Posted on 21 May 2008 by sespi
Joe Lieberman has requested that Google remove terrorist produced videos from Youtube. This includes, but is not limited to: killings of American soldiers and civilian workers, assassinations, training videos, and anti-American speeches. All of these videos are apparently branded by the terrorist groups and thus pretty easily identifiable (and as a sidenote, how arrogant is that terrorists use American media to disseminate their anti-American messages and blatantly state that they belong to terrorist groups? And you know why they can? Because no one is going to stop them.).
Google’s response is that violent videos will be removed as will hate speech, but they will not outright ban groups from posting, because it violates their policy of freedom of expression and the right for people to say unpopular things. The CATO Institute endorsed this view and accuses Lieberman of censorship. Ah, First Amendment rights. Some might consider this a reasonable argument. Do I?
No. Considering that terrorism is on principle a psychological weapon used to gain an advantage over a conventionally superior opponent, one of the best ways to counter it would be to prevent the opposing propaganda from being spread. When a company not only allows a terrorist groups ready access to such a wide spread and easily accessible network of viewers, but defends the right of the terrorists to disseminate their propaganda, they have crossed a line. Google’s policy of promoting free speech for everyone — even those who have been declared by the State department as Foreign Terrorist Organizations — has been rightfully challenged. By providing access to American audiences, Google is assisting the terrorist groups. Last time I checked, that was illegal. Lieberman is right to ask them to remove the videos: Google should go beyond removing just the violent and blatantly hateful videos and remove all videos identified with known terrorist groups.
CATO argued that the best way to counter bad speech is with better speech. There is no doubt that the US could do a lot better in the hearts and minds category, and there’s no reason for us not work on countering terrorist propaganda with our own propaganda, but there’s also no reason we should help the terrorists spread their message.
We have our hands tied fairly frequently in this war. Are we actually going to sit back and win the war for the terrorists now?
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Posted on 31 March 2008 by sespi
HBO is finally putting on the miniseries “Generation Kill” (in July). I’ve been waiting for this forever – the trailer looks good, and I really liked the book. The book is written by a Evan Wright, a journalist (of sorts) who embedded with their unit, which was one of the first Marine Recon Units to go into Iraq in 2003.
Here’s the trailer:
Actually more than Generation Kill, I liked Nathaniel Fick’s One Bullet Away, which is a book about the same unit at the same time period (more or less) from the Marines’ point of view instead of a Rolling Stone journalist’s point of view. That’s the book that got me interested in the military to begin with.
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Posted on 30 March 2008 by sespi
I have become a huge fan of Frontline this year. They have really interesting little shows. Anyways, coming up on April 1 is this episode about a National Guard Unit in Iraq.
From the website:
In June 2007, as the American military surge reached its peak, a band of National Guard infantrymen who call themselves the “Bad Voodoo Platoon” was deployed to Iraq. To capture a vivid, first-person account of the new realities of war in Iraq for FRONTLINE and ITVS director Deborah Scranton (The War Tapes) created a “virtual embed” with the platoon, supplying cameras to the soldiers so they could record and tell the story of their war. The film intimately tracks the veteran soldiers of “Bad Voodoo” through the daily grind of their perilous mission, dodging deadly IEDs, grappling with the political complexities of dealing with Iraqi security forces, and battling their fatigue and their fears.
Here’s the trailer:
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Posted on 18 October 2007 by sespi
People always tell me that if I want to work in national security, I should be studying Arabic and not Russian. I’m willing to bet that might be changing soon…
From Times Online
” ‘We will develop missile technology including completely new strategic (nuclear) complexes, completely new. Work is continuing and continuing successfully,’ Mr Putin said. He gave no details about the new nuclear weapon, but went on: ‘We have plans that are not only big, but grandiose, and they are fully realistic. Our armed forces will be more compact but more effective and better ensure Russia defence.’ ”
And this one:
“President Putin forged an alliance with Iran yesterday against any military action by the West and pledged to complete the controversial Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr. A summit of Caspian Sea nations in Tehran agreed to bar foreign states from using their territory for military strikes against a member country. [...]. The declaration of the five states did not specify a particular threat. Rumours have long circulated, however, that the US is seeking Azerbaijan’s permission to use airfields for possible military action to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.”
My Russian teacher asked us on Tuesday if we thought there was going to be another Cold War and most of the people in the class said no. She said we are very optimistic.
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Posted on 9 September 2007 by sespi
The USA Today has an article about Joe Biden’s response to General Petraeus’ evaluation of the surge and recommendations for what we should do – even though Petraeus has yet to actually report to Congress. Petraeus is expected to report that the surge is showing results and recommend that we follow through on it, maybe with a troop draw down in the spring. Joe Biden, who says he has the utmost respect for Petraeus, says that Petraeus’ assessment is “dead flat wrong.” (I think maybe it’s like, “I support the troops, but not the war.”) Apparently, Biden’s one day visit to Iraq last week and military experience – except, oh wait, he doesn’t have any- have made him more capable of judging the situation in Iraq than General Petraeus.
People are always quick to call Bush out on not being willing to listen to opposing points of view (if you don’t believe me, sit in on my global politics class someday), but the Democrats have said that regardless of what Petraeus says, we’re losing in Iraq and they’re going to continue to push for a troop withdrawal. They say conservatives ignore the failures, but I think that the antiwar crowd is intentionally turning a blind eye to successes. Regardless of whether you are for or against the war, you should let General Petraeus speak before you judge him. In his own words:
“Our message is what is happening … we are happy to report successes, but we are obligated to report setbacks — and we will … that’s our duty … “
It should be informative, if you’re willing to listen to what he has to say.
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