Quote Of The Day: Unreliable Narrators

by matttbastard

To a New Yorker, the idea of Rudy as a liberal or even a moderate is unreal, topsy-turvy — like describing George McGovern as a hawk or Pat Buchanan as a Zionist. The case for Giuliani’s moderation rests mainly on three overblown issues — guns, gay rights and abortion — and even in those cases, his deviation from conservative orthodoxy is far milder than is usually suggested.The “social” and “cultural” issues that divide Americans encompass much more than guns, gay rights and abortion. They include state support of religion; the legitimacy of dissenting speech; the president’s right to keep information secret; the place of fair procedures in dispensing justice. The Bush administration’s hard-line stands on these matters have polarized the nation as much as the Iraq war has. And on these issues, Giuliani is just as hard-line as the man he’d like to succeed.

If you’ve managed to keep liking President Bush, you’d have no trouble loving President Giuliani.

– David Greenberg, Rudy a Lefty? Yeah, Right.

More from Lower Manhattanite on just how much some New Yorkers with personal ties to Rudy absolutely adore America’s Mayor™:

…Rudy Giuliani is that rare beast that engenders ill-will at every stop in his climb to lord it over the last bunch of people he worked with. And in so doing, his list of fucked-over folk who hold a grudge against him is as long as his now-defunct combover was once wide.

Related: McClatchy – GOP candidates run hard to the right.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Operation Prayer Shield 2: We Can Has Privat Sekurity Contrakterzs!

by matttbastard

They have the power of the Holy Spirit; we have drunken monkey mercenaries.

(I’m really surprised the US State Dept doesn’t immediately cancel its contract with Blackwater in favour of an arrangement similar to ours–bad publicity and $1000 per day per contractor vs all the Mai Tais a monkey can drink? I know a bargain when I see one.)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

by boomgate

Late last night while trying to find something decent on TV, I was saw this video on Rage. Oh, sweet memories.

Rage is all night music video show where bands/artists are asked to program a show for at least four hours. Last night, Architecture In Helsinki were in charge.

From Australia’s most successful unsuccessful group, The Go-Betweens.

Late Night Logic: “Crickets Kissing In The Rain”

by matttbastard

Tonight’s edition goes out to the one Vanessa, who sent me a-wanderin’ down memory lane with this delightful exercise in mid-90s nostalgia. Yeah, punk was my first love; but later (ie, shortly after reaching legal age) I sunk deep into the goth/fetish/industrial club scene–and yes, I was always the sole person of colour swimming in a sea of pale monochrome faces. Funny how a brotha rockin’ a leather mini-skirt, fishnets and black make-up inevitably gets compared to Prince (“ZOMG you look just like him!” Er, no, I didn’t. But thanks for coming out anyway.)

Bauhaus – She’s In Parties

(more delicious darkness and despair after the cut)

Continue reading

To Former Poodle (And Current Lap Dog) Tony Blair, On Behalf Of Myself And 86%* Of The Nation

by matttbastard

natodutch.jpg

Here’s an extension for you.

“The worst thing you can ever do is back away in the face of opposition just because the thing is too tough to do even though you know it is the right thing to do…

“If we’re going to fight this terrorism effectively, we have to show that we are as determined as they are, believe in what we’re doing as much as they do – and do not give up, but stay the course… .

“If we give up in Afghanistan, then we will be under increasing pressure right around that region.”

Um, we already are under “increasing pressure right around that region,” Tony.

38 years, 160,000 troops and “thousands of engineers, police instructors, economists and agricultural experts”; you can’t slip past these menacing impediments to utopian vanity by once again breaking out the sandpaper lubricant of hoary, can-do rhetoric.

Dude, face it: as a (non) strategy, “stay the course” was old–hell, DO-fucking-A– long before it was even conceived; all the 9/11 non-sequiturs in the world won’t change the cold, hard fact that Afghanistan is lost. After six+ long, bloody years, the political measures necessary to perhaps at least partially salvage the quagmire will not fucking happen.

This is what they call reality, Tony; hopefully you (and Uncle Steve) can one day reconcile with it after such a lengthy separation–before more lives are needlessly pissed away.

Update 10.28: Canada poised for world domination?  Sweet–no more having to apologize for Bryan Adams.

*Yes, 86%.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Cognitive dissonance affects reading comprehension

by sassywho

Faux News reports that some study (which I can’t find right now – just take my word for it) purportedly shows that people who cannot reconcile their own personal beliefs with contradictory circumstance have difficulty reading.

It appears a recent post of mine caught the attention of some wingnuts. The first response was a Big Blue “Oh, no you didn’t, quickly followed by a hearty “Fo’ realz grrl!” from fellow fetus fetishist Jill Stanek.

I know, you are asking yourself the same question as I: “Who the hell is Jill Stanek?

Grab your gut folks – she’s a columnist for WingNutDaily, the author of theocon agitprop fair and balanced opinion pieces like “March Of Dimes marches for death”:

Tomorrow, April 28, the March of Dimes will launch its 2007 WalkAmerica fund-raisers around the country.

MOD’s stated mission is “to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality.”

In the interest of full disclosure, MOD should add, “… in politically correct ways.”

MOD has been at odds with the pro-life community since the 1970s for its inexplicable love affair with the pro-death movement in many areas.

One is that MOD turns a blind eye toward the link between induced abortion and premature delivery.

(h/t Feministe)

For a refresher, I was speculating that the death of Laura Smith, a young woman who underwent a 2nd trimester abortion, was possibly a result of less safe procedure being performed by her physician (covering his ass due to the SCOTUS ban on D&X). These procedures could include the use of drugs such as Digoxin and/or not dilating the cervix enough.

The primary bone of contention (other than my being an unrepentant infanticidal feminazi) seems to be that I said there was no way of knowing what kind of procedure she had. Let’s recap: the article only reported that her mother said she had a “suction-type” abortion. I may be missing something, but I’m pretty sure that is not a name for standard therapeutic abortions; there are medical (ie, drug-induced) and surgical, with all surgical abortions (and, apparently, the arguments of most pro-life bloggers) utilizing some variation of sucking:

Vacuum Aspiration:
In the first trimester, usually 6 to 13 weeks, vacuum aspiration is the procedure used to empty the uterus. This traditional first trimester abortion involves three main steps: (1) an injection to numb the cervix, (2) insertion of a soft flexible tube through the cervix into the uterus, (3) suction created by an aspirating machine to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. It is done in an outpatient clinic, doctor’s office or hospital and takes less than five minutes to complete the actual procedure.

IPAS Syringe – Early Abortion with Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA):
As soon as the pregnancy can be detected by ultrasound (typically 4-5 weeks), an abortion can be performed using a manual aspiration device called the IPAS Syringe. Similar to the suction aspiration procedure, the IPAS system consists of thin flexible tubing, but instead of using a machine to create suction, the suction is created by a handheld syringe. The procedure usually takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Aftercare is the same as with suction aspiration. Availability of this procedure is based upon doctor’s discretion. Abortion by syringe is sometimes referred to as the quiet abortion.

D & E (Dilate and Evacuate):
From 13 to 24 weeks, Cedar River Clinics use the Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) procedure. Appointments are made for 2-3 consecutive days. On the first day, an ultrasound (sonogram) is performed to determine the size of the fetus. Then, the abortion procedure is begun by numbing the cervix with injections and inserting dilators into the cervix. Overnight these dilators gently expand, opening the entrance to the uterus. The next day, the cervix is again numbed, the dilators are removed, and the doctor uses special instruments to evacuate the uterus and remove the pregnancy. The final step is suction using the aspirating machine. In more advanced pregnancies, additional dilators are inserted on the second day and the fetus is removed on the third day. The medical procedure lasts about 10-15 minutes.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s tragic that Laura Smith died. My heart sincerely goes out to her family and friends. But perhaps the main reason baby-worshipping wingnuts are so disturbed by her death is not because abortions inevitably kill teh wimmins, but because she was one of them.

Once again, mere speculation.

(And it’s Stacy, without the gratuitous ‘E’. Maybe you should stick with ‘sassywho’ – it’s easier.)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Slacker Friday: “Islamophobia Promotion Week”; Breast Cancer Is Sexier (And More Marketable) Than Domestic Violence UPDATED 10.27

by matttbastard

Earlier this year, the upstanding, freedom-loving folks at FrontPage magazine and the Terrorism Awareness Project proudly announced that, from Oct 22-28th, that ever-so-lovable wing-nutty Islamophobe modern-day Cassandra, David Horowitz, would valiantly and courageously shine the spotlight on the evil evilness of stupid neologismsIslamo-Fascism” in a surge of Islamophobic idiocy Horowitz cleverly dubbed Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Apparently this existentially-threatening scourge is being unwittingly enabled–nay, directly and deliberately aided and abetted–by *gasp* stateside liberalpinkosocialistfeminazi fifth columnists like Michael Moore (who is fat and Communist), in concert with “THE ANTI-AMERICAN CURRICULUM OF THE TENURED LEFT [sic] which teaches that America is a racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialist “Great Satan” whose little Eichmanns deserve what they get at the hands of Medieval religious fanatics armed with the latest technologies of death.”

Be still my Merika-hatin’ heart.

According to Hatewatch, Horowitz has been “traveling to American university campuses to attack those who criticize the “War on Terror” and — parenthetically — those who see global warming as a major world threat.” Global Warming?! Yeah, betcha didn’t know Osama and Al Gore were homeboys; reportedly they bonded years ago over a shared interest in hatin’ ur Americaz and a deep, abiding affection for the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

(No word on whether BNP head honcho Nick Griffin’s recent campus speaking tour was at all affiliated with Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, nor whether Griffin also decided to throw in some superfluous anti-climate change propaganda just for the hell of it.)

Alas, as the folks at Sadly, No! pointed out back in late September, Horowitz has nagging issues reconciling paranoid bigotry and eliminationist rhetoric with the deadliest weapon in the fifth column’s arsenal: reality.

Goddamn facts – how maddeningly inconvenient.

More: Channelling Tom Lehrer, Kieren Healy of Crooked Timber has penned a tribute in verse to honour these brave warriorz 4 freedumz; Josh Marshall of TPM provides a tongue-in-cheek investigative video report on David Horowitz and Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Also check out this statement from Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, which accuses Horowitz and co. of adopting “a calculated strategy to inflame fear of Muslims and ultimately to soften up the American public to support the next assault in the “War on Terror:” war against Iran” (gee, ya think?) Oh, and you know this week-long exercise in excruciating eliminationist hysteria is a bust when even Uncle Jimbo sez Horowitz’s anti-Sharia sideshow “sucked Hoover.”

[Update: Oh hell no – he didn’t just go there, did he? Watch the footage, then check this instant-classic post Mandolin wrote earlier this year. To paraphrase, criticism !=nooses.]

[Update 2 – 10.27: Chet Scoville believes that tactics like those utilized by the students @ Emory only play into the hands of professional martyrs like Horowitz:

…these sorts of protests worked well forty years ago, when neither the media nor political figures knew what to do about them. Now they know; they have the skill to spin them and fit them into their own narratives. The way to disrupt their message is to do something that doesn’t fit their narratives — like emptying the campus for a day and having them speak to an empty auditorium. Now that would have made for crappy footage, and it wouldn’t have been shown.]

Related: In case y’all weren’t aware, some of the Islamophobes are apparently down with teh Belgian racist right, to the (dubiously admirable) consternation of LGF head honcho Charles Johnson, who isn’t quite ready to make a logical ideological progression. Still, good old fashioned non-Islamic fascism seems to be a-ok with Pamela Geller, Paul Weyrich and Co. (even Roger Scruton…? Jesus), as long as teh Brownshirts from Brussels feign mad love for teh j00s and pay lip-service to the Holocaust (oh, and most importantly, phear teh Muslims)

Talk about the ultimate marriage of convenience.

[Update 3 – 10.27: Oooo, the spat between Johnson and Geller is gettingood /popcorn

To quoth D. Aristophanes, “When Johnson actually addressed a topic other than the latest truck backfiring in Damascus, it was as if he had suddenly ripped an IV from his arm that had been pumping 9/11 freakout juice into his veins for the past six years.” Hell, Johnson unequivocally effing OWNS here.  And now I’m going to go wait for the inevitable collapse of the known universe.]

Elsewhere:

– Lucinda Marshall, founder of the indispensable, superlative Feminist Peace Network, has a must-read article up @ AlterNet detailing how women’s magazines use breast cancer as a cheap marketing ploy–while domestic violence against women receives little focus:

October means falling leaves, ghosts and goblins, and pink, lots of Pepto-Pink as we observe National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). From Campbell’s Soup to Breast Cancer Barbie, it seems as if just about everyone has jumped on the pinkified bandwagon. And although October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), we’d much rather be aware of breasts, even sick ones, than talk about black eyes and things that aren’t supposed to go on behind closed doors. That point is reflected in women’s magazines, which devote much more space in their October issues to breast cancer than they do to domestic violence.

Of nine publications that I recently found on a grocery store magazine rack, all of which advertised breast cancer articles on the covers of their October issues, only two also contained coverage of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (and mentioned that on their covers).* And, what’s worse, of the coverage dedicated to breast cancer, much of it was offensive, superficial, misleading, or flat-out wrong.

This year there is even called Beyond Breast Cancer that cheerfully proclaims that there are “10 Good Things About Breast Cancer.” Who knew? And just what are the pluses of getting this dreaded disease? According to the bubblegum-colored magazine, one perk is a pair of new boobs that “will face the horizon, not the South Pole.’ Better yet, they will be paid for by insurance. Oh, and you get lots of cards and flowers.

[…]

While it is questionable that additional awareness of breast cancer is useful, in the case of domestic violence, more coverage would be helpful. Domestic violence is the most common type of violence experienced by women both globally and in the United States. The Family Violence Prevention Fund reports that one out of every three women worldwide is “beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.” Here in the United States, the rate is one in four. In 2005 (the latest year for which statistics are available), 976 women in the United States were killed by by men that they knew. Yet because we tend to see this violence as a private, shameful issue, only 20 percent of rapes and 25 percent of physical assaults against women in this country are reported to the police.

Related:

stop_violence.jpg

  • Be bold, be brave, be red. Wear red on October 31, 2007. Take a picture or video of yourself and friends wearing red. Send it to: beboldbered@gmail.com. We’ll post it!
  • Take Your Red to the Streets! Know of a location where violence occurred against a woman of color? Have a public location where you feel women of color are often ignored? Make violence against women of color visible by decorating the space in red. Be sure to send us pictures and or video of your display!
  • Rally! Gather your friends, family, and community to rally. Check out the Document the Silence website for the litany we’re asking participants to read together on October 31st. Be sure to send us pictures and/or video of the event! You could even gather where you created a display!

More details on how you can participate @ Document the Silence.

(h/t FPN and The Thin Black Duke)

– Dana @ The Galloping Beaver on cognitive dissonance and Afghanistan:

At the same time Rickie is saying 10 more years and Stevie is saying 4 more years there is a former United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from Great Britain who says, “We have lost, I think, and success is now unlikely.”

And on the same day Britain’s most senior armed forces leader, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup said: “There is a common misperception that the issues in Afghanistan, and indeed elsewhere around the world, can be dealt with by military means. That’s a false perception.”

Regardless of how long is deemed necessary to delay the inevitable (perhaps close to 40 years, according to Brigadier John Lorimer, commander of UK forces in Helmand), the wide gap between Hilliar’s estimate on how long it will take to train Afghan security forces and that of the PMO is indicative of just how desperate the effort to maintain the illusion of progress has become for the Stephen Harper Party.

Dave @ TGB:

The fact is, Hillier’s assessment is believable because it’s based on the current metrics. Whether the ANA kandaks being trained by the Canadian Army are, in fact, “top-notch” doesn’t really enter the picture. What is true is that it takes three years to train a single Afghan infantry battalion and we’re only half-way there. That doesn’t even take into account that the ANA has virtually nothing in the way of combat support and logistical support elements. Adding those in would make Hillier’s assessment optimistic.

Hillier has forwarded something which the Harperites know will cause Canadians to balk: the idea of war-without-end. If the ANA is unable to deal with security situation in Afghanistan on its own, the dismal picture being presented is that Canadian troops will continue to be involved in the same kind of asymmetrical warfare they are now engaged in and will continue to suffer losses – unless we can convince other allies to take on that part of the mission – even for a while.

– Antigone Magazine updates Uncle Steve’s ongoing war on the Canadian womens movement and offers the following defiant postscript:

After publishing this post I realized that there was something that I forgot to add. Ah, yes…. They can take away our funding but they can’t take away our feminisms! (and the political pie will wind up on their face!). That was my idea of a war cry. Let it reverberate through the blog0sphere!

PREACH!

– Last but definitely not least, please extend a warm welcome to the newest member of the bastard.logic family, the inimitable sassywho, who has graciously agreed to help expand our humble crime-fighting trio to a more-foreboding quartet. Check out her intro post and first three offerings and feel free to show her some comment love–or, conversely, level baseless accusations of hatin’ teh babiez. Hey, c’mon now – we here at bastard.logic absolutely adore pre-bornz – especially marinaded overnight in brown-sugar hickory sauce, grilled lightly on both sides and served on a bed of wild rice garnished with fresh cilantro.

On that note, dinner.

Happy Friday!

Recommend this post @ Progressive Bloggers

U.S. Supreme Court Abortion Ban: Death Toll 1?

by sassywho

22 year old Laura Smith died last month:

HYANNIS — Eileen and Tom Smith had just sat down to watch the evening news when they received a call no parent ever wants to get. The woman on the other end of the line was hysterical. She said the Smiths’ 22-year-old daughter, Laura, was in the emergency room at Cape Cod Hospital. The doctors were looking for next of kin.

And there was more. Laura Smith had been pregnant for 13 weeks. And, earlier that day, she had been at a clinic that provides abortions.

Her death is still being investigated:

The state medical examiner hasn’t determined the cause of Smith’s death, a state spokesman said. And Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe is awaiting those results before determining whether further action should be taken, he said.

Eileen Smith met with Osathanondh in the lobby of the Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston about 10 days after Laura’s death.

Smith said she learned from Osathanondh that her daughter had a suction-type abortion, and that she was anesthetized during the procedure. She saw the waiver her daughter signed, the permissions she gave and the list of drugs she was given, Smith said.

She declined to give further details, citing the court case.

Abortion-related death is rare in the United States, according to government statistics.

The Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, fraught with paternal condescension and obfuscating language, was unpopular with physicians and pro-choicers for a reason: women’s safety was at risk. This was widely known!

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a federal ban on so- called partial-birth abortion in April is causing medical practitioners to explore alternate second-trimester abortion methods, placing them in uncharted legal and medical waters that could compromise women’s health.

The ban is expected to bring more risky abortion methods — with little clinical data on safety — into wider use for the sole purpose of legally protecting providers, doctors and experts say.

These alternative second-trimester abortion methods include fetalcide — killing the fetus while it is still in the womb — and hysterotomy, opening the uterus through an abdominal incision.

I have no way of knowing what specific procedure Dr. Osathanondh used, but one doubts that, facing a potential a 2 year jail term, he would choose the safer–but legally riskier–option to terminate a 2nd trimester pregnancy.

While practitioners can continue to perform D&Es, they must now be careful about their methods, Drey said.

Dilating a woman’s cervix too far could show intent to perform a D&X — a violation of the law. Even the way clinicians hold forceps could show intent, Drey said.

“This is where it becomes frightening for physicians,” she said. “To do a safe D&E, you like to have more dilators. Now we are being told that more dilation means you have intent to do a criminal procedure.”

Not dilating a woman’s cervix far enough can result in discomfort, pain and medical risk, she said.

Because there are so many gray areas in the law, it is yet unknown what the parameters will be for prosecuting physicians, said Beth Parker, partner with Bingham McCutchen, who represented Planned Parenthood in the San Francisco case challenging the law.

Women’s health is directly tied to restrictions on abortion, as a study published in the Lancet this month is telling:

“We now have a global picture of induced abortion in the world, covering both countries where it is legal and countries where laws are very restrictive,” Dr. Paul Van Look, director of the W.H.O. Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said in a telephone interview. “What we see is that the law does not influence a woman’s decision to have an abortion. If there’s an unplanned pregnancy, it does not matter if the law is restrictive or liberal.”

But the legal status of abortion did greatly affect the dangers involved, the researchers said. “Generally, where abortion is legal it will be provided in a safe manner,” Dr. Van Look said. “And the opposite is also true: where it is illegal, it is likely to be unsafe, performed under unsafe conditions by poorly trained providers.”

It’s actually quite simple: restrict abortion, women die. Ultimately, Dr. Kennedy has compromised women’s health by turning medical practice into a crapshoot. Perhaps Laura Smith is the first casualty.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Thursday Blogwhoring: 3.6 Hrs != Enough

by matttbastard

Remind me to stop sacrificing sleep for obsessive late night blogging/research. Candle = burnt. Both ends; no wick nor wax remains.

Love, etc.

(Blah blah blah Melissa McEwan = teh r0x0r)

Feministe: What Color Are the Holes in Your Parachute? (La Lubu is a national treasure [h/t myca – so much for teh link embargo])

The Angry Black Woman: The Grass is Always Greener

The Silence of Our Friends: Bitter Laughter (h/t Donna Darko)

Creekside: Harper chooses gay superhero to be new symbol of Canada

Impolitical: Must…repeat…North…Star…:)

Shakesville: Shocking: Hate Peddlers Also Lying Douchebags

A Creative Revolution: Reality has a well known liberal bias……

Bene Diction Blogs On: Elections Canada – opps. 1 million voters not eligible (h/t April Reign)

AverageBro: The Gubb’ment Doesn’t Care About Your Nana’s Right To Vote

unrepentant old hippie: Code Pink activists detained

Women of Color Blog: “Hopelessly Deadlocked”

Cubically Challenged: Women, Belonging, Ownership

Slant Truth: The Blackface Files Return (oh for fucks sake)

Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome: Meet Beard-o

AngryBlackBitch: Bad Boy vodka?

Dymaxion World: Trying to lose

Birth Pangs: Girls and Women, Girls and Women, Girls and Women

April Reign: Anger, Resentment & Politics (PREACH!)

ex-lion tamer: why i like science fiction

Girl, Dislocated: As uneventful as it gets, part 1 and part 2

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Quote of the Day: Cul-de-sacs and Three Way Intersections

by matttbastard

To sit back and ignore this crisis because “it’s not happening here” does a grave injustice to the cause of anti-oppression work. If we allow the U.S. government and ourselves to sit back and ignore this crisis, we might as well sit back and ignore the crises that happen here as well. As long as oppression and hate and genocide are allowed anywhere in the world, it will be allowed and justified at home.

But on the other hand, I feel that I also must remind that it is often easier to stand against oppression that isn’t happening in your own back yard. It’s a two-way street, with a cul-de-sac up the road and one of those three-way intersections a half a mile away where you have to take a left exit to go where you want. It ain’t always easy. Stand up against world-wide oppression, but don’t think that gives you a pass to ignore what is going on in your own neighborhood. You will be tired. You might also find yourself confused at times. But you won’t be nearly as tired and confused as those slaves were after an 18-hour day in the fields.

– The Thin Black Duke, Blogging Against Genocide

Besides the links included in Kevin’s post, make sure to check out Eric Reeves’ invaluable site (though I don’t agree with all of Reeves’ conclusions/solutions):

Eric Reeves is Professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He has spent the past eight years working full-time as a Sudan researcher and analyst, publishing extensively both in the US and internationally. He has testified several times before the Congress, has lectured widely in academic settings, and has served as a consultant to a number of human rights and humanitarian organizations operating in Sudan. Working independently, he has written on all aspects of Sudan’s recent history. His book about Darfur (“A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide”) was published in May 2007 (available here). He is also at work on a longer-range project surveying the international response to ongoing war and human destruction in Sudan over the past 18 years (“Sudan — Suffering a Long Way Off”).

OTOH, Ken Silverstein contends that some Darfur advocacy campaigns like Save Darfur render an extremely convoluted and chaotic situation to a simplistic battle between good and evil, victim and oppressor. Silverstein points to a recent op-ed by David Rieff:

To communicate a more complicated message may be more accurate but it is inevitably less compelling, and according to the conventional wisdom, campaigns need to be compelling if they are to have a hope of success.

In the case of Darfur, there is in fact considerable controversy about whether the government of Sudan and the janjaweed have committed genocide. Save Darfur, the Holocaust Museum and the U.S. Congress say they have; the European Union and many of the most important relief groups working on the ground in western Sudan say they have not. There is also a heated debate among statisticians, demographers and activists about how many people have been killed or displaced. Understandably, those who are campaigning for an international intervention to rescue the Darfuris tend to accept the higher figures; indeed, for many it is the brute number of dead that drew them to activism in the first place.

To suggest that things may be more complicated is in no sense to deprecate their commitment. But it is to say that if, proverbially, the first casualty of war is truth, then the first casualty of activism is complexity. If Save Darfur had said, “Look, the situation in Darfur is very convoluted and, while the government of Sudan deserves the lion’s share of the blame, the rebels are no prize either,” how many contributions would the group have received, and how many volunteers would they have inspired?

Precious few, most likely. And yet — although it probably was the case that in 2004, the conflict in Darfur could accurately be described as a campaign of terror and murder against Darfuri civilians orchestrated by the Khartoum government — in 2007, the conflict has degenerated into one in which rebel factions are fighting one another while factions within the janjaweed are doing the same. In other words, it’s a war of all against all.

[…]
None of this is to say that the crisis in Darfur is manufactured. It is all too real. But a crisis that involves innocent victims and evil victimizers is different from one in which there is evil enough to go around — which, as the headlines demonstrate, is what is actually going on in Darfur.

Also see Lenin’s classic Sudan and lurid morality tales for young imperialists*:

The current crusading about Sudan reminds me of the old saying from the pan-African movement: nothing about us, without us. That it is also a slogan of the disability rights movement is somehow appropriate, since oppressed or marginalised groups tend to suffer from a great deal of imperious generosity by philanthropists and charitable overseers who think of them as children.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

*And here’s where my anti-imperialist/interventionist leanings come into play, which is why, after much thought, I ultimately chose not to directly participate in the Blog Against Genocide campaign. A difficult decision, one that will likely breed much inner turmoil and second-guessing (which neatly sums up my overall relationship over the years with the situation in Darfur; confusion, cul-de-sacs and three way intersections, indeed.)