comment on Michele's site, but here Lilli has her own answer:
[Again, paragraphs inserted for readability.]
The article she links states than an actor faked an Arab accent for Saddam's voice in the translation of his interview with Dan Rather. While this is kind of strange, I don't really understand why she thinks this is "manipulative". Oh, that's wrong, I do see---she says it right there. Americans are going to hear an Arab accent and think EVIL! EVIL! EVIL!
Sorry. I've heard so many accents from native Arab speakers that I would have a hard time telling you that it was an "Arab" accent (there isn't just one, you know).
If I were to give it much thought, I'd say that CBS assumed that their audience was so dim they wouldn't be able to distinguish Rather's questions from Saddam's answers unless they gave Saddam an accent. Either that, or they just have a knee-jerk foreigner=accent attitude, as in old var movies vere ze Chermans alvays haf Cherman accents even zo zere are only Chermans in ze pikcha.
(Also, if they'd used an actual Arab translator's voice, he might well have had an Arab accent. Would that have been manipulative too? My X-Files theory gains in credibility.)
Lilli believes that Americans are being manipulated into war, so she automatically assumes that using a fake accent is a means toward that end. This, you'll recall, would have to mean that CBS is actually pro-war, and that Rather's softball questions were meant to make Saddam look bad.
Lilli's comments about her reaction to the tourists at the Carnival would seem to indicate that she's a giddy thing who can't see a dark-skinned person without thinking, "Terrorist!", if only for a minute---and she thinks that Americans must be just like that too.
Perhaps it's unfair to use Lilli as an example of European opinion. She claims not to speak for all Europeans, which is good. But I'm afraid her dizzy, thoughtless tone echoes what we've been hearing from the "European street" lately. Ils ne sont pas sérieux. (For the voice of the "European elite", see the Regis Debray article.)
UPDATE: Charles Rangel [D-NY] was on O'Reilly a bit ago. He said that Bush had said Saddam had something to do with 9/11. O'Reilly objected, and Rangel "clarified" that Bush said that his job was to protect the American people, and that he wasn't going to let something like 9/11 happen again. Which, if you have all the brains of toast, is clearly saying that Saddam was behind 9/11. When they put the transcript up, I'll link to it.