"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Monday, March 20, 2006

On second thought...
Suddenly, I'm considerably less sure about the wisdom of our war in Afghanistan. Is Canada really there supporting a government that endorses executing people for converting to a different religion? I'm not sure if even the Taliban did that. NATO or no NATO, I'm not sure if this is such a great idea after all if we are ousting one group of intolerant religious fascists to replace them with another group of intolerant religious fascists.

I know there is still considerable anti-Western feeling outside Kabul and that to a considerable extent the Taliban still rule the countryside. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with an Afghan journalist who was visiting Tokyo. It was by turns inspiring, depressing and frustrating. He was very offhand about the risks he runs daily as a stringer for the foreign press. He said he could travel the country freely with a beard and more traditional garb than the suit he was wearing, but that if anyone found out who he worked for, he'd be dead. "But you don't get far in this business if you are afraid to take chances" he said, throwing gasoline on the fire of my frustration at the editorial timidity and herd mentality of the Japanese media. He was very definite about the state of affairs in his country being much better generally than the news would indicate. After years of civil war, the fighting is mostly over in most of the country and things are getting back to what he called normal, pointing out that normal in Kabul and normal in Tokyo are as different as chalk and cheese. "I come from another planet" he said.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Thought Crimes
A recent NYPD memo brags about the use of "proactive arrests" and intimidation tactics to break up and silence political demonstrations in 2002. So now all you have to do to get busted at demonstration in NYC is look like you might be thinking of doing something bad and you will be "pre-emptively arrested." Remember, police officers can read your mind - they know if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! Only you can prevent thoughtcrimes!